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Ripping CDs and converting MP3s for burning to CD

Rip MP3s from audio CDs and convert to MP3s for easy playback. Creating your own MP3s is snap with these easy steps.

The best way to create perfect quality MP3 audio files and subsequently audio MP3 CDs is to convert your CD audio tracks to Wave (.wav) format. The key is to process your conversion digitally and not through analog methods such as going through your computer's sound card. This kind of a process will require an analog to digital conversion, and the quality of the output depends on the quality of your soundcards analog to digital converter (ADC). An analog to digital conversion does not yield a high quality audio output file and therefore, the ideal way of extracting audio from a CD is to do it digitally.

CD ripping software, which is also known as an audio grabber, is designed to digitally read the tracks of an audio CD and write them to your hard disk in .WAV format. Wave (.WAV) files are typically large and to give you an example, a 4-minute song when written as a .WAV file requires about 40-50 MB of hard drive space. This conversion when made digitally should result in a perfect copy of your songs.

All it takes is the following hardware/software combination:

1. A CD-ROM drive that can handle a digital extraction from an audio CD. This shouldn't be a problem because every new CD-ROM drive manufactured over the past couple of years can handle digital extraction. The speed of the CD-ROM drive is an important factor when ripping a CD. The best CD-ROM drives can rip at speeds of 12x and up so a full 70min CD can be extracted to .WAV in 10 minutes.

2. A good CD ripper or audio digital extraction program to handle this process. Each ripped (extracted) CD produces a .WAV file of a specific file size depending on the length of the songs. Most CD ripping software will automatically save your .WAV files in 16-bit, 44khz stereo, otherwise, ensure that your software is properly configured so as to preserve the quality of sound when using an MP3 encoder to encode a WAV to MP3 audio file.

Check out our selection of CD ripping software that is available as free trial downloads.

MP3 Encoding - WAV to MP3

Converting a WAV to MP3 file is done using what is called an MP3 encoder. Speed and quality are two key variables that affect the final encoded MP3 audio file.

There are about four major encoding engines which includes Xing, BladeInc, LAME, and Fraunhofer. You can download for free from a number of MP3 software sites or purchase a shareware MP3 encoder from a number of software developers.. Quite a number of inexpensive shareware programs come bundled with a number of other great features such as a CD ripper, MP3 encoder that can handle a variety of audio file formats such as MP3 to WMA, MP3 to CD, MP3 to OGG, WMA to MP3, WAV to MP3, a CD burner and lots more. Check out or selection of MP3 conversion software that is available as free trial downloads.

The quality of your WAV to MP3 encoded file depends on the selected bit rate. The typical MP3 you will come across is encoded at 128kbps which results in a very good quality to size ratio. Encoding an MP3 at 192kbps gives you a near perfect CD quality audio file. The file is a little bit larger but the sound quality can be much better especially if you are listening to your MP3s through a hi-fi stereo set-up.

That's it! Experiment with your MP3 software and enjoy your freshly ripped MP3s.

By Gabriel Nijmeh - Editor,


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