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CD Rippers

Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Audio Apps
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Asunder (v.1.9.3)

Asunder provides a simple interface for ripping tracks from audio CDs and converting them into digital audio files. Supported outputs include WAV, MP3, OGG, FLAC, WavPack, Musepack, Monkey's Audio, and ACC. Each output has a slider for quality, bit rate, and/or compression level. Naming formats of the album directory, playlist file, and file name are each customizable with options for artist, album, track number, year, and song title.

Since this is a CD ripper, most users will rip the entire album, so there is also a convenient option to create an M3U playlist file for each CD. Automatic CDDB lookup is optional. Manual entry of artist name and genre per track allows for proper labeling of compilation CDs.

More than adequate features and a clutter-free user interface make Asunder a great option for hassle-free rips.



Audex (v. 0.72 beta1)

Audex is a KDE 4.x CD ripping application. As a KDE 4.x application, the Audex user interface is heavily customizable, with options to remove panes and configure the toolbar with any function contained in the menu bar.

Available outputs include FLAC, MP3, and WAV. Cover art fetching is done automatically, and a reflection effect below the art give Audex a distinctly polished look. Other features include support for multi-CD albums, albums with various artists, additional information, Wikipedia links, M3U playlists, and artist/album directory creation.

The ripping/encoding speed for normal-quality MP3s is not the fastest in our roundup, but the status bars are right on the money. While still labeled as a beta, we had no issues ripping tracks or with any of the other currently-implemented functionality. Audex is one of the best-looking CD ripping applications available today.



SoundJuicer (v. 2.31.6)

Sound Juicer is a lightweight CD ripper and player application.

Extraction outputs include M4A, FLAC, OGG, MP2, MP3, WAV, and SPX. SoundJuicer not only names ripped tracks to a customizable variation of track number, title, and artist, but also creates appropriate folders in your music directory. This feature is really great for those of us who still prefer old school file/folder organization to the newer tag-based method.

This application shows up as Audio CD Extractor in the applications menu, and not as SoundJuicer. Strong points of SoundJuicer are its dual-purpose player/ripper functionality and folder creation.



XCFA (v. 3.7.3)

XCFA stands for X Convert File Audio, and it is a multi-purpose audio manipulation application. XFCA can rip audio tracks from DVD and CD media. XCFA also converts various audio files into different formats including WAV, FLAC, APE, WAVP, OGG, M4A, AAC, MPC, and MP3.

Compression, quality, and bit rate for each format are independently customizable. File name format is also customizable, and there is an option to create single CUE files instead of individual tracks. Album covers and tags may also be added and edited. XCFA doubles as a file splitter, allowing for the cropping or removal of track sections. Even tag editing can be done within this application.

XCFA is certainly a robust piece of audio file manipulation software, handling pretty much everything there is. The only issues we encountered with XCFA were the facts that the Web site and much of the documentation is in French and that the application window has a tendency to resize (or 'jump') for a split-second whenever the mouse is hovered over any input field or button.

The user interface is quite crowded, even with the smart use of tabs. But we're not sure how to get around this, seeing as there are just so many functions contained in XCFA.



RipperX (v. 2.7.2)

RipperX can rip audio CD tracks into WAV, MP3, OGG, or FLAC files. It uses LAME to encode to MP3, so be sure to also install LAME from your package manager in order to create MP3 files with RipperX.

Since ripping and encoding are displayed as two separate processes in this app, you can actually keep the WAV files in the process of creating MP3s. RipperX also allows you to convert directly from a source WAV file to MP3, without a CD at all. Options include bit rate, variable bit rate quality, and encoder priority. ID3 tags, M3U playlists, and album sub-directories can also be created when ripping a CD. File and sub-directory names can be customized to any combination of artist, album, track number, song title, and year.

One nice feature of RipperX is the ability to pause the ripping process. The user interface is unpolished, with massive toolbar icons that appear to have jagged edges where the transparency didn't work out. Unlike some of the other CD rippers, RipperX defaults to manual CDDB lookup, though a check box in the config screen easily changes that to automatic. We did notice that the total remaining time estimate is way off in this application, originally indicating it would take over 450 minutes to rip our CD! In reality it only took about five minutes, despite the accompanying status bar never leaving 0% until it was actually done. But then again, status bars lie. RipperX is an old, but functional CD ripper.



