"Ripping" is the process of taking a CD and copying tracks from it onto your computer or portable music player. CD ripping is sometimes called 'CD extraction'.

CD Ripping Basics

This section provides a brief overview of how CD ripping works and the various options available to you when ripping your CDs.

How It Works

Music on a CD is stored in an uncompressed format. This means that while the sound quality of a CD is very high, a large amount of storage space is required for only a few tracks. A 700MB CD can store only 80 minutes of uncompressed music, and copying uncompressed music to your computer's hard drive will take up a great deal of storage capacity.

It is possible to compress music so that it takes up much less space, making it more suitable for storing on a computer or portable music player. The method used to compress the music affects the quality and size of the resulting music file on your computer. In general, the smaller you make the file, the poorer quality the music will be.

Lossless compression is a way of reducing the size of a music file without any loss in quality. However, the resultant files still tend to be quite large.

Lossy compression reduces the quality of your music but results in much smaller file sizes. Lossy compression is very commonly used, and by choosing a sufficiently high quality setting, many people are unable to tell the difference between the compressed and uncompressed sound.

A codec (coder/decoder) is a piece of software which converts audio from one format to another. Codecs also allow you to play music of a given format on your computer. Some codecs are freely-available, whereas other are patented/proprietary and so must be bought or licensed. By default, Ubuntu only uses free/open codecs such as Vorbis or FLAC, although you can optionally install non-free codecs. See FreeFormats and RestrictedFormats for more information.

When you rip a CD, each track on the CD is converted to your chosen format and stored as a file on your computer. Because a CD represents a considerable amount of data, all of which must be converted, the ripping process may take a while for your computer to complete. Once a track has been ripped to your computer, you can listen to it using a music player application.

Music File Formats

There are many different file formats available for you to store your music with, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. A small selection of popular formats which can be used with Ubuntu can be found below:

  • Ogg Vorbis - A lossy open audio format with excellent support in Ubuntu. See http://vorbis.com/ for more information.

  • FLAC - A popular lossless open audio format. See http://flac.sourceforge.net/ for more information.

  • MP3 - The most commonly-used music format, which is supported by most portable music players. MP3 is a patented format.

  • AAC - The format used by the popular Apple iPod music players. AAC is a patented format.

See FreeFormats and RestrictedFormats for more information.

The format you choose to use will probably depend on your personal preferences, whether you already have music in a specific format and what formats any music players that you own support.

Song Names and Metadata

When you rip music onto your computer, additional information (termed metadata or track data) can be stored about it. Many compressed audio formats support 'tags', which are simply labels that you can apply to your songs to denote their genre, which artist performed the track and so on. Many CD-ripping applications are able to automatically retrieve information such as track and album names from the Internet and automatically apply these to your songs.

Ubuntu Default CD Ripping Software

To rip a CD, you will require a suitable CD-ripping application. One is installed by default on Ubuntu, and there are others available through Ubuntu's software channels.

Sound Juicer

Sound Juicer is Ubuntu's default CD-ripping application, and also has the ability to play your CDs and download track data from the Internet. In the Ubuntu Software Center, you may find Sound Juicer listed as "Audio CD Extractor."


To rip a CD using Sound Juicer, simply insert an audio CD; Sound Juicer should start automatically. Alternatively, you can select Sound Juicer from Applications --> Sound & Video --> Audio CD Extractor. By default, the CD will be encoded into the OggVorbis format, a Free Format. If you wish to rip a CD to a non-free format such as MP3 or AAC, you will need to install some additional software.

Installing Additional Audio Formats

This section provides instructions on how to enable support for audio formats not installed by default in Ubuntu.

MP3 Encoding

WARNING: the gstreamer LAME plugin, used in the instructions below, is broken and will produce substandard quality MP3s. You can track the bug here. If you want to create MP3s, it is recommended not to use Sound Juicer; use a program that doesn't interface with LAME through gstreamer instead. Good examples are RubyRipper and ABCDE.


If you live in a country where it is legal to use this format, to encode MP3s, you can use Sound Juicer which uses gstreamer and the LAME mp3 encoder. The following should also work with other programs that use gstreamer:

  1. Enable the universe and multiverse repositories. Then, install the package ubuntu-restricted-extras.

  2. If you now restart Sound Juicer via Applications > Sound & Video > Audio CD Extractor you will find the new audio formats available under Edit > Preferences.

AAC Encoding

If you live in a country where it is legal to use this format, to encode AAC files, you can use Sound Juicer which uses gstreamer and the FAAC encoder. The following should also work with other programs that use gstreamer:

  1. Enable the universe and multiverse repositories. Then, install the gstreamer0.8-faac and gstreamer0.8-ffmpeg packages to encode AAC files, and the gstreamer0.8-mad package to play them back.

