I used to use the built in Gnome app, Sound Juicer, for this. Recently Gnome decided for whatever reason to dumb down its interface. You used to be able to customize the output format, adjust the quality, use specialized formats such as speex, etc. Now there is only a simple choice between MP3, AAC, FLAC, and OGG. While it’s possible to add extra choices by modifying the config files, it ended up being quicker to find and learn an alternative CD ripper. A lot of people mentioned ABCDE (A Better CD Encoder). I like using command line tools but I had already gotten used to Sound Juicer and how it automatically labels the tracks by looking up the information online. Well it turns out ABCDE can do all that. In fact it’s quicker and easier than Sound Juicer. Simply put the CD in the drive and type abcde. The program automatically downloads the album and track names, rips and encodes the CD, and embeds all the ID3 info in one go. If it can’t find the CD online, you are prompted to add the information yourself. And unlike Sound Juicer, I’m finally able to rip two CDs and once (I have two drives) by using a second command line terminal.
Another command line app, ripit, sounds equally nice but ABCDE had the support I needed for the new OPUS codec. I was converting a book on tape and OPUS, the successor to Speex, can produce good quality for speech as low as 6kbps.