For a long time now one of my pet hates with Linux, Ubuntu in particular, is that it doesn’t come with a good MP3 ripping program.
Out of the box (which is free, thank you Ubuntu guys), the operating system comes with Sound Juicer, a fairly basic yet stable program for converting those shiny yet ‘retro’ CDs of yours into virtual and robust digital files.
Unfortunately the most common file type, the MP3 file format, is a patented digital encoding method, so for whatever reason that legally means, Sound Juicer doesn’t natively support extracting CDs into MP3s. Instead it defaults to .WAV files, old, bulky yet reliable audio format.
I’ve tried a few ripping programs on Ubuntu, knowing there is/would be solution to convert my CDs to MP3s, although my search has generally been in vain. You generally needed to tweak the software to extract as MP3 using an encoder called LAME, which the experience usually turned out to be. I managed to get extraction working once, but the total time to rip a CD was nearly 90 minutes! That was longer than the actual CD! Not cool.
Thankfully now that I upgraded to Natty Narwhal (11.04) back in April, one of the previous extraction tools works a dream!
This no-nonsense extractor works beautifully and rather quickly. It ripped a 55 minute CD and converted it to MP3 in about 10 minutes, so a pretty good 5x rate there. It has connection to one of the audio databases, so it’ll download your album and track names too, although it hasn’t downloaded any artwork as of yet. It also has a few options on how to extract the file and what naming convention you want to use, great for those OCD rippers amongst us.
Now that this ripper is working I can finally start rebuilding my MP3 library I lost when my Microsoft hard drive melted.
Good times, rock on!
Update August 2012
If you’re having trouble encoding files using RipperX on Linux systems, check out this tiny post telling you how to fix the RipperX encoding issues.