RIP to the CD

Written by: Eric Warsinskey

How many of you remember the days of spending hours scouring the CD section at Best Buy, Target or your local music store? Those days are long gone, thanks to the onset of the digital age.

CD players have become electronic endangered species, and MP3 players, iPods, iPhones and satellite radio are at the top of the food chain. Times are changing; out with the old and in with new.

The Beatles said it best: “Now it looks as though they’re here to stay / Oh, I believe in yesterday.”

With the coming of the digital age, some might think that CDs are about as useful as cassettes or eight-tracks. However, with a little bit of resourcefulness, you can breathe life into your music library by converting your CDs into a digital format. You can also bargain-hunt for used CDs that have been discarded as useless by previous owners.

Benefits to converting to digital

There are multiple benefits to transferring your CDs to digital audio files. For starters, if you have an MP3 player, you can have your entire audio library at your fingertips wherever you may be.

Unfortunately, most MP3 files purchased from online sites like iTunes or Amazon are below CD-quality.

“I’ve found that with MP3s purchased on iTunes, the levels are flat,” said Colin Vining, the drummer of the garage band Wendy’s Hair. “It just doesn’t sound right. Whereas with my CDs, I can feel the emotion in the singer’s voice, because the sound quality is that much better.”

However, if you rip the file yourself, you can control the quality of the file.

“If I rip the CD myself, I can tailor the vocal, bass and other various levels to my liking,” Vining said. “And I am able to maintain the sound quality of the CD.”

How do you rip CDs to MP3 files?

The first step is to install iTunes on your computer, if you haven’t already.

The second step is to open iTunes and go to EDIT, and then PREFERENCES. Under this tab, you will see a button that says IMPORT SETTINGS. Click it. You want to import using the AAC ENCODER and ITUNES PLUS. Then click OK.

You are now all set to insert a CD and start ripping it to your iTunes library as MP3s. After you insert the CD into your computer, at the bottom of your iTunes screen you will see a button that says IMPORT CD. Go ahead and click on that to begin the process, which will take anywhere from two to 10 minutes, depending on the length of the CD and the speed of your computer.

Once the process is complete, you will hear a chime, meaning that your CD has been successfully converted into MP3 files.

How much money could this save you?

“I actually have over 1,500 CDs in my collection, and I have ripped every single CD to my iTunes library,” said music enthusiast Brent Krumrei. “I love having the ability to listen to the CD both digitally and in its original format.”

Imagine if Brent were to replace those CDs by purchasing the iTunes albums at an average of $10 a piece. This is a technology that is worth its weight in gold.

Perhaps Kevin Krettler puts it best.

“With a little bit of ingenuity, I can replicate that studio-quality sound of a CD into a digital file that is now compatible with my on-the-go modern technology,” Krettler said. “And to me, that is priceless.”