How to copy music from a CD to a computer (step by step)

This tutorial will show you step by step how to copy music from an Audio CD to a computer in Windows 8 and 10 using Exact Audio Copy, fre:ac, or VLC.

You can copy audio tracks from an Audio CD to your computer's hard drive in MP3, WMA, WAV, or FLAC audio format.

Ripping an Audio CD is a good option for backing up your CD music collection, listening to songs from your CD on a portable music player or mobile phone, or recovering music from a damaged CD.

To rip an Audio CD, you'll need a CD drive and a CD ripper. A CD Ripper (also known as CD grabber, or CD extractor) is software that copies and converts audio tracks from an Audio CD to a computer in standard audio file formats, such as MP3, WMA, WAV, or FLAC.

If you want to rip your CD in the best quality, then you should choose the FLAC or WAV audio format.

Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is more advanced and requires much more configuration. But it is one of the best free CD rippers available.

How to rip an Audio CD to FLAC with Exact Audio Copy (EAC)

Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is one of the best (probably the best) CD rippers available. And it's completely free.

You can download Exact Audio Copy from FOSSHUB, here.

First, you'll have to setup Exact Audio Copy.

You'll only have to set it up once.

Setup Exact Audio Copy (EAC)

1. Open Exact Audio Copy.

2. Make sure the CD drive of your PC is selected. You can find the drive selection menu in the top left corner of EAC.

Drive selection menu in EAC

3. Insert the CD into the CD drive of your computer.

4. When the “Configure AccurateRip” window appears, you click on the Configure button, and AccurateRip will configure the CD/DVD drive of your computer.

It will only take a few seconds.

It will make the CD drive work properly with EAC.

This configuration only needs to be done once. Afterward, the drive will stay configured.

AccurateRip improves Audio CD ripping by verifying ripped tracks against an Internet database, making sure they're error-free.

You'll need an older more popular CD to activate the AccurateRip plugin.

Just try to find a CD that makes the “Configure AccurateRip” window appear when you insert it into your PC.

There are a lot of CDs in the calibration database. You can use pop, rock, hip hop, and other classics to configure the CD/DVD drive of your PC using AccurateRip.

If the “Configure AccurateRip” window does not appear, you will need to find a CD that makes it appear, and after the configuration, you can insert the CD you want to rip.

When the AccurateRip configuration is complete, a small confirmation window will appear.

5. Click on the OK button.

You will now see the tracks of your CD in EAC.

6. Click on EAC in the top left corner, and then click on EAC Options.

Open EAC options

A “EAC Options” window will appear.

7. Click on the Extraction tab.

8. Make sure the settings on the Extraction tab are exactly like in the image below.

EAC extraction settings

9. Click on the General tab.

10. Make sure the settings on the General tab are exactly like in the image below.

EAC general settings

11. Click on the Tools tab.

12. Make sure the settings on the Tools tab are exactly like in the image below.

EAC tools settings

13. Click on the Normalize tab.

14. Make sure the Normalize option is off. This option is usually off by default.

EAC normalize settings

15. Click on the Filename tab.

16. Here you will see various examples for filenames. Type whatever filename scheme you want into the Use various artist naming scheme field. See image below for an example.

EAC filename settings

17. Make sure the Replace spaces by underscores option at the bottom is disabled.

18. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the settings window.

19. Click on EAC in the top left corner, and then click on Drive Options.

Open EAC drive options

20. If an information/warning window appears, you click on the OK button.

EAC important information

A “Options for drives” window will appear.

21. Click on the Extraction Method tab.

22. Enable the Secure mode with following drive features option.

23. Make sure the Drive has 'Accurate Stream' feature and Drive caches audio data options are enabled.

EAC extraction method settings

24. Click on the Drive tab.

25. Click on the Autodetect read command now button, and wait till the read command process is complete, and a read command is selected. Your selection might look different than mine. It depends on the CD drive.

26. There are four more options, but you should only select the options if you know your CD drive supports these options. If your CD drive doesn't support the options, or you don't know, then just leave the options unchecked.

