Moving my CD’s to a full-out digitial collection. It is time.


I need to step into the 00s.  I know it’s already the 10s, but I’m obviously already behind.  Yesterday I filled 4 giant under-bed storage containers (& one little one) with CD’s.  I need to rip this veritable mountain of plastic to a more easily & instantly accessible medium.

Enrico Caruso with a "Victrola" bran...

Where is the USB port on this thing...?

I also have a pile of vinyl that I believe I’m set up to rip… I just have to plug everything together.  Maybe after that, I’ll do my the last few of my cassette tapes.

For the younger readers:

Any advice?

First one to say iTunes gets a stinkpalm.  I don’t like programs that “take over” and are meant for people who don’t know what they’re doing.  I also dislike anything that asks me to “synch” anything.  NO.  I DO NOT WANT TO SYNCH ANYTHING.

I have a Google Music account that’s awesome, I might use it to store a bunch of the stuff I like to listen to.  Google has a 20,000 song limit.  I’m over that, no doubt.

I’ll most likely keep the CD’s so I have something to listen to when the grid crashes.

Winamp 1

WinAmp (Old School)

I will most likely use CDex and Mp3Tag to get everything in order.  I have experience with them and like them.  They’re free.  I also like WinAmp as a player.  Yes, I still like WinAmp.

I’ll probably need a 1TB (or bigger) external hard drive.  Where can I get an inexpensive yet reliable one?  My usual spots are TigerDirect or NewEgg.  Is there somewhere else I should try?

The compact disc

There are 1s and 0s on here? I don't see any.

It will make accessing the music any time I want much easier.  I’ll be able to control the genres & tags, add artwork, and if I get crazy I can hook up something so I can play all of my stuff from any computer in the house.  I also have an FM transmitter somewhere so I can further destroy the sound quality broadcast to any & all radios in the house.

Re-buying probably isn’t an option for at least a quarter if not half of my collection.  I have a lot of local D.I.Y. stuff and stuff from touring bands that I’ve never heard from again.  Also; I’m cheap.  I bought it once.  I’m not buying it again.  I think I’ve bought Appetite for Destruction at least 6 times.  Two cassettes, 3 CD’s, & a vinyl.  Does Axl really need another dollar out of me?

I’d try a service like Ripshark, but why if I can do it myself?  Also; I’m cheap.

Sadly, my Insignia can’t handle any SDHC cards over 4GB, and it freaks out once you hit over 2000 songs.  Maybe I can put a backup drive in my car & hook it to my stereo, to play my entire music catalog at will?  I’m getting ahead of myself.

Have you done this yourself?  Are you thinking it’s time to do this too?  Do they make a 2TB iPod yet?  Should I go with mp3‘s or rip to something else?  AAC? FLAC?

So many options.  I suppose I’ll finish the entire project some time in 2015.  I’ll still be quicker than PennDOT.  If the world ends before I finish this, I’m going to be really upset.

20 responses to “Moving my CD’s to a full-out digitial collection. It is time.

  1. I was thinking the other day that I should do something with the hundreds of CDs I have taking up space in my office, but the task seems too daunting!

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  2. Paul Dmytrewycz

    I applaud your efforts to digitize your music collection; I did it years ago and never looked back. But I must disagree with the iTunes hate.

    First one to say iTunes gets a stinkpalm. I don’t like programs that “take over” and are meant for people who don’t know what they’re doing. I also dislike anything that asks me to “synch” anything. NO. I DO NOT WANT TO SYNCH ANYTHING.

    This doesn’t describe iTunes. iTunes may be used by “people who don’t know what they’re doing,” but I DO know what I’m doing and I’ve found it to be a perfectly powerful music organizer. It doesn’t “take over” anything that I know of. Everything can be disabled at your leisure, including “synching” (which it won’t even ask to do unless you connect an iPod, iPhone, or iPad. And even this can be disabled.) The only truly legitimate complaint against iTunes is that it’s a bit of a resource hog. This is true, but any sufficiently up-to-date computer can handle it.

    I have a 19,000+ song library (1722 albums by 1088 artists, 112 gigabytes) all personally ripped from CDs I own or bought through various online services such as Amazon or Rhapsody (though not the iTunes store if I can avoid it; I don’t like DRM). I use iTunes to manage every bit of it. Notice I said “manage,” not rip or encode. For ripping/encoding I prefer EAC+LAME. Quality is important to me but so is compatibility, which is why I don’t go in for the lossless formats like FLAC. High kilobit MP3s are just fine for almost anybody, and pretty much any modern device/software can play them. (Not to mention I have personally embarrassed more than a few self-professed “audiophiles” who couldn’t tell the difference between a 320kb MP3 and a FLAC of the same song. I tell them, “if you really think FLACs are better, good for you. Knock yourself out. But don’t tell me it is anything but subjective, and good luck playing them on your iPod or car stereo.”)

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    • Thanks Paul!

      You really did iTunes then? Hmm. I may not stinkpalm you then since you presented your case in a civil eloquent manner. Ha ha.

