N'étant plus sur le site d'origine, je me permets de mettre ce tuto ŕ disposition

Exact Audio Copy Quickstart Manual

For remarks, questions, fan or hatemail, contact SatCP. However, since I have little time to answer mails it's better to ask questions at the Exact Audio Copy discussion board and Hydrogen Audio, and only contact me for comments about this manual.
This quickstart manual is also available in Dutch and Polish (by raff).

Last updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Table of contents

  1. Table of contents
  2. Introduction
    1. Reading audio cds...
    2. Compressing the audio...
      1. Mp3
      2. Ogg Vorbis
      3. Monkey's Audio
      4. FLAC
  3. The quickstart manual
    1. Installation of EAC
    2. ASPI?
    3. First start
    4. Configuring the options
    5. Verifying or setting the drive options
    6. Setting the encoder options
      1. LAME mp3
      2. Ogg Vorbis
      3. Monkey's Audio
      4. FLAC
    7. Saving the compression options to a profile
  4. Using EAC
    1. Ripping an audio cd to separate tracks
    2. Ripping an audio cd to an image + cue sheet
  5. Links

Introduction

Most of us know the phenomenon. You download some mp3 files and upon playing they appear to be full of ticks or is the bitrate awfully low. Usually the reason for this is the used software and/or configuration errors. We'll describe in a few paragraphs what you can do about that. If the theory cannot interest you, you can start right away with the quickstart manual.

It might be a good idea to print this manual on paper. Many do find it more pleasant to read from paper than from a display.

Reading audio cds...

Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is known for many already as one of the best audio extracion programs. EAC was written by someone who got fed up with the dreadful quality of the extraction software by the time.

Using an advanced reading techique called secure mode, EAC is able to make quality guarantees other software can't. Contrary to other extraction software EAC reads every audio sector twice and compared to each other. Are both the same, then EAC knows there was no read error. Are both sectors different then EAC knows at least one sector was read incorrect. EAC reads the faulty sector again until it gets the correct data. The program may reread up to 82 times if necessary. Audio data can be recovered this way often where other programs would give up (if these already noticed the error). Of course EAC isn't a miracle drug and it is possible very well that even EAC can't recover the audio data. In this case EAC will report the exact location of the error in the log. After extraction completed you can listen to these suspicious positions in a few moments and decide whether or not there's an audible artifact (a read error does not automatically translate to an audible error). With other programs you can only guess where the read errors occured and listen to the whole cd to spot errors. That is of course if the software noticed errors...

Most bad mp3s you can find at peer-to-peer networks were ripped with software that does not indicate errors and the rippers did not prelisten the mp3s before releasing.

With EAC these kind of situations are impossible (unless something's wrong with your hardware). When EAC tells you no errors occured, there were none. If EAC tells errors did occur you know exactly where.

Compressing the audio...

By default EAC reads to uncompressed wav files. Unless you intend to burn these to audio cd or edit the files with a wave editor, you'll probably want a somewhat more compact format. For this the audio needs to be compressed, also called encoding. There's a large number of compressors with each their specific features, advantages and disadvantages. EAC can drive almost every encoder what means ripping a cd to the wanted format can be done in just one step.

Let's start with a brief overview of a few popular compression formats and their encoders.

Mp3

The best known compression format is without any doubt mp3. There are many mp3 encoders, but sadly the sound quality provided by these encoder is often quite bad. The very popular Xing encoder for example is known for its bad quality. Test like performed by r3mix.net (too bad no longer online) showed there are 2 good mp3 encoders: LAME and Fraunhofer. Fraunhofer used to be the reference encoder for years and is known for the quality at lower constant bitrates (CBR). LAME on the other hand gained ground enormously during the past years, surpassed Fraunhofer and became the one and only king of quality amongst the mp3 encoders. LAME's strong part is the high bitrate quality and the variable bitrate (VBR) encoding. VBR was placed in bad daylight due to bad implementations in Xing and Fraunhofer. LAME is the first mp3 encoder to provide excellent VBR quality. The main advantage of VBR is that the bitrate is changed according to the complexity of the music. Complex parts in the music will make the encoder to use a higher bitrate and for less complex parts a lower bitrate. This gives the same quality as an mp3 file with constant bitrate (CBR) at a high bitrate, but for a much lower filesize.