RubyRipper (v. 0.5.7)

RubyRipper is a secure CD ripping application, meaning that multiple rips are created, then scanned for differences in order to create an exact copy. This app can rip CD tracks to MP3, OGG, FLAC, or WAV. There are also options to rip entire albums to a single file, normalize volume, and create M3U playlist files.

Metadata can automatically be fetched via freedb. The UI is pretty simple, though many of the options are in the form of text boxes requiring user input. The secure aspect of RubyRipper makes this new application one to watch.

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  • 0 Hide
    nevertell , February 17, 2011 8:12 AM
    Great stuff, I'll try out some of those.

    Although I had tried Banshee a few years ago, and it just couldn't deal with 30 gb of music.
  • 0 Hide
    machvelocy , February 17, 2011 10:11 AM
    D'oh.... i didn't know before if you can sync ipod in linux (yes i'm a linux n00b).
  • -1 Hide
    pelov , February 17, 2011 10:50 AM
    Linux has always been quite robust in the audio segment, particularly if you consider that the majority of apps are completely free and hog less resources. Move over apple.

    Though some apps are .deb or .rpm, or what have you, depending on the linux distro you can still open/install them just fine.

    Good writeup :) 
  • 0 Hide
    haplo602 , February 17, 2011 11:57 AM
    I miss xmms in the list, just for nostalgia.

    Audacious fits my bill for a music player. Simple yet capable.
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , February 17, 2011 12:37 PM
    does Audacious take winamp 2 skins like xmms does?
  • 0 Hide
    admiral_grinder , February 17, 2011 12:59 PM
    I have tried several of the Winamp clones on my Ubuntu box, but I'm using Audacious to be the better. Out of all the clones I have found the playlist sorting options are a bit weak. While you can sort by Artist or by Title, you can't do both. They do have the important one of sorting by path and filename though so you can que up albums in the right order.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 17, 2011 1:05 PM
    Nice review! I look forward to looking at how gaming works on linux
  • 0 Hide
    castlefox , February 17, 2011 2:39 PM
    Thank you Toms for doing a linux article !!!!!

    I didnt know those ipod syncing programs actually worked. I cant wait to try out Banchee in Ubuntu 11.04

    PS> Type O Negative and all the other metal put a smile on my face :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Crazy Hitchhiker , February 17, 2011 2:59 PM
    Nice to see that you are still doing linux articles! I'm a little curious why several programs were left off, though: VLC, Audacity, and WinFF. Oh well, just keep up the good work!
  • 0 Hide
    castlefox , February 17, 2011 3:10 PM
    Crazy HitchhikerNice to see that you are still doing linux articles! I'm a little curious why several programs were left off, though: VLC, Audacity, and WinFF. Oh well, just keep up the good work!


    VLC is more of a video thing.... it does stand for "video lan client"
  • -1 Hide
    Dave_69 , February 17, 2011 3:38 PM
    So now Tom's has fallen into the trap of confusing an "application" from a "program." Nice...
  • 0 Hide
    gmgj , February 17, 2011 3:51 PM
    Of interest to some of us would be LIRC and other remote control - smart phone capabilites. I am a windows Media Monkey fan. I exercise to music and watch milkdrop visualizations. I installed projectM, a milkdrop replacment last week and it has been working great.
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 17, 2011 4:05 PM
    castlefoxVLC is more of a video thing.... it does stand for "video lan client"
    It's changed over the years so the abbreviation doesn't really fit anymore. It can transcode and serve streams.
  • 0 Hide
    hangfirew8 , February 17, 2011 4:20 PM
    Good timing for this article. I'm tired of my Gentoo/KDE latest-and-greatest Amarok crashing 50% of the time when connecting to Internet Radio. As soon as I'm done transitioning boot to SSD, I'll be checking out Banshee et al.
  • 0 Hide
    Phu5ion , February 17, 2011 4:22 PM
    I've been using Pithos for my Pandora listening pleasure and it works pretty well. The only problem I've had with it is that if you pause and then restart the station you will lose your stream. This probably has more to do with Pithos closing the connection to Pandora's stream than anything else, but it is frustrating when you have to pause a great song.
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , February 17, 2011 8:45 PM
    Really sorry for the late responses everyone, didn't know this published today, doh!
    nukemasterdoes Audacious take winamp 2 skins like xmms does?

