Best Free CD Ripper



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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 five free CD rippers that were impressive with their features.



Fairstars CD Ripper is the best ripper on our list. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Fairstars CD Ripper is an excellent utility to rip audio from a music CD in a variety of formats including WMA, MP3, FLAC, OGG, APE, WAV and the not so common VQF.

In contrast iTunes wouldn't allow support for open source codecs such as OGG.

What pleasantly surprised me was that Fairstars CD Ripper doesn't feature an autorun option. This means that you can pop in an audio CD and expect to rip without launching the program directly. Although this can be a short toe, it wouldn't really bother the average user who would have a handy desktop shortcut.

The program doesn't allow a user to tweak the settings for an output format on the same pane; you have to click on options and then browse down to the required format in the tree and adjust settings there.

It allows you to query for info. The button is nicely placed. This can be a life saver! It also allows you to enable ID3 tags in options.

Let me now go into the details of my extraction. I have a Realtek HD sound card... not very high end and ripped at 320kbps in MP3 format, Constant Bit Rate, 44khz sampling rate. Again the extract button is nicely placed and follows up in a nice order to the buttons from the left.

There's an 'output file name preview' if you're interested.

My desktop has a Core i7 processor and I was done with ripping in around 3 minutes, which is a good speed. I used the encode with high speed option under options. Turned out to be pretty nippy. Thank you!

Another very amusing fact is that it chose to rip into a separate 'My Music' folder in my 'Local' drive rather than the regular 'My Music' folder in 'My Documents'. This can be a good thing. I can always check on the quality of the ripped music before I finally move everything into my 'My Music' folder to sync with my iPod. Most CD rippers do this anyway.

The quality of the extracted music is very good and up to what is expected. The music sounds natural; there are no alterations. The volume level can be adjusted again in options, although I didn't find it necessary for the CD I was ripping.

If you're unhappy with the the extraction you could always do this again and if the files exist it will automatically rename the files.

I reran the program. It is very light and doesn't crash or freeze... far from it.


Exact Audio CopyThough the other products reviewed here were capable, Exact Audio Copy (EAC) was outstanding in its ability to handle CD imperfections.

If you head over to any audio forum one of the most common tools discussed among experts would be EAC. There are so many options for editing from the command line, the list is virtually endless. If you are an audiophile, this is the ripper for you. At the same time, beginners would want to stick with some of the other rippers mentioned in this list which includes our top pick, Fairstars CD Ripper.

I recently started the long task of ripping my 1200 CDs to my hard disk. I'm now two thirds of the way through my ripping exercise. Of the 800 or so CDs ripped I've only had 7 tracks that EAC couldn't rip perfectly. Given the condition of some of my CDs, that's a mighty impressive performance.

EAC can rip to WAV, MP3 (using the LAME encoder), OGG, FLAC, APE and more. You could add any custom encoder from the Add encoder dialog in the Compression Options window.

This is one piece of software that may not require as many updates as it encourages the use of third party tools.


The interface for Fre:ac is a bit too plain. You can see it all too clearly in our screenshot. But that said, it allows a lot of tweaking for each encoder. You can also find files matching by patterns. That's why it's up here in our list.

I tried the rip at 320 kbps and much to my surprise the output is clear and well rounded.

This is a portable application so you can install to a usb stick and take it with you. Fre:ac comes in 38 languages. Check to see if yours is included.

Comes with support for Lame, OGG Vorbis, FAAC, FLAC, and Bonk Encoders. An encoder for VQF format is available at the Fre:ac website:

Fre:ac can use Winamp 2 input plugins to support more file formats. Copy the in_*.dll files to the Fre:ac directory to enable Fre:ac to read these formats. You can also submit freedb entries that include Unicode characters.

Of course there is jitter correction that can be enabled in the configurations dialog. In addition to which, there is a special paranoia mode. Doesn't have support for APE which is a little sad though Monkeys Audio is a format that has been sadly overlooked.

The same goes for the Fre:ac ripper. This great opensource project has somehow been overlooked.


Free Rip Mp3 is another really cool CD ripper. It extracts audio tracks from CD to MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC and OGG Vorbis.

What's more? If you really need the feature, it can extract more than one track into a single audio file.

I used the same PC I used for Fairstars to perform the extraction again. Before that a quick word about the interface. To start with it is a little difficult to locate the encoding options: not just because of where its positioned but because of the layout. It just seems a bit cramped.

