MP3 – Part 2 – Ripping a CD!

A few days ago we looked at what an MP3 was and talked about how they were first created. With that bit of history aside, now to the important stuff! How can we create our own MP3s? That’s what I will be showing you here today.

Ripping – The process of digitally extracting audio from CDs to your hard drive in WAV or MP3 format.

We will be ripping MP3s from any Compact Disk that you own. I will be using Windows Media Player (WMP) version 10. This is the free media player that comes with Windows. You can find out what version of WMP you have by opening up the program and then clicking “Help” then “About Windows Media Player”. If you are running an older version of WMP you can select “Help” and “Check for player updates” to update to the newer version.

1. Find a CD. It can be any CD that you would like to copy to your computer.

2. Put the CD in the disk drive.

3. Depending on how you have your preferences set up, there are a few ways to open the CD using WMP.

3a. A window will pop open when you insert the CD. The first time we will want to select “Play audio CD”.

3b. If you selected “take no action” or there was not a pop up window for you, don’t worry.

Click on your “My Computer” icon on your desktop.

Or go to the “Start” menu button and then click on “My Computer”.

Once you are there you will want to double click the audio CD.

I put the CD in my “E: Drive” but this will vary from computer to computer.

3c. Open WMP directly by using a desktop shortcut or through the “Start” menu and “Program Files”

4. You can hit the stop button if your CD is playing.

5. Go to “Tools” then “Options”

6. First make sure you click the “Rip Music” tab.

The default folder the MP3s will be saved to is your “My Music” folder within “My Documents”.

If you click on “File Name” you will see a few options on how the MP3s will be named. Track number, Song name, Artist, Genre, etc. You can check any of these that you want and use the “Move up” and “Move down” buttons to adjust the order used to make the full file name.

Using the format drop down menu, make sure “mp3” is selected.

Slide the “Audio Quality” slider to your desired bit rate. I usually go with 256kbps when I rip a CD, but this is where your personal preferences come into play.

*Note: Be sure to check that you have available hard drive space. A full CD can be anywhere from 50 – 200MB.

Click the “Apply” button and then “OK”.

7. Now with the preferences saved we can get onto the ripping! Click the “Rip” tab on your WMP.

8. By default all the check boxes next to the song titles will be checked. Uncheck any songs you do not want to have as an MP3.

9. Click the “Rip Music” button on the top right.

It may take a few moments to rip the entire CD but once you have the MP3 version of your songs on your computer you will be easily able to copy them to an MP3 player, burn a mix CD or just listen to them on the computer as it becomes your personal jukebox.

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About Scott Dimeler

Scott is writer, a graphic artist, a web designer, and sometimes marketing guy. He has attended Penn State University and has held a number of jobs in the last seven years within the topsy-turvy tech industry. He currently lives with his yellow lab Boomer and the two silliest cats ever, Cheese Curl, and Gizmo in Central Pennsylvania. He has a deep love of everything scientific and technical but also likes to embrace and express his artistic side. He is an avid gamer and enjoys sci-fi and fantasy books and movies. He likes to travel and spend time with his friends that are scattered thorough out the country. Being laid back and always the person his friends and family turn to for technical advice, he has decided to broaden the range of people that he can help here on He always tries to stay away from any sort of techno-babble or at least explain it in a way that everyone can understand easily. He would be happy to answer any questions you may have and looks forward to hearing from you all.