How To Encode a Music CD into MP3 Format Using CDEX

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In order to listen to music and audiobooks on a cell phone or tablet you have to apply to concepts: Ripping and Encoding. You will first need to convert the CD into MP3 format. In order to do this you need software or a “ripping” tool that will take the contents of the audio book and convert them into a digital format understandable by a particular device. The encoding part takes the ripped data and converts into a digital, compressed or uncompressed format, and labels the files internally. For example, if you are ripping a music CD the software rips the music and the encodes it using a codec (which is short for compression / decompression). There are a variety of codecs available and each can compress data with or without a loss in quality of the recordings.


Introduction To CD Ripping Software

CD ripping software will open up an entirely new way of how you listen to music. With the use of CD ripping software, you can take audio tracks from a CD and them into audio files for use on your computer. You can save them as WAV, MP3, OGG, or WMA audio files. The term “ripping” is the term used to describe this very process.

There are advanced CD ripper software applications available as well,  which allow you to convert back and forth between these formats. You can also get software that can record vinyl LP’s and cassettes to create those same audio files for your computer.


How To Get A CD Ripping Software App

You can get a variety of ripper software programs online by searching the internet. Most software is user friendly and offers you a variety of options. You should however, do some searching and comparing before you decide which CD ripper program is best for your needs.

Each type of CD ripper software will offer it’s own style and interface. You should always make sure the CD ripper software you choose is easy to use and easy to understand. It doesn’t matter how good the software is – if you can’t use it.

When you explore the options of CD ripper software, make sure you also check the software’s editing abilities. With most programs, you can select the output format for the music. This will include the bitrate, channels, and even the frequency of the recording.

Quality ripper programs will also tag the encoded audio files with metadata, which will contain information about the artist, song title, track number, and even the album title. This will automatically be input for the file.

Another great feature with some ripper programs is the ability to delete the silence at the beginning or end of song tracks. Some programs will even give you the ability to edit the songs themselves, giving you full control ofthe sound provided by your files.

For those who enjoy to listen to their music from a CD, a CD ripper can also be used to select your favorite songs and create a mixed CD. Some rippers will even let you rip audio tracks directly from a CD then burn them to a new CD – without having to save them as a new audio file.



Other Software You Will Need to Rip Audio

An MP3 encoder is a type of software application that takes your uncompressed audio CD’s and converts them into a digital format such as MP3 or FLAC. MP3 and FLAC are both  compression technologies (the scientific term is Codec) and uses compression algorithms to reduce the size of files without affecting the levels that you hear in the audio. It is pretty much getting rid of the superfluous audio information, usually invisible to the human ear.

For a list of other CD ripping programs and the bundled MP3 encoder included with them,  see the table below:

LAME MP3 Encoder Included Additional Features
LAME Encoding only
MP3 to WAVE Converter PLUS Decoding
AltOMP3 Maker Ripping and decoding
YAMP Ripping and decoding
Easy CD Ripper Ripping
Advanced Encode Decode Tools Decoding 
MPAction Tools LAME for registered users, FhG ACM, ripping
Audio Companion ripper
Rob Fantastic MP3 Encoder BladeEnc also included
Waver BladeEnc also included, decoder
Easy CDDA Extractor Ripping, decoding, burning
CD Stripper Ripping
JukeItUP Ripping
CDex Ripping, decoding
dbPowramp Ripping, decoding
FreeRip MP3 Ripping
CD to MP3 Maker Ripping
CD-DA X-Tractor Ripping
Audio Convert Ripping, decoding
CDMaster32 Ripping, decoding, burning
MP3 Home Studio Ripping, decoding, burning
   
Fraunhofer Type Encoder Included Additional Features
MP3Enc Encoding only
FastEnc Encoding only
MPAction Tools LAME for registered users, FhG ACM, ripping
AudioActive Production Studio ACM or producer pro?
Music Match Jukebox FastEnc
Nero Burning Rom FastEnc or MP3Enc?
  320 bit encoder
Cool Edit 2000 FastEnc or MP3 Enc?
Rosoft Audio Tools FastEnc
   
BladeEnc Included Additional Features
BladeEnc Encoding only
Rob Fantastic MP3 Encoder BladeEnc also included
Waver BladeEnc also included, decoder
CD Copy Ripper, decoder, burner
MP3 Strip It! Supports Fraunhofer encoders, ripper
Audio MP3 Maker Ripping
dbPowerAMP Ripping, decoding
Dionysus MP3 Encoder Encoding only
   
Proprietary Encoder Additional Features
   
Tsunami Pro Ripper, decoder
Blaze Media Pro Ripper, decoder, burner
   
GoGo Encoder Additional Features
   
CDnGo Ripping
   
Unknown Encoding Engine Additional Features
Audiowriter Support for BladeEnc, ripper, decoder, burner
Easy CD Creator 5 Ripper, decoder, and burner
CDMaster32 Ripper, decoder, burner
  Ripper, burner
Soundstream Ripper, burner
AudioConvert Ripper decoder
  Either Fraunhofer or Xing Encoder
PC Music Ripper, decoder, burner



The CD Ripping Process

This blog makes references to the CDex Version 1.7 program, although other programs exist that do the same thing. Mpeg Layer 3 files (MP3) is the standard for playing back music files on your digital devices but you can also use Windows Media Audio (WMA) format, Microsoft’s solution to playing back digital music files.

