Digitizing music cd’s

During all my sorting out I unearthed all my cd’s, probably 300+, and thought it might be a good idea to digitize them, but have no idea how I’d go about doing this regarding software and hardware.

I’d like to digitize them onto a hard drive that I can access wirelessly to select and play, so any info as to how I could get there would be gratefully received :grin:

Hardware - any USB DVD drive, search Amazon, don’t spend more than about 20€

Software, well depends on whether you are a Windows, Max or Linux fan - I used to use cdparanoia which is fine if you like complex unix command line tools but there are loads of free “CD ripping” programs on all operating systems.

These days I’d just store the raw PCM files, or use FLAC

PS, splitting hairs CDs don’t need to be digitised, they are already digital.

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Thanks :+1: I have a macbook, and when I read the word ‘complex’, I felt a shiver :grin: I want to keep the whole thing as simple as possible, so if there’s any other software reco that would be helpful.

Also, if I save the cd’s on a hard drive, how can I then access them with e.g my iphone? I assume I then need some other software/app? All a bit of a new world to me, hence the rather basic questions :grin:

Hmmm, Mac, iPhone - I think iTunes is the solution that you seek.


Ideally wanted independence from itunes, as wanted the flexibility to also be able to play music on android and windows to try to futureproof the collection, given the number of cds and likely effort.


On the same WiFi network you could use a media server (google “Mac media server” or “Mac DLNA server”) to share the files (VLC is a good cross-platform player).

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iTunes will import Audio CD tracks onto the hard disk of the computer. If the folder to which they are saved is part of your iCloud backup, then it will also be accessible to your iPhone. That would suppose that you actually have an iCloud account though to which these folders are backed up. The measly 5Gb of the default iCloud account might not be sufficient if you have a lot of Audio CD files to transfer.

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Thanks that’s helpful reference, as it does seem like a jungle out there with alot of choices!

Good point - I do actually have a paid icloud subscription so I could do that, but ideally wanted to free myself from that for the music, as want to have the flexibility.

If you want independence from iTunes, then you need another “share-enabled” system from which to play them.
On Android, you can store music files on GoogleDrive, and then play them with whichever music playback app you happen to have which supports access to GoogleDrive - on most Android phones this is available by default.

If you want something more agnostic, then you will have to have your hard disk on a network share, and decide whether you want to configure that share to stream the files to your consumer device over the internet. Depending on the particular setup, this can either be easy (e.g. Google/iCloud) or complicated and potentially unreliable (SMB share with an open port to your home network via a dynamic DNS service and a suitably opened port in your internet router.

By all the gods - no, please don’t do this (luckily it will be nigh on impossible to access via your router).

If you wanted to set up DIY internet access there are free programs to do that, depending on your level of technical skill and IT and network “nous”. I use nextcloud, but there are others which are more geared to sharing media.

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FYI, the files are most likely to be found in the following folder on the Mac after import via iTunes :

/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/…

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Exactly, it isn’t the preferred method for a lot of reasons, but it remains a possibility.
Personally, I have OpenMediaVault running on a Pi3b at home, and when out and about use my GoogleDrive, which works reasonably well. I also have a USB key to stick in the car audio system rather than rely on a potentially flakey internet connection.

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Ah ok, so I could rip the cd’s using itunes then put the actual files on a separate hard disk that I could then access with any device using e.g VLC software

Yes to the first bit.

VLC is a free media player (IIRC it’s French as well if you wish to wave “the tricolour”) and network client which is available for most platforms - but you need some way of getting files to it.

That could be the hard drive on the same machine, a network share (VLC understands SMB and NFS amongst other protocols) or one of the media sharing protocols such as DLNA.

At a pinch it works with WebDAV (though I’ve had variable success with this personally) as well if you want internet access to your files.

There are approximately a million ways to skin this particular rabbit.

But the cynic in me says “Spotify is only 12 quid a month” :slight_smile:

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I do actually have spotify but I think I’d like to browse the cd collection and also be able to play from there, as there are loads of songs that I just don’t think to look up on spotify but would play off a cd after rediscovery :grin: or at least that’s the thought.

There’s also an app called iMazing which lets you move audio (and other stuff) on and off iOS devices without using iTunes.

IMHO using iTunes initially to bring your CD music across into a computer format is probably the easiest.

In iTunes Preferences / General / Import Settings you can choose the audio format to have your CD music saved in - MP3 will be the most portable, with some loss of quality; AIFF or WAV will match CD quality but be bigger files, or there’s AAC or Apple Lossless if you don’t need Windows compatibility.

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Thanks everyone for the inputs. After a bit if head scratching, finally decided to import cd’s through itunes onto an external hard drive with the apple lossless encoder format, then going to see if I can read the practice run import by connecting into the router’s usb slot…………. Taken just over 6 mins to import a one hour long cd.

Typical - kept getting messages saying ‘connection failed’ with the livebox. Went onto the net and this was what I found:

Following security vulnerabilities on the Microsoft Samba v1 (SMBv1) protocol, it is no longer possible to share (read or write) the contents of a USB key or hard disk connected via USB to the Livebox.

So the livebox has the usb ports to act as a media server but the function is apparently disabled :roll_eyes: unless I’m missing something

Can you use Airplay with the Livebox? If so you should be able to stream to it from a Mac (as long as they are both connected to the same wifi network).