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Rip CD Collection

How To Rip Your CD Collection on VortexBox
If you have a large CD collection and you want to rip it on your VortexBox, it's a good idea to think through the process before you start, so you can do it in the most efficient manner. I have ripped more than 500 CDs on my VortexBox, and have come up with the following process that works quite well:

1. Change the VB CD Ripper defaults to rip to an Artist/Album directory structure.
By default, the VB CD Ripper uses an “Artist - Album” directory structure, with all albums being ripped to the same directory. With a large CD collection, it makes more sense to have a separate directory for each artist, with all albums for an artist stored in a directory named for the artist. Follow these instructions to change the CD Ripper defaults: How To Rip CDs to an Artist/Album Directory Structure

2. Do not automatically mirror FLAC to mp3 when you rip a CD.
VortexBox provides a FLAC mirror which will convert your FLAC files to mp3 for use by iTunes and portable music players. You can have VB mirror the FLAC files to mp3 at the same time you rip the CD to FLAC, but I suggest not doing this. Mirror later after you have fixed the FLAC tags and cover art to get them exactly the way you want. So make sure the “Enable automatic mp3 mirroring” box is NOT checked on the VB FLAC mirror page http://vortexbox/flacmirror.php.(external link)

3. Stop Logitech Media Server when ripping many CDs.
If you are ripping a lot of CDs in succession, stop LMS while you are ripping to avoid extra rescans of the LMS music library. Go to the VB GUI System Configuration page http://vortexbox/system.php(external link) and click the Stop button next to Logitech Media Server.

4. Watch the Ripper log file while ripping.
When you rip a CD, watch the VB Ripper log at http://vortexbox/ripstatus.php(external link) to see how the rip is progressing. There are several things to watch for:

4a. See if the ripper finds metadata for the CD.
If the Ripper log shows “Unknown Artist, Unknown Album”, and you have a Windows or Mac machine with an optical drive, abort the rip immediately by clicking the “Restart Auto Ripper” button. Then delete the “Unknown Artist/Unknown Album” directories and files with Windows Explorer or Mac Finder.

If you have a Windows machine with an optical drive: Rip the CD with dBpoweramp(external link). dBpoweramp has better metadata sources than the VB CD ripper, and you can edit tags prior to the rip to get them right. You can set up dBpoweramp to rip directly to your VB, or copy the ripped files to your VB afterwards. dbPoweramp costs $38, but is well worth it.

If you have a Mac with an optical drive: Rip the CD with XLD(external link). Users have reported that XLD can find metadata for CDs that show up as “Unknown” with the VB ripper. XLD cannot replace spaces by underscores in filenames, so if you rip with XLD, you may want to edit the filenames it generates to match the rest of your collection.

If you don't have another computer with an optical drive: You can let the VB rip continue. When the rip completes, rename the directory from “Unknown Album” to the appropriate name. Then use Mp3tag to find metadata for the CD and fix the track filenames. See this VB forum post(external link) for details.

Mp3tag for Windows(external link) Mp3tag for Mac(external link)

4b. Rip classical CDs with dBpoweramp.
The metadata returned by the VB CD Ripper is often not very good for classical CDs. You'll have much better results if you rip classical CDs with dBpoweramp. You can edit tags before the rip to get them the way you want. There are many ways to tag classical CDs, and you have to figure out a consistent way to do it. See Classical Style Guide(external link) and Beginner's Guide to Classical(external link) for more info.

4c. See if the ripper hangs up due to a Hidden Track at the start.
Some CDs have a Hidden Track at the start; this can cause the VB CD Ripper to hang. If you see this, abort the rip by clicking the “Restart Auto Ripper” button. You can then rip the CD with dBpoweramp, excluding the Hidden Track, or follow these instructions to rip the CD on VortexBox: How to Rip a CD with a Hidden Track

4d. See if the ripper gets the right tags (Artist, Album, Track Titles, Year, Genre).
Sometimes the metadata returned for the CD isn't exactly right. The Year field may be missing. The Genre may not be what you want. The Artist name may not be exactly right. The Album title or Track titles may have errors. If you see tag errors, edit the tags with mp3tag after the rip to get them exactly right. Be consistent in how artist names are spelled; e.g. “Al Di Meola” is not the same as “Al di Meola”. It's important to fix tags right away so your music library doesn't wind up with a lot of sloppy, incorrect tags.

5. See if the cover art retrieved by the VB is what you want.
The VB CD Ripper will try to find cover art for the CD, and place it in cover.jpg in the album directory. Sometimes this works well, but sometimes the VB does not find cover art or gets incorrect cover art. If the cover art is missing, incorrect, or too small, you can find better cover art on the Internet. A good source for cover art is Album Art Exchange(external link). Download one of their 600×600 images for your CD, and place it in cover.jpg in the album directory. You can also check link) or Google Images(external link) to find cover art if you can't find it at Album Art Exchange.

