iTunes isn’t the only way to encode your CDs. With Mac OS X, you can get to the heart of Unix to rip in alternative encoders such as LAME.
One of the greatest advantages of Apple’s OS X operating system is its Unix core. Unix is a flexible environment (once you learn how to use it) that lets you get your hands dirty and solve problems when other applications fall short. While I love iTunes’ powerful “jukebox” environment, I wish it allowed more options when it comes to audio encoding. The LAME encoder (http://lame.sourceforge.net; free) is the Internet standard for quality MP3 encoding.
In the Usenet MP3 groups, you will find LAME in much wider use than any other codec, and your ears will hear the difference. Once I realized what I was missing by using the iTunes encoder, I set out to make using LAME easier.
Most command-line audio tools (such as the FLAC and LAME encoders) are designed to be used on only one file at a time, which makes batch processing tricky. A simple Unix shell script seemed the obvious solution to this problem. All big problems start small, however, and after I had written my batch LAME encoding script, I realized there were lots of little problems that I needed to solve in order to make CD archiving a more pleasant experience.
What began for me as a simple hack for batch encoding CDs and setting ID3 tags turned into a suite of ...