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Music Lovers Freeware: #3 Setting up Simple and FLAC October 19, 2006

Posted by oktyabr in audio, listen to this, software, tutorials, Windows.

Setting up SIMPLE and FLAC is easy!

Just install both applications by clicking on the installers. Simple has the most “complicated” interface but all the controls should be intuitive if you look at them a bit. Anyway, first you want to pop a CD to rip into one of your PCs drives and start Simple by clicking on the “CD ->MP3” desktop icon…

Step 1: Select “Convert CD to MP3” if this isn’t already selected.

Step 2: “CD Target” This is where you get to select the drive, if you have multiples, that the CD you want to rip is currently found in. If the large panel to the right already has a bunch of track information in it then likely Simple found your CD automagically but if you have multiple drives you might want to verify that this is the correct disc anyway.

Step 2 b: Click the “CD/Track_Info” button and you’ll be greated with the ID3 options window. Leave everything in it’s default configuration with the possible exception of the “Genre” and “Year” options and IF you are connected to the internet then make sure the “Try all CDDB Servers” checkbox is selected and click the “Load Info from CDDB”.

Not all servers will work all the time so it may take a few hits and misses (or you can select a particular server from a list if you know one that is currently available) but with a bit of patience you should soon have Title, Artist and Track Names automagically filled in for you via the database lookup.

NOTE: There ARE free CDDB databases and servers on the net you can install locally on a machine but I won’t go into details here, now, unless someone wants to seriously do this…

Anyway, once all your track information has been found click the “OK” button to return to SIMPLE’s main window…

Step 3: Click the “Output Path” button and browse to the location on your computer that you want SIMPLE to store your new ripped tracks. Simple should retain this path from each use so if you put them all in the same folder you should only have to do this once.

Step 4: Select “Options” and then “Settings” from the top bar of the window. Here is where we get to dabble with the important stuff!!!

Most should be pretty self explanatory and in most cases the default settings will work just fine. The one we are most interested in here is the “MP3 Encoder” tab… By default it should have “MP3 Encoder” selected and the options should include which encoder to use (Simple comes with three, “out of the box”, Lame being probably the best quality, GOGO definately being the fastest) and bitrate, which by default is probably 128Kbps, in my opinion, probably the most common tradeoff between very small file sizes and reasonable sound quality, but this is much too low for the descriminating ear!

Anyway, if you want to be just like the Joneses, the default mp3 encoding setup is probably going to work just fine for you and you can click “OK” and then skip the rest of this step Wink

What the rest of us will want is to select a higher quality encoding. I used to use the “Vorbis” option (I think you have to have vorbis tools installed for this to work, click here for more information) but since storage space dropped to well below $1 per GB FLAC is the only format that doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time to me!

Ok, to setup our spankin new FLAC encoder simply select the “External Program” option! A line will be shown in a selector box that looks like this:

Program.exe “$full$” “$path$\$name$.out”

All we have to do is change “Program” to “flac” so it looks like this:

flac.exe “$full$” “$path$\$name$.out”

instead! NOTE: Some windows machines may require a reboot for flac.exe to be found by Simple! If it doesn’t work this way, try a reboot, or if all else fails do a “Start->Search->Files or Folders->flac.exe” and then enter the full path in place of “Program” in the command line above.

That’s it! Click “OK” to return to the original window.

Step 4: Let the fun begin! The top right window should now show a list of all the tracks on your CD with the proper title, time, etc. Select the ones you want to rip by highlighting them; click them once, with the “Ctrl” key held down to select multiples, or select them all to rip the whole CD.

Step 5: Click the “Start” button! Go get a cup of coffee or maybe a beer. Those of you that selected an MP3 encoder instead of FLAC might have time for two drinks as the higher compression used by MP3 will take quite a bit longer than the lossless FLAC format to complete Smile

If you are encoding into FLAC a DOS window should pop up as each track is encoded. Nothing to do here but watch and wait.

When it’s done go to your music folder and listen away! Enjoy!



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