Open Source Musings The thoughts, ideas, and opinions of an open source guy

Ripping CDs with Asunder

A CD player

While most of my music CDs found a new home before I moved overseas in 2012, I recently came to the conclusion that 1) I still have too many CDs, and 2) I need to get rid of them.

The second point isn’t part of some high-minded drive towards minimalism. It’s just that I don’t have all that much space, those CDs are taking up a lot of that space, and it’s been a long time since I’ve listened to a CD.

I still want to keep all that music, so I have only one choice — rip those CDs. And while I usually turn to ripit (a command line CD ripper), I decided that I wanted to give another utility a try. After looking at some of the graphical rippers on offer, I settled on Asunder.

It’s a simple and fast CD ripping tool that’s also quite configurable. Let’s take a look at it.

Getting going

The first thing to do, obviously, is to install the software. You can download the source code or you can grab it from your distro’s package manager. Doing the latter can ensure that you also install any dependencies and additional software that Asunder needs.

I installed Asunder on my burner laptop, which runs Ubuntu MATE, via the Ubuntu Software Center. The Software Center also installed codecs for MP3, FLAC, and WavePack.

Fire up Asunder and you’re ready to get started.

Asunder after starting up

Configuring Asunder

Before you start working with the software, you’ll probably want to change some of the default settings. As I mentioned earlier, Asunder is quite configurable.

Click Preferences on the toolbar to open the configuration settings window. That window consists of four tabs.

Asunder Preferences window

On the General tab, you can set the folder into which you want Asunder to save the ripped files and whether or not to generate a playlist.

On the Filenames tab, you can configure the format of the names of each track and the name of the sub folder into which Asunder saves those tracks. I just keep the defaults — they work for me.

Asunder filename preferences tab

On the Encode tab, you can select the types of audio files you want Asunder to create and the quality of those files. You can choose from WAV, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and FLAC. Click More formats to get a list of some lesser-known formats like OPUS, WavPack, Musepack, and Monkey’s Audio.

Asunder encoding preferences tab

The Advanced tab lets you choose where you want to get information about your CD from, and whether or not to:

  • Use a proxy server to connect to the internet,
  • Generate a log file, and
  • Rip the CD faster (but at the expense of not correcting errors)

As with the Filenames tab, I just use the defaults on the Advanced tab.

Asunder advanced preferences tab

Ripping a CD

Put a CD into your computer’s optical drive and start Asunder if it isn’t already running. Asunder scans the CD, sends a query to FreeDB (an online repository of information about CDs) and displays the tracks.

Asunder with a CD loaded

If everything looks OK, click Rip.

Asunder ripping a CD

What if Asunder can’t identify your CD? You can enter information about the CD and each track manually. To do that:

  • Enter the name of the musician or band in the Album Artist field
  • If this isn’t a compilation CD, click the Single Artist checkbox
  • Enter the Album Title
  • Optionally, add the album’s Genre and Year the album was release

Then, double click an entry in the Title column and enter the name of the track. Repeat that for each track. It’s tedious, I know. But you shouldn’t need to do that too often — I’ve only had to do it with three out of 150 or so CDs I’ve already ripped.

I’ve found Asunder to be easy to use and fast. Faster, even, than ripit (which is pretty darn fast). Asunder is making the work of moving from CD to digital a lot easier.

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