How to copy CD on Windows 10 PC

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Pau Monfort
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Thanks to the many streaming services, physical CDs or DVDs are no longer as important as they once were. But if you still have them, you can consider digitizing them. In this article we will explain everything about how to rip your CDs on Windows 10 PC. You may still have a wonderful collection of CDs somewhere from the days when digital music in MP3 format was not yet commonplace.

But as we can now listen to music from the Internet, music from a CD is listened to less and less. Did you know that the sound quality of MP3 music is much lower than that of an audio CD? And that you can easily rip the contents of your music CDs to MP3 or another format without losing sound quality? So why not burn this music to your PC or USB stick?

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What does Ripping mean? What it means and what it is good to know

Converting the contents of an audio CD into music files or MP3 format, among others, is called ripping a CD. During ripping, each track on the CD is individually copied and converted to a digital format of your choice. The formats you can choose depend on the program you are using to rip the audio CD to your PC. But the most common formats are:

MP3: the most popular format for digital music files. Mp3 is a format in which a music file is stored compressed, but in which information and therefore the quality of the sound are also lost. For example, tones that cannot be heard with the human ear. A music file in MP3 format takes up little disk space.

AAC: Apple's alternative to MP3. Even in the AAC format, a music file is stored compressed and information is lost. By the way, music in AAC format is heard better than MP3 format. But not all devices support the CAA format.

FLAC: In this format, the music is stored compressed, but no information is lost. This keeps the sound quality very high. Unfortunately, FLAC is not supported by Apple.

A THE C: Apple's answer to FLAC is the ALAC format.

WAV: It is the format in which music is burned onto an audio CD. With the WAV format, nothing is compressed and nothing is lost in sound quality. However, this format results in huge files.

WMA: Microsoft's answer to MP3. WMA has several variations. Including a variant where there is no loss of sound quality. WMA format is also not supported by all devices.

You can choose between different formats, as you can see. MP3 is the most used and is supported by almost all devices and software capable of playing digital music. This is because the MP3 music files are not very large and the sound quality is good. This makes the choice of MP3 obvious.

However, for discerning music lovers it may be that the sound quality of MP3 is insufficient. If you are one of them, as you can see there are many other formats available that offer superior sound quality.

However, always keep in mind that the sound quality of a digital music file can only be as good as the recording quality of the CD you are about to rip. And any music lover knows that CD recording quality isn't always good.

To make a copy of a CD on the PC, the computer must obviously be equipped with a CD / DVD reader / burner. If your PC or laptop does not have one, there is always the option of connecting an external CD / DVD reader / writer to a free USB port.

The software that copies CDs to your computer automatically recognizes the CD / DVD player / burner.

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How to rip a CD with Windows Media Player

There is no need to install or download special software to burn a CD to a computer. Windows 10 has the Windows Media Player app. An app that allows you to play audio CDs but also to duplicate them on a PC.

As soon as you insert a CD into your PC's CD / DVD drive and close the tray, Windows will usually ask you almost immediately what you want to do with the CD. You can then choose to listen to it in Windows Media Player.

If that doesn't happen, you can always start Windows Media Player manually. To do this, click the Search button in the taskbar and type in the search query: Windows Media Player. Then click Windows Media Player in the search results to launch the app.

After starting Windows Media Player, copy a CD as follows:

    1. Once the CD has been loaded and the tracks are visible in the toolbar in Windows Media Player, click the Copy Settings button.
    2. In the menu that opens, click on File Format and then on MP3. If you forget it, the copied songs will be saved in the WMA file format. Digital music files in WMA file format can only be played in Windows apps on the PC.
    3. Then in the same Rip settings menu you can still set the MP3 sound quality via the Audio Quality option.
    4. Then, by clicking on the checkboxes in front of the tracks, you can indicate which tracks from the CD you want to rip and which not.
    5. Click the Copy CD heading in the toolbar once you are happy with your settings.

Windows Media Player will then indicate for each track how far it has been ripped. Once the copy of the song has been done, Windows Media Player will notify you that the song has been copied to the media library. 

When copying a CD to PC with Windows Media Player, the tracks extracted from a CD will be saved in the Music folder by default. A folder with the name of the artist will be created in the Music folder. Then, in the folder with the artist name, a folder with the album name is created. 

The songs will then be stored in this folder. This way of working allows you to store multiple songs by the same artist, but from different albums, clearly in the folder with the artist name.

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Learn more about audio quality

If you choose the 128 kbps setting under the Audio Quality option, this will produce the smallest music files and good sound quality.

Better quality audio recordings deserve higher audio quality. Choose 192 kbps if you mainly play music on portable audio players. Because 192 kbps provides the best mix of sound quality and file size.

If the file size is not very important because you still have enough disk space available, choose the best audio quality, 320 kbps.

How to rip CDs to PC with song titles

If you load an audio CD into your PC's DVD player and then start Windows Media Player, all data available on the CD in the Windows Media Player online data library will be loaded automatically and displayed immediately. There are three exceptions to this, namely:

  1. Your PC is not connected to the Internet.
  2. The data is not available on the CD.
  3. The data is not available in the online library.

If Windows Media Player failed to load the data, the different song titles will not be displayed. But it will show number 1, number 2 and so on instead. Obviously you would prefer to copy a CD with the titles. So why not copy CDs to clean and clear PC.

Ripping untitled CDs, on the other hand, will leave you in a mess. Because the tracks you copy untitled will also be saved on your PC as Track 1.mp3, Track 2.mp3 and so on. Before you start copying a CD to your PC, you should preferably have at least the following information from the CD:

  • The name of the artist
  • The title of the album
  • The titles of all the songs on the album.

