An Explanation Of Apple Mac Software Usage

Rip (Copy / Extract) CD Audio Tracks - Apple iTunes

In this section I will show you how to Rip an Audio CD using iTunes, even though the examples and explanations could apply to other media software. Rip is a variation of the term COPY. It specifically means: Make a copy of an Audio Track, from an Audio CD, and then save that copied audio track as an Audio File (i.e. as an .MP3 file). The Rip function, also known as an Import or Extract From CD function, is commonly used for converting audio tracks (one CD) into MP3 files.

An audio cd has its individual audio tracks stored on the cd as CDA files, in the CDA file format, which can only be played on a hi-fi/stereo system but not on a MP3 Player. iTunes makes a copy of the audio tracks (rips the audio tracks) you want from the cd and then converts those copied/ripped audio tracks into the MP3 file format by default before saving them as .mp3 files. Therefore, iTunes becomes a good tool if you want to convert your favourite/old Audio CDs (Audio Tracks) into MP3 files.

To rip an audio/music cd - copy/import all of the tracks/records/songs from it - all you need to do is insert the cd, once you have programmed iTunes preferences in a certain way. So before doing the actual rip I will first show you which preferences (settings) need changing. Begin by double clicking on the ITUNES application icon from within the APPLICATIONS folder to open (launch/execute) iTunes 11 and from there click on its ITUNES menu and select the PREFERENCES menu-item.

Fig 1.0  Open the iTunes application, click on its ITUNES menu and then select the PREFERENCES menu-item.

When the Preferences window opens, on the GENERAL Tab (window), the first setting (preference) to change is the WHEN YOU INSERT A CD setting. By default it is set to ASK TO IMPORT CD, but you should change it to IMPORT CD AND EJECT so that the cd is automatically ripped (copied) and ejected - Click on the WHEN YOU INSERT A CD drop-down menu and select the IMPORT CD AND EJECT option (setting). You should also make sure the AUTOMATICALLY RETREIVE CD TRACK NAMES FROM INTERNET option is ticked so that real track names are used instead of generic track names (i.e. track1, track2, etc). Once those two settings (options) have been changed click on the IMPORT SETTINGS button so that you can then change the actual Audio/COPY settings for the rip.

Fig 1.1  Make sure the WHEN YOU INSERT A CD option (drop-down menu) is set to IMPORT CD AND EJECT

Clicking on the IMPORT SETTINGS button brings up the Import Settings window whereby you then need to change its IMPORT USING setting from its default option of AAC ENCODER to MP3 ENCODER, if you want to rip cds to the MP3 file format of course. If so, click on the IMPORT USING drop-down menu and change its option to MP3 ENCODER. You will be better off using the MP3 file format because it is so international; especially with Hi-Fi Units, Car Stereos and so on having a MP3 Player built-in to them these days.

Fig 1.2  Use the MP3 ENCODER option if you want cd tracks copied (ripped) in the MP3 file format

Underneath the IMPORT USING drop-down menu is the SETINGS drop-down menu. It displays the default setting (option/drop-down menu-item) in accordance to the IMPORT USING setting (option/drop-down menu-item) you selected. So in this example I selected MP3 ENCODER from the IMPORT USING drop-down menu thereby making the SETTINGS drop-down menu display the default option (drop-down menu-item) of HIGH QUALITY (160 kbps). Although 160 kbps is a "good enough" sound quality (bit rate) for mp3 audio/music files I find 192 kbps is better. Anything above 192 kbps is beyond the normal human ear in my humble opinion - You would need to be classically trained to notice any difference between 192 kbps and 256 kbps for example. On top of this, the more kbps you use the bigger the .mp3 files.

Fig 1.3  Using the HIGH QUALITY (192 kbps) option should produce "good enough" sound quality for the human ear

You can customize these MP3 ENCODER settings further by clicking on the CUSTOM drop-down menu, but as said.....HIGH QUALITY (192 kbps) should be "good enough". iTunes does a good job of auto-detecting what frequencies, bit rates and so on it should apply when ripping cd tracks. So with this said; Click on the OK button when you have made the necessary changes to the above settings (options). Doing so will take you back to the GENERAL Tab of the main iTunes Preferences window.

At this point your changes will have taken effect, as OS X (Sierra) preferences tend to take effect straight away whereas Microsoft Windows preferences (settings) usually need applying, but if you want to make sure your changes have indeed taken effect simply quit (exit/close) iTunes and then reopen it. Regardless of closing and reopening iTunes, when you next insert an audio/music cd into your internal or external cd/dvd player/recorder iTunes will begin to rip that inserted audio/music cd, turning its tracks into .mp3 files, before ejecting it.

Fig 1.4  iTunes is now ripping the inserted audio/music cd and turning its tracks into .mp3 files

As each track is ripped (copied), from the inserted audio/music cd into the iTunes MUSIC Library (iTunes MUSIC folder on your apple mac computer), a green circle with a white tick mark is placed next to the tracks title. This denotes that that particular track has been ripped (copied). When all tracks have been ripped the inserted audio/music cd will automatically be ejected from your internal or external cd/dvd player/recorder.

Fig 1.5  The inserted cd will auto-eject once all tracks have been ripped (copied) into the iTunes MUSIC Library

Fig 1.6  The ripped cd tracks are now .mp3 files inside the iTunes MUSIC Library (iTunes MUSIC folder)

As you can see from the above; iTunes has retrieved information about each track's Title, Artist and Time, as well as the Album Cover, based on information stored on the cd itself and/or from information stored on the Internet. Hence why it is important to have the AUTOMATICALLY RETREIVE CD TRACK NAMES FROM INTERNET option ticked in the General Preferences on the GENERAL Tab (Fig 1.1 above).


