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Back in the day, there was grip. It had a complicated, somewhat ugly UI, but everything was configurable and, generally, it worked. Then it was abandoned.

Now, there are all sorts of tools, but finding one that has reasonable configurability (please let me provide the command line for lame ... that's all I ask!) has been a multi-year frustration. I guess I understand the desire to keep things simple, but surely somebody else out there wants to use "--preset extreme". Grip also had a neat system for handling special characters in track names (ripped any Sigur Rós or múm albums?) that I've not seen in other tools.

Here are the ones I've tried:

  • abcde — painful "ui", irritating and tricky to deal with when CDDB has no data, but it is configurable and overall it's the best of the lot (amazingly)
  • asunder — cannot configure lame options, doesn't act unix-y w.r.t. configuration options (eg paths with leading slashes aren't considered absolute)
  • ripperx — more configurable, in that it allows "extra" options to lame, confusing UI, documentation way out of date
  • sound-juicer — Ubuntu docs warn people away due to some gstreamer problems
  • rubyripper — tried this and hated it for reasons I can't recall now, and it's not in the repositories anyway
  • banshee — inadequate configuation options, wretched iTunes-like UI (I'm probably a minority in that view), sluggish and bloated

I haven't tried the KDE tools.

Is my basic problem that I'm living in the past here? Is there some awesome ripper/encoder in the repository that cleverly evades searches via synaptic?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Of the collection of tools that you mention in your list I just have used the sound-juicer for CD Audio Ripping and experienced no issueas at all. Nevertheless, I also use (not so often) some KDE applications, running natively on my gnome environment without a hassle and doing a great work. Of which I suggest you to give a try to:


enter image description here Additional screenshots in the official site.


enter image description here Additional screenshots here

Maybe these won't fit all your requirements but it is yet worth to try. The list may be long if you look for alternatives to all the software you have tested and these two I provided here. And I am sure you will find good alternatives which will fit all your needs soon.

Good luck!

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OK thank you very much! I should try those ... I get frustrated every time I sit down to rip a new stack of CDs! – Pointy Dec 23 '11 at 21:04

Well, I agree with the OP. There is nothing as good as "Grip" as a very configurable front-end (for cdparanoia, ...). "Grip" = "abcde" (if only "abcde" had atleast a configurable GUI ???).

Luckily I use Arch Linux, as well as Ubuntu, and as can be seen here, Arch Linux still takes care of "Grip". We love our Audio that much !

Grip in their main repos. :)

pacman -S grip

( and thats it, rip/encode to your hearts content).

There isn't much to maintain with "Grip", and that always was/is the beauty about "Grip", -it just always worked. It's utterly sad and shameful, that Ubuntu(which uses Gnome for gawd sakes)/Debian cannot atleast have kept "Grip" simply available, in their repo's too ???

So my answer alternatively is, grab a copy of "Archbang", or "Bridge Linux", and simply "Get A Grip !!!" :)

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Wow that's a great idea - I need to try it out on a spare machine. Mostly I'm on Ubuntu due to inertia :-) – Pointy Dec 30 '12 at 17:27
Rather than switching Linux distributions, I would recommend checking out 1) whether someone already ported it to recent Ubuntu releases in a PPA (yes there is, until Oneiric) 2) build Grip from source yourself. Consider getting in touch with this Marco Vermeulen to get it updated for current Ubuntu releases. – gertvdijk Dec 30 '12 at 17:54

I've rebuilt Grip for Ubuntu 12.04 in case you can't get used to the alternatives. Available in my PPA. Enjoy!

While the development of Grip appears to be dead and therefore removed from Ubuntu's repositories, forward porting it to a current Ubuntu release isn't that hard. I've found a Grip PPA by Marco Vermeulen, but unfortunately it does not provide any packages for Ubuntu releases after Oneiric.

This was a simple no-change rebuild from Marco's PPA. I couldn't test it completely, as I don't have an optical drive in my PC anymore. I don't have an active 12.10+ installation at this time, but I could provide packages for 12.10 as well, on request.

share|improve this answer
Thanks! I'm having a blast installing Arch in a VM (it's so command-line oriented; I'm an old man so that's really enjoyable) but I may grab your code too just to make life easier. – Pointy Dec 30 '12 at 23:50

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