An mp3 encoded with LAME VBR will have the size of an 160-200 kbit/s CBR mp3, but the quality of an 256-320 kbit/s mp3. 192 kbit/s has been the standard for CBR mp3 for years, but VBR provides a better audio quality for a comparable filesize. No need to mention VBR is gaining popularity quickly...

It's important to keep in mind that mp3 is a lossy format. This means that during the compression audio data is lost. However, if the bitrate is high enough the loss will be inaudible to most people.

Ogg Vorbis

Ogg Vorbis is in many ways like mp3. But Ogg Vorbis is much younger than mp3 and usually provides a higher sound quality for the same bitrate. Although the advantages of ogg are numerous, the format is gaining popularity rather slowly. The main reason for this is of course the obscurity and the fact there are almost no portable players supporting the format. Sadly this is like a vicious circle because as long as there are not more people using Ogg Vorbis there's no reason for the hardware manufacturers to support it.

However, in the open source world and especially on the Linux platform Ogg Vorbis gets quite some attention.

Monkey's Audio

Mp3 and Ogg Vorbis are both lossy formats. Audiophiles develop a rash from the word lossy alone, but luckily there are lossless compressors too. Simply put this means that after decompressing you will get a file that is bit-by-bit identical to the original. There is no loss of data at all. Now before you get too excited you should be aware of one huge drawback: filesizes. Where mp3 and ogg are able to get filesizes of way over 5 times as small as the original file, the lossless compressions do half the original size... at best. So be prepared to invest in extra diskspace if you want to go the lossless route. With the coming of broadband internet the lossless formats gained popularity, although they are nowhere as widely spread as mp3 or even Ogg Vorbis.

One of the best known lossless compressors is Monkey's Audio, also called mac or ape. Despite the funny name and logo, Monkey's Audio is an excellent compressor. Monkey's Audio delivers amongst the best compression ratios for lossless encoders and is extremely fast. If you have used lossy formats like mp3 you'll probably experienced waiting times because of the slowness of the compressors. Monkey's Audio compresses audio tracks in just seconds.

In the past Monkey's Audio was only available to the Windows platform as a closed source package but since a while the funny monkey went open source too.

FLAC

FLAC is a lossless compression just like Monkey's Audio . Although FLAC compresses slightly slower than Monkey's Audio and offers a somewhat worse compression ratio, FLAC features an extremely low processor usage during playback (but Monkey's Audio doesn't do much worse at normal settings), excellent software support since it has been open source since the binning, and there are even a few portable players supporting the format.

The choice between FLAC and Monkey's Audio cannot be decided by their quality - it's identical. At this moment Monkey's Audio seems to be quite obviously on the upper hand for online distribution, but in the long run FLAC seems to have the best cards (in means of hardware and software support). But all this doesn't matter much. If you went for format A and later format B turns out to become the dominating format, you can easily batch convert your whole collection to format B - lossless of course.

The quickstart manual

The big disadvantage of EAC is the complexity of the program to new users. New users may be overwhelmed by features not even knowing what these are for. And too bad there's quite some configuring to set up EAC correctly...

EAC author Andre Wiethoff made a wizard for the new EAC versions which guides you through the installation. Most settings are preconfigured for you so only a few trivial options need to be set! Getting EAC and LAME up and running is nowadays just a matter of minutes.

Installation of EAC

First of all you need to download the latest version of EAC: Download the latest version of Exact Audio Copy here (Exact Audio Copy 0.95 beta 3 at the moment of writing).

Before continuing make sure there is no cd inserted in your cd-rom/dvd/writer.

Some EAC versions come with an installer, but EAC 0.95 beta 3 is only available as a zip archive. Open the downloaded zip file (with a tool like WinZIP) and extract its contents to the location you want to install EAC to (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\).

ASPI?