      My thoughts on FLAC are similar. I want to play the music elsewhere, not just on my home PC.

      What does iTunes offer that WinAmp can’t do?

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      • Paul Dmytrewycz

        I was a devout WinAmp user for many years before my collection grew to an unwieldy size and I jumped in the iTunes pool. I always saw it as a capable player, with lots of great features, but not as an organizer. Tagging multiple files with WinAmp was pretty much impossible (at the time. I don’t know if WinAmp has been updated to allow for this.) I basically relied on my own folder organization to find the songs/albums I wanted, and WinAmp just played them for me.

        iTunes is FAR more robust. And honestly, the Genius feature (automatic playlist generation based on one song or genre) works pretty damn well. I would almost recommend iTunes based on that alone.

        In the interest of proving that I’m not just some iTunes zealot who hasn’t actually done the homework, I have another legitimate complaint. If your MP3’s don’t have embedded album artwork, iTunes will attempt to find artwork online. The drawbacks to this are: iTunes can only find artwork for albums that are sold in the iTunes store; AND the artwork it downloads is not embedded in the MP3’s ID3 tag as it should be. iTunes saves the graphic in a proprietary format in a separate folder with its other configuration and library files. I’m actually in the process of deleting all of iTunes’ artwork and manually downloading/embedding artwork I find on the web. It’s a tedious process, but in the end my MP3s will be flawlessly tagged.

        PS: I don’t know why my first comment is in italics. I think WordPress got confused because I used “” to quote part of your post. Weird.

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        • Thanks Paul… I may have to run them both side-by-side and wee which I like best. You’ve successfully convinced me to give iTunes a try once I have all my stuff converted. I know that a friend of mine likes the “shuffle by album” feature than WinAmp lacks. Sometimes an album needs to be heard whole.

          I feel you on the artwork… I’ll most likely use Mp3Tag do do all of my tagging. I’ll have to scan a lot of album covers though. I have some weird local & D.I.Y. stuff.

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        • ..and I tired to “fix” your 1st post. Does it look OK?

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  3. I did this a few years ago. I bought a terabyte (is that how you spell it?) external hard drive and went to town. Took me a long as time and many a fee day was spent in front of that confounded computer but I am pretty sure every one of my cds I’ve ever owned are uploaded to it, and then some. I used to use iTunes just because I had an ipod and it was the easiest to manage on there. But, lately, all I use is Google Music and to a very lesser extent Amazon MP3 apps on my phone. I mainly use Google Music on my computer (which I barely even use anymore since I bought a Chromebook) when I wanna listen to stuff around the house if I’m too lazy to throw a vinyl on the turntable.

    As for what format to go with, stick to Mp3. Aac doesn’t always play on all players, and Flac, although probably the best sounding, can’t really be played on many things other than some kinda program made for a home computer, and, If you want the best sounding quality while at home, I’d just stick to the damn record, cd, whatever format you already have the music on.

    And yea, re-buying is a waste of money. I did it only with albums I had scratched up too bad. (the worst is buying em from iTunes and they won’t play on anything other than the iTunes player or a fucking Apple product like the iPad, iPod iPhone iGizmotron, etc. Apple can suck a fat one.

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    • …the worst is buying em from iTunes and they won’t play on anything other than the iTunes player or a fucking Apple product like the iPad, iPod iPhone iGizmotron, etc. Apple can suck a fat one.

      Agreed. Ha ha.

      I may just stick with the highest possible quality mp3’s. Everyone’s right about the portability/playability issue. Maybe someday I’ll put a backup of the drive in my car… and have the whole collection right with me all the time.

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  4. What do you do to regulate volume?

    I have used MP3 Gain, but I swear it messes a little with the general overall quality.

    It says

    MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear.

    Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.

    I guess I can’t complain. It is freeware.

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  6. Paul Dmytrewycz

    My comment looks fine now. Thanks for the effort. I do hope you’ll give iTunes a solid try. Set up an iTunes account so you can use the Genius feature. It makes some pretty impressive mixes.

    Also, if you’re so inclined, try iConcertCal. It’ll scan your library and tell you who’s playing and when within X miles of your town. I use it all the time.

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    • Is the genius feature free? I think I may already have an iTunes account…

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      • Paul Dmytrewycz

        Yes. It’s a feature of the iTunes application. You need an iTunes store account (also free) because it uploads information about your library to Apple then downloads all the relationships that make the Genius work. I was skeptical at first, and didn’t even bother to turn it on for about a year after it was first announced. Now I love it and use it all the time.

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        • Interesting. I’ll have to explore it further. I have a quite inactive iTunes account. I used it to buy some soundtrack that had exclusive content. Damn you, exclusive content!

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  7. Is there a player out there yet where you can tag songs with genres much like tagging blog posts?

    Say I have an acoustic punk cover that I want to tag as acoustic, punk, and a cover… So if I hit “play covers” it comes up, or “play punk” it comes up… but I don’t have to say “play acoustic punk covers” and only play 5 songs.

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