The first step to encode an entire music CD or audiobook is to rip the contents of the particular CD into MP3 format. For this process you will need an application called CDex Version 1.70. This software application will rip the contents of the audio book or CD or save each individual track into MP3 format.

Listed below is a screenshot of CDEX the ripping program used to encode the contents of a music CD or audiobook.

The CDEX Program Layout
The CDEX Program Layout

Step 1 – Inserting and Preparing the Disc For Extraction

The Drive Eject Button is Common on all Optical Drive
The Drive Eject Button is Common on all Optical Drive

The first step in ripping your music CDs into electronic format is to actually insert the disc into your drive. Press the eject button on your optical drive and the tray should load out giving you the ability to insert the disc.

Insert it the disc normally and press the eject button again to close the drive. The image shown to the left shows an external DVD drive so there is no need to press the eject button a second time because it uses a tray load technology. You can simply insert the disc about 3/4 of the way in and it will slide in the rest of the way.

 

The Windows Autoplay Menu / Auto Loader Application
The Windows Autoplay Menu / Auto Loader Application

Windows will automatically attempt to play the CD based on the default application associated with playing audio CD’s. When this happens simply close the software by left clicking the X button, and you can proceed to rip the contents of the disc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Step 2 – Download The CDEX Software Application

If you haven’t already installed the CDEX (CD Ripping Program) do so now. It can be downloaded from the following URL:

Download CDEX CD Ripping Software Here.

Downloading CDEX From the Softonic.com Website
Downloading the CDEX Application from the Softonic.com Website.


Step 3 Install The The CDEX Software Application

Double click on the CDEX installer that you downloaded in step 2.

This will launch the installer to setup the application on your computer’s hard disk drive. Follow the steps outlined below to install the software.

Selecting a language for the CDEX software to use.
Selecting a language for the CDEX software to use.

Select a language to use. The default is English but choose a language accordingly. Press OK when ready.


Accept the introductory screen. Left click Next to continue the setup process.

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Accept the license agreement associated with the software application.

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Choose an encoding method.

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Select the components that you want the program to install.

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Finalize the installation by clicking Next when prompted.

Step 5: Launch CDEX

CDEX will now be installed on the computer. Double click the icon on the desktop to launch the software.

Launching the CDEX Program Through the Desktop Shortcut
Launching the CDEX Program

CDEX has a basic interface and allows you to encode an entire music CD album direct to MP3 easily.

Using CDEX To Rip Your First Album Of Music
Using CDEX To Rip Your First Album Of Music

As soon as you insert an audio CD into the drive, the software will automatically queue up and request the name and artist of the album from an Internet database.


Step 6: Configuring An E-mail Account To Use With CDEX

Before you can actually download any tracks for an album, you have to input your e-mail address into the preferences window with the CDEX program.

Ripping Y our First CD Album To The Computer
Ripping Y our First CD Album To The Computer
  1. Left click the CDDB menu item.
  2. From the drop-down menu select Read Remote freedb. This will cause the program to lookup the artist name and album name for the the inserted audio CD. If you haven’t specified an e-mail address to use with the software, you will get this error message:
Error When an E-mail Address Has Not Been Specified In The Properties Dialog Box
Error When an E-mail Address Has Not Been Specified In The Properties Dialog Box

To specify an email address to use with the CDEX software, follow these instructions.

  1. Left click the Settings menu item.
Specifying an E-mail Address to Use Within the CDEX Program
Specifying an E-mail Address to Use Within the CDEX ProgramI
  1. In the options area, on the left side, left click the Remote freedb option.
Specifying an E-mail Address to Use With CDEX Software
Specifying an E-mail Address to Use With CDEX Software
  1. On the right side, left click and type your e-mail address into the Your E-mail address box. You could pretty much type anything into this box, but just for simplicity sake type in your real e-mail address into the box. I promise you won’t receive spam or unwanted emails. This is just so that the software can recognize your computer and obtain the correct name of the CD being queried.

Left click Ok to finalize the changes and close this window.


Step 7: Specify Encoding Options to Use Within CDEX Software

Here are some exampe values that will yield the best output files when encoding files using CDex software and the MP3 codec.