One of the most occuring problems with EAC is an absent, outdated or damaged ASPI layer. Windows 9x/ME come with an almost antique ASPI layer and Windows NT/2000/XP even come without an ASPI layer. The ASPI layer is a small piece of software that controls the communication between cd-rom drives and Windows programs. An audio extractor like EAC of course can't work without it. It may be obvious that EAC needs a well working ASPI layer.

A very good ASPI layer at this moment is the one that comes with Ahead Software's Nero. It's strongly advised to use this ASPI layer. To make EAC recognize the Nero ASPI layer all you have to do is to copy the file WNASPI32.DLL from the Nero installation folder to the EAC installation folder (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\). If you don't have Nero installed, you can download WNASPI32.DLL here.

If you experience problems with the ASPI layer later on and you use Windows NT, 2000 or XP, you can try the Native Win32 interface for Win NT & 2000 in EAC (from the EAC menu choose EAC Options and then go to the Interface tab). You must restart EAC for the changes to take effect.

First start

When EAC is installed you may start EAC for the first time. Now the EAC Setup Wizard pops up which will configure most things automatically for you. Click Next to start the wizard. If you has EAC installed before or if the wizard won't appear for some reason, choose Configuration Wizard... from the EAC menu.

EAC Wizard

The first thing the wizard configures are the cd-rom/cd-rw/dvd players EAC detected in your system. You can choose to configure not all drives, but while you're at it you better configure all drives (unless you are positive you won't use a certain drive).

EAC Wizard

When clicking Next EAC starts the configuration of the selected drives. Make sure you always choose I prefer to have accurate results when EAC asks. EAC will show each drive apart, thus if you have many drives there will be a lot of clicking Next.

EAC Wizard

In most cases your drives will be recognized by EAC's internal drive database and EAC will set the most optimal settings.

EAC Wizard

If you think EAC set the wrong options you can choose I don't trust these values, detect the features for my drive. But that won't be necessary in most cases. EAC's drive database includes most popular drives. Is your drive not found in the database or if you chose I don't trust these values, detect the features for my drive EAC will ask you to insert an unscratched cd in the drive. EAC will then try to determine the correct settings.

EAC Wizard

You can always verify the settings with the User Reported Drive Features Database or the DAE Drive features database.

When all drives are configured EAC shows an overview showing the best drives for ripping with EAC. This order is based purely on the found settings and doesn't say anything about the speed or quality the drives will function at. The fact that a certain drive is last in the list does not mean it will rip worse than the first drive. You will have to experiment to find your best drive.

EAC Wizard

In the next step EAC will ask for the LAME mp3 compressor. Even though many amongst the readers of this tutorial will want to use LAME to create high quality mp3 files we skip the configuration of LAME at this point. Just deselect the option Install and configure the external lame.exe compressor. We will be setting the compressor options later on.

EAC Wizard

Next you have to enter an e-mail address. This may be a fake address, as long as it looks like an e-mail address. This e-mail address is necessary to get access to the Freedb database from which EAC retrieves album, artist and title information for the inserted cd.

EAC Wizard

On the next screen EAC offers the selection between a beginner mode and an expert mode. In the beginner mode many options that might confuse new users are hidden. Although this may look interesting for new users you should opt for I'm an expert, let me use the full potential of EAC because some expert features are needed. Click Finish to end the wizard.

EAC Wizard

Click OK to save the settings.

Configuring the options

The preconfiguration is now completed, but still some options need to be set for correct functioning. From the EAC menu select EAC Options.... On the first tab (Extraction) change the Error recovery quality from Medium to High. Also make sure the top four options match the settings from the screenshot below.

EAC Configuration

As you can see in the screenshot above the option Lock drive tray during extraction is disabled. This option will - when enabled - as the name implies lock the drive tray during extraction to prevent accidental opening (which would ruin the rip). A good idea so it seems. But in some cases EAC will get stuck on reading errors and in a few rare cases this will lead to EAC no longer responding to user actions. The only option is then to terminate the EAC process in the Task Manager, but the drive tray will still be locked forcing you to reboot if you want to get the disc out. By disabling the feature to lock the tray you can easily eject the cd by pressing the eject button on the drive when you see EAC is no longer responding and the chance upon a successful rip is below zero. The tray will open and EAC will be released. The program will be confused though and think it reads nothing but errors, but now it's easy to cancel the extraction process.

