How to Rip a CD to MP3 & Auto-Name Files Correctly

cdexlogoLooking through recent emails that I have received, I’ve noticed increasingly that a lot of our readers don’t know how to do certain things. One of them is how to rip a CD to MP3 so that is the topic of today’s article. As the DJ on the Romance Hour would say, “readers, this one is for you!”

In order to make MP3 copies of my CD’s (for iPod listening), I have always turned to the trusty freeware open-source tool CDex. It’s fast, it’s easy and there’s even a portable version for your on-the-go ripping needs.

So if you want to rip a CD to mp3, here’s how to go about it.   It’s really easy.

Installing CDex is a breeze and when you open it for the first time, this is what you will see –

how to rip a cd to mp3

Insert your CD into the CD drive of your computer and within seconds, you’ll see the music files appear :


Now as you can see, all the files are named “AudioTrack“.  You could rip them with these names and then manually (and tediously) rename them all yourself when they are in your computer. But you don’t have to because CDex can (mostly) retrieve the song titles for you and automatically rename the files.  I say mostly because there have been occasions when CDex failed to find the titles and the automatic renaming failed. But this is rare.

To get the correct song titles, you need to access something called the CDDB Database. If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see an option in the top toolbar called “CDDB”. But before you do that, you need to go to Options–>Settings–>Remote CDDB and enter an email address. Now, I have absolutely no idea why an email address is needed so I entered a fake one and you should too. Until the makers of CDex explain why an email address is needed, they are not getting my real one. I tried using the CDDB Database without an email address and it didn’t work.

While you are in the settings, go to Filenames and there you can say where you would like the ripped music files to go in your computer.

OK, now go to CDDB in the top toolbar and in the drop down menu choose “Read Remote CDDB“. After a few seconds or so, after the app connects to the database and looks up the names, you should now see all your files renamed properly –


Now all that’s left to do is rip the files. Look on the right hand side for the various options. There are a few there as you can see but I think the first two are all you really need. The first one rips your music to wav files and the second one down rips to mp3 files. I personally prefer mp3 files and if you do too, hit that button!


It’ll immediately start churning out your MP3 files to the hard drive destination you specified in your settings in a folder with the title of the artist’s name.


And that is it. That’s the beauty of CDex. It’s as easy as inserting the CD, accessing the CDDB Database to get the titles renamed and then hitting the mp3 button. So straight forward – and it’s free.

And how do you to rip CDs to MP3 files? My father rips his CD’s with Windows Media Player and I know a few people who use Winamp. But as I said, I have always been swayed by CDex’s ease of use. What do you think?

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Windows Hacks & Customization
Windows Hacks & Customization
272 Members
231 Members
Best Windows Software
Best Windows Software
164 Members
Windows Troubleshooting
Windows Troubleshooting
158 Members
Best Music Services
Best Music Services
112 Members
Windows Security
Windows Security
74 Members
Comments (8)
  • rchard2scout

    I use WMP to rip my CDs, and if they aren’t named properly, I use MP3tag to do the job

  • Scott

    Audiograbber is outdated, incomplete, unsupported, and no longer being developed. And if you go to their website, NONE of the download links are active. I haven’t used Audiograbber in many years, but based on what I read about it this morning, I’d stay away from it.

    I’ve been using XRECODE, but now it’s no longer free. The last (free) version is still good, but I’ll give CDex a try – thanks!

  • Ron Harris

    What I have used and recommend is Smart CD Ripper by SmartSoft. It is very fast and easy and the music is great quality. Automatically adds information such album title, artist and genre. I think you should try.

  • Ted

    I agree with juz me. I have used audiograbber for years and it is the best ripper out there. The only possible concern is that they are not updating the program any longer so there is the possibility of issues moving forward with new Operating Systems. But also as juz me said, the program doesn’t rely on registery or ini file settings so it is less likely to be impacted by OS changes.

  • juz me

    Audiograbber is a beautiful piece of software that grabs digital audio from cd’s. It copies the audio digitally-not through the soundcard-which enables you to make perfect copies of the originals. It can even perform a test to see that the copies really are perfect. Audiograbber can also automatically normalize the music, delete silence from the start and/or end of tracks, and send them to a variety or external MP3 encoders, such as Fraunhofers L3enc, or even use some MP3/WMA encoders internally for automatic creation of MP3’s. Audiograbber can download and upload disc info from freedb, an Internet compact disc database. You can even record your vinyl LP’s or cassette tapes with Audiograbber and make wav’s or MP3’s of them. There are a lot more functions in Audiograbber, but to put it simply: Audiograbber has the most features one can wish from such a program!

    Significant advantages:

    A nice and easy understandable user interface.
    A good helpfile with descriptions of all functions and settings.
    The program is very flexible and configurable and still easy to understand.
    It works with almost all CD-ROM drives that can read digital audio.

    Another great thing with this software is that it does not put a single file in your windows directories! No DLL’s, OCX’s, device drivers, spyware, adware or whatever else that messes up the computer. Not a single entry in the registry or win.ini.

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
New comment

Please login to avoid entering captcha

Log In