EAC drive settings

27. Click on the Offset / Speed tab.

28. Make sure the settings on the Offset / Speed tab are exactly like in the image below.

EAC Offset / Speed options

29. Click on the Gap Detection tab.

30. At Gab/Index retrieval method, you select a method.

31. At Detection accuracy, you select either Accurate or Secure. I select Secure here.

EAC gab detection settings

32. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the settings window.

33. Click on EAC in the top left corner, and then click on Compression Options.

Open EAC compression options

A “Compression Options” window will appear.

34. Click on the External Compression tab.

35. Enable the Use external program for compression option.

36. Select User Defined Encoder.

37. Change Use file extension to .flac.

38. At Program, including path, used for compression, you click on the Browse button.

EAC external compression settings

A “Select Command-Line Encoder” window will appear.

39. Within this window, you go to the location on your computer where the flac.exe file is.

Exact Audio Copy comes with an older FLAC encoder in C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\Flac or C:\Program Files (x86)\Exact Audio Copy\Flac.

Or you can download the latest FLAC encoder here.

40. Select the flac.exe file.

41. Click on the Open button.

Open FLAC encoder in EAC

42. At Additional command-line options, you copy and paste the line below.

-8 -V -T "ARTIST=%artist%" -T "TITLE=%title%" -T "ALBUM=%albumtitle%" -T "DATE=%year%" -T "TRACKNUMBER=%tracknr%" -T "GENRE=%genre%" -T "PERFORMER=%albuminterpret%" -T "COMPOSER=%composer%" %haslyrics%--tag-from-file=LYRICS="%lyricsfile%"%haslyrics% -T "ALBUMARTIST=%albumartist%" -T "DISCNUMBER=%cdnumber%" -T "TOTALDISCS=%totalcds%" -T "TOTALTRACKS=%numtracks%" -T "COMMENT=%comment%" %source% -o %dest%

43. At Bit rate, you can select a bitrate. But actually, it doesn't do anything. So you can select anything you want here. It doesn't matter.

44. Disable the Use CRC check and Add ID3 tag options.

45. Enable the Check for external programs return code option.

EAC external compression settings

46. Click on the ID3 Tag tab.

47. Disable all options except the last option, which is Write cover image into extraction folder.

EAC ID3 Tag settings

48. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the settings window.

49. Click on EAC in the top left corner, and then click on Metadata Options.

Open EAC metadata options

A “Metadata options” window will appear.

50. On the Metadata Provider tab, you make sure that CUE Tools DB Metadata Plugin is selected.

EAC metadata provider settings

51. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the settings window.

EAC is setup now. You don't have to do this again unless you want to use EAC on another PC.

Now it's time to rip the CD.

Note: If Exact Audio Copy doesn't show CD information (titles and artists), then follow the steps below. If it does show the correct CD information, then you can skip these steps and continue with step 60.

Exact Audio Copy does not show CD information (titles and artists)

52. Click on EAC in the top left corner, and then click on Metadata Options.

Open EAC metadata options

A “Metadata options” window will appear.

53. Click on the freedb tab.

54. Enter your email address.

EAC freedb settings

55. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the settings window.

56. Click on the Get CD Information From Metadata Provider button.

EAC Get CD Information From Metadata Provider button

A small window with a warning message will appear.

57. Click on the Yes button.

A “Metadata Lookup” window will appear and it will search for metadata.

58. If your CD appears in the search results list, select it.

59. Click on the OK button.

EAC metadata lookup window

Exact Audio Copy will hopefully display the correct title(s) and artist(s).

Rip an Audio CD with Exact Audio Copy

60. Click on Action in the top menu, and then click on Detect Gabs.

EAC detect gabs

EAC will now analyze your CD and detect gabs.

61. Click on Action in the top menu, and then click on Append Gabs To Previous Track (default).

EAC Append Gabs To Previous Track (default)

62. Click on Action in the top menu > Create CUE Sheet > Multiple WAV Files With Gabs...(Noncompliant).

EAC create CUE sheet

A “Save CUE Sheet” window will appear.

