I finally managed to back up my entire CD collection onto my hard disk. Hundreds of CDs, thousands of tracks, have now been converted. When I first started this project, it seemed rather daunting, but it turned out to be less painful than I expected. Easy Media Creator 10 has a wonderful tool called Multi-CD Ripper that helped me to automate the process. Basically, it is a software utility that allowed me to rip CDs from multiple drives at the same time (I have three disc drives), while automatically tagging the files with title, author and artist information. Conveniently, files were named and placed in a folder structure per my preference based on the tag information.
The process is easy enough. I launch Easy Media Creator and select the Audio tab on the left, and then select Multi-ripper. I click the Settings button, check off the drives I want to rip from, and check the box to import from multiple drives simultaneously. Finally, I click the CDDB check box to ensure that my CDs are identified automatically by the online music identification service. The additional MusicID checkbox is for identifying tracks on compilation CDs that are not recognized by the online service – even if the CD is unrecognized, the individual tracks can still be identified.
Under Settings/File Format, I select my preferred format (MP3, though I could just as well have selected from a variety of other audio file formats). Under Filename/Folder Structure, I choose how I want to name my files and where to locate them on my hard disk. Personally, I just like the name of the song to be the title, but I could have added the artist, track number, genre and even the year to the title to the filename. Likewise, I chose genre/artist/album as the directory structure, but there are many other options.
Now I am ready to rip. I insert an audio CD in each drive, and click the Start button. As each CD is finished, the disc ejects (I can also disable this in the Settings dialog in case I don’t want the drive tray to open), I pop in the next disc and close the drive door, and away we go. When I am done ripping, my tracks are all listed in the right pane of Multi-ripper. In case I want to change some of the tags that were provided by the online service, I can manually change title, author and other information by selecting one or more tracks in the right pane, and then selecting the Edit Audio Tags button just above the track list. I can even send my ripped files directly to a portable device like an iPod or MP3 player if I want by clicking on the "Output to" button.
So now the real problem begins – I ended up with approximately three weeks of continuous music on my hard drive, but when will I ever have time to listen to it all?