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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?

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