I’m going to be spending the majority of this post discussing the process of getting all of the music from the original CD sources digitised onto the PC hard drive ready for use within Ableton later.
And yes, I am a PC.
IMPORTING USING EAC
The first step in importing the CDs was to decide on what piece of software to use to complete the task, as although there were a number of options I could choose from, I had to sit and weigh up the various pros and cons.
Initially I was going to use Sony Sound Forge for the task as I have been a user of that particular piece of software for many years and I figured that by sticking to what I already know I could speed up the general workflow for the process. Despite this, I opted against using Sound Forge and instead decided upon using a free piece of software called Exact Audio Copy.
Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is pretty infamous within audiophile circles as being one of the best pieces of software available for CD ripping, burning and conversion. The amount of options under the hood are staggering and it contains more than enough options to keep even the most hardened CD enthusiast occupied for hours.
Due to this complexity, I had to spend a number of hours just playing around with the settings and reading through various tutorials on the internet before even attempting to rip a CD.
For those interested in knowing more about the software here is are some links to official website and to the tutorial I used:
After configuring EAC the way I prefered via the tutorial outlined above, I then went about setting up a workflow for the process by creating separate folders on my hard drive for CD1 & CD2 of the compilation, and within each of these folders I created separate track titled folders for each of the WAV files.
During the ripping process I also created a .cue file which is basically an image file than can be used to burn a replica of the original CD at a later date, but in my case I was more concerned with opening the file not within burning software, but in a text editor so that I could read the ISRC codes for use later on in the CD mastering session (I’ll be doing an entire chapter on CD Red Book standard and ISRC codes much later in the blog).
In terms of the actual ripping process, I ripped each CD in its entirety to the hard drive at 16 bit 44.1khz (identical to the CD source) and as mentioned above made sure EAC created a .cue file with each rip.
The burn speed was set to 1x to make sure the highest amount of detail and care was taken during the ripping process which unfortunately due to EAC’s extremely thorough ripping process took about 20 minutes per CD, so as you can imagine this task alone took the best part of a day for all the CD singles!
As dry as the subject matter and inner details of this process was, I must admit the nostalgia I mentioned in the previous chapter did hit me strongly on occasion, especially knowing that I was handling a stack of CDs that had a lot of past history in terms of my inspiration and the original Euphoria compilation, but also for the music and trance fans in particular who were involved in the scene back in the 1990s.
When ripping the CDs, it was very hard not to sit and dwell on the actual concept of the CD single, the physical collector side to it all, and think about all the people involved in the creation, as I believe that the more we seem to go ‘digital’ the more we seem to forget the human elements.
Once all the CD singles were imported onto my desktop as WAV files I then went about copying each of the tracks needed for the compilation into their corresponding folders on my hard drive along with their respective .cue files. The reason I highlight the term copying is that once this task was completed, I then went about encoding the original CD single rips on my desktop from .WAV to 320kbps CBR MP3.
There were two reasons for this:
A) To update my iTunes & iPod library with the CD singles, not only for my own pleasure but for an element of the method mixing I’ll be explaining later during the track editing chapter.
B) To enable me to then copy MP3 versions of the relevant tracks across to my laptop for DJ’ing and mix practise sessions within Ableton later. Again, another area I’ll be discussing later in the blog.