Ripping Audio CDs Using k3b

K3b is installed by default on KDE 3- and KDE 4-based Ubuntu systems, and it is a great application for doing most things with CDs and DVDs. On KDE 3-based systems, starting k3b to rip your CDs is one of the options on the pop-up dialog that appears when you insert an audio CD (Extract Audio with k3b). On KDE 4-based systems, you'll have to start k3b by selecting the K Menu C> Applications C> Multimedia C> CD & DVD Burning menu item. You will then have to select the Tools C> Rip Audio CD menu command to put k3b in the right mode to work with audio CDs.

K3b first tries to look up your CD in the CD database. If more than one CDDB entry matches your CD or if there is no exact match, you'll see a dialog asking you to select the appropriate entry. K3b will then be populated and display the track listing based on your selection. If your CD can't be found in the database, k3b will use a generic name format such as Track 01, Track 02, and so on.

At this point, your k3b screen will look like the screen shown in Figure 19-33. (The track listing will be different unless you own a fairly obscure CD by the French band "Heldon.")

To proceed, click the Start Ripping button below the title of the CD. K3b displays a dialog that enables you to specify the format in which you want to save the extracted audio files and the directory to which you want to save them, as shown in Figure 19-34.

The audio file formats that are available through this dialog are Wave (raw, lossless PCM audio), Mp3, and Ogg-Vorbis. You can only save audio files in MP3 format if you have previously installed the LAME (LAME Ain't an MP3 Encoder) package—trying to do so without having installed this package will display an error message when you start to rip the CD. Sadly, Mp3 is probably the best format to use if you want to be able to clone your music to your iPod or other portable music player, play your audio files from computers running other operating systems, and so on.

You will probably also want to customize the location to which the extracted audio files are saved, which is typically your ~/Music directory or some centralized music directory on a file server somewhere that is mounted locally, and so on.

Finally, I also usually select the Create m3u playlist and Use relative paths checkboxes. This will automatically create a playlist file for the extracted audio tracks, which is just a text file that lists the tracks in the order that they appeared on the CD. Checking the Use relative paths checkbox causes the entries in the playlist file to list audio tracks relative to the directory where you stored your extracted audio tracks.

figure 19-33

An audio CD listing in k3b b ■ The CD and DVD Kreator rile £rojwt £w>vir#> Jooh Settings

9 Opt Lire DVD flW AD-7170A


> Dt-Alup ^Documents ^ Music Phut ds gPirtur« Public

Live Electronlk Guerilla Pari: 1975-19... "IJIi^0

Artist title Length Size

V 1 Hddon 1984 Apics Cmrrik CiAjiL 09:48:22 99.0 MB v 2 Hddon Distribution Deterritorialisatwfl 10;JU:4B 10 J. 4 MU

V 3 Hddon Hddon Is Back 06:47:12 68,5 MB

V 4 Hddon Lady From The North 08:36;65 B7.0 MD

Welcome to K3b - The CD and DVD Kreator

New Audio CD Prefect I Ne« Qnita CD Prn|PCf I New Data DVn Project

Copy CD.,. I Bum CD Imjge.,. I Bum DVD ISO Image..,

figure 19-34

k3b preferences for ripping CDs figure 19-34

Note that the playlist files created by k3b are located in the directory where the direc-iSSSHffl tory that holds the extracted audio for a CD is located, not in the same directory with the extracted audio files. This can be confusing if you copy the files to another of your machines, since you may forget to copy the playlist file. since the default file names for each track of an extracted cD begin with the track numbers, I use a few shell aliases to enable me to quickly create playlist files for a cD. these aren't rocket science, but the ones i use are the following (in my ~/.bashrc file):

alias ftoc="ls *.[Ff][Ll][Aa][Cc] > playlist.m3u"

alias mtoc="ls *.[mM][pP]3 > playlist.m3u"

alias otoc="ls *.[Oo][Gg][Gg] > playlist.m3u"

alias stoc="ls *.[Ss][Hh][Nn] > playlist.m3u"

i can then create a playlist file (which i call TOc—table of contents—files) called playlist.m3u by changing directory to the directory that holds those files and running one of these aliases. the ftoc alias is for FLAc files, the mtoc alias is for Mp3 files, the otoc alias is for Ogg-Vorbis (OGG) files, and the stoc alias is for shorten (sHN) files.

You can also change the format of the file names that are associated with the extracted audio files by selecting the File Naming tab and modifying its contents, and can use the Advanced tab to change some parameters if you are having trouble reading from an audio CD.

After making any changes that you want to the default k3b settings, click Start Ripping to being extracting audio files form your CD. A status dialog is displayed, as shown in Figure 19-35.

figure 19-35

k3b's status dialog while ripping CDs figure 19-35

k3b's status dialog while ripping CDs

A small, general k3b status display dialog is also shown on your screen. This dialog remains on your screen even if you decide to minimize the other k3b dialogs, which is handy to see the status of any k3b task while you're working on something else. If you want to disable this other status dialog, you can do so from the Setting C> Configure k3b dialog by selecting the Misc icon and deselecting the Show progress OSD (onscreen display) checkbox, then clicking Apply or OK.

When all of the tracks from your CD have been extracted, a Close button displays on the k3b status dialog shown in Figure 19-35. Click Close to close this dialog and return to k3b. You can exit from k3b by clicking the close box in the window decorations or selecting the File C> Quit menu command.

Getting More Information about k3b

I'm not the only fan of k3b—it's a very popular application with many advocates (not all of whom are KDE fanatics—case in point: me). Though I'll be using k3b in other sections of this chapter, it's such a great application that I wanted to provide some general pointers for additional information in case you're interested. Some of the better sites I've found for k3b information, tutorials, and tips and tricks are the following: The k3b application's home page, this site provides a FAQ and access to the latest and greatest releases, as well as the k3b subversion repository if you just can't wait for the next official release. A nice article from Novell entitled "CD Burning in Linux Made Easy with k3b," written by Jason Jones. The k3b project's home page at SourceForge. A nice article and review of k3b from the NewsForge folks, written by Joe Barr. A detailed but informal article from the "PCLinuxOS New User Guide" on using k3b.

■'pedi''ki'/K3b: The k3b entry in the Wikipedia. Cool!

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Reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information presented in this book is  accurate. However, the reader should understand that the information provided does not constitute legal, medical or professional advice of any kind.

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  • amanuel
    How do I choose which cddb entry to use in k3b?
    2 years ago

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