How to create mp3 from your Music CD

  
What is mp3?
Your music cd contains songs that playback when you insert it into a cd player. Those songs are stored on the cd in a format called audio. You can store the same songs on cd in a different format, called mp3.
Note: Read about WMA file format at the bottom of this page.

Why store music in mp3 format instead of audio format?
Music in mp3 format is about ten times smaller in size, compared to audio format. Hence, in mp3 format, you can store about ten times as many songs on a cd. If your normal cd will normally hold 15 songs, it means that the same cd can contain about 150 mp3 songs. Therefore, instead of carrying 60 regular audio cd's on a trip, you could simply convert the songs into mp3 and fit them on 4 cd's. Wow, what a space saver!

Another reason for creating mp3 files is for streaming on the Internet. mp3 is small enough to download, or stream on slow Internet connections.

What is the sound quality of mp3, compared to audio?
You can encode (create) mp3 files that sound as good as their audio counterparts.

Why is mp3 so small?
mp3 is a newer technology that allows audio files to be compressed to much smaller size, while still maintaining very high sound quality.

Can I play mp3 in my current cd player?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. To play mp3, you will need to purchase a separate mp3 player. New breeds of cd players are coming out now that play both audio, mp3, as well as other formats such as wma. These currently carry a price tag of about $110+. If you have a computer however, you can install a free software like Winamp for playing mp3 songs.

Can I play mp3 in my car?
Yes. If you have an mp3 player, you can connect it to your car stereo. To do this, your mp3 player must have the car accessory.

How much does it cost to convert audio to mp3
Apart from the cost of your computer, which you may already own, there is no other cost involved. All the softwares you need to make mp3 can be download free from the Internet.

What is required to create mp3 from audio cd?

Let's look at the above step-by-step

A computer

Software

CD Burner

The final step in creating your mp3 CD is to burn the mp3 files onto a blank cdr disk. This step is optional, since you can leave the mp3 songs on your computer and play them from the hard drive.

Internet connection

What do we need Internet connection for? We need it, so we can access online CDDB. This is a database that contains information about albums, such as artist name, album title, track list, genre, etc. Rather than type all that information manually for every cd, you simply click on Freedb to get it.


Downloads
Ripper. Because of the popularity of mp3, you can find hundreds of CD rippers online. The one I've used for years is Audiograbber. It is fast, stable, rich in features, and does mp3 encoding.

MP3 Encoder. Before you can create mp3, you need an mp3 encoder. The cd ripper we've chosen above will also do mp3 encoding. However, we need to add the encoder before it can do that. Adding the encoder is easy, so let's download one called LameEnc. This encoder is totally free to use. Get it from one of these places: http://mitiok.free.fr/, http://www.citay.de/lame-3.91.zip or http://www.sysdesk.de/download/encoders. If these links are dead, just search on the web for the keyword lameenc.

Installation

I'll assume you installed audiograbber in C:\audiograbber.

Configuration

Normalization
I like to use normalization when ripping, so that I get a consistent volume level for all my mp3 songs. Naturally, songs from different CDs may have different volume levels. If you use normalization while ripping, all your mp3 files will have a regular volume level.
Settings for mp3 files

As I mentioned earlier, Audiograbber can take external mp3 encoders. In our case, we have chosen LameEnc, because it's open source freeware. Now we need to tell audiograbber to use LameEnc, and also where lame.exe is located. Since we're using a separate encoder, it is considered an external encoder.

CDDB

CDDB stands for CD Database. A CDDB contains information about your albums. Audiograbber can log onto these database servers and retrieve such information for you. That saves you the headache of endless typing.

To use CDDB, you need to be connected to the Internet.

Done!

From this point on, whenever you need to rip a cd to mp3, just pop the cd in the cdrom drive, and fire up audiograbber. Click on Freedb to get the titles. Uncheck any songs you don't want ripped, then click on Grab!.

WMA
MP3 format is popular, but microsoft has a competing format called WMA (Windows Media Audio). Many mp3 players also play .wma music format, so check before you purchase a player. You need to install support for WMA to create wma files with Audiograbber. You can use either Sonique or Winamp to play WMA files so get the latest version of one of them and at the same time get the WMA encoder that works in Audiograbber. (A full installation of Sonique or Winamp also installs the WMA encoder).

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