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There are a lot of CD/MP3 rippers available out there: Real Jukebox and Music Match Jukebox are two of the biggest and most well known. The free versions of these rippers only let you rip MP3s at 96k. You can upgrade for a price or you can take a look at one of the coolest free programs out there: CDex.
CDex is very easy to use. It presents a straightforward interface that lets you choose what songs you want to rip or it lets you rip the entire CD. While the interface is very clean and easy to use it’s not as pretty as Music Match or Real Jukebox but substance is better than style. CDex works very well and it works totally digitally. It does not convert the file to analog and then back to digital as some rippers do.
And if you want options CDex has them galore. Its default ripper uses the Lame engine, but if you want to use others you can. It has support for Blade, Yamaha, and many others. It will let you encode from 32 to 320 bits! It will also let you rip CD files directly to WAVs if you want. It has jitter correction and many, many other options available to the user. It also allows you to convert WAVs to MP3s and vise versa. You can even extract just portions of the song if you so desire or want to merge several tracks to one.
It offers support for CDDB with multiple servers unlike Real Jukebox so you can actually have CDDB work J. It’s very simple to use: click on the CDDB tab and then click on Read Remote CDDB and you’re there, provided you are online.
I tested CDex against the free version of Music Match Jukebox using Metallica’s S&M CD to rip the song “Human”. Music Match (which in the free version can only encode at 96) ripped the song in 1:06 with a file size of 3046k. However the song had several skips and pops and was not much fun to listen to. I ripped it with CDex also at 96 and it took 3:23 with a file size of 3045k this recording sounded much better and did not have any of the annoying skips or pops to it. But music doesn’t really sound good at such low sizes so I fired CDex again and ripped “Human” at 160. It took 3:17 to do this and created a file of 5074k. Why the higher ripping went slightly faster is anyone’s guess but the sound quality was outstanding. Our friends at MaximumPC wrote in the February ’00 issue that the bit rate is very important when it comes to the type of music you are ripping. They recommended rock and alternative at 160 and jazz and classical at 192. CDex allows you to do this easily with no fuss, no muss.
This is one of the best programs of its kind out there and it’s hard to imagine that it is totally free but it is. CDex was written by Albert Faber and is released through the GNU license, which means you can modify the software if you see fit as well as give it to all your friends. CDex is available at http://cdex.n3.net/ and you definitely need to head over there and give this program a spin. There is also a manual available on the site for downloading in Word format. It is well written and can answer almost any questions you have about CDex. There is also a link on the site to the source code if it interests you.
I cannot recommend this program highly enough. Now I only need to get another hard disk to store all my MP3s.
Submitted by: Zenwolf