Typical Values Of MP3 Encoding Techniques

The table shown below provides a look at quality values applicable to the MP3 encoding process:

Criteria Setting Value
Channel:
1
Mono
2
Stereo
No. Of Bits:
8 bit
Mono (Radio/Cassette tape quality)
16 bit
Stereo (CD quality)
Frequency:
48,000
CD Quality (Best quality)
41,000
CD Quality (Excellent quality)
22,050
Radio / Cassette tape (Medium to Low quality)
8,000
Telephone (Very low quality.)
Typical Values Used During The MP3 Encoding Process

 

Ideal Settings Of MP3 Encoding Techniques

The table below provides an at a glance look at ideal values applicable to the MP3 encoding process:

Criteria Setting
Channel:
2
No. Of Bits:
16 bit
Bit Rate:
128 kbps
Frequency:
41,000
Ideal MP3 Encoding Settings Applicable To CD Quality Music Files

The next step is to decide what kind of encoding options you want to use for encoding the music files from the CD. You have to tell the software which MP3 encoder to use as well as specify what bit rate the encoded music should use.

Configure additional MP3 options by accessing the preferences window in CDEX (left click Options, left click the Settings menu).

Accessing the Settings Function Within CDEX
Accessing the Settings Function Within CDEX

You can also specify additional encoding options by selecting the Encoding option within the configuration window as shown below:

Specifying Encoder Options to Use With CDEX
Specifying Encoder Options to Use With CDEX

On this window, left click the Encoding option.

Configuring MP3 Encoder Options Within CDEX
Configuring MP3 Encoder Options Within CDEX

The important things to remember when changing options on this Window include not changing the Thread Priority if your computer runs normally while running CDEX. Changing may result in an introduction of an added instability on the machine. You also need to familiarize yourself with the options listed in the encoder section.

Another thing to remember during the encoding process Mpeg Layer3 (MP3) will tend to eat up far less space then the Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC). So if you are concerned about saving disk space, then choose to encode your albums into MP3 format. If you don’t care and have ample amounts of free space on your computer’s drive, then go with the FLAC encoder.

Here’s a screenshot of the encoder values when FLAC is selected:

Compression Settings When Encoding Music into FLAC Format
Compression Settings When Encoding Music into FLAC Format

One thing to pay attention to on this window is the Compression level setting. Changing a higher compression level say using Level 8 will result in the lowest file sizes. You will have to experiment with different values, until you find a setting for your music that you are comfortable listening to. The lower the compression level the higher the file sizes. I would recommend setting this value somewhere in between, what you will notice is not much difference in sound quality, but you also have to tinker to get smaller or larger file sizes.

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The CD Ripping Process

So now that you have an understanding of how to specify encoding settings for the ripped audio data, it is time to rip your first CD. If the track list wasn’t populated when you inserted the CD, simply Left click the CDDB menu and left click Read  remote freedb link. This will instruct the software to query a server and download the information on the cd including Artist, Song Title, and Other properties.

The Final Screen Before Commencing the Rip in CDEX
The Final Screen Before Commencing the Rip in CDEX

One final thing you need to configure before ripping, is to specify a location for the saved files CDex will trans-code.

  1. From the Options menu left click the Settings item

  2. This will load the Settings window in which you can specify the location to use for your ripped music files.
Specifying a Location to Store the Saved Tracks in
Specifying a Location to Store the Saved Tracks in
  1. On the left side on this window left click to highlight the Directories  & files link.
Specifying a Location to Store the Saved Tracks in
Specifying a Location to Store the Saved Tracks in
  1. On this window you can tell CDex where it should save your files to by left clicking the Selector button on the right in near the end of the input box. If you know the exact path and folder name you want to use, simply enter into the box. If it doesn’t exist or is not a valid location, CDex will prompt you to change it or cancel the operation.

A preview is provided to show you how your tracks will look. If the folders don’t exist within the base folder, CDex will creating them during the rip process you don’t have to worry this is intelligent software, you can simply accept the default file paths and be done with it. If you are more power user hungry, you can customize the output filing by specifying variables into the the filename info options box. The name conventions used by the software are described in the image below:

Filename Format CDex Uses When it Saves Your Recorded Audio Files
Filename Format CDex Uses When it Saves Your Recorded Audio Files

So you would input these variables and attributes into the Filename Format box. When you are comfortable with your modifications, simply left click Ok to accept the changes and close the window.


It is Time to Rip!

To start the ripping process there are five buttons on the right hand side of the main program window in CDex. They are described below:

 



Congratulations! You now have a basic understanding of how to rip and encode a music CD using CDEX. With millions of people ripping CDs these days, CD ripping is the wave of the future. You no longer have to keep your music on your computer, as you can rip them to a CD or even put them in your favorite MP3 player and take the music with you – wherever you go.

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