You can also use bliss(external link) to find and upgrade cover art; see step 10.

6. Fix directory structure errors.
If you changed the VB Ripper defaults to rip to an Artist/Album structure, you may have to modify the directory structure due to differences in the artist name on various CDs.

For example, say you want all albums by the Eagles to be stored in /storage/music/flac/Eagles. You rip another Eagles CD and it has the artist name “The Eagles”. The VB Ripper will put this album in /storage/music/flac/The_Eagles. You should move the album to /storage/music/flac/Eagles, and delete the /storage/music/flac/The_Eagles directory.

Of course, you should also change the Artist tag in each track from “The Eagles” to “Eagles” with mp3tag. Consistency in directory structure and tagging is important!

7. When you are done with a ripping session, start up the FLAC to mp3 mirror.
Skip this step if you don't want FLAC files mirrored to mp3. If you want the FLAC files mirrored to mp3, now is the time to do it, when the tags in the FLAC files are perfect, and the cover art is exactly what you want. It's a good idea to embed cover art in the mp3 files if you are going to use them in iTunes or in a portable player that can display cover art, like an iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone.

Go to the VB FLAC Mirror page http://vortexbox/flacmirror.php.(external link) Check the “Enable mp3 embedded cover art” box and click the Submit button. Then click the “Start mp3 mirroring” button. The default mp3 quality (190 kbps VBR) is fine for portable players. The encoding from FLAC to mp3 is a CPU-intensive process that can take a lot of time to complete.

7a. Remirror FLAC to mp3 after you change FLAC tags or cover art.
Sometimes you'll find errors in FLAC tags, or upgrade the FLAC cover art after doing an initial mirror to mp3. You should remirror FLAC to mp3 after making changes to FLAC tags or cover art. The remirror process is efficient: it will only update changed FLAC tags or changed FLAC cover art, without redoing the time-consuming FLAC-to-mp3 encoding.

8. When you are done with a ripping session, restart LMS and rescan the media library.
Go to the VB GUI System Configuration page http://vortexbox/system.php(external link) and click the Start button next to Logitech Media Server. Once LMS has started, go to the LMS web page at http://vortexbox:9000.(external link) Click on Settings in the lower right corner of the page. On the Settings page, go to the Rescan Media Library line, select “Look for new and changed media files”, and click Rescan. Sometimes it's best to select “Clear library and rescan everything” to make sure the LMS database is correct. This rescan takes longer, but it will ensure accurate results. If you change cover art, select “Clear library and rescan everything”. When the rescan completes, your newly-ripped CDs should be available for playback.

9. When you are done with a ripping session, and mp3 mirroring has finished, backup your media library to an external USB drive.
This is important! You should always have an up-to-date backup of your media library on an external USB drive; see How To Backup /storage to a USB Drive.

10. Use bliss to help manage your music library.
bliss(external link) is an excellent tool to manage your music library. It can find missing cover art and upgrade existing cover art. It can restructure the directories and files in your music library. It can help with Genre and Year tags. You can install it from the VB GUI Upgrade page http://vortexbox/upgrade.php.(external link) The first 100 “fixes” are free, then you have to pay for more. It's well worth the cost.


How To Rip CDs to Artist/Album Directory Structure

By default, the VB Auto Ripper rips each CD to a directory named “Artist_-_Album”. This results in all of your albums appearing directly in the /storage/music/flac directory. In my opinion, it's better to to rip CDs to an “Artist/Album” directory, so that all CDs for a single artist are in a separate subdirectory. This results in a cleaner directory structure that's easier to navigate. Here's how to do it:

1. Login to your VortexBox; see How To Login to your VortexBox

2. Edit the Auto Ripper config file:

nano /etc/ripit/config

3. Change the line

dirtemplate="$suffix/$artist - $album"



4. Write the file (control-O) and exit (control-X).

5. Restart the Auto Ripper: In a browser, go to the VB Auto Ripper page http://vortexbox/ripstatus.php(external link), and click the “Restart Auto Ripper” button.

