Why Rip Music from CD? — Streaming is Better! Maybe, But Not for Everyone.

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It seems everyone is streaming music today. Streaming is great — except I don’t want to pay a monthly fee to listen to music, most of which I already own. I have hundreds of CDs that I’ve purchased over the years. Purchases I made during the booming years of over priced compact disk. So, I decided to rip all of my old CDs and use an old Mac mini as a jukebox for playing my collection.

Over the years, I had ripped some of my CD collection at various bit rates and formats. I had MP3, AIFF and AAC files. My old Mac mini’s hard drive was filed to capacity and only utilized a fraction of my music collection. After deciding to re-rip my entire collection, I figure the best strategy would be to rip all of my files as Apple Lossless files. That way I could burn the files back to disk at their original quality, if I needed to. I would also convert the files to iTunes Plus AAC files. I also realized that it would take hours of work and that wasn’t something I wanted to repeat. By having my music in a Lossless format, I could convert it to whatever format comes along in the future. A side benefit of having the files in digital format meant I could convert them to other formats at a fraction of the time it takes to rip the songs from CD.

To accomplish this, I decided to use AppleScript. Rob’s CD Ripper for iTunes • Import and Convert Audio CDs is the end result. I originally created an AppleScript. It then evolved into an AppleScript app, and then a Mac OS app through Apple’s Xcode and AppleScript Objective-C.

Rob’s iTunes CD Ripper • Import and Convert Audio CDs is now a Macintosh application for ripping audio CDs into two audio formats at the same time, in sequence.  It’s primary function is to rip audio CD’s to a lossless format for back-up and archiving.  Then the application saves a 2nd lower resolution format  (i.e. iTunes Plus) for play back.

There are a number of advantages for doing this:

A Lossless back-up version  is a safety net in the event that your original CD is damaged or lost.  If that happens, as noted above, you can burn a new disk with iTunes using the lossless back-up copies.

A second lower resolution format  (i.e. iTunes Plus) for everyday play back will allow you to store many more songs on your hard drive.

Lower bit-rate tracks will use less bandwidth while streaming to your Airport Express or Apple TV networks or other streaming devices.

Fig. 1: Rob’s iTunes CD Ripper app shown open in the Finder.

There are 3 settings that you need to check / set before running Rob’s iTunes CD Ripper.

  • Activate Safari’s Develop Menu.
  • Make sure Safari has JavaScript activated.
  • Allow JavaScript from Apple Events.

These settings are shown below. what

Activate Safari’s Develop Menu

Safari’s Develop menu is the easiest way to verify that Javascript is active. It is also how you allow Safari to receive Apple Events. As Apple has tightened security on the Mac platform, this has become a requirement on newer versions of Mac OS and Safari. The first step to enabling Safari’s Develop menu is  opening Safari’s Preferences, under the Safari menu.

Fig. 2a: Open Safari’s Preferences.

After opening the preferences, click the Advanced tab, then click the Show Develop menu in menu bar. The Develope menu will then appear in Safari’s menu bar.

Fig. 2b: Activate Safari’s Develop Menu

Check that Safari’s JavaScript is Active

Once Safari’s Develop Menu is active you can easily see if JavaScript is enabled and if JavaScript from Apple Events is active. Safari’s JavaScript is active by default. To verify that it is active, click the Develop menu. If Disable JavaScript is not checked, JavaScript is active. Alternatively, you can review the Security panel of Safari’s Preferences as shown below.

Fig. 3a:

Fig. 3b: Safari > Preferences > Security panel.

Activate Safari’s “Allow JavaScript from Apple Events”

Click Safari’s Develop Menu, then click JavaScript from Apple Events to activate it. You will then be prompted to Authenticate.

Fig. 4a: JavaScript from Apple Events.

Fig. 4b: A prompt prior to the authentication screen.

Fig. 4c: A prompt to authenticate JavaScript from Apple Events.

Begin Ripping

On the 1st run, your ripping preferences will be set.

  1. Select the location where you wish to save your ripped files.
  2. Select the import format –  choose from AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3, or WAV.
  3. Select the export format –  choose from AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3, or WAV.

Click “Rip CDs,” and you will be prompted to select a location to save the ripped audio files. We selected “Desktop,” but you may save the files wherever you like.

Fig. 5a: Select a location to save the ripped files.

Fig. 5b: Select an export format.

Fig. 5c: Select a convert format.

“Begin Ripping Tracks

Fig. 6: Review your selections.

If your selections are correct, click Rip CDs to begin. If you need to make changes, Reset Preferences.

Fig. 7: A Safari window opens and shows the disk and tracks to be ripped.

If you have multiple CD drives, the progress window will indicate the number of disk. See our reference guid on how to hack your Mac to use Apple’s external Superdrive.

Fig. 8: Ripping continues until all tracks are complete.

Upon completion, the Ripped_Audio_Files folder is opened in the Finder.

Fig. 9: A Ripping log lists the results.

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