Making mp3's from CD's

Can I take an audio track from my CD and turn it into an MP3 file? What is the right software to do this? Thanks.

Ignoring the legalities, you can find the software (I think they call them “rippers”) all over the Internet. You can probably download something at or at

“What we have here is failure to communicate.” – Strother Martin, anticipating the Internet.

A good program is MusicMatch

You need to pay to get full functionality, I think it only does 96kpbs MP3s until you get a registration key.

There is a freeware encoder called Bladeenc that runs on almost everything (Solaris, Linux, Win95/98, NT, MacOS, HPUX, BeOS, NetBSD, and more). You can find it here:

I have used it with good results, but you probably want to increase the bitrate over the default. I use 192 Kbits/sec - the default is lower and incurs some quite audible loss.

Hope this helps. And just a tip to other folks who might ask about software: tell us what OS and CPU you use! Without that info, it’s often hard to provide useful info unless there is one package like the above that has been compiled on everything under the sun.

peas on earth

Keeping legalities in mind, everything I’ve read seems to indicate that as long as you OWN the CD that you’re recording from (thus having paid the band) and are only recording a compilation CD for your own use, that it’s within the boundaries of Fair Use.

There are quite a few MP3 download sites that have a disclaimer stating that the files are illegal to own unless you own the CD they came from. Of course, by making them available for download and thus no longer for private use, they sort of defeat that.

If anyone actually finds any legal notes on this, we could probably all use a look at them. Almost all new computers come with CD writers now (my new one did), and I’m a big fan of compilation tapes. Just think, your very own movie soundtrack! Be nice to know if it really was okay so that I could use the toy.

I just haven’t been the same since that house fell on my sister.

As far as I know, there has been no legal decision about recording CDs. You can record video off the air legally as long as you don’t sell it, but music licensing is separate from other copyright concerns.

Technically, you are breaking licensing laws by making any recording of music (unless you’re a library, the only organization that does have the right to archive). However, it’s unlikely anyone will take you to court for recording music for you own use – too difficult and expensive. And any court might likely rule on the basis of the restrictions on videotape.

“What we have here is failure to communicate.” – Strother Martin, anticipating the Internet.

Give Realjukebox a try. It rips CDs to MP3, Real or WAV format. The free version is limited to 96kbps which makes a pretty mediocre MP3 but sounds quite good in Real format. The $30 retail version goes to 320kbs for full CD quality.

You shouldn’t have to pay for this software at all. Try CDEX if you have a Win9x/NT machine. It’s the best I’ve seen.

I second CDEX. I tried out quite a few programs and settled on it.

All right, here’s the Straight Dope (catchy title there) from the RIAA Website at http://www.soundbyting com.

  1. It’s not fair use (which doesn’t apply here. Fair use is the ability to quote an excerpt as part of a review or research paper. It doesn’t apply to music, and if it did, you could only play a short excerpt of the song to claim that).

  2. Copying for personal use is still a copyright violation. If you use a cassette or other qualifying medium, you can’t be sued. However, a blank CD is not currently qualifying (that will eventually change – to qualify the manufacturer has to agree to pay a royalty on each blank tape/CD sold), and your computer hard drive is not, either.

  3. The disclaimer that you need to own the CD isn’t worth the phosphors it’s written on.

“What we have here is failure to communicate.” – Strother Martin, anticipating the Internet.

-To get the CD track off the CD and on your computer in .WAV format (.CDA->.WAV), you need a ripper.

-To convert the .WAV to .MP3, you need an encoder.

For the ripper, I use Audiograbber. It works well and quickly. However, you can only rip limited tracks with the demo version of it.
For the encoder, I use BladeEnc. It works well, is free, but to encode at a high bitrate expect it to take a while. I’m doing this on a P200 with Win98se2.

RealityChuck, I don’t agree with your assertion that “Copying for personal use is still a copyright violation.” From what I saw, if you make a digital copy using a non-AHRA compliant device (i.e. computer)it said that you are not immune from lawsuit, not that you are in violation of the copyright. The RIAA does not try to make that distinction clear.

Most of the AHRA can be found here:

The lawsuit you are immune from is a copyright infringement case. You think it makes you immune from, say, libel? :slight_smile:

Note that they say manufacturers of an AHRA-device must register with the copyright office. Though the site doesn’t say it specifically, they are talking about copyright matters.

“What we have here is failure to communicate.” – Strother Martin, anticipating the Internet.

Regarding the copyright status of recordings for personal use:

Although I don’t have much experience reading legalese, it appears that you most definitely owe royalties if you manufacture and distribute copies of a protected work. I didn’t see anything in the AHRA that addressed manufacturing a recording without distributing it.

He’s the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armor, shouting ‘All Gods are Bastards!’