That said the program makes a clear distinction of whether you would like to go with a ripper, a converter or a tagger. Of course I chose the ripper and ended up with this screen.

As always I chose 44khz MP3, encoding at 320kbps. It's all in the same pane, so if you want to opt for OGG or FLAC, you can do it in a jiffy.

This took me a little longer than Fairstars CD Ripper to accomplish the rip. A note on the sound quality: I found it to be a little closed as compared to the earlier rips but the vocals sound even more natural. It is quite as sharp as I would want it to be.

Apart from being a ripper, it is also a converter and a tagger which ought to enhance its usefulness, but haven't we seen all these features already? This still ranks number 4 though.

And no crashes at all in reruns.



CD rippers interact strongly with your CD hardware and so it's possible EAC or the above mentioned others may not work with your particular CD drive. If that's the case, take a look at CDex. While its performance with scratched CDs is not as good as EAC, it's still an outstanding and capable free product.

It can convert to WAV, MP3 (using the LAME Encoder) OGG, APE, and more.

An especially nice feature of CDex is the ability to transcode one compressed file format to another, while EAC does not have this option. It also has the feature of recording straight from analog in. Caution! CDex contains the OpenCandy wrapped installer. See here for more information.


Audiograbber is the last CD Ripper on our list but be sure not to ignore this one bit. It is a nifty good piece of software and the developer has taken it up to put in multi-language help files that are accurate and user friendly. Now how does the ripper itself work? Getting to that in just a bit.

The website says that it can actually read many different cd drives… So I put a  CD ROM drive from way back in 1998 to the test and to my amazement it read it quite well. I wouldn’t comment on the speed of ripping though. Now I did try two other external DVD –RW drives as well (recent ones of course) and it read the CDs quite well. In addition to its other features, it would commonly share with other CD Rippers on our list. It has Line-in sampling as well. This is a wonderful little CD Ripper delightfully made by its creator that offers up almost any option you could ask for.

Why is it here on our list then, well shouldn’t it be higher up? It should be and it would have been right there at the top had it not been for the Funmoods search settings that it installs and a tab to go along with it. I think that changing my search settings can be a real bother and I am sure quite a few of you out there would share the same feeling. So here it is Audiograbber. If you are willing to put up with the fact that it hasn’t been updated in quite a while and the Funmoods tab, then this might be the CD Ripper for you.


Related Products and Links


Quick Selection Guide

Fairstars CD Ripper

Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
ID3 tags in options. It allows you to query for info . The button is nicely placed. The quality of the extracted music is very good and is sharp. if the files exist it will automatically rename the files. lightweaight and no crashes or freezes fastest in our tests.
doesn't feature an auto-run option The program doesn't allow a user to tweak the settings for an output format on the same pane, you've to click on options and then browse down to the required format in the tree and adjust settings there
3.3 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.


Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
support for nearly 38 languages advanced jitter correction files searchable by patterns
user interface is a but too plain. No wizard mode.
7.7 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
This product is portable.


Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Handles CD imperfections and scratches with ease
Requieres LAME Encoder to encode MP3's
V1.0 Beta 3
4.2 MB
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Additional software required: LAME Encoder - available here.
Windows 95/98/ME/XP/Vista


Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
nice clean interface easy to use and portable has just about ever feature you could ask for along with line in sampling
installs a third party search tool and alters browser settings badly in need of an update
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.

Free Rip Mp3

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
The program makes a clear distinction between whether you would like to go with a ripper, a converter or a tagger. vocals sound even more natural though it sounds a bit closed
To start with it is a little difficult to locate the encoding options. This took me a little longer than Fairstars Cd Ripper to accomplish the same rip. Caution! uses a wrapped installer! - see information panel below
3.33 MB
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Uses the Offercast APN Install Manager to install additional software you may not want. Users may wish to consider blocking this program with their firewall as it will attempt to connect to the internet when the installer is first run.


Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Capable of transcoding one file format to another
Requires LAME Encoder to encode MP3's. Contains the OpenCandy wrapped installer.
12.5 MB
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.

Additional software required: LAME Encoder - available here. Non-English languages supported: many available here.

Windows 95/7


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



cd ripper, audio ripper, ripping software, free ripper, free cd ripper

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Average: 3.9 (66 votes)


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: ,, 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.

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

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. 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.



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.

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 >>;->> ).


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.....