Best Free CD Ripper

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Introduction

There are lots of rippers available. All media players including Windows Media Player can rip. There are also some great freebies plus a host of commercial rippers. Most will rip to WAV, MP3 and usually several other formats.

If your CDs are like mine then some are scratched or have lots of finger-marks. These can cause pops and crackles in the ripped file. Rippers vary greatly in their ability to handle these problems. Some will simply get stuck while others will skip forward over the problem or even create a silent gap. The best programs will try repeatedly to fix the problem with no audible effects.

After a lot of experimentation, I ended up with a few free CD rippers that were impressive with their features.

 

Rated Products

FairStars CD Ripper  

An excellent utility to rip audio from a music CD in a variety of formats


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free
Lightweight; friendly interface; ID3 tags in options; query for info; good extracted music quality; auto-rename files; no crashes or freezes.
No auto-run option; doesn't allow to tweak settings for an output format.
Read full review...

fre:ac  

Allows a lot of tweaking for each encoder


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Open source)
Support for nearly 38 languages; advanced jitter correction; files searchable by patterns.
User interface is a but too plain; no wizard mode.
Read full review...

Exact Audio Copy  

It is outstanding in handling CD imperfections


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Handles CD imperfections and scratches with ease.
Requieres LAME Encoder to encode MP3's.
Read full review...

FreeRIP MP3 Converter Basic  

A really cool CD ripper, plus a converter and a tagger


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
A ripper plus a converter and a tagger; vocals sound natural.
A bit difficult to locate encoding options.
Read full review...

CDex  

An outstanding product works with most CD hardware


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Capable of transcoding one file format to another.
Requires LAME Encoder to encode MP3's.
Read full review...

Audiograbber  

A nifty good CD ripper with line-in sampling


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free
Clean interface; easy to use and portable; feature rich; line-in sampling.
Installs a third party search tool and alters browser settings.
Read full review...

Related Products and Links

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Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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Comments

Just tried Fairstars CD Ripper and it is the best. I'm a Newbie to ripping and this program is dead simple and easy to follow. All the basic options, easy to insert and Rename songs.

I just clicked the 'down' arrow to take me to EAC's website: ,http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/en/index.php/resources/download/, but once there, nothing on the site would let me download the EAC program. There were two "Download!" buttons in the center of the screen, but they were advertisers downloading other products, not the EAC program. Among all the stuff on the left-hand side of the screen that appeared to be EAC, nothing acted like it was clickable, except a "Donate" button. Ok, I thought this was supposed to be a "free" download, but EAC guilt-trips you into paying something thru a 'donation'? So I used my Paypal account to make a donation, thinking THEN the word "DOWNLOAD" on EAC's page linked from this site would become clickable... but NO... Now I've made a 'donation' to EAC (who, at the bottom of the EAC-linked screen appears to be some dude in Germany...), but STILL nothing on the EAC webpage linked from this site lets me download the frippin' EAC program. If anyone follows this site's link to EAC, and nothing 'EAC' seems to be clickable except the "Donate" button...Do Not Donate! Don't get ripped off like I just did!

First of all, why aren't you using an ad-blocker? If you use an ad-blocker, you won't be seeing any of those confusing advertising download buttons.

Secondly, there are links for download on the same page. There are two links, one in German and one in English, saying "Download from download-partner Netzwelt" with US-British flag icon besides it. That will lead you to a site for EAC download. But yes, it's bit consfusing downloading from there.

Below those links, is another link saying "If you encounter any problems on downloading, please click here." Clicking that link will take you to a page where you can download EAC from its own server. So, maybe you should try this one, since it's pretty straightforward, unlike the other link.

Also, you could have downloaded EAC from any of the good download sites like Softpedia.

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Audio/Audio-CD-Rippers-Encoders/...

http://www.snapfiles.com/get/exactaudio.html

CDex is at version 1.77 now. Also, perhaps there was no portable version at the time of writing but there is one now. See http://cdex.mu/?q=download

Actually, the latest version is 1.78, released many days ago. Have been waiting for the portable version of this latest version, but none has been uploaded at their site.

With that version, impossible to have cd-text containing accents to display properly. Tried with unicode and multibye version. (version 1.51 is working fine). I'm under windows 8.1 french.

Thank you. The product details have now been updated. MC - Site Manager.

Apparently, Fairstars CD Ripper is now available in a portable version too.
So, time to adapt the description above.

[Edit 1]
Mmmm. I downloaded the portable version and when starting up it tells me: "CD/DVD Device not found. You may install ASPI drivers to try to correct this problem". Which I did. No success.
Then I installed Fairstars CD Ripper by using the exe downloaded from the site.
At start up time: the same message.
So, I'm unable to run it on my computer running Windows 8.1
Big bummer!

[Edit 2]
I e-mailed to Fairstars concerning my problem. Half an hour later I got this response:
"Please try to change "Use Native NT SCSI Libray" setting in CD-Drive page of Option dialog, and then restart FairStars CD Ripper. (fairstars dot com/faq/FAQ_FairStars_CD_Ripper.html)"

This indeed turned out to be the solution for my problem.
Great support of Fairstars!
(However, in the meantime I was already busy ripping some CD's using EAC)

PS. Exact-Audio-Copy was recently updated to version 1.0 Beta 4

Audiograbber used to be my favourite, in particular the audio input (vinyl) facility. However it is now HIGHLY INFECTIOUS - in spite of me 'declining' several offers to include various junk it managed to dump SearchProtect, Trovi and ClientConnect. (Malawarebytes got rid of them, I hope).

