January 18, 2008
Dear CNET members,
Happy Friday! In this week's topic, submitted by Dan, for ripping a huge collection of music CDs there is no right or wrong answer. There is an overabundance of utilities out in the market that allow you to rip or digitize CDs to the computer. And with so many formats to choose from, it really boils down to personal preference and what quality at which you would like your music to be archived. As many of you know already, the higher quality (or bitrate) you rip the music at, the more storage space you'll need. The good thing is that with storage capacity being fairly inexpensive these days, it's much less of a concern, whereas a few years ago this would've been a headache.
There were many detailed answers submitted by our members; they ranged from personally recommended ripping utilities to techniques members personally use to get their music collections organized. So please check them all out. I didn't pick any specific submission this week for voting, as everyone who contributed did their part to help Dan with his massive and time-consuming project. Some members even recommended that, if your time is money, it might be well worth checking out companies that will rip your CDs for you for a fee--I'm just glad to see that it's an option.
My suggestion for formats is to pick one favorite CD, try one of the recommended ripping utilities by our members, rip it into different formats, then listen closely and pick out the one that sounds best to your ears and roll with that one. However, make sure the format you choose is the one that is most compatible with all of your listening devices, so you're not stuck with another task of converting to yet another format to be compatible with the device. In any case, good luck, Dan, with your huge music project, I hope the recommendations of our members help. I'm eventually going to have to tackle this project myself, but my CD collection is only half the size of yours and I'm dreading it. So I'm going to wait till my son gets a bit older and assign it to him. :)
This topic is open for discussion, folks, so if any of you audiophiles would like to add more to these answers and help Dan and others out, please come on down and join us in this week's discussion. Have a great weekend, and thank you all for your participation.
Oh and by the way, for those of you seeking to convert your vinyl records or tapes to digital, check out this previous newsletter for some recommendations.
Member Question of the Week
I am a longtime subscriber to several CNET newsletters but
this is the first time I've submitted a question. I have a
massive (1,000 plus) CD music collection and I have ripped
many individual tracks from many of these CD's for my MP3
player. I have used Windows Media Player, iTunes, and other
programs to rip the tracks, but I would like to start ripping
ALL the tracks from my ENTIRE music collection. My question
is, before I take on such a time-consuming project like this,
I could use some advice on the BEST free or paid program to
rip the CD's. What is the best format, bit rate, and/or other
settings that will give me the best balance between sound
quality and file size. I want the program to be able to do
file naming, auto tagging, look-up, and download the album
art, and do reports for collection management print outs. I
look forward to reading all your answers and starting this
digital music project. Thanks!
The CNET community
Previous week's Q&AThe votes are in! Below is the answer voted most helpful by our community to last week's question.
I would like to get rid of my Sony Hi-8 camcorder and get
something better. In the stores, I see lots of different
styles including hard-drive, miniDVD, and even memory card
formats. There are even some high-definition camcorders that
I have seen for under $1,000 that record to HDV. What is the
difference here? I know there has to be pros and cons to
each--please let me know what they are. Is it worth my time
to get an HD camcorder, or am I better off waiting another six
to 12 months, or should I just stick with the miniDVD and
forget the HD hype? Thanks!
Russ, one might say that this is the best of times and the worst of times for making a decision regarding a video camera. There are many choices from which to select and making a good long-term selection can be difficult. You have inadvertently made helping you a bit more difficult because you haven't given us any clues as to what your needs and expectations are, other than you want to modernize from the Hi-8 you currently own. However, I'll offer my two-cents worth of information and let you decide what is or isn't important...
CNET member: forkboy
Congratulations to the winner!
Each week we take a look at topics discussed in the forums.
Have fun and enjoy!
More from the forums
Check out next week's question:
My question isn't a technical how-to one, however I hope you do consider presenting it, as it is an important one. I know everyone here is into technology, and I love technology as I'm a gadget freak myself, but my question to you has a bit of a twist in it and it has to do with the environment impact of all these devices as they become more abundant, better, larger, and more powerful. To give a couple of examples: computers and plasma TVs. As you probably already know, plasma TVs suck up a lot of power, probably a lot more than our old tube TVs. And newer computer requires quite a lot more energy to power as people like me require more and larger hard drives, better graphics cards, and all those added on devices to satisfy our computing needs. Now it doesn't seem like much from individual standpoint, but when everyone adapts to these standards, I can only see more energy being consumed globally and that is a concern, especially with all the energy crisis going on, and of course, global warming. So why aren't manufacture coming out with Energy Star complaint consumer electronics as they do for home appliances like refrigerators or washers? Shouldn't this be their responsibility? Or is it our responsibility to raise awareness to these manufactures to be more environmentally conscience of the product they manufacture to be more energy efficient?
I often do not turn off my computer for work purposes, but I feel so guilty for leaving it on. Which leads me to my second question. Where does our individual responsibility lie? Do you make a conscience effort when buying electronics to see if it is going to use unnecessary energy? What are some of the things you do to do around your home (electronically speaking) to ensure your part in conserving energy? I know this isn't a typical submission, but I really want to hear what people have to say in regards to this growing concern of mine. Maybe people just don't care at the consumer electronic level, which I hope isn't the case. Thank you all in advance for your input and thoughts. Looking forward to reading them.
We feature a new question every Friday, and if you have the answer for our member, you can submit it above. If your submission is picked by our members as the most helpful answer, you'll receive some cool CNET branded gear.
Have a question?
Home Audio & Video
Simple question, simple answer
Help your fellow members
Every Thursday at 1 p.m. PDT (4 p.m. EDT),
CNET tech gurus, Brian Cooley and Tom Merritt
answer your calls and e-mails, offer their advice
and opinions, and provide tips on new gadgets
and gear. Tune in live on CNET TV and give us
a call at 1-888-900-CNET during our show. See previous episodes of CNET Live below.