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Ripping a CD

Apple intended the process of converting the music on an audio CD to computer data to be painless, and it is. Here's how to go about it:

Launch iTunes.

Insert an audio CD into your computer's CD or DVD drive.

By default, iTunes will try to identify the CD you've inserted and log onto the Web to download the CD's song titles—a very handy feature for those who find typing such minutia to be tedious. But if you'd prefer that this didn't happen, choose Preferences (in the iTunes menu in OS X and in the Edit menu in Windows and Mac OS 9.2 and earlier), click the General tab, and uncheck the Connect to Internet When Needed check box (Figure 2.1).

Figure 2.1. To download song titles from a CD automatically, make sure that the Connect to Internet When Needed option is selected in the iTunes Preferences dialog box.

The CD appears in iTunes' Source list and the titles in the Song list to the right (Figure 2.2).

Figure 2.2. This album's song titles were downloaded from the Web automatically by iTunes.

To convert the audio tracks to a format compatible with your iPod—AAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, AIFF, or WAV—click the Import button (Figure 2.3) in the top-right corner of the iTunes window.

Figure 2.3. Click this button to import CD tracks into iTunes.

(To import only certain songs, choose Select None from the Edit menu and then click the boxes next to the songs you want to import. Click the Import button to import just those selected songs.)

iTunes begins encoding the files.

iTunes will import songs via the encoder you've chosen in the Importing section of the iTunes Preferences dialog box (Figure 2.4). By default, iTunes 2 and 3 import songs as MP3 files. iTunes 4 imports songs in AAC format. (Encoding files in AAC format is not possible in earlier versions.) iTunes 4.5 and later can also import songs by using the Apple Lossless Encoder. All versions of iTunes can import songs as AIFF and WAV files. For more information on setting importing preferences, see the sidebar “Import Business: File Formats and Bit Rates” in this section.

Figure 2.4. iTunes 4's default file-encoding settings.

iTunes 4.1 introduced a new option, which remains today, in the Importing section of the Preferences window: Use Error Correction When Reading Audio CDs. If some of your CDs are scratched and tend to skip when you import them, try switching on this option to import a cleaner copy of the music. Note that this option slows the import process, so enable it only for problem CDs.

Click the Library button.

You'll see the songs you just imported.

To listen to a song, click its name in the list and then click the Play button or press the spacebar.



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