CDex is an open source application that rips CD audio to music files like MP3. M4A is a file format consisting of AAC audio data inside a MPEG4 container. It is supported by Apple's iTunes and the iPod. This is sort of a "note to self," since I have had to do this twice and am getting tired of looking up the information each time. If this is incomprehensivable to you, do not worry about it (unless you used Google to get here and want to get CDex to produce M4A files, in which case you should probably write a comment asking for clarification).

The following instructions assume that you are using Windows.

  1. Download CDex, if you do not have it already.

  2. Download the FAAC binary from (make sure you get FAAC and not FAAD). The libFAAC dll will probably not work. I vaguely remember trying to use it the first time I did this, but then again, I also remembered writing this down after the first time I did this. If you get it to work, write a comment.

  3. Extract faac.exe from the zip file, and put it somewhere safe on your hard drive.

  4. Open CDex, and click on "Settings" under the Options menu.

  5. Select the "Encoder" tab. Change the encoder to "External Encoder." Set the path to the location of the faac.exe you previously extracted. For the parameter settings, I refer to Hans Jürgen's post in this thread on the CDex forums. I tweaked his suggestions, somewhat:
    - -o %2 -q 100 --artist "%a" --album "%b" --title "%t" --genre "%g" --year "%y" --track "%n/%tn"
    Also, make sure that the file extension is "m4a." Click the options for "Send WAV header to stdin" and "On-the-fly encoding."

  6. Since we set the tagging options in the parameter string, we do not want CDex to add tags to the file. Switch to the "Generic" tab and make sure that "ID3 Tag Version" is set to "None." You might also want to click the "Normalize Volume" box, so your music does not display too loud.

Encoder tab in the Settings dialog for CDex with options set for FAAC encoding.