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Slow ripping causes

This article tries to help you investigating possible causes of slow ripping.

First of all let's try to define what we should consider as slow ripping: it mainly depends on the CD reader maximum speed. If your PC CD Reader supports CD reading at 10x you should expect that the ripping time is about one tenth of the audio actual length. Example: a 40 minutes track should be ripped in 4 minutes at 10x speed.

Of course ripping process speed depends also from your computer CPU and output device (usually your PC Hard Disk), and it depends also on the output encoding format.

Anyway here follows a practical guide about investigating a slow ripping problem in order to find the exact cause of it, and hopefully fix it.

First of all try with different CDs. If just one CD gives problems, that it is probably dirty or scratched. If with any CD the ripping process is slow, then you must understand whether ripping is slow because CD reading is slow or because encoding is slow.

To do it try to rip a CD track to WAV format and then the same track to MP3 format. Is ripping to Wav a lot faster than ripping to MP3? If it is not faster than the problem is on the CD reading side, otherwise it is on the encoding side. If encoding to Wav is slower than encoding to MP3 than it is a problem of speed of the target device.

If the problem is on the encoding side then you probably need a faster CPU or more RAM memory.

In the case that ripping to wav is slower than ripping to mp3, then it could be a problem of slow output media. This can happen in the case you directly rip tracks from CD to your MP3 Player or to a memory card: USB devices (expecially old ones) can be really slow! Try change output path to a folder located on your Hard Drive, speed should improve. Or try to swich to USB v2 hardware in the case your USB devices are USB v1.

If the speed in ripping to MP3 and to WAv is roughly the same, than the problem could be one of the following:

  1. You own a very old CD reader that does not allow reading speed greater than 2x (=reads at the double of the speed=ripping takes about one half than the actual playing time) or 4x . In this case, you need a new CD Player device.
  2. You rip from a USB CD player: in this case be sure that it is a USB v2 device and it is connected to a USB v2 port, because USB v1 devices/ports are very slow.
  3. CD gets many reading errors and must repeat the reading process. In this case you probably hear odd sounds coming from the CD player during the ripping process because CD player needs to move laser head back and forth in order to repeat the reading of bad frames. In this case you can try to clean your CD player or consider to get a new one.
  4. There is a resource conflict so that IO reads from CD and simultaneous IO writes to PC HD generate internal errors and slow down the process. In this case you can try to open Windows Event Viewer and search for system log errors to investigate the problem. If you find errors related to your CD or HD drives, you need to undertand what's wrong and fix it (usually working on BIOS settings or replacing incompatible or damaged hardware parts).