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Discussion Starter #1
My Element is due to be built this week with delivery next week. I want to be ready with an MP-3. I know nothing about them.

I have a PC and I have about a hundred CDs that I would like to put on the MP-3 to carry with me in the E. Can someone point me to a place on the Web where I can get educated on what to buy and how to convert the CDs to the MP-3? Also, if someone would like to write a short tutorial, I'm guessing that others might be very interested.

HELP !!!!!
 

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[quote:45502dd176="HEMan"]My Element is due to be built this week with delivery next week. I want to be ready with an MP-3. I know nothing about them.

I have a PC and I have about a hundred CDs that I would like to put on the MP-3 to carry with me in the E. Can someone point me to a place on the Web where I can get educated on what to buy and how to convert the CDs to the MP-3? Also, if someone would like to write a short tutorial, I'm guessing that others might be very interested.

HELP !!!!![/quote:45502dd176]

OK - here's the materials list...

Hardware:

A computer with a fast, clean CDROM drive
A healthy amount of RAM (at least 128 MB)
A hard drive with pleanty of drive space available to store your MP3's

Software:

You'll need a good ripping tool to pull the tracks off your CD's and convert them into MP3 format. I recommend buying Poikosoft's Easy CD-DA Extractor http://www.poikosoft.com if you're a serious ripping fiend or CDex http://www.cdex.n3.net if you will only do an occasional amount of ripping and you want something that's free.

You'll also need a tool for organizing and playing your MP3 collection. I personally use Windows Media Player 9 because it has very flexible and granular organization controls but MusicMatch Jukebox is also a great tool.

Some people say to go for a software package that rips, burns, plays, and organizes but I've found that products like these tend not to be excellent at everything. MusicMatch is an example of a product like this but I find that the ripping is not very reliable or controllable.

Once you've assembled and installed all of your tools it's time to rip!

Grab your first CD and drop it in the tray and fire up your ripping software. You need to decide on a few things...

1. Where on your drive you will store your MP3's - I have an MP3 directory with two main subdirectories - "ripped" and "internet". I point all my MP3 download software at the internet folder and my ripping software at the ripped folder. I point my organization software at the top level MP3 folder.
2. What naming convention you'll use (hint: be consistent and dont use any funky characters) - I use the following convention:

/artist_name
/album_name/
/track_number-track_name

3. What bitrate you'll use. There are constand bitrates and variable bit rates - choose constant bitrates. 128 seems to be the MP3 standard and very close to CD quality. I overkill a bit and use 192 because the quality is definately as good as CD. You won't have any player compatibility issues with 192 either.

Once you've decided on these things - click the burn button and the ripper does the rest. When it's done, use the organizer software to test the tracks and edit any of the track tags. Most good organizers these days including Windows Media Player and MusicMatch can automatically go out to music databases and fetch track info, lyrics, album art, and all kinds of other great stuff for you.

If you want to burn and distribute extremely high quality MP3's read the tutorial here: http://rex-guide.de.vu/.

Have fun!
 

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eMass: Thanks for the tutorial. It is great, I actually understood it, I think. You have given me a start and I think I can take it from here. Hope you don't mind a question here and there.
 

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Good stuff Emass... but for someone just starting out I think MusicMatch Plus is all you need. It's a lot better than the free version as it has more features - faster ripping, burning, Super Tagging, volume leveling...

I'm sort of an audio nut myself, but MM+ 7 is just so easy and does a fine job with my mp3's. Tagging and cataloging couldn't be easier and the player is not bad. Of course, it came with my IPod but I couldn't be happier with it.

Oh, and definately encode at 192kbs if you can afford the space on your player/hard disk. In critical listening, I can hear the downsample of 128kbs with certain types of music. Encoding at 192kbs fools my ears most of the time.
 
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