How to Rip a CD to MP3 (And Auto-Name the Files Correctly)

Kris Wouk Updated 31-03-2020

If you’re serious about music and above a certain age, chances are you have a sizable library of CDs. The problem is these take up a considerable amount of space. They also mean you need a CD player in order to play them.

Since music on CDs is digital anyway, there’s no reason not to back them up to your computer and store the physical discs away.

If you’re not sure how to rip a CD to MP3 with track names and other info, it’s easy to do and won’t cost you a dime.

Getting Set Up to Rip CDs With Metadata

You’ll find plenty of software to rip CDs with track names included. These range from simple software like Windows Media Player to power user apps like Exact Audio Copy.

For this tutorial, we’re going to use CDex, a CD ripper with album info support. This app is free and offers a nice balance of power and features.

To get started, download CDex from the project website. When you run the installer, you need to be careful to uncheck the box that opts you into installing additional software.

This also communicates information about your system to these companies, so you really want to avoid this.

CDex installer

Insert your CD into the CD drive of your computer and within seconds, you’ll see the music files appear. In most cases, they won’t have any song titles or other metadata.

To get this, you’ll need to use Freedb, which CDex supports. All you need to do is go to the Options menu, then go to the Remote freedb section and enter your email address.

You don’t need an account, nor will you ever need to verify this email. Use a fake email address if you’re concerned about your privacy. This won’t interfere with the ability of the app to retrieve artist-related metadata.

Remote freedb config for CDex

While you are in the settings, go to the Directories & Files section. Here you can specify where you would like the ripped music files to go in your computer.

By default, ripped files will go to C:\Users\YOUUSERNAME\Music. You can select somewhere else if you prefer. In addition, you can also tweak how the filenames are generated if you’re particular.

How to Rip CDs to MP3 With Track Names Included

Now that CDex is set up to get CD track names from Freedb, you’re ready to get started.

Go to CDDB in the top toolbar and in the dropdown 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.

CDex main window

Now all that’s left to do is rip the files. The various options are listed on the right-hand side of the app. The first option rips your music to WAV files and the second option rips to MP3 files.

Choose the MP3 option and it will begin ripping to the directory you specified in settings.

Ripping a CD in CDex

Once the process is finished, you can check the files in whichever music app for Windows The 5 Best Free Music Players for Windows Downloading music still has its benefits. For one, you can play music even when you don't have internet access. But which music player should you use? Find the best free music players here. Read More you prefer.

Fixing Your Metadata

Most of the time, CDex will rip your CD with metadata without any errors. However, there are times when some of this won’t be quite right.

Have you ever seen a single album displayed as multiple albums with just a few songs each in your music player of choice?

This is the sort of problem you may run into. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with this.

MusicBrainz Picard is a free, open-source app that can fix your metadata for you. If your newly ripped CDs have a typo in the artist name, Picard can fix that. Similarly, if a recording is labeled “blues” instead of “blues rock,” it can fix that for you as well.

Head to the MusicBrainz Picard website to download the installer. Once the app is installed, launch it, and you’ll see a two-pane interface. Drag your files into the left pane. After the files have loaded, you have a few options.

Click the Lookup button at the top of the screen to attempt to use the MusicBrainz service to identify the songs.

If this doesn’t work, try the Scan button, which uses AcoustID to use the track audio to fingerprint the file. You should see the songs start to move from the left pane to the right.

MusicBrainz Picard

Picard often gets the CD track names and other metadata just right, but you might need to manually intervene.

For example, if a CD is displayed as multiple albums, you might need to right click and select the right edition. When in doubt, double check the back of the CD to see if it matches.

You may never even need to use Picard, but if you like to micromanage your music library, it can be your best friend.

What About Playing Your Music Back?

There are countless music apps available for Windows. To determine which is best for you, think about everything you might ever want to play. For example, if you have hi-res files in addition to MP3s, opt for a Windows music player that supports hi-res files. Any of these will still play your MP3 files, but they’ll also play a wide range of other files.

You also need to think about where you want to listen to your music. If you use your phone, make sure you have a big enough SD card to fit all your files. That said, you may want to hear your music from a variety of devices without copying files to all of them.

Numerous music servers are available that can help you do this, but Plex is a great option. The Plex Media Server will serve up your music but it can handle video as well. Even better, you probably don’t need to buy new hardware, since you might already own a device perfect for making into a Plex server The Best Devices to Use as a Plex Media Server What are the best devices to use as a Plex media server? Here are the pros and cons of various options. Read More .

Related topics: CD-DVD Tool, CD-Rom, MP3, Music Management.

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  1. Wolfie0827
    April 2, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Instead of MusicBrainz Picard I use Tagscanner, it can get the metadata from a few different sites and allows you to choose which of many albums it might find (Such as ones released in USA and ones from UK, Japan etc..
    It also does more than just look up the album information, you can use it to rename files to your preferred format, export playlists also in your preferred format, Edit the tags of individual songs or groups of songs and finally you can generate tags from file names or list in text file.

  2. Ralph Nadler
    May 8, 2019 at 7:17 pm


  3. Rob
    February 7, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Take this post down, please! Graeme is correct with his comment - the CDex installer contains MALWARE.

  4. Graeme
    September 17, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks, this program is full of malware. Avoid.

  5. Bill A
    November 19, 2016 at 1:56 am

    I have used Cdex to rip books from the compact disk books I get from the library for 5 or 6 years and on windows 97, xp , windows 7 and windows 10 32bit operating systems. Now I just bought a new computer having Windows 10 and 64 bit OS. I was able to download and install Cdex version 1.81 successfully but when I insert a cd the audio tracks are read and display and after about 15 seconds the CD drive opens and a message window opens asking me to Insert a Disk and includes a Cancel button. Closing the window leaves the Cdex file window totally frozen. I have spent hours trying other things but to no avail. I even tried an older version 1.73 and it does exactly the same thing.
    I don't know if it is Cdex or an incompatibility with a 64 bit OS or something else???

  6. radu marin
    September 12, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Thx my friend, really works for me

  7. rchard2scout
    February 13, 2010 at 4:26 am

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

  8. Scott
    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 am

    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!

  9. Ron Harris
    August 18, 2009 at 9:23 am

    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.


  10. Ted
    August 17, 2009 at 8:52 am

    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.

  11. juz me
    August 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    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.

  12. Luke Matthews
    August 13, 2009 at 11:47 am

    "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."

    The CDDB server requires the email address if you want to submit fixes to the song title, album title, etc. This has nothing to do with CDex really, other than they might get their software blacklisted from the server for using a generic email address for submissions.

  13. SKi
    August 13, 2009 at 11:07 am

    EAC is the best. You can rip into whatever format you want (FLAC, mp3, OGG, APE) as long as you download the codec.

  14. Jusy
    August 13, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I use RealPlayer as it lets me rip to mp3. For me to use Windows Media Player to do it, I would have to purchase the codec for the mp3. Why spend money when you can find something comparable to do it for free?