CD Ripping

HMusicCentre is a fully featured CD Ripper. For MP3 encoding it uses the LAME MP3 encoder and uses the excellent BASS Audio Libraries to facilitate this calling, as well as for playing the MP3 files.

As HMusicCentre intends to be as 'hi-fi' as possible, a default constant bitrate of 320kbps is used for MP3 encoding, i.e. "--preset insane" - which is the absolute highest quality with no regard to filesize. With this setting a full CD generally uses up just over 100mb of disk space - which is still a quarter or a fifth the size of CD-quality WAV files without any discernible loss of quality - at least to my ears. This is all changeable in the Settings of HMusicCentre though - a variety of default encoding settings can be selected, or you can enter your own if you so desire.

HMusicCentre will also play MP3s that have been encoded at less than 320kbps but it doesn't like to do it - it feels just a bit dirty to be honest and we'd all prefer it if you stuck to 320kbps as that's more acceptable to the ears... leave less than 320kbps MP3s for your iPod and the car.

The image above shows HMusicCentre when it has pulled down the CD details from the FreeDB2 CD database and the Cover from Amazon and is ready to start ripping the CD Tracks to MP3 files in the HMusicCentre Library.

HMusicCentre connects to the FreeDB2 database using protocol level 1, to pull down CD information so that the set of Tracks to be ripped are named in a manner that HMusicCentre finds preferable - "TrackName (00).mp3". As soon as the Tracks on the CD have been ripped, the Album is ready for playing in HMusicCentre.

Versions: HMusicCentre was developed, and is shipped, with LAME 3.96.1 and BASS 2.2 - although it has been tested successfully with both LAME 3.92 and LAME 3.97b1.