The holidays bring red punch, good cheer, and brand new MP3 players. Now, how do you vacuum the music off those clumsy, smudgy, music CDs and shake it into MP3 format? You “rip” the CDs with ripping software.
Didn’t get an MP3 player? Take note: If you burn a backup of a 15-song CD, you get 15 songs on a CD—and you can play it on your PC’s CD drive or on a traditional stereo. But if you rip a CD to MP3 files, you have each separate track as a digital file that you can play on your PC, or on an MP3 player the size of a keychain or a boom box. Only 15 tracks to a CD? We just put our 173-song CD collection in 556MB on one 650MB CD. It won’t play on a traditional stereo, but many newer DVD players also let you play your MP3s. Here’s an easy way to rip your CDs:
Find out which ripping software, if any, came with your computer, or get some online. Many PCs come bundled with free music software such as Creative PlayCenter, which includes ripping capabilities. If not, then download a ripper from a reputable shareware site, such as Tucows (www.tucows.com). If you want to edit a song before it goes to MP3 format, Blaze Audio RipEditBurn 188.8.131.52 rips to WAV format for editing before exporting to MP3. You can download Blaze at Tucows for a free 30-day trial ($39.95 to register).
Open the program and put a music CD in the drive (or vice versa). You should see a numbered list of tracks. The titles will probably read, “Unknown.” You will be offered a chance to allow a third party database (from across the Internet) to permanently add details such as the artist’s name, album, and track titles to your MP3 files (for free) that will show up on your PC or digital device as you play the songs. If you decline the offer, you can edit the titles yourself.
Put a check mark next to each track you want to rip, then start the process. It took us about two minutes to rip a 50-minute CD once we hit the “Rip” button in a typical program. That’s it! The songs are on your PC—ready to play or save up with hundreds of other songs to burn to a single CD—or thousands of songs to a DVD. Now, let ’em rip!