6. When you rip a new CD, it will be stored in an Artist/Album directory under /storage/music/flac.

Other Recommended Changes By default, the VB Auto Ripper creates a .m3u playlist file in each album directory. I have never found a use for these playlist files. Here's how to keep them from being generated:

7. Edit /etc/ripit/config:

nano /etc/ripit/config

8. Change the line




9. Write the file (control-O) and exit (control-X).

10. Restart the VB Auto Ripper as in step 5 above.

Restructuring existing albums to an Artist/Album structure If you have already ripped a bunch of CDs using the default ripper settings, and want to restructure them to use an Artist/Album structure, you can use bliss to do the restructuring: link)

Bliss can be installed on your VB from the VB GUI Upgrade page http://vortexbox/upgrade.php.(external link) Bliss provides 100 “fixes” free, then you have to pay for more. It also can be used to find/upgrade album artwork. It's an excellent tool and is well worth the cost.

On the bliss web page at http://vortexbox:3220(external link), go to Settings > File Organization and select Custom Folder and file structure. Specify the rule as

<album_artist>/<album_name>/<tracknumber:nn>_<track_name> to get the same structure as produced by the VB CD ripper with the dirtemplate change in step 3.

Select Move files and folders Manually or Automatically and click Apply Rules, and bliss will go to work.

Note that restructuring existing FLAC albums can break playlists and mirrored mp3 albums that don't match the new FLAC directory structure. If you use the Logitech Media Server TrackStat plugin, that will also be broken by restructuring your albums. So be careful if you do this.


How To Rip From a Second CD/DVD Drive

By default, VortexBox rips from the internal CD/DVD drive at /dev/sr0. It's also possible to rip from a second CD/DVD drive; either another internal drive, or an external USB CD/DVD drive. Here's how:

1. Plug the USB CD/DVD drive into your VortexBox if you want to use it to rip.

2. Login to your VortexBox; see How to login to your VortexBox.

3. Edit the Auto Ripper config file:

nano /etc/ripit/config

4. Change the line




5. Write the file (control-O) and quit (control-X).

If your second CD/DVD drive has a different device name, like /dev/sr2, use that instead of /dev/sr1 in step 4. You can check the devices by entering

ls -l /dev/sr*

6. Restart the Auto Ripper: In a browser, go to the Auto Ripper web page http://vortexbox/ripstatus.php(external link) and click the “Restart Auto Ripper” button, or enter

service vortexbox stop
service vortexbox start

from the command line.

7. The Auto Ripper will use the second CD/DVD drive at /dev/sr1 instead of the internal drive at /dev/sr0.


How To Rip A CD That Will Not Rip Due To Beginning Hidden Track

HiddenTrack Feel free to edit the troublesome CD list at the end of this page.

Some CDs have a Hidden Track at the beginning (Track 00) that can cause the auto ripper to hang. The following routine will force it to rip.

Do the following:
1. Get to the command line in your VortexBox (either by plugging in a monitor or using a remote tool such as putty.) 2. At the command line, Login using username root, Enter your password as set when you installed. 3. Type the following into the command line

service vortexbox stop

4. The command line will say “Stopping vortexbox daemon:OK” 5. Make a note of how many tracks your troublesome CD has by counting them on the back cover. Make a mental note. 6. Type the following into the command line (where MentalNote is the last track number from earlier).

ripit 1-MentalNote

7. This will force the autoripper to rip tracks numbered 1-MentalNote ignoring the hidden track 0. 8. Put the kettle on (British), Grab a cold one (Others) & keep an eye on the command line. 9. CD will be ejected once ripped. 10. Type the following into the command line to put things back to normal

service vortexbox start

11. Voila.

Troublesome CDs David Gray - White Ladder
Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf


How To Update Replay Gain Tags for FLAC Albums

Replay Gain (RG) tags are used to adjust for volume differences between different albums that may have been mastered at different volume levels. For more info, see link) link)

These tags are supported by a variety of players, including the Logitech SqueezeBox hardware players, and many software players as well.

RG tags are especially useful for adjusting for volume differences between tracks from different albums. I have my SqueezeBox players set to use “Smart Gain”, as recommended by several SqueezeBox experts: link)

The VortexBox CD ripper automatically computes Replay Gain tags after a CD has been ripped to PLAC. However, many people import FLAC files from other sources which do not have Replay Gain tags in them. These may be from CDs ripped on other platforms, or hi-res FLAC tracks downloaded from the Internet.

At present, there is no VortexBox GUI button to compute Replay Gain tags for these FLAC files, but a command-line script,, can be used to do this. This script is available in VortexBox 2.2 and VortexBox 2.3 systems.

Note: This script uses “metaflac –add-replay-gain” to do the actual Replay Gain tag calculations. metaflac is part of the flac rpm package from the Fedora repository.