On the next tab General check following options:

Please, if you distribute your music online or ask for help with EAC troubles, set EAC's language to English. Otherwise EAC will write log files in your language which may be completely unreadable for other persons who do not speak your language.

EAC Configuration

On the third tab Tools you also must set a few options:

EAC Configuration

On the fifth tab Filename you'll notice an input field with the text: %T. EAC generates filenames using this string. The explanation of the % operators is given in EAC itself. For example, if you want to extract the song November Rain by Guns N' Roses from the cd Use Your Illusion I and use %D\%C\%N - %A - %T as Naming scheme, then the finename of the resulting mp3 file will be 10 - Guns N' Roses - November Rain.mp3 (the song is at number 10 on the cd). The file will be placed in the folder ..\Guns N' Roses\Use Your Illusion I\, where .. indicates the folder where you made EAC write to.

You can experiment with the various combinations for the filename construction. If you want all tracks from all cds to be extracted to the same folder you can use something like %A - %T.

EAC Configuration

Verifying or setting the drive options

Often ignored, but one of the most important parts of the EAC configuration. A faulty drive confguration makes EAC sensitive to errors and working unreliable.

Select Drive Options... from the EAC menu. Click the warning dialog box away. The options you now see on the Extraction Method tab are the real power of EAC. An incorrect setting may make the extraction unreliable, though. Thus check whether EAC is using the correct settings. Secure Mode *must* be enabled!.

Important: Many modern drives support C2 error retrieval making EAC's error detection faster. However, many drives don't give 100% accurate C2 information which may affect EAC's error detection accuracy. If you are uncertain about the C2 error retrieval qualities of your drive, just disable the C2 option in EAC. Some sites even demand music ripped in secure mode without C2!

EAC Drive Settings

If you think EAC is using incorrect settings or the drive was not found in EAC's internal database, you can still do the drive configuration by hand. Insert an unscratched cd in the drive you want to configure (and make sure it's selected from the drive dropdown box on the top left of the EAC main window).

Click the Detect Read Features... button. EAC will now try to detect the correct settings for your drive. This can take up to ten minutes depending on the drive, but is usually done within a minute. Once EAC detected the settings click Apply (and *not* OK!). EAC will ask whether it may submit the detected information to the EAC database (online). You are not obliged to do that, but only with your help the EAC database can grow larger so more and more drives are automatically detected. No personal information is submitted, only the model of cd-rom drive and the detected settings. Submitting can take a few moments. Be patient.

You now return to the Drive Options dialog. Verify that EAC is now using the found settings. Secure Mode *must* be enabled!

On the next tab Drive click the Autodetect read command now button. After a few seconds EAC returns the correct read command for your drive.

Click OK to save the settings.

Setting the encoder options

The configuration of EAC and the drives is done, but there's one important step left: the encoder settings. These of course differ from compressor to compressor, so please follow the instructions of the encoder you wish to use.

While following the instructions you will notice EAC offers profiles for a large number of compressors. We will not be using those but opt for a complete manual configuration instead. It's barely more work and offers more freedom. During the configuration of the compressors you will also notice the use of undocumented %s and %d command line parameters. The truth is they have nothing to do with the compressor, but EAC. The %s and %d stand for source and destination file respectively. Since we use the User Defined Encoder Parameter passing scheme in EAC it's necessary for EAC to know where the encoder accepts the source and destination file in the command line.

From the EAC menu select Compression Options.... On the second tab External Comression you can find the settings for external compressors (which we will be using) in EAC. You can already check the option Use external program for compression and select User Defined Encoder from the Parameter passing scheme dropdown box.

LAME mp3

The first thing we need to do is getting LAME itself: Download LAME here (LAME 3.97 beta 1: This is not the latest version, but it's recommended by the experts at Hydrogen Audio).