    Sure does, version 2.x WinAmp skins supported.
    castlefoxThank you Toms for doing a linux article !!!!!I didnt know those ipod syncing programs actually worked. I cant wait to try out Banchee in Ubuntu 11.04PS> Type O Negative and all the other metal put a smile on my face

    The older and simpler iPods should not give you any issues, can't speak for the iPhone or iPod Touch though. LOL, I tried to break it up a bit with classic rock, but my collection is overwhelmingly metal ;) 
    Crazy HitchhikerNice to see that you are still doing linux articles! I'm a little curious why several programs were left off, though: VLC, Audacity, and WinFF. Oh well, just keep up the good work!

    Audacity is in the next segment: Audio Production. VLC and WinFF are in the one after that: Video Apps ;) 
    Dave_69So now Tom's has fallen into the trap of confusing an "application" from a "program." Nice...

    We used app/application/software/program interchangeably, otherwise we'd have the word 'application' about 3,000 times in this series.
    gmgjOf interest to some of us would be LIRC and other remote control - smart phone capabilites. I am a windows Media Monkey fan. I exercise to music and watch milkdrop visualizations. I installed projectM, a milkdrop replacment last week and it has been working great.

    Smartphones software will not be in the Roundup, maybe sometime down the road. LIRC will not be covered here either, possibly in the final segment of the Roundup, but I can't promise anything because I have not fooled around with that yet (due to Netflix streaming and Blu-Ray, my HTPC is, unfortunately, running Windows). Is projectM really close to MilkDrop now? I tried it about 2 years ago and it didn't compare. God I miss MilkDrop, hell, I miss WinAmp. Nullsoft: MAKE A LinAmp!
    HangFireW8Good timing for this article. I'm tired of my Gentoo/KDE latest-and-greatest Amarok crashing 50% of the time when connecting to Internet Radio. As soon as I'm done transitioning boot to SSD, I'll be checking out Banshee et al.

    Have you given Arch or Chakra a spin yet (I'm pretty heavily in the weeds right now and haven't gotten around to it yet)? Let me know how the SSD works out - another thing I have yet to tinker with :( 
    Phu5ionI've been using Pithos for my Pandora listening pleasure and it works pretty well. The only problem I've had with it is that if you pause and then restart the station you will lose your stream. This probably has more to do with Pithos closing the connection to Pandora's stream than anything else, but it is frustrating when you have to pause a great song.

    Although I missed that app, Pithos does not qualify for the Roundup due to it not being in the default repos, nor offering a DEB/RPM installer.
  • 0 Hide
    mayne92 , February 18, 2011 1:45 AM
    Nice Linux roundup! I love reading your Linux articles Adam.
  • 0 Hide
    bit_user , February 18, 2011 1:46 AM
    Hey, great article! I usually just stick to what I know, so articles like this help expose me to new progs.

    I just wanted to put in a plug for GStreamer. It's kind of like DirectShow in that you construct a processing graph with nodes that are data sources, sinks, and some number of filters. It's pretty technical, but it's by far the most powerful tool out there for converting, decoding, or streaming just about anything. There are some GUI front-ends, or you can just use gst-launch to build graphs from the commandline.
  • 0 Hide
    Dave_69 , February 18, 2011 5:04 AM
    Quote:
    We used app/application/software/program interchangeably, otherwise we'd have the word 'application' about 3,000 times in this series.


    Oh, okay. Well, technically they're programs.
  • 0 Hide
    compton , February 18, 2011 5:34 AM
    One aspect of music playback is supp)ort for ASIO and WASAPI. While I have a couple of options for Windows (Foobar, J.River), I'm not sure what my options are for Linux. Any thoughts?
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