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How to Convert CDs to MP3s Using VLC Player

VLC Media Player is a free cross-platform audio and video player and transcoder provided by VideoLAN, a non-profit organisation. VLC supports playback and conversions of dozens of input and output formats, including VCDs, DVDs and audio CDs. Ripping your CD to MP3 in VLC is moderately easy; however, it will only convert one song at a time. Note that VLC is not automatically set up for specific conversions, so you must set it up manually. If converting for a certain program or portable device, consult your specific user manual for any MP3 specifications before you begin.

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  1. Launch VLC Media Player. Insert your audio CD into your disc drive. Click out of any pop-up windows if your computer recognises the disc.

  2. Click the "Media" tab in the top-left corner of VLC's main screen. Select the "Convert/Save" option.

  3. Choose the "Disc" tab at the top of the "Open Media" screen. Select the "Audio CD" button.

  4. Click the "Browse..." button next to the "Disc Device" field and choose your audio CD from the list of options. Press the "up" arrow next to the "Starting Position" field so your "Track" is set to number 1.

  5. Press the "Convert/Save" button at the bottom of the screen to enter the "Convert" screen. Click the "Profile" drop down box and select the "Audio - MP3" export setting.

  6. Click the third toolbar icon directly to the right of the "Profile" box to create a new export profile. Name your profile, as you will use this preset for all your subsequent audio tracks

  7. Click the "Encapsulation" tab. Choose the "WAV" option. Click the "Audio Codec" tab and select "MP3" from the "Codec" drop down box. Make sure the "Audio" box on the left side of the screen is checked and click "Save" to return to the "Convert" window.

  8. Click the "Browse" button on the right side of the screen to open a pop-up search screen. Choose a location to save your audio file to. Name your track, including the ".MP3" file extension. You must include this file extension or VLC will convert your audio to the wrong format. Click "Save" to return to the "Convert" window.

  9. Press the "Start" button at the bottom of the screen to convert your first track. When conversion is complete, repeat Step 4; this time, choose your second track. Click "Convert/Save" and choose your previously saved export profile from the "Profile" drop-down box. Click "Start" to convert your second track. Repeat for your entire audio CD.

  10. Tip

    Change your MP3 bitrate and mono or stereo channelling options in the "Audio Codec" tab. Consult your user manual for specific settings, although VLC's presets will work fine for playback on your computer.

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About the Author

Andrew Schrader has been a professional writer and filmmaker since 2004. He works as a writer and director, holding a Bachelor of Arts in film and media studies from UC Santa Barbara. Schrader specializes in writing about technology and computer software.

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