With music collections getting bigger and bigger these days, especially with cheaper music downloads and ripping available, more and more people are beginning to use a wireless network hard drive (known as NAS hard drive) to store their music collection on. A NAS hard drive allows a music collection to be shared wirelessly with other computer devices that are connected to the same wireless network.

In this next example I will be using the popular Seagate GoFlex Home nas hard drive to show you how to set up iTunes 11 whereby the iTunes MUSIC Library is redirected to the nas hard drive's PUBLIC, network shared, folder. This means the iTunes MUSIC Library that normally plays music files from the iTunes MUSIC folder stored on my MacBook Pro laptop computer will now play music files from the Seagate GoFlex Home nas hard drive's PUBLIC, network shared, folder.

To set up iTunes to work with the Seagate GoFlex Home nas hard drive you first need to make a new folder inside the Seagate GoFlex Home PUBLIC folder. Although you can name this new folder what you like (i.e. Music Collection, My New iTunes Library, etc) you should keep things simple and just name it iTunes - The same name as the iTunes folder found within the MUSIC folder on your computer. There is no need to make this new, iTunes, folder sharable/networked as it will already be sharable/networked by default via the Seagate Share control panel (the Seagate GoFlex Home login area).

With the new iTunes folder created, inside the Seagate GoFlex Home PUBLIC folder, the next step is to redirect iTunes to it. This is done by going to the ADVANCED Tab of the iTunes Preferences, clicking on the CHANGE button and selecting the new, iTunes, folder via the CHANGE ITUNES MEDIA FOLDER LOCATION folder requester that appears (not exampled here). You should end up with a path name similar to the following inside the ITUNES MEDIA FOLDER LOCATION edit box of the advanced itunes preferences.

Fig 2.0  The new path name for the iTunes 'Media' folder - /volumes/yoingco/GoFlex Home Public/iTunes

When you have selected your new iTunes folder, via the CHANGE ITUNES MEDIA FOLDER LOCATION folder requester, the path name inside the ITUNES MEDIA FOLDER LOCATION edit box will change to reflect the new path name (new folder's path name). In this example - /volumes/yoingco/GoFlex Home Public/iTunes.

When you are happy with the path name (always double check it!) you then click on the OK button of the ADVANCED Tab (above) whereby you are then greeted with the following message requester. It asks you if you would like any existing, newly ripped and newly downloaded music/media files to be organized once they are inside the new iTunes folder. This is because the KEEP ITUNES MEDIA FOLDER ORGANIZED preference (option) is ticked on the ADVANCED Tab. If you are happy for iTunes to keep 'everything' organized simply click on the YES button. Otherwise click on the NO button and untick the KEEP ITUNES MEDIA FOLDER ORGANIZED preference (option).

Fig 2.1  Click on the YES button if you are happy for iTunes to keep 'everything' organized

NOTE: By organized, it means iTunes may rename certain folders and files to match their real name and so on. So if you renamed a track (i.e. .mp3 music file) called "I Love You, Yes I Do" to "I Love You" iTunes would rename it back to "I Love You, Yes I Do". The KEEP ITUNES MEDIA FOLDER ORGANIZED preference (option) basically tells iTunes you want to your ripped tracks, downloaded tracks and so on to keep their original details (track names, folder names, genres, etc) even though you might of changed them at some point.

Once the above steps have been carried out the last step is to rip a new cd and/or download, existing, music/media files from the cloud/internet usually via the iTunes application. They will all be stored inside the new iTunes folder located inside the Seagate GoFlex Home PUBLIC folder. They will no longer be stored on your computer.

Fig 2.2  Although ripped tracks are in the SHARED device folder, play them from the standard MUSIC Library.

NOTE: Although newly ripped tracks will now show up in the GoFlex Home:iTunes 'shared device' folder of the iTunes application, you will need to (and should) play those ripped tracks from the standard MUSIC Library of the iTunes application. In other words, even though you can see the ripped tracks in the SHARED device folder you should play them from the standard MUSIC Library as normal.

In the screenshot below you can see the tracks I ripped earlier now listed inside the new, redirected, iTunes folder that was created inside the Seagate GoFlex Home PUBLIC folder.

Fig 2.3  The tracks I ripped earlier are now listed inside the SeaGate GoFlex Home PUBLIC folder, iTunes folder.

Over time what you normally do in iTunes will be reflected inside the Seagate GoFlex Home PUBLIC folder. In the example below I have since downloaded from the cloud my purchased movies, tv shows and music albums.

Fig 2.4  iTunes has since added a MOVIES Library underneath the GoFlex Home:iTunes shared device

Fig 2.5  The Seagate GoFlex Home PUBLIC folder has since gained a MOVIES folder among others

As you can see: You can rip cds whereby their tracks are copied (ripped) directly into the folder of a wireless network hard drive, such as the Seagate GoFlex Home wireless networked hard drive. And the same applies to downloaded, iCloud based, music files and so on. iTunes is very flexible, as are wireless network hard drives, so do not be afraid of them as a technology. Remember, with the Seagate GoFlex Home and other wireless network hard drives you can also share folders and files stored on them with other devices such as iPads and Laptops which means you might only need your music collection stored in one place; on the Seagate GoFlex Home for example.