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How To Rip an Audio CD to FLAC with Foobar2000

Foobar2000 is a great audio player that is fully customizable, is light on system resources, and contains a lot of tools and features. Today we show you how to use it to rip an audio CD to FLAC format.

Note: For this tutorial we’re going to assume this is the first time you’re ripping a disc with Foobar2000. We’re running it on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

Install Foobar2000 and FLAC

First download and install Foobar2000 (link below). The main thing you’ll want to make sure to enable during the install process is Audio CD Support

1rip

And the freedb Tagger which are located under Optional Features, then continue through the rest of the install wizard.

2rip

Next you need to install the latest version of the FLAC codec (link below) following the defaults.

10flac

Rip Audio CD

To rip a CD, place it in your CDROM drive, launch Foobar2000 and click File \ Open Audio CD.

3rip

Select the appropriate CD drive and click the Rip button.

4rip

Next you’ll want to lookup the disc information with freedb…or you can manually enter in the track data if it’s a custom disc.

5rip

Select the proper tag information in the freedb tagger window, then click Update files.

6rip

The data will be entered in, make sure the radio button next to Go to the Converter Setup dialog is selected, and click the Rip button.

7rip

In the Converter Setup screen, here you can select the output format, where in our case we’re selecting FLAC.

8rip

In this window you can choose several other options like the output path, merging the tracks into one or individual files…etc. When you have those settings completed click OK.

9rip

Next you’ll need to find flac.exe which is located wherever you installed it. On our 64-bit Windows 7 system the default path is C:\Program Files (x86)\FLAC

11flac

Now wait while your CD is ripped and converted to FLAC.

13convert

You’ll get a Converter Status Report…after you’ve checked it over you can close out of it.

14report

If you set the option to show the output files after conversion you can take a look, make sure all tracks were converted, and play them right away if you want. You can play the tracks in Foobar2000 or any player that supports FLAC. If you want to use WMC or WMP see our article on how to play FLAC files in Windows 7 Media Center or Player.

16play

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That’s all there is to it! If you’re a fan of Foobar2000 and enjoy your music converted to FLAC format, Foobar2000 does the job quite well. There are a lot of customizations and tools you can use in Foobar2000 that we’ll be taking a look at in future articles. For more information check out our look at this fully customizable music player.

Foobar2000 run on XP, Vista, and Windows 7

Links

Download Foobar2000

Download FLAC

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/27/10

Comments (8)

  1. Tom

    EAC or nothing!

  2. Ron M Kolman

    Curious.

    At bottom of HTG newsletters, there are four sections: Similar Articles, Productive Geek Tips, Latest Software Reviews, and Tinyhacker Random Tips. Regarding the software you promote under “Latest Software Reviews”, are these products and companies you recommend paid sponsorships, or exclusively born of R&D with no reimbursement involved?

    Just wondering. I see the same (to me) questionable products being promoted again and again.

    Thanks,
    Ron Kolman.

  3. The Geek

    @Ron

    Those are reviews of products, and we don’t make any money from them at all. We’ve also not updated that section in a while… we should probably do that!

  4. Tom

    Is there any way to create a .cue at the same time?

  5. 1fastbullet

    Good article, from a technical standpoint. But the question that haunts me is, “Why would anyone want to rip to .flac, anyway”? Flac is fat, doesn’t play well with others (i.e., most disc players) and you are still stuck with no better quality than that from which you ripped (which, in most cases was already a format you could use in you car, portable and home systems).

    I’ve never professed to be terribly bright, but what am I missing here?

  6. Mysticgeek

    @1fastbullet: It’s just a matter of preference. Some people like ogg. mp3, WMA…etc. It’s just really a matter of preference and what sounds best to the individual.
    I personally like FLAC because it is lossless, I can hear the difference in the music I rip, and have plenty of storage space.
    There is no “right” answer…just a matter of preference. :-)

  7. krabapple

    @fastbullet
    If you are ‘ripping’ it is usually from a CD. So you wouldn’t expect to get ‘better’ quality from a rip (except in the special case where careful ripping ‘fixes’ the audio from a scratched CD) , but you can get ‘perfect’ quality (by ripping to WAV or to a smaller, lossless compressed format like FLAC or Apple Lossless), or you can get ‘reduced’ quality (in measureable terms, but you might not hear any difference) by ripping to a much smaller, lossy compressed format like MP3.

    also, lots of people don’t play ‘discs’ anymore in their cars/portables/home, they play files off a drive (like an iPod or their laptop hard drive) . So the issue is not so much whether the player can play FLAC files off a disc, as whether they can play FLAC audio files period. (iPods can’t, but they can play Apple Lossless. Lots of computer software CAN play FLAC files though)

    People rip to FLAC because 1) it’s smaller than WAV 2) files can be tagged with artist, album, artwork etc info display on players 3) it’s lossless (‘perfect’ retention of audio quality) and finally 4) can be used as a source to convert to even more portable/popular lossy formats like MP3. Lots of people create a lossless (‘perfect quality’) archive of their CDs , than use that to make MP3 versions for their iPods and whatnot.

    (4) is important because you usually shouldn’t covnert from a lossy format to another lossy format, as you may start to hear the degradation. Better to start with a lossless source when converting to lossy.

  8. krabapple

    that should read “Lots of people create a lossless (‘perfect quality’) archive of their CDs , THEN use that …”

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