Q: Why does my iTunes player sound sick (slow and scratchy playback) when playing a cd while ripping it to my library? It never used to be this way. Do I need more memory? I tried updating to the latest iTunes software and this did not help.
A: When you play an audio CD while you’re importing it, you’re actually placing quite a demand on your computer’s CD-ROM drive, whose hardware is undoubtedly the bottleneck. To play real-time audio from one portion of the disk, and still rip audio at high speed from another portion of the disk is very taxing on the disk’s mechanism. If we play while importing, our Powerbook’s CD-ROM frequently makes unpleasant noises, and the ripping speed is significantly degraded.
There’s one simple solution, here: don’t do it this way. Instead, make a habit of allowing iTunes to finish ripping the first song, and begin playing the newly-encoded files from your iTunes Music Library instead. If you have the “Play songs while importing” setting enabled in iTunes’ Importing preferences, then this is automatically done for you – you don’t need to start playing the files manually!