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Grip is the Master of CD Ripping

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Jason Jones

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Posted: 8 Nov 2004

If you get find yourself getting tired of swapping CDs when you listen to music on your computer, let me assure you - there is a better way. With CDs, you get to listen to around 15 songs at a time. With computers, you can listen to literally tens of thousands of songs in a playlist.

A wonderful program has been written to make it easy for you to transfer your songs from your CD collection, to your computer -- and reduce the size of the song by as much as 12 times.

Grip is the name of this program.

If you want to convert your CD collection into mp3, mp4, aac, ogg, flac, wav, aif, or just about any other format, Grip is here to save your day.

Before I get started on the basic usage of this godsend, let's make sure you have it. Open YAST, click on install and remove software. Type in grip into the search field and ?grip? should appear. Install it and you're good to go.

Now, why am I so much in love with this program? I'll tell ya. It's the easiest ?CD to mp3? solution I've *ever* found (yes, that includes Windows solutions, too). After the initial configuration, Grip requires nothing more than inserting your CD, waiting for a couple of minutes for magic to happen, and watching your CD tray open as if to say ?Ahhh... I'm done, can I have another?? It's fantastic.

Now, enough of the praise, let's get down to business.


In order to run grip, you simply press ALT-F2 and type grip into the field. Press enter, and the magic begins.

Due to the amount of features Grip has, I'll have to limit the scope of this article to just setting it up as an automatic CD to mp3 ripper, although it can be used to do much more than this.

To start, you should see something like figure 1 pop up. If you don't have anything in your CD tray, the window will be blank. As soon as you insert something into your CD tray, you should see something happen. Grip automatically senses the CD, and lists the contents in the main window. If you're connected to the Internet, it may try to use CDDB to get the names of the Artist / Tracks for you.

If it doesn't, you can simply click on the following button to get it to look for you.

*note -- if your CD is homemade, or one that is not widely known, there is a good chance it won't be in the CDDB database. This means name of the artist / tracks / CD will not appear.

Now that your CD is recognized, you're ready to rock 'n' roll with ripping. The first thing you need to do is figure out which songs you want to rip. Select the ones you want by clicking on the little checkbox under the ?rip? column by the song you wish to rip. If you want to rip the whole thing, don't select any yet.

After you've selected your songs, go ahead and click on the Config tab. After that, click on the Rip tab underneath. When that's done, click the Options tab underneath that.

If you want Grip to automatically start ripping the whole CD as soon as it is put in the CD drive (great for ripping collections of CDs), you'll want to make sure the ?Auto-rip on insert? and ?Auto-eject after rip? options are checked.

After those are checked, click on the Encode tab under the top Config tab. Then make sure the Encoder tab is selected below that.

This screen ensures you are using the correct encoding method (i.e. Mp3, or ogg, or mp4, or whatever you wish to use). The figure showing to the left is configured to use ?lame? as the encoder. Lame is, in my opinion, the best mp3 encoder on the market, so I recommend using it for your mp3 conversions.

Everything else should be set correctly in this panel.

Grip's encoder is set to 128kbs by default. This should be good enough for most people, but if you want to encode a bit better audio, you can up this to 160 or 192 (just make sure they're multiples of 32). You can do this by clicking on the Options tab in the third row down -- right next to Encoder, and changing the ?Encoding Bitrate? field.

Now with that set, you're on your way to ripping your first CD with Grip. Before we do, though, it probably would be good to know that Grip's default is to create an mp3 directory off your home directory for the mp3s. It then creates a subdirectory of the Artist's name, and then another subdirectory with the CD name, and then the track names go inside that directory.


/home/jason/mp3/Robert Miles/Dream Land/Children.mp3

Let's RIP!

To start the process, click on the Rip tab. Here we've got a few options open to us (that's what Linux is all about: options, right?).

  • Rip+Encode will create an mp3 of the tracks.
  • Rip Only will create an uncompressed ?wav? file of the tracks -- this file will be about 11 times larger than the mp3 file, so be careful.

To begin, click on the Rip+Encode button and you're ready to rock!

*note -- if you didn't select any tracks to be ripped, a window will appear giving you the option to rip the whole CD. Just click ?OK? and it'll begin.

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