I just downloaded and tried EAC
I never found the way to rip a CD in flac format, only wav seems to be available, and the tags were not filled.
I am disapointed and will try an other one.

EAC offers codec for FLAC format during installation. Did you see that screen, and made sure that the checkbox for it was checked? Although primarily, EAC will rip to WAV, but look for compression options in the EAC menu. There, under "External Compression", you can point to several external encoders, if you have them on system, and the ripped WAV file can be converted to desired format, like mp3, AAC, etc. Yes, you will have to install an external encoder for that. So, yes, that's a minus. But, EAC is a respected tool, specially for its ability to be able to rip from scratched media, which is its main strength. If you want convenience to rip to other formats, then yes, do use other software.

Thanks for your feedback Anupam.

Yes FLAC check box was ticked during installation.

I did have a look into "External Compression" but didn't find anything about FLAC there, or anywhere else in the UI.

I didn't say EAC wasn't respected nor that it wasn't good, I just find it's not easy to understand and to set up for someone like me who doesn't know much about music encoding. I did try it because it was rated so well here.

I just want to save my CDs in a high quality lossless format, and I heard FLAC was good at that, this is why I'd like to use this format.

Yes, true, it's not easy to use, atleast not for us general users. You should use fre:ac then. I found it good with good options in terms of customizing the conversion and all. Earlier, I used to use FairStars CD Ripper, which is really simple to use. However, I found that in terms of ripping to MP3, it lacked proper options, which advanced users would look for. I read up on MP3 conversion, and found certain options to get a high quality file, and that was missing in FairStars. I found those in fre:ac. I don't know much about music encoding too. I guess you learn along the way, or as and when you read more. You can try fre:ac or FairStars CD Ripper.. both support FLAC conversion according to their sites. CDEx has been updated recently too. But, I haven't used it. There is also TAudioConverter, which you can try. It's not covered in the article, but it looks good. http://taudioconverter.sourceforge.net/ Again, I haven't tried it, but it's being updated regularly.

Thanks again Anupam, I'll try fre:ac
I'll let you know!

You could try cueripper (as I have previously posted - see post further down this page) as it has all the power of EAC when used as a ripper while being much easier to use. The FLAC encoder will not be a problem as Cueripper has it own Flac codec(s) as well as a number of other codecs (lossy as well as lossless) build in.

The UI is essentially one window with an additional options window.
Most of the setup is automatic

No installation required - just unpack the Cuetools archive and click on the Cueripper executable.

To find out more use your favourite search engine and navigate to the Cuetools Wiki.

Bob

Bob

My pleasure :). Will be waiting to hear from you.

Hi Anupam
I followed your advice and downloaded and installed fre:ac and I am quite happy with it: I can rip in flac and high quality mp3 without too much searching in the menus and settings.
thanks!

to Bob, I didn't have much time so I didn't try cueripper yet, thanks for the advice anyway

That's great! I am glad the software worked for you. Thanks for replying back :).

I would recommend CueRipper. It is an open source alternate to EAC. For most people it will do everything that EAC does but with a much simpler interface. It supports MusicBrainz and freeDB metadata databases, AccurateRip and CTDB.

For those who do not know, AccurateRip and CTDB are online databases that check the integrity of the rips against rips performed by other users. As well, CTDB keeps a recovery record for many ripped disks, this provides a further level of error correction (Reed-Solomon)that allows corrections of small error bursts using a downloaded recovery record - you must use Cuetools to fix the rip - prerequisites apply.

CueRipper is included in the Cuetools download. Cuetools is a powerful little toolbox with IMO a rather confused UI. I used cuetools to convert my 1Tb collection of Apes to Flac while verifying the rips (and correcting some), tagging, integrating Cuesheets, integrating logs, etc - all unattended (okay, I did have to write a batch file to do some work >>;->> ).

Regards,
Bob

Have just been using CUERipper after I discovered my $90 LG micro hi-fi system was scratching my CD's. Luckily I detected the problem after only two CD's were damaged.

CUERipper appears to be salvaging the tracks. No failure errors so far after one CD has been ripped.

I find CUERipper has an intuitive interface with enough easy to select option to suit me.

I had the same issue with the Hi-Fi previously. LG fixed it then but that was a few years ago and now it's well past the warranty expiry date. In any case I can't trust that it wouldn't malfunction again.

Sounds like I'll be putting a new Hi-Fi on my Christmas wish list, even if I do have to pay for it myself.

Thank you for the suggestion robbo1802.:) This review category is currently without an editor. Maybe you fancy taking it over? If so, please contact me by clicking my username. MC - Site Manager.

I tried Fairstars once. It ignored lots of tags. Never again.

Fairstars CD Ripper is the only ripper I have tried which totally fails to read the contents of the CD.

Bit of a waste of time really.....