  2. Open Sound Juicer, click "Preferences" from the "Edit Menu", click "Edit Profiles" and choose "New". Call your new profile "AAC Encoding", or whatever else you feel like. [Note: As of 2012, it appears that Sound Juicer no longer has "Edit Profiles" functionality.]

  3. Edit this profile and set Gstreamerpipeline to audio/x-raw-int,rate=44100,channels=2 ! faac ! ffmux_mp4.

  4. Finally, set File Extension to m4a, click the Active checkbox and then OK.
  5. Restart Sound Juicer for the changes to take effect.

For a full explanation of all of the options that faac takes, run gst-inspect faac|less in the Terminal and look at the end under "Element Properties".

E.g. to create a low complexity AAC use audio/x-raw-int,rate=44100,channels=2 ! faac profile=2 ! ffmux_mp4 some mobile players better support LC AAC.

Kubuntu Default CD Ripping Software

There are two methods of ripping an Audio CD in a default installation of Kubuntu. One is using Konqueror's audiocd:/ KIO-slave and the other is KaudioCreator (KMenu->Multimedia->KaudioCreator). On inserting the Audio CD, you should be presented with the KDE Audio CD Daemon asking you what you wish to do. To use the KIO-slave method (which is relatively easier), select the 'Open in a new Window' option. Or, if you prefer using KAudioCreator, select the Extract and Encode Audio tracks option.

Using audiocd:/ to rip a CD

In Konqueror's location bar, type audiocd:/ and press enter. You should now see the tracks in the CD along with folders named Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, MP3 etc. Click on the folder which corresponds to the format in which you wish to encode, eg. Ogg Vorbis.


Now, copy the tracks that you need from that folder and paste it in the desired location (/home/kubuntu in the example). The tracks are automagically ripped, encoded and copied to the location you specified!


Note: Copying speeds might not be as fast as those achieved when copying a file directly from the CD as the files are also being ripped and encoded. If you wish to modify some of the settings (like editing the tagging sytax or modifying the encoding settings), you can access it either through System Settings (KMenu->System Settings->Sound and Multimedia->Audio CD) or through KDE Control Center (kcontrol).


Using KAudioCreator

Launch KaudioCreator (Kmenu->Multimedia->KaudioCreator). It should automatically display the tracks in the disc. You can modify the settings to suit your needs (Settings->Configure KaudioCreator), and also choose an encoder. Click on the Rip Selection icon to start the Ripping and encoding process.

Using K3b

K3b can also rip and encode audio CDs into various formats. Launch K3b (Kmenu->Multimedia->K3b). Select the audio CD in the left hand pane and you will then be given an option to 'Start Ripping'.

Installing Additional Audio Formats

MP3 Encoding

MP3 support is not included in Kubuntu by default (see RestrictedFormats for more information). However, if you wish to encode tracks in this format, you will need to install the lame package which can be found in the multiverse repository (see Adding/Enabling Repositories for more information).

Other CD Ripping Software

In alphabetical order.


Those who want a no-nosense, fast, customizable ripping solution should try ABCDE.

And example conversion from CD to AAC/MP4:

abcde -a cddb,read,encode,tag,move,playlist,clean -d /dev/cdrom -o m4a -V -x


Asunder is an easy-to-use, plain CD ripper that converts into MP3, OGG, FLAC, WAV, and the new open codec WavPack. Asunder is in the Ubuntu repository and can be installed with Synaptic or Software Center.


I have been using Grip until Edgy. It's very easy to use but still very configurable.

Note: Grip is no longer supported by its developers, or by Debian or Ubuntu. It has been removed from the repositories in Ubuntu 9.10.


The terminal command below (Q)ueries the FreeDB database and (R)enames the extracted .ogg-files, after the complete CD has been ripped .

jack -Q -R

Ripper X

To install:

sudo apt-get install ripperx


RubyRipper has been recommended in many forum threads and seems to be one of Linux's best ripping solutions. Also, many feel the closest to EAC in quality of rips.

RubyRipper is not included in the default Ubuntu install and is not included in any of the repositories. Fortunately there is a DEB package available.

To install:

  1. Install dependencies by typing in the terminal:

    sudo apt-get install cd-discid cdparanoia flac lame mp3gain normalize-audio ruby-gnome2 ruby vorbisgain
  2. Download the DEB package from here and follow the instructions.

Alternate install:

  1. Open a terminal window and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:aheck/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install rubyripper

sudo apt-get install rubyripper-gtk

Additional Resources

CDRipping (last edited 2016-01-02 04:21:04 by pool-173-73-44-99)