Binary Static

Comfortably ripping CDs in the Linux console

Posted in Linux by Chris on December 2, 2009

Since I’m still converting my CD-Collection to listen to them on my iPod, I spent some time figuring out the easiest way to do this — in the background, with reasonable audio quality, and of course on Linux. My workflow now comes down to this:

  1. using the abcde script to rip the cd, some customizations apply
  2. using MusicBrainz through picard for tuning folder hierarchy and tags
  3. using Amazon’s API to download the cover files

This might be a bit more work than other approaches, but I get kick-ass audio files, clean tags and file names. This is my ~/.abcde.conf:

OUTPUTTYPE=mp3:" -V2 --vbr-new -q0 --lowpass 19.7 -b96"
mungefilename ()
echo "$@" | sed s,:,\ -,g | tr -d \'\"\?\[:cntrl:\]

Your device is probably named differently. The OUTPUTTYPE parameter sets the settings for lame. I chose a variable bitrate and basically cut off everything the ear can’t hear. The OUTPUTFORMAT parameter names and sorts the files into a iTunes-style hierarchy. I tweaked the mungefile() method to get Windows-style filenames, i.e. I want whitespace in my filenames.

I run abcde from a sandbox folder on my hard drive. It’s easy to put it in the background by starting it with screen. Having collected new music, I filter the whole stuff through picard to get top-notch MP3 tags. What picard can’t find I’ll add to the MusicBrainz database myself from the original CD.

As I use boxee to play and display my audio files on my media box, I want neat high-resolution cover images in each folder. I wrote a short python script to retrieve the covers from Amazon via their store API. Currently, I’m trying to add a GUI, which allows to scan whole music collections and provide missing or wrong images in batch mode. Once I’m done, I’m going to roll this into a Ubuntu package and distribute it.

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