Become a Master at Ripping CDs and DVDs

 

Updated 5/18/2011 by SuperMediaStore Staff

While its name might be amusing, ripping CDs and DVDs simply means reading the CD or DVD content and converting to a digital file on your computer. These digital files can then be copied to other CDs or downloaded to an audio or video player like an iPod. Programs capable of ripping audio CDs are common, but make sure your application is video capable before trying to rip DVDs.


There is freeware available for ripping CDs and DVDs that may work great for most people. If you want better performance, you may have to buy an off-the-shelf ripping program. Shop around for the best deals. Ripping commercially produced DVDs (like movies) may not be difficult if the disc is unprotected, however, there are programs available to successfully rip protected discs as well. While we encourage everyone to respect copyright laws, generally copying what you have purchased for your own personal use falls well within the Fair Use clause.


One important element to understand is that ripping a CD or DVD to a digital file almost always involves some audio or video compression. There is plenty of room on a CD, for example, for large audio files containing the music. Copying these full size audio and video files, though, would fill even a large hard drive fast – reducing performance along the way. So compression is used to conserve space. Not all compression techniques are created equal, however. Know which compression options and file formats are available with your ripping application and which ones work best for your purposes.


The ripping speed references how fast a CD is ripped in relation to playing time. For example, a 4x ripper will typically rip a 4 minute song in 1 minute. This varies depending on if the song is on the outside edge or the inside part of the disc.


Another factor in rip speed is how occupied the processor, memory, and hard drive are with other tasks. The fewer things going on with the computer (applications running and windows open) the faster and more reliable the ripping process will be. So close any program you are not using or don't need.


Ripping audio typically results in a WAV file, which many people claim to be the most reliable way to rip. These can easily be edited (like to eliminate dead space, etc.) and verified. If you need an MP3 format, most applications can covert the WAV file, plus there are plenty of free online tools to do the conversion.


And that is all there is to it. Now you are on your way to be a master CD and DVD ripper.