Rip high-quality MP3s in Windows Media Player 8

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Old 26-Oct-2010
Rip high-quality MP3s in Windows Media Player 8

The relationship between Windows Media Player 8 and the MP3 audio format is widely misunderstood. Basically, WMP8 will be able to playback MP3 files, but encoding (or "ripping" CD audio into MP3 format will require an MP3 plug-in. So during the Windows XP beta, Microsoft is supplying a sample MP3 plug-in for testing purposes, but it's limited to 56 Kbps rips, which is pretty useless. However, if you have an externally installed MP3 codec, you can use WMP8 to rip at higher bit rates. But you'll have to edit the Registry to make this work.
Fire up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ MediaPlayer \ Settings \ MP3Encoding

Here, you'll see sub-keys for LowRate and LowRateSample, which of course equates to the single 56 Kbps sample rate you see in WMP8. To get better sampling rates, try adding the following keys (Using New then DWORD value):

"LowRate" = DWORD value of 0000dac0
"MediumRate" = DWORD value of 0000fa00
"MediumHighRate" = DWORD value of 0001f400
"HighRate" = DWORD value of 0002ee00

Now, when you launch WMP8 and go into Tools, then Options, then Copy Music, you will have four encoding choices for MP3: 56 Kbps, 64 Kbps, 128 Kbps, and 192 Kbps. Note that you will not get higher bit rate encoding unless you have installed an MP3 codec separately; the version in Windows Media Player 8 is limited to 56 Kbps only.

Find the appropriate location in the Registry... ...add a few DWORD values... ...And then you'll be ripping CDs in higher-quality MP3 format!

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