VortexBox 2.2 (Fedora 16) and VortexBox 2.3 (Fedora 20) now use flac-1.3.0. The version of metaflac in this package can handle sample rates of 8, 11.025, 12, 16, 18.9, 22.05, 24, 28, 32, 37.8, 44.1, 48, 56, 64, 88.2, 96, 112, 128, 144, 176.4, or 192kHz for Replay Gain calculations. Make sure your VB 2.2 system is up to date so you are running this version of the flac package.

See man metaflac for more info; check the “–add-replay-gain” option.

Also note that metaflac requires all FLAC tracks in an album directory to have the same sample rate and number of bits for Replay Gain calculations. So if you downloaded hi-res FLAC tracks from the Internet, and want to compute RG tags for them, make sure you store them appropriately. metaflac Replay Gain calculation will fail if it encounters FLAC files with different sample rates or number of bits in a single album directory.

Here is the usage information for

# Applies replaygain tags to all .flac files found within the
# specified directory tree.
# Album gain is also calculated for all files within each directory.
# Usage:
# [options] [directory]
# Options:
#  --processall      Default behaviour is if all files in the directory
#                    have ReplayGain information (specifically, the
#                    REPLAY_ALBUM_GAIN tag) then the directory is skipped.
#                    This option recalculates ReplayGain information
#                    for all directories.
#   --info           Output information (directories processed, etc.)
#   --debug          Output debugging information
#  directory is the directory to scan for flac files. If omitted, the
#  current directory is processed.

To recompute Replay Gain tags for all FLAC files in your music library:

nohup --processall --info /storage/music/flac > /var/log/replay_gain.log 2>&1 &

To only compute Replay Gain tags for FLAC files without RG tags in your music library:

nohup --info /storage/music/flac > /var/log/replay_gain.log 2>&1 &

This runs as a background job and does not tie up the terminal session, and will continue to run if you log out of the terminal session. The output is sent to /var/log/replay_gain.log.

To monitor the progress of the script:

tail -f /var/log/replay_gain.log

You can break out of the monitoring by entering control-c.

You can also run this as a foreground job, but it can take quite a while to complete, and will tie up the terminal session. Output comes to the terminal, and is not saved in a log file: --processall --info /storage/music/flac

If you want to compute Replay Gain tags for just some of the FLAC files in your library, use the pathname to that directory instead of /storage/music/flac. For example, --processall --info /storage/music/flac/HD_tracks


How To Install Crip (A Command-Line Ripper/Encoder) on VortexBox

The VortexBox Auto Ripper sometimes cannot rip or encode a CD. There are several alternatives to try if you have a troublesome CD. If you have a Windows machine with a decent optical drive, you can use dBpoweramp, an excellent ripper/encoder that costs US $38. This is a highly recommended option. See link).

Another alternative is to download and install crip, an interactive command line ripper that you can run on VortexBox. See link). Here's how to do it:

Installing Crip 1. Login to your VortexBox; see Login.

2. Download the crip source code:


3. Unpack the source code:

tar xzvf crip-3.9.tar.gz

4. Install crip in /usr/local/bin:

cd crip-3.9
cp crip /usr/local/bin

5. Create the crip config file:

cp criprc_example $HOME/.criprc

6. Edit the crip config file:

nano $HOME/.criprc

7. Change the following lines in the config file:

encodeto = vorbis


encodeto = flac


editor = vim


editor = nano

You can also set editor = vi if you know how to use vi. If not, nano is a better choice. There are other configuration options you can change; read the comments in the config file and change what you want. When you are done changing the config file, write it with control-o and exit with control-x.

8. Create a rip directory:

mkdir rip

You are now done with the Crip installation.

Running Crip 9. Turn off the VortexBox Auto Ripper:

service vortexbox stop

10. Insert the CD into the optical drive.

11. Run crip:

cd rip

12. Answer the questions that crip asks. You will have a chance to edit the filenames and the tags for each track. See the README file that comes with crip and also the crip tutorial: link)

13. When you're happy with everything, proceed with the rip.

14. When the rip and encode completes, move the FLAC files to the appropriate place in /storage/music/flac; e.g.

mkdir /storage/music/flac/Artist/Album
mv *.flac /storage/music/flac/Artist/Album

where Artist is the name of the artist, and Album is the name of the album.

15. When you're done with the troublesome CD, eject the CD and restart the VortexBox Auto Ripper by

service vortexbox start

16. Get cover art for your CD, either via the VB GUI “Get Cover Art” function, by using bliss, or by downloading it yourself from link), Google Images, or link). If you download the cover art, put it in cover.jpg in the album directory.

17. Have SqueezeBox Server rescan your music library to pick up the new album.

18. Enjoy your new music!

19. If you have more CDs that you want to rip with crip, start with step 9.


cd_how-to_s.txt · Last modified: 2016/02/02 21:27 by keith