The Mark Ledden Blog

…audio, video, web and general tech ramblings.

Automated CD Ripping To FLAC & MP3 Simultaneously

An arduous task ahead...

I’m sure pretty much everyone reading this has been faced with the daunting task of ripping their CD collection. Unless you’re too young to own a CD collection and all your music comes via the Internet or you’re too old to know what digital means. Either way, this probably isn’t for you.

For those who have spent hours ripping 100s of CD’s, these tips should help make the process a little more bearable.

My plan was to do one final comprehensive rip of all the CD’s I own so I can box them up and save myself a bit of space. Think of the benefits to loosing a few hundred CD’s to a single hard drive.

To ensure, as well as I can, that I don’t ever have to go through this again. I wanted to copy everything in and uncompressed format (FLAC) and a high bitrate compressed format (MP3). This means I can still enjoy my music in it’s original quality at home, which also serves as a backup if anything were to happen to my actual CD’s and have a library which is suitable for my portable devices.

I wanted to get all this done with the least time and effort so I spent a fair bit of time researching what software I could use. A great solution seemed to be ABCDE, which stands for ‘A Better CD Encoder’ ..clever! This is a command-line tool which runs on Linux. Sorry Windows and Mac users.

If you’ve never ventured into the world of Linux don’t worry. The easiest route to go is Ubuntu. You could even work from a live CD and save you the hassle of installing the whole system. You will need to keep this running for until you’ve finished ripping as you’ll loose ADBCDE. Which you’ll be setting up next.

To get started with ABCDE you need to install a few packages. This includes all the ripper, the encoders for FLAC, MP3, OGG etc, something to retreive infomation from the CD database and something to assign tags. Better instructions on getting started with ABCDE can be found here.

Terminal Window

ABCDE in action...

The great thing is that once you’ve got ABCDE setup as you like it’s all automated. I just pop in a CD, a command line window opens up and it gets to work. In my config file I’ve got it to rip to MP3 and FLAC at the same time. I wasn’t sure exactly how this would work but after some testing it creates two mirrored libraries in your chosen directory. One named ‘flac’ and one named ‘mp3’ …simple!

I used the settings from this same post and then tweaked them to what I wanted. Here’s a snippet of my configuration file. I used the extreme preset for the LAME encoder for better results.

LAMEOPTS='--preset extreme'
FLACOPTS='--verify --best'



The fact that the only work I have to do is feed CD’s into the disk drive has sped things up immensely. Another good point is that once it’s copied the data from the CD to a temp folder it’ll continue to transcode to your chosen formats and eject the CD. So I can just pop in ¬†another CD and another window opens. I’ve had up to six different CD’s transcoding at the same time, further reducing the time of this task. Imagine if I had a load of CD drives on the go. That may be a challenge for someone out there.


2 responses to “Automated CD Ripping To FLAC & MP3 Simultaneously

  1. Mark Ledden January 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    You’re more than welcome. I’m glad it has helped someone out. Thanks for reading!

  2. Pingback: In last night? Re st? R? O. . . | Auto dealer Blog

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