If these aren't there when a CD is loaded into Windows Media Player, you have the following options to get there:

    1. With your PC connected to the Internet, right click on the first number. In the pop-up menu that opens, click the Search album information option.
    2. Right-click on a number and click Edit in the context menu that opens. You can then manually enter the song title. Then the ripped file will be named with the song title. This way you can easily find the ripped number on your PC.
    3. If you had to rip songs from a CD with just one song title, you can always add the rest of the data manually later via Explorer, such as artist name and album title. For this purpose:
    4. Right-click the number for which you want to add information. Then click on the Properties option in the pop-up menu that opens.
    5. The song properties window will now open. Using the Details tab, you can then add missing data by clicking on an item, such as Contributing Artist, and entering the missing data.

Copy a CD to the PC in FLAC

Earlier we said that when you start ripping a CD in FLAC the songs will be stored compressed on your PC, and that there will be no quality loss. Ripping a CD to FLAC is done in Windows Media Player in exactly the same way as ripping to MP3. Just before ripping under Copy Settings button, choose File Format for FLAC. Likewise, Windows Media Player can also copy a CD to the PC in the format:

  • WMA
  • WAV
  • ALAC

How to copy or burn a CD using VLC

If you already play DVD in Windows 10, you may already have VLC DVD player installed on your PC. You can also rip an audio CD to your PC with this handy media player. How to dub a CD with VLC:

      1. Insert the audio CD you want to copy into the player.
      2. Launch VLC media player
      3. Press the key combination Ctrl + D to launch the Open Disc option.
      4. Click the Audio CD radio button, then choose the disc device that contains the audio CD
      5. In the Start position for track section, select the track you want to rip from the CD, for example track 1.
      6. Then click the down arrow in the Play button and then click the Convert option in the open context menu.
      7. This will open the Convert window. In the Profile section you can select the audio format you want to use. By default, this will be mp3.
      8. In the Target section you can then enter the name you want to give the ripped number and determine in which folder on your PC the ripped number should be saved. Here you can of course also choose to save a song copied directly to a USB stick.
      9. Once you have compiled everything satisfactorily, you can press the Start button and the chosen track will be extracted from the CD and stored with the desired name in the selected location.

Then a blue bar will appear in VLC indicating how far the ripping has progressed. As soon as the blue bar is complete and disappears, the ripping is complete and the song is neatly located in the specified location. A disadvantage of ripping a CD with VLC is that you have to repeat the step-by-step method just described for each song you want to rip.

An advantage is that you can have any song wherever you want. This way you can extract your favorite songs from a CD and transfer them directly to a USB stick for the car.

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Copy a CD with Exact Audio Copy for the best quality

Exact Audio Copy is free CD ripper software that is very popular among many audio enthusiasts. Especially since Exact Audio Copy rips producing digital music files of the best quality.

This good quality is partly due to the way Exact Audio Copy reads the CD to be ripped. Because in this way a CD is first read several times and the reading results are then compared with each other before the actual ripping takes place. In this way, the copied file is practically error-free and the sound quality is optimal.

However, the novice computer user may encounter a problem installing Exact Audio Copy. According to the creators of Exact Audio Copy, this is because their software, which is free and Open Source, cannot simply include an encoder for digital music files.

Therefore, during the installation of Exact Audio Copy, you will be asked to indicate the location on your PC where an audio encoder is located. Something you most likely don't have on your PC if you don't often rip CDs to your computer or do manual conversion or enhancement of digital audio files.

Fortunately, the makers of Exact Audio Copy are kind enough to provide you with a link during installation to a website where you can find and download one of the best audio encoders ever made, the LAME encoder.

LAME encoder is the best on the market to convert audio CD to MP3. So obviously you would like to have it installed alongside Exact Audio Copy. This is what you need to do:

      1. Download Exact Audio Copy. Click download at the German flag if you want the German version and click download at the English flag if you want the English version.
      2. Start the Exact Audio Copy installation and carefully complete the installation wizard.
      3. At some point, the installation wizard will ask for the location where you have installed the LAME encoder. There you will also find the link where you can download the LAME encoder. First download the LAME encoder.
      4. Extract the zip file containing the LAME encoder.
      5. Copy the files from the zip file to a location of your choice on your hard drive. But you can also copy the files to the folder where the program files come from from Exact Audio Copy (C: Program Files (x86) Exact Audio Copy)
      6. Then let the installation wizard search for the LAME encoder. Once the LAME encoder is found, the installation will continue.
      7. Complete the Exact Audio Copy installation.

You can now start Exact Audio Copy and insert an audio CD into your PC drive. Exact Audio Copy will automatically read the CD and display the tracks on the CD. If the song titles are not displayed, you can download them via the Get CD Info button from the metadata provider.

Using the buttons on the left of the playback panel, where the tracks are displayed, you can rip an uncompressed audio CD in WAV format or compressed in MP3 format. Also, Exact Audio Copy does not automatically save the music in the Music folder. You must manually specify in which folder the copied songs should be placed.

As you read, there is a lot to be said about ripping a CD on a Windows 10 PC. In summary, however, we can say that ripping a CD via Windows Media Player is the simplest. VLC is useful when you want to copy only a few songs from a certain number of CDs and put them on a USB stick, for example in the car.

Exact Audio Copy is for music lovers who simply want the best sound quality anytime, anywhere.

Further Reading:

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  • How to copy, cut and paste on a Windows PC
  • How to disable the Windows Store in Windows 8
  • How to compress files on Windows 10 (and unzip)
  • How to copy large files from phone to computer

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