| CDs are so 20th century. It's time to liberate your music from those scratch-prone, shelf-hogging, losable platters and turn it into pristine, eminently practical digital files. When you're done, you'll be able to transcode your songs into new formats as needed or even burn them back to CDs, with no loss of fidelity. || |
Apple iTunes users can rip CDs into the Apple Lossless format.
The secret is lossless
compression. Typically, songs ripped from CDs end up as AAC, MP3, or WMA files, all of which are lossy
--at least some song data has been stripped in order to make the files smaller. By ripping to a lossless format instead, the files still get compressed, but no sound quality is lost along the way. They're bit-for-bit duplicates of the originals that occupy about half the disk space.
As a result, you can pack your hard drive with CD-quality digital files that can be played, transcoded, or burned, all while keeping your source files intact. It's like having CDs without the CDs.
OK, but which lossless format should you choose? One option is to simply rip the uncompressed WAV files straight from your CDs, but they're huge--upward of 50MB per song
--and they can't be tagged with song, artist, album, and other desirable information. Another option is FLAC, a popular open-source codec, but most users will probably be better off with either Apple Lossless or WMA Lossless.
These two codecs, accessible within iTunes and Windows Media Player, respectively, let you play your tunes directly--no extra decompression step required--and copy them to portable players that support the formats (iPods
support Apple Lossless, and certain PVPs
from Creative, iRiver, Samsung, and others support Windows Lossless). Few desktop programs, and even fewer portables, support FLAC
, although the Cowon iAudio X5
and the Sonos Digital Music System
Given that iPods currently represent the lion's share of the MP3 players out there, here's how to rip your CDs to the Apple Lossless format:
- Open iTunes.
- Click Edit > Preferences, then click the Advanced tab followed by the Importing tab.
- In the drop-down menu next to Import Using, select Apple Lossless Encoder. Check any of the accompanying options if desired. Then click OK.
- Insert a CD and wait for iTunes to start importing it, or click the Import button at the upper right if you don't have iTunes set up to import CDs upon insertion.
- Wait a few minutes while iTunes rips the CD to the Apple Lossless format. Wash, rinse, and repeat with your next CD until they're all ripped.
- Put your CD collection up for auction. Start using newly liberated bookshelves for actual books.