Linux CD ripping in 2021 using Asunder

Submitted by charm on Wed, 06/23/2021 - 09:24
Using Asunder to rip a CD under Xubuntu 20.04

Linux CD ripping using Asunder

Asunder is a simple music CD ripping program for Linux. The version of Asunder in Xubuntu 20.04 needs some tweaking to work better, here's how to fix some of the shortcomings of Asunder in Xubuntu 20.04.

Setting Xubuntu to open Asunder when a CD is inserted

The default installation of Xubuntu 20.04 opens the parole media player program whenever a music CD is inserted into the CD/DVD/Blue-ray drive. To change this behaviour:

  1. Open the settings manager by clicking on the whisker menu and then clicking on the settings manager icon.
  2. Scroll down to the Removable Drives and Media icon and click on it.
  3. Click on the multimedia tab in the Removable Drives and Media window.
  4. Under play audio CDs when inserted, change the text parole --device=%d to asunder --device=%d.

Asunder doesn't identify music

The version of Asunder in Xubuntu 20.04 is set to look up CDs from a database that no longer exists (FreeDB). GNUDB has since replaced FreeDB as the CD lookup database of choice. To set Asunder to do CD database lookups from

  1. Open Asunder (in the whisker menu type Asunder and click on the asunder icon. If you haven't installed asunder yet, open a terminal and type sudo apt install asunder.
  2. Click the Preferences button near the top of the Asunder interface.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. In the CDDB server field change the text to
Linux CD ripping with Asunder starts with changing the freedb database to the gnudb database.
Setting Asunder to do CD lookups from instead of the obsolete

Choose another location and file format for files

As installed in Xubuntu 20.04 Asunder puts files and folders into the "home" directory. I prefer to put my music into the music sub-folder off the home folder. So for a user named chaslinux the files would go to /home/chaslinux by default, and /home/chaslinux/Music when we change the option.

To change the default file storage location:

  1. Open Asunder
  2. Click the Preferences button.
  3. Under the General tab click the Destination folder drop down and choose other, now browse to the Music folder (or whatever folder you want to save your music files to).

Ogg Vorbis is the default file format Asunder is set to in Xubuntu 20.04. The great thing about the Ogg Vorbis format is that it's a free (as in freedom) format. The not-so-great thing about the .ogg vorbis format is it isn't as widely supported as closed formats such as mp3, and it's a lossy format, meaning that in order to make the file smaller some data is taken away from the file. The smaller the ogg (mp3 is also a lossy format) file, the more data has been "lost" from the music file. I prefer to use flac, which is also not as well supported as mp3, but uses a "lossless" compression method to make files small. To change from .ogg to .flac:

  1. Open Asunder
  2. Click the Preferences button
  3. Click the Encode tab
  4. Uncheck the .ogg option and check the .flac option
Changing Asunder's default file format from .ogg to .flac
By default Asunder uses .ogg, the Encode tab can be used to change to .flac and a number of other options.

If you decide to check the mp3 option Asunder may not create mp3 files without first installing mp3 encoding software. LAME is a great command line mp3 encoder that can be installed by opening a terminal and typing in: sudo apt install lame.

Some other options you may want to consider checking

Asunder is a pretty simple Linux CD ripping program compared to all-in-one solutions like amaroK (which can also rip CDs, but is a music playing/organizing program first), but there are some additional "quality of life" changes you might want to make on the Preferences/General and Advanced tabs. I like to check the Eject disc when finished option on the Preferences/General tab. On the Preferences/Advanced tab I also checked Log to /var/log/asunder.log so I can check logs if something goes wrong.

One option I miss that Asunder doesn't have is converting spaces to underscores _. That said, Xubuntu comes with a program named "Bulk Rename" that can be used to rename files after the fact. (However this isn't perfect since any .m3u files won't have the new names in them). If automatic underscores are a must have option, amaroK is another great program that can run under Xubuntu with this option, but be wary that amaroK adds a bunch of KDE-related libraries to your system (which are not harmful, but contribute to system bloat).