Whether purists like it or not, the truth of the matter is that the future of music lies within the digital realm. Not only are CDs and vinyl selling less, but digital sales of music through services like iTunes and Bandcamp are selling more and more every year.
Not only that, but with the popularity of iPhones and other digital music players, even people who own a lot of CDs are looking to convert their favorite albums into digital formats so that they can take them on the road. Whether you are looking to fill your phone with all of your favorite tunes or you want to create a digital archive of all the albums you own, there are great free tools that can aid you in doing this.
Here are ten of the best completely free CD rippers that allow you to take the music from all of your CDs and rip it into a variety of high quality digital formats like MP3, WAV, and FLAC.
If you are looking for a tool that was created for the sole purpose of ripping CDs to digital formats, CDex is one to check out. It converts into every possible digital music format that you can think of and does so very effectively, even if your CD is a little scratched up. If you are looking to backup all of your CDs in a digital format, this is one of the best tools to use because it is efficient and very reliable.
Exact Audio Copy (EAC)
Exact Audio Copy is rightfully named, because it is definitely one of the best free rippers to use if you have a lot of CDs with imperfections and scratches on them. It really handles slightly damaged CDs very well and gets the best possible sound from them without any skips and mistakes in the songs.
If you are looking for an open source tool, look no further than fre:ac. One of the best things about this tool is that it is significantly faster than most of the other free CD rippers available if you have a dual/quad core processor. Other than the speed, it works pretty much just like any other CD ripper – it detects your CD, gets the song names and track list from online sources and then allows you to rip your CD into a variety of digital formats quickly and accurately.
Kat CD Ripper
This ripper works on all Windows platforms and has a very user-friendly interface that is easy to master immediately. It enables you to rip your CD tracks in WAV, OGG or MP3. If you want to rip your audio files to make a podcast or radio program with them, you can also use Kat to record sound directly from your computer microphone. It also has a media player that lets you listen back to what you have ripped without having to use another audio player.
FreeRIP will allow you to rip your CDs into a variety of digital formats, including MP3, WMA, OGG< WAV and FLAC. It works just like all of the other rippers available, but one really cool feature that comes with FreeRIP is that it is also an integrated audio converter. It allows you to convert your digital audio formats into other ones, meaning that you can take WAVs and convert them to MP3s, for example.
Accord CD Ripper
Here is another extremely speedy option for CD ripping. If you have multiple CD drives, you are even able to rip several CDs simultaneously using this free tool. It doesn’t have many added features, but it does allow you to also listen to your CDs using its own toolbar. It makes up in speed what it lacks in added features, though.
Fairstars CD Ripper
This is one of the most reliable free rippers available. On fast computers with fast processors, it can rip a CD in only a couple of minutes and it offers just about every digital audio format that you can think of, including lesser used ones like APE and VQF. And unlike most free CD rippers, this one gives you the option of being able to create and burn Audio Bin/Cue images as well.
If you have an iPhone or iPod, then you already know about iTunes, because you need to use it in order to load your device with music. However, most people don’t know that it is a pretty great CD ripper as well. Any time you put a CD into your computer while iTunes is running the program will grab all of the song information from online sources and offer you the option of ripping your CD to a digital format. To choose what quality and format you want the CD ripped in, go to Edit – Preferences and select what you want. The lossless format retains the absolute best CD quality when converting the music to a digital format, but of course, converting it to MP3 is much more convenient and universal.
Spesoft Free CD Ripper
Spesoft’s ripper is very compact, doesn’t take up much hard drive space, and is compatible with every more recent version of Windows. It can convert your CDs into MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG and FLAC formats. Another cool thing about it is that it gets all of the album information from the FreeDB Internet database, which not only provides you with track listings and song names, but also album artwork and lyrics.