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How to Rip a CD to FLAC format

Learn how to easily archive your CDs in the FLAC (free lossless audio codec) format using free software and some simple instructions.

Published Sep 4, 2007 by lobo235
Last updated on Mar 17, 2008

Archiving your music CDs can be important for many reasons including having a backup if your CD is ever scratched, ruined, or lost. Software and instructions for ripping your CDs to MP3 format is prevalent on the web but today you will learn how to rip your CDs to a format that is superior to MP3 known as the FLAC format. FLAC stands for 'free lossless audio codec' and as the name implies, it is a free codec that does not lose audio information when it is used to encode your music. The result is a better-sounding backup or your CD that any audiophile would approve of.

What Software is Needed?

  • First you must install the FLAC codec on your computer. FLAC is available for Windows, Linux, and even Mac OS X users at the FLAC download page. This codec allows your computer to encode music to the FLAC format and also decode it for playback in your preferred media player.
  • Next, you will need a CD Ripping program that will read the audio from your CDs and send it to the FLAC codec to be encoded and saved to a file on your computer. Here is a list of a few of the most free popular CD Ripping programs and a link to their websites.

How to Turn CDs to FLAC Files

The actual steps here will vary depending on the CD Ripping program you will use. For a list of instructions for your particular CD Ripper check out the Using FLAC page at the official site for FLAC. Some, but not all, CD Ripping programs will need to be configured or have extra plug-ins installed before they can rip to FLAC. If you are having trouble after visiting the Using FLAC page then go to the official site for your CD Ripper and see if there are any resources there such as a FAQ, user's guide, or support forums where you can get the help you need.

At Netlobo we use CDex on the Windows operating system and some very minor configuration is needed before FLAC ripping is possible. Basically you need to tell CDex to use FLAC as the encoder instead of whatever it chooses by default (probably MP3 as that is the most popular format). Most ripping programs should function the same and you will probably just need to tell it to use FLAC or tell it where FLAC resides on your computer so it can use the FLAC codec.


How Can I Play FLAC Files?

Most new media players will play files in the FLAC format. If your media player can't play them look for a newer version of the player or a plug-in that will allow you to play them. Some portable audio players such as the Cowan iAUDIO 7 will play the FLAC files too.

If you get stuck, feel free to leave a comment here or contact us using our contact form.

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