14.3. CDs: Playback and Ripping

There are many ways to listen to your favorite music tracks. Either play a CD or play digitized versions of them. The following section features some CD player applications as well as some applications that can be used for ripping and encoding audio CDs.

[Important]CDDA and Analog CD Playback

There are two different ways of playing back audio CDs. CD and DVD drives capable of analog CD playback read the audio data and send it to the sound output device. Some external drives connected via PCMCIA, FireWire, or USB need to use CDDA (Compact Disk Digital Audio) to extract the audio data first then play it as digital PCM. The players featured in the following sections do not support CDDA. Use XMMS if you need CDDA support.

14.3.1. KsCD—Audio CD Player

KsCD is an easy-to-use audio CD player. It integrates into the KDE taskbar and can be configured to start playing automatically after a CD has been inserted. To access the configuration menu, select Extras+Configure KsCD. Fetch album and track information from a CDDB server on the Internet if KsCD is configured accordingly. You can also upload CDDB information to share it with others. Use the CDDB dialog for information retrieval and upload.

Figure 14.12. The KsCD User Interface

The KsCD User Interface

14.3.2. GNOME CD Player

This is a simple CD player. When a CD is inserted, it automatically looks up album and track information if an Internet connection exists. You can change the information retrieved by clicking the track editor icon. The preferences icon lets you choose a theme and configure automatic playback and CD ejection. The GNOME CD player also integrates into the panel. Right-clicking the tools icon gives you access to the playback controls.

Figure 14.13. The GNOME CD player

The GNOME CD player

14.3.3. Compressing Audio Data: Ripping

Audio compression can be handled by various tools. The following sections feature a command line approach to encoding and playing audio data as well as some graphical applications capable of audio compression.

14.3.3.1. Command Line Tools for Encoding and Playback of Audio Data

Ogg Vorbis (package vorbis-tools) is a free audio compression format that is now supported by the majority of audio players and even portable MP3 players. The Web page of the project is http://www.xiph.org/ogg/vorbis.

SUSE Linux comes with several tools supporting Ogg Vorbis. oggenc is a command line tool used for encoding WAV files to Ogg. Just run oggenc myfile.wav to transform a given .wav file into Ogg Vorbis. The option -h displays an overview of the other parameters. Oggenc supports encoding with a variable bit rate. In this way, an even higher degree of compression can be achieved. Instead of the bit rate, specify the desired quality with the parameter -q. -b determines the average bit rate. -m and -M specify the minimum and maximum bit rate.

ogg123 is a command line Ogg player. Start it with a command like ogg123 mysong.ogg.

14.3.3.2. Compressing Audio Data Using Sound Juicer

Sound Juicer is a GNOME ripper application. Upon insertion of a CD, album and track information is displayed. You can directly edit title, artist and genre information. To edit track information, slowly double-click a track (normal double-click plays the song). Select or deselect a track for encoding with the check box in front of a title. Clicking Extract starts ripping the selected tracks. To configure the output directory, filenames, and encoder, open the configuration dialog with Edit+Preferences.

Figure 14.14. Ripping Audio CDs with Sound Juicer

Ripping Audio CDs with Sound Juicer

14.3.3.3. Compressing Audio Data Using KAudioCreator

KAudioCreator is a lean CD ripper application (see Figure 14.15, “Ripping Audio CDs with KAudioCreator” (↑Applications)). Once started, it lists all the tracks of your CD in the CD Tracks tab. Select the tracks to rip and encode. To edit the track information, use the Album Editor under File+Edit Album. Otherwise just start the ripping and encoding with File+Rip Selection. Watch the progress of these jobs using the Jobs tab. If configured accordingly, KAudioCreator also generates playlist files for your selection that can be used by players like amaroK, XMMS, or banshee.

Figure 14.15. Ripping Audio CDs with KAudioCreator

Ripping Audio CDs with KAudioCreator

14.3.3.4. Compressing Audio CDs Using Konqueror

Before you start the actual ripping process with Konqueror, configure the handling of audio CDs and the Ogg Vorbis encoder in the KDE Control Center. Select Sound & Multimedia+Audio CDs. The configuration module is divided into three tabs: General, Names, and Ogg Vorbis Encoder. Normally, a suitable CD device is detected automatically. Do not change this default setting unless the autodetection failed and you need to set the CD device manually. Error correction and encoder priority can also be set here. The Ogg Vorbis Encoder tab determines the quality of the encoding. To configure online lookup of album, track, and artist information for your ripped audio data, select Add Track Information.

Start the ripping process by inserting the CD into the CD-ROM drive and entering audiocd:/ in the Location bar. Konqueror then lists the tracks of the CD and some folders (see Figure 14.16, “Ripping Audio Data with Konqueror” (↑Applications)).

Figure 14.16. Ripping Audio Data with Konqueror

Ripping Audio Data with Konqueror

To keep uncompressed audio data on your disk, just select the .wav files and drag them into another Konqueror window to copy them to their final destination. To start the Ogg Vorbis encoding, drag the Ogg Vorbis folder or files from this folder to another Konqueror window. The encoding starts as soon as you drop the Ogg Vorbis folder at its destination.