63. Select a location on your computer where you want to save the file.

64. Click on the Save button.

EAC save CUE sheet

65. Once the CUE sheet is created, you click again on Action > Test & Copy Selected Tracks > Compressed.

Rip an Audio CD with Exact Audio Copy

A “Browse For Folder” window will appear.

66. Select a location on your computer where you want to save the CD. You also have the option to create a new folder.

67. Click on the OK button.

EAC browse for folder window

Exact Audio Copy will now copy the music from your CD to your computer.

This may take a while.

The time it takes depends on the CD, CD drive, and your PC's hardware.

How to rip an Audio CD with fre:ac

fre:ac is another popular free CD ripper.

You can download fre:ac from the Microsoft Store, or you can download it from their website, here.

1. Open fre:ac.

2. Insert the CD into the CD drive of your computer.

fre:ac will now retrieve information from the CD, and after that, it will show the tracks of your CD.

3. Enable the Create playlist option.

4. At Selected encoder, you select FLAC Audio Encoder, LAME MP3 Encoder, or another audio format.

The WAV and FLAC audio formats offer the best quality, but the file size of the tracks will be much larger than MP3 files. I would select FLAC for high quality or MP3 if your device doesn't support FLAC or when disk space is a problem.

Rip an Audio CD to MP3 with fre:ac

5. If you select MP3, then click on the settings button in the top toolbar or click on the settings button next to the selected LAME MP3 Encoder option. But if you select WAV or FLAC, then you can skip the following steps and continue with step 10.

fre:ac encoder settings button

A “LAME MP3 Encoder” window will appear.

6. At Use preset, you select Custom settings.

7. In the VBR mode section, you select the CBR option.

8. Set bitrate to 320 kbps.

fre:ac LAME MP3 Encoder settings

9. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the settings window.

10. At Output folder located at the bottom, you can see and change the location on your computer where fre:ac will save the CD. You can change this location by clicking on the Select button.

fre:ac output folder

11. When you're ready, you click on the start button.

fre:ac start the encoding process button

Or you click on Encode located in the top menu, and then click on Start encoding.

fre:ac start encoding

fre:ac will now copy the music from your CD to your computer.

How to rip an Audio CD with VLC

You can download VLC media player from the Microsoft Store, or you can download it from their website, here.

Note: VLC doesn't allow you to rip multiple CD tracks at once.

1. Open VLC.

2. Insert the CD into the CD drive of your computer.

3. Click on Media in the top left corner, and then click on Convert / Save.

VLC Convert / Save option

A “Open Media” window will appear.

4. Within this window, you click on the Disc tab.

5. Select Audio CD.

6. At Track, you select the track you want to save to your computer.

7. Click on the Convert / Save button at the bottom of the window.

VLC Disc settings

A “Convert” Window will appear.

8. Within this window, at Profile, you select Audio - CD (WAV), Audio - FLAC, or Audio - MP3.

The WAV and FLAC audio formats offer the best quality, but the file size of the tracks will be much larger than MP3 files. I would select FLAC for high quality or MP3 if your device doesn't support FLAC or when disk space is a problem.

9. If you select MP3, then click on the VLC Edit selected profile button (wrench/tool) button next to the profile selection menu. But if you select WAV or FLAC, then you can skip the following steps and continue with step 13.

VLC convert settings

A “Profile edition” window will appear.

10. Click on the Audio codec tab.

11. At Bitrate, you select or type 320 kb/s.

12. Click on the Save button.

VLC profile settings

13. Click on the Browse button.

A “Save file” window will appear.

14. Select a location on your computer where you want to save the track.

15. In the File name field, you enter the name of the track.

16. Click on the Save button.

VLC Save file window

17. When you're ready, you click on the Start button.

Rip an Audio CD with VLC

VLC will now copy the audio track from your CD to your computer.


Maybe you're also interested in:

How to rip (copy) music from an Audio CD to a computer using Windows Media Player in Windows 10

How to rip (copy) music from an Audio CD to a computer in Linux


References:

ExactAudioCopy.de: AccurateRip

AccurateRip.com

Hydrogenaud.io: EAC and FLAC

YouTube: EAC V1.3/4/5 | Guide to perfect CD rips & log files