A Ripper of a Ripper, Grip

I’ve been mostly satisfied with Sound Juicer as a ripping device on my Ubuntu systems.  I think that for most users its interface is a perfect balance of elegance and simplicity.  I have been using it to encode FLAC files from my CD’s for some time now (see this post).  However, if you are really serious about lossless audio compression you may want to make this next step with me.

I have been recommended an application called Grip (a Gnome based ripping application).  It does have a lot of features where Sound Juicer might be considered lacking, but you’ve also got to be willing to take a bit more of a technical role in setting the application up.

As I said, I think Sound Juicer is good enough for most people in most circumstances.  Don’t feel like you have to run down this path to get good results.  This article, this application, is for those of you who would like to take your anal retentiveness ripping to the next level.  Grip seems to have both a higher compression capacity (smaller files) and better error correction (very fault-intolerant).  But you should make your own decision about whether it is necessary for you.

You can download Grip through Synaptic:

System —> Administration —> Synaptic Package Manger

Mark it for installation and Apply that change.  Once Grip is installed it will be located in your programs:

Applications —> Sound & Video —> Grip

At once you will notice that it has a lot more going for it than Sound Juicer in terms of its interface.  Many tabs with sub-tabs with a plethora of configuration options.  I will go over only those that you will require to prepare for ripping FLAC’s the way that I have mine set up.  You are on your own to explore further.

Choose the Config tab.  Under the CD sub-tab you will have to ensure that your CD device is shown under “CDRom Device:”  The default will be “/dev/cdrom” but my CD drive was listed as cdrom3 under dev (so I had to change that line to “/dev/cdrom3“).  Open a Terminal and run the ls command under /dev to see what your CD drive is called.  (I also ensured that nothing auto-plays.)

Under the Rip sub-tab and under that’s Options sub-tab I unchecked all the auto settings (I don’t like seeing things done before I give the order).  (You shouldn’t need to make any changes under the Ripper sub-tab.)

Now we come to the Encode sub-tab.  Under the Encoder sub-tab select flac from the Encoder: drop-down.  Here are my settings for the four fields which follow:

  • Encode executable: /usr/bin/flac
  • Encode command-line: –best -V8 -o %m %w -T “ARTIST=%A” -T “TRACKNUMBER=%t” -T “ALBUM=%d” -T “TITLE=%n” -T “GENRE=%G” -T “DATE=%y”
  • Encode file extension: flac
  • Encode file format: ~/Music/%A/%d/%t – %n.%x

Sorry, that command-line text gets changed in the html rendering.  You will want to copy and paste this version (or change the — before best into two dashes):

–best -V8 -o %m %w -T “ARTIST=%a” -T “TRACKNUMBER=%t” -T “ALBUM=%d” -T “TITLE=%n” -T “GENRE=%G” -T “DATE=%y”[/CODE]

That first bit (executable) I think calls up the codec for encoding into FLAC.  The file extension is self-explanatory.  The other two I will tell you what I can.

The file format places your encoded files into your Music directory (~/Music) and creates a folder according to the Artist Name (%A) and then a sub-folder according to the Album Title (%d).  Within that album folder the tracks are named as track number (%t), dash, song title (%n), dot (.), and file extension or flac (%x).  That’s how I like mine.  Modify yours as you prefer.

The command-line bit does more than, strictly speaking, it needs to but this streamlines things so this is the way I have set mine up.  The –best tells it to encode FLAC’s at the highest compression possible (which means the slowest compression times).  I don’t know what -V, -o, %m, or %w do but it works and I haven’t seen a need to investigate it.  All the others (each preceded by a -T) creates a specific bit of tag data.  Again, feel free to modify it as you prefer.

I know this arrangement works.  Test your changes to ensure they also work.  Let me know if you discover something interesting or useful.

That tab was fun.  Let’s look at the ID3 sub-tab.  Since I am using the command-line information above to add my tag information I have checked Only tag files ending in ‘.mp3’ and so the remainder of this tab is uninteresting to me.  (Subject to change as I discover something new.)

Those are all the change I made.  Close and reopen Grip to set all of these configurations.

When you insert a CD none of the files will be selected under the Tracks tab.  If you click the Rip+Encode button (under the Rip tab) you will be asked if you want to encode the whole disc.  Alternatively you can select individual tracks for ripping.

Thanks to this page and this page for some of my information.

Happy ripping.


4 thoughts on “A Ripper of a Ripper, Grip

  1. In order to accommodate my scheme for multi-artist discs I make use of the following alterations:

    Encode command-line: –best -V8 -o %m %w -T “ARTIST=%a” -T “TRACKNUMBER=%t” -T “ALBUM=%d” -T “TITLE=%n” -T “GENRE=%G” -T “DATE=%y”

    Encode file format: ~/Music/%A/%d/%t. %a – %n.%x

    You will note that the only change in the command-line arguments is making ARTIST a small instead of a capital ‘a’. This changes it from using the disc artist (which for multi-artist discs is something “Various Artists”) to use the track artist. This should not effect single-artist discs and so I have decided to leave the command-line in this arrangement.

    The encoding format went from 01 – Song Title.flac to 01. Track Artist – Song Title.flac (the change from – to . after the track number relates to my organization scheme and may be disregarded for your purposes).

    I am seeking a way to add disc number information into the tags (and ultimately into the track titles) and will add that when possible.

    1. I had been frustrated because there is no Disc Number field in Grip. I came up with a way to deal with this on the command line:

      Encode command-line: –best -V8 -o %m %w -T “DISCNUMBER=01” -T “ARTIST=%a” -T “TRACKNUMBER=%t” -T “ALBUM=%d” -T “TITLE=%n” -T “GENRE=%G” -T “DATE=%y”

      I hard code in 01 for all discs and then change it (02, 03, &c) for any multi-disc sets.

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