It’s been pretty obvious, at least to me, that about 80 percent of all the articles I write about Linux software are programs fairly specific to the GNOME desktop environment. This is mainly because I use Ubuntu (and not Kubuntu or Xubuntu), which uses GNOME and not KDE or xfce or any other environment. But that doesn’t mean I’m unable to use KDE or xfce programs; I just tend to ignore them. Often this is because in order to install many KDE programs (as an example), it’s necessary to install numerous KDE libraries, which greatly enlarges the size of the installation. Because of this, what would otherwise be a small program (and would be if it was a GNOME-specific application), can be in the hundreds of megabytes.
Still, there are a lot of good programs for KDE, and since they typically work just as well in GNOME as in KDE, it doesn’t make sense to ignore them entirely! So over the past couple days I’ve been trolling the KDE-apps.org website, looking for KDE programs I hadn’t heard of that seemed interesting. One of those programs is Audex, a great CD ripping application.
The first thing that happens when you open Audex and insert a CD is that the CD is scanned. Audex looks for certain traits, such as number of tracks and track length, then compares this to the CDDB, an online CD database. With the information it receives back, it is able to identify the CD, which also means filling in such information as artist, album, track name, release date and more. If the information is correct, you only need to select your ripping profile and start Audex ripping, or if it is different from your needs (or just plain wrong, with does happen occasionally), you can edit it to suit your needs. And if you also want cover art, Audex can download and embed cover art into each ripped track.
There are four different ripping formats by default, MP3, FLAC, AAC and WAV, and a total of 8 different profiles. Three each for MP3 and AAC, and one each FLAC and WAV. The three different profiles for the more portable formats (MP3 and AAC), are for high, medium and standard quality, but if you want to edit these or create new ones, you can.
Once you’re finished, just select the profile you want and click the Rip button. Based on your settings, Audex will place the ripped and converted tracks to wherever you want on your hard drive, and will be named according to your choosing. Audex supports high-level error correction via what it calls “full paranoia mode.” This will identify and attempt to fix all errors it finds, for a very accurate rip, but will also take longer than if you turn off those features. You can turn off either paranoia mode or choose to never skip an error it finds.
Audex also has title correction tools. This allows you to choose your divider string (a dash by default), plus the ability to swap artists and titles, capitalize each word of the title, or auto-fill artist tags.
As I said at the beginning, I generally choose GNOME tools when using the GNOME desktop environment. But were that not the case, Audex would be a fantastic choice for ripping software. It is simple to use, easy to understand, and has a lot of nice features (including the ability to create playlists). Despite being made for KDE, it looks and works fine for GNOME users, and is a good example of high quality Linux software.