How to Rip Audio CD in Linux

As MP3 players and mobile devices become very common, more and more people are beginning to convert their audio CD collection to music files so they will listen to them while on the move. In Windows and Mac, the conversion can be done automatically with Windows Media Player or iTunes. What about Linux? Let’s take a look.

Rhythmbox is the default player in Ubuntu. Like many other media player, it comes with the capability to import audio CD into your library.

Open your Rhythmbox. Before you start to import your audio CD, it is best to configure the location of the imported files and the song format.

Go to Edit -> Preferences. Click on the Music tab.

In the “Music Files are placed in” field, select the location of the folder where the imported music will be stored.

rip-audio-rhythmbox-preferences1

Next, you may want to configure how the folder hierarchy of the album.

Lastly, select the preferred format that you want the imported music to be. The best choice would be FLAC format, but the file size will also be the biggest. MP3 is the most popular choice.

rip-audio-rhythmbox-preferences2

Once you are done with the configuration, go back to the Rhythmbox player and insert in your audio CD. You should see the CD entry on the left pane and all the songs in the right pane. To import all the songs, simply right click on the left pane CD entry and select “Extract to Library”.

rip-audio-rhythmbox-extract-cd

To import only selected songs, first uncheck the songs that you don’t want to import. Next, right click on the left pane CD entry and select “Extract to Library”.

Personally, I found that audio extracting in Rhythmbox is extremely slow. It could take up to 20 minutes to extract 10 songs from a CD. If you are looking for a faster alternative, Sound Juicer is a better choice.

Sound Juicer is not a music player, even though it allows you to playback songs. In fact, it exists only for one purpose – to rip audio CD into music files. The good thing is, it did its job well and fast.

Debian/Ubuntu users can install Sound Juicer with the command:

or simply click here to install.

Once installed, open the Sound Juicer application via Applications -> Sound & Video -> Audio CD Extractor.

As usual, it is best to configure the settings before we start the ripping. Go to “Edit -> Preferences”. Similarly, you can set the location to store your music, the folder hierarchy and the music format.

rip-audio-soundjuicer-preferences

Note: The default Ubuntu does not come with MP3 support. Unless you install the “ubuntu-restricted-extra” package, you won’t be able to choose MP3 as the output format.

When you are done with the configuration, simply pop in your audio CD. Sound Juicer will automatically detect the CD and fetch the album info from the Web. You just have to click the “Extract” button to start the ripping.

rip-audio-soundjuicer-extract-cd

The whole ripping process is much faster than Rhythmbox. Typically, a CD of 10 songs (about 50mins of playback time) takes about 5 minutes to finish ripping.

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out the ultimate guide to manage your audio/video files to handle all sort of media files in Linux.

Image credit: LaserGuided

13 comments

  1. Audex is another option, particularly for those who use KDE rather than Gnome (not me though, not since KDE 4.0, but i do use Audex)

  2. Nice one Damien. I'd like to add one as well – “abcde” – A Better CD Encoder. It's a simple command line tool. For many users, you can simply type “abcde” into the terminal, and the program will do the rest (including CDDB lookups)

  3. In KDE there are a few options; SoundKonverter, KAudioCreator, or just the Dolphin file manager. I'd say Dolphin is by far the easiest; OGG and MP3 settings are set in SystemSettings. When you want to rip a CD, you open it in Dolphin and there will be folders there for MP3, OGG, Flac, and a few other types. Just drag-and-drop the folder (or files within) and they will be encoded on their way to your hard drive.

  4. I found SoundJuicer to be a pain as I couldn't set the quality of the mp3. I ended up wiht mp3's at 192kbs which sounds terrible to me. abcde is the one I like.

  5. – gnormalize is also very very nice. It can normalize the freshly ripped tracks prior to encoding and you can set multiple types of output formats for simultaneous encoding (e.g. mp3 AND flac). http://gnormalize.sourceforge.net/

    – soundkonverter is also quite nice: http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=29024

    and for the quick fix: KDE's file managers swiftly handle audio CDs as well, just drag and drop the respective folders to your library (encoder settings in KDE control centre).

  6. Here we go again. Another article telling us how to do something in Linux that actually only tells us how to do it in Ubuntu.

  7. Maybe this is interesting for absolute newbies, but I've been doing this since 2000 with a multitude of programs. For me, it falls into the category “How to use a spreadsheet”.

  8. Yeah this simple drag and drop method in KDE is really awesome, a real gem. When I first showed this technique to my father and sister they ware very happy about it.

  9. I used to use cdparanoia a lot when I was in college but that’s also because my computer’s config was so low that it couldn’t handle cd ripping on a full fledged graphical environment whereas Linux from the terminal could handle cd ripping + MP3 conversion at the same time.

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