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Old 28th September 2006, 20:25   #1
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Updated CD Ripping Tutorial (for Winamp 5.3x)



Ripping Preferences
.WAV output
aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.24
aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.24 (Pro only)
LC-AAC Encoder v1.24
MP3 Encoder v1.32 (Pro only)
MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.24
MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.24 (Pro only)
MP4/LC-AAC Encoder v1.24
WMA Encoder v1.2
FLAC Encoder (Flake SVN r117)
Additional 3rd party encoding plugins:
Ogg Vorbis

Output File Settings
Playlist Generation


Open the Media Library and select your CD drive in the left pane under Rip & Burn.
Insert a CD, if you have allowed Winamp to connect to the internet it will now use CDDB to get title information. If not (or if CDDB failed to produce the correct info) you'll have to enter it yourself by right-clicking on one of the tracks and selecting Edit CD info.
To rip the whole CD now press Rip and choose Rip all tracks.
To rip only one or a few track(s) select it/them (using ctrl and shift as you would in Windows Explorer), then press Rip and choose Rip selected tracks.

By default it will now rip the CD/tracks to 64kbps aacPlus files and put them into C:\My Music, to change this go to

Ripping Preferences:

The Ripping Preferences can be accessed via the Rip button, or by opening the Preferences window (pressing CTRL-P or right-clicking on Winamp/left clicking on the Menu button (top left in the default modern skin and all classic ones) and going to Options > Preferences) and selecting CD Ripping.
They consist of four tabs:
Output File Settings
Playlist Generation


The first tab lets you choose from the following encoders:
.WAV output
aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.24
aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.24 (Pro only)
LC-AAC Encoder v1.24
MP3 Encoder v1.32 (Pro only)
MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.24
MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.24 (Pro only)
MP4/LC-AAC Encoder v1.24
WMA Encoder v1.2
And optionally:
FLAC Encoder (Flake SVN r117)
Ogg Vorbis

Which one to use?
For (relatively) listenable quality at 64kbps and below: MP4/aacPlus
At the other extreme, if you don't want to lose any quality: FLAC
In between: At about 190-200kbps MP3, AAC, Vorbis and WMA Professional are all capable of producing quality that can't be distinguished from the original almost all the time, below that MP3's quality drops faster than that of the other three formats, at 128kbps they're still quite close though.

Recommended settings:

.WAV output

Check Write .WAV header, uncheck Convert to format, filename extension: WAV
This should only really be used if you want uncompressed files either to burn as an audio CD (and even then FLAC may be a better choice) or to use in/compress with another program.
(Convert to format can be used to play with the Windows ACM codecs, use at your own risk though: resulting files may not even play in Winamp.)

aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.24

Only recommended if you know you need raw AAC, otherwise use MP4/aacPlus instead. (see there for recommended settings as well)

aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.24

Only recommended if you know you need raw AAC, otherwise use MP4/High Bitrate aacPlus instead. (see there for recommended settings as well)

LC-AAC Encoder v1.24

Only recommended if you know you need raw AAC, otherwise use MP4/LC-AAC instead. (see there for recommended settings as well)

MP3 Encoder v1.32

Simple high quality settings:
Quality: --alt-preset fast standard
Everything else left at default.
This setting has been tuned and tested to produce files that are transparent (indistinguishable from the original) even for critical listening by trained listeners. It usually produces bitrates around 200kbps.

If you want smaller files (~160kbps) at still very high quality use --alt-preset fast medium. If on the other hand some extra safety against artifacts is more important to you than file size: --alt-preset fast extreme (~240kbps).
If file size doesn't matter at all: alt-preset insane (320kbps)

More options:
Since Winamp 5.30 it is possible to use the whole range of variable bitrate settings.
Why variable bitrate? Because it's the only way to get a (near) constant quality.
(At low bitrates abr seems to work better though.)
Mode: VBR new, Joint Stereo
Always use Joint Stereo! (except for mono encodes of course)
VBR Minimum Bitrate: 32
VBR Maximum Bitrate: 320
Generally these values shouldn't be changed, use VBR Q to set desired size/quality. Some (extremely crappy) hardware players produce skips at 320kbps though, in that case reduce Maximum to 256.
Quality: Normal or High (doesn't make a difference, even Very High produces identical results (only with VBR new/mtrh))
VBR Q: This is the actual quality/bitrate switch, its settings are:

VBR Q   resulting bitrate*  remarks
0       245                 same as --alt-preset fast extreme
1       225
2       200                 same as --alt-preset fast standard
3       175
4       160                 same as --alt-preset fast medium
5       130
6       115
7       100                 abr is probably better
8        85                 abr is probably better
9        65                 abr is probably better

*Note: Resulting bitrates are averages over many files, individual results can vary a lot.

For lower (or extra high) bitrates and/or more control about final size:
Mode: ABR, Joint Stereo
Always use Joint Stereo! (or mono)
ABR Minimum Bitrate: 32
ABR Maximum Bitrate: 320
Average Bitrate: whatever you want
Quality: Normal or High
High is quite a bit slower but maybe a little better, Very High is VERY SLOW and not recommended (it's pretty much an experimental setting that may even hurt quality).

And if for some reason you really need constant bitrates:
Mode: CBR, Joint Stereo
Always use Joint Stereo! (can't say that often enough )
Bitrate: whatever you want
Quality: Normal or High (see above)
ABR is always better than CBR though (technically both settings are quite similar, CBR is basically a limited (one could also say crippled) version of ABR).

MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.24

Recommended up to 80(or maybe 96)kbps, above that LC-AAC produces better results.

Stereo Mode:
Up to 40kbps - Parametric Stereo
48kbps or higher - Stereo
At ultra low bitrates Mono probably sounds better though.

When to use Tune for speech should be obvious.

Note: If you want small files for your iPod better use LC-AAC, the iPod (and iTunes as well) can't properly play back HE-AAC.

MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.24

According to its developers, Coding Technologies, this format produces better quality than LC-AAC at high bitrates.
So far the only public test featuring (the previous version of) this encoder is this one at SoundExpert which uses a rather controversial test method based on artificially amplified artifacts.

Note: As above, iPods won't play it at full quality, though in this case the difference won't be nearly as big.

MP4/LC-AAC Encoder v1.24

Recommended bitrates: 96kbps and above
(Personally I'd only use it up to 160 (and only if Ogg Vorbis isn't an option), above that I'd go with mp3. While AAC is technically superior the mp3 encoder is far more tested and heavily tuned and has the advantage of being able to use variable bitrates.)

WMA Encoder v1.2

Available options depend on the installed Windows Media codecs.

Windows Media contains a couple of different formats.
Both and Voice aren't interesting for encoding music.
Windows Media Audio 9/9.1/9.2 is, well, it's fast and relatively decent around 64kbps (but not as good as aacPlus or Ogg Vorbis), at 96kbps mp3 is already better though and above that - forget it.
Windows Media Audio 9/10 Professional is a completely different format, much more like AAC (also quality wise). Unfortunately it can't be played on portables or other hardware players that support WMA.
Windows Media Audio Lossless is, well, lossless (see explanation below). It produces somewhat smaller files than FLAC, but uses a lot more CPU power on playback.

FLAC Encoder (Flake SVN r117)

FLAC uses lossless compression, the downside is that the resulting files are on average more than twice as big as the biggest mp3s, the advantage over mp3 & co is that you don't lose any information, it can be decoded to a .wav that's bit-for-bit identical to the original.
Compared to uncompressed wav you save (on average) over 40% space and gain the option to store additional information in tags.

This encoder has no complicated options, just one slider. Higher settings mean encoding will be slower (whether this affects the overall ripping speed depends on your drive and CPU) but resulting files will in most cases be slightly smaller.

Note that Compression Factors 9-12 are untested (0-8 are standard recognized settings, 8 is default).

Ogg Vorbis

The most up-to-date encoder is based on aoTuV 4.51b5 (for reference: the official Vorbis 1.1 is based on aoTuVb2) and is available externally via the Winamp 5.33 Essentials Pack.

Recommended settings: VBR Quality 0.5 (~160kbps) is transparent (=indistinguishable from the original) for most people, though extra-critical listeners prefer Quality 0.6. Higher settings generally aren't worth the additional bitrate.
For not-so-critical listening even 0.4 or 0.3 are fine, and if space is an issue you can go all the way to 0 (~64kbps).
Below that aacPlus is definitely better (at 64-80 it's probably about equal).
The additionally available abr and cbr modes are extremely slow and most likely produce lower quality at the same size, use only if you must.


Ripping speed: Depends on your drive and the state of your CDs. Start with the highest possible setting (Unlimited for pro, 8x for free), if you get ripping errors (clicks or jumps) try reducing it and/or disabling the Sonic engine (see below).
(and if that doesn't help use EAC)

Read audio data from CD using bundled Sonic extraction engine:
Try what works better for you.
(For me unchecking it and using Nero's wnaspi32 instead leads to higher ripping speeds but your mileage may vary).

Output File Settings:

Browse to your root music folder eg. your 'My Music' folder (the one in your documents, probably not C:\My Music).

Naming convention:
Absolutely has to include at least the <Title> or # (=tracknumber) field, otherwise all tracks will get the same name and overwrite each other and you'll end up with just the last one.

If you want your files to be put into automatically created subfolders use / or \ to separate the folder name(s) from the file name.

<Artist>\<Album>\## - <Title>
Will create a subfolder named after the artist (if it doesn't already exist), in this it'll create another one named after the album and in this it will put the ripped tracks, named 01 - NameOfTrack1, 02 - NameOfTrack2 etc.

Tagging Settings:
If you do lots of test encodes you may delete later or plan to move your files elsewhere uncheck Automatically add ripped files to media library database, otherwise keep it checked.
Automatically add tags with metadata to ripped files should only be unchecked if you have some kind of pathological hatred for tags.
Automatically calculate replay gain: yes! (replaygain settings can be found under General Preferences > Playback, existing files can be scanned using right-click > Send To > Calculate Replay Gain)

Playlist Generation:

Create the following playlists:
Media library playlist - will show up in the Library's left pane under Playlists
M3u/pls - will create a playlist file according to the naming convention specified below
What's better, m3u or pls? ugh

Naming Convention:
You can either put the playlist in the same folder as the files by using the same path eg. according to the example above
<Artist>\<Album>\<Artist> - <Album>
or into a separate folder by specifying another name, or put it directly into the root folder so if you want to listen to an album you don't have to go through the subdirectories.

DJ Egg, Benski, Hydrogenaudio Forums and Knowledgebase

Lots of changes, I hope I didn't miss anything.
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