What should I be using to rip my mp3's and at what rate?

What software, and what specs? I’ve used 192 for a long time, but I’m willing to go up to 320 to preserve my favorites. What about VBR - that was all the rage a few years back. Do we still do that?

Windows Media player can handle basic ripping and can certainly rip at 320 kbps. It rips at a constant rate, however, no VBR. I’m sure other Dopers can make recommendations for that.

For various reasons I find Windows Media Player to be evil. Or, at least annoying, bloated, and overly concerned with DRM. :smiley:

I use FreeRIP, a perfect free little utility that rips, names (via the CDDB) and saves mp3s however you want.

I’ve never used VBR, only because I play my stuff on different devices and some don’t support it. I used to use 192, but have found that 160 reveals no artifacts to my ears.

For audiophiles, the best ripping and quality is to use a free program called EAC, in conjunction with LAME encoding. Here is alink to a guide to help you set this up. This is not the easiest to set up, but it will create very nice MP3s for you.

VBR is part of the specification for MP3, but strangely enough there are some players that don’t support this (considered by some to be BAD players). Check your equipment to see if they support VBR, before you convert your library. VBR will save you space because it changes the compression rate depending on what kind of stuff you are listening to, for example spoken word stuff can be compressed more and take up less space while preserving the quality, something with a wide dynamic range will get less compression to preserve the quality.

Hope that helps.