In theory it doesn't matter where you put the encoder, but the EAC installation directory is the best place and offers advantages (like the possibility to use LAME as a decoder too in EAC). Open the downloaded zip file. You only need one file from the zip archive: lame.exe. Extract this file to the EAC installation path (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\).

Back in EAC set Use file extension to .mp3 (including the dot in front). Next we need to set the path to the LAME executable. You can use the Browse... button to navigate to lame.exe or you can type the path by yourself (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\lame.exe). Further set the last four options on the tab as shown in the screenshot below.

EAC Compression Options

The quality LAME should deliver will be passed to LAME using the Additional command line options. Audio experts at forums like r3mix (no longer online) and Hydrogen Audio have been developing the most optimal command line settings for LAME since a long time. In the past such a command-line could be quite long and be completely ununderstandable to novice users. That's why systems were introduced where so-called --alt-preset settings form a readable alias for the complex command-lines. However, in the latest LAME versions the developers returned to a more uniform system analogue to many other compressors. Thus if you wonder why you don't see the famous --alt-preset settings below, that's why.

On the External Compression tab enter one of following command lines in the Additional command line options input field:

For them still used to the older --alt-preset settings a short overview. -V 2 --vbr-new equals to --alt-preset standard, -V 0 --vbr-new equals to --alt-preset extreme and -b 320 equals to --alt-preset insane.

Now you may be wondering what all the gibberish is doing in the command line after the quality settings. That wasn't there in older versions of this tutorial. That's correct, but some people seem to experience problems with the way EAC adds metadata to the mp3 files. That's why we now opt - as recommended by Hydrogen Audio - to let LAME write it's own metadata to the file. But LAME needs to know the artist, track title, album,... and that's exactly what the gibberish part of the command line passes to LAME. It will make sure LAME writes a correct ID3v1 and ID3v2 tag to the mp3 files.

Often you'll see people ripping at 192 kbit/s - especially people within the mp3 scene. 192 kbit/s is the classic trade off between filesize and quality and it's accepted as standard in the mp3 scene. This bitrate gives a good sound quality, but not yet archival quality. It's a shame the mp3 scene is holding on on such an old standard (although it's changing slowly). The -V 2 --vbr-new setting gives better quality for a comparable filesize. If you only accept the best there's -b 320. This setting gives 320 kbit/s mp3s. Mind this leads to rather big files!

Just ignore the Bit rate field and the high and low quality selectors. Since we use a custom command line they will be ignored by EAC.

Check if the settings on the ID3 Tag tab page match the settings of the screenshot below.

EAC Compression Options

Click OK to save the settings. Continue reading at Saving the compression options to a profile

Ogg Vorbis

The first thing we need to do is getting Ogg Vorbis itself: Download vorbis-tools here (version 1.0.1 at the moment of writing).

In theory it doesn't matter where you put the encoder, but the EAC installation directory is the best place. Open the downloaded zip file. You only need one file from the zip archive: oggenc.exe. Extract this file to the EAC installation path (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\).

Back in EAC set Use file extension to .ogg (including the dot in front). Next we need to set the path to the Oggenc executable. You can use the Browse... button to navigate to oggenc.exe or you can type the path by yourself (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\oggenc.exe). Further set the last four options on the tab as shown in the screenshot below.

EAC Compression Options

The quality Oggenc should deliver will be passed to Oggenc using the Additional command line options. Oggenc takes a quality - the q value - from -1 to 10 wich correspondents to following scale -1 = ~45 kbit/s, 0 = ~64 kbit/s, 1 = ~80 kbit/s, 2 = ~96 kbit/s, 3 = ~112 kbit/s, 4 = ~128 kbit/s, 5 = ~160 kbit/s, 6 = ~192 kbit/s, 7 = ~224 kbit/s, 8 = ~256 kbit/s, 9 = ~320 kbit/s, 10 = ~500 kbit/s. Note that Ogg Vorbis usually provides a higher quality than mp3 for the same bitrate. Quality 5 can be compared with LAME's --alt-preset standard.

On the External Compression tab enter one of following command lines in the Additional command line options input field:

The command line looks a bit strange. That's because we don't use ID3 tags for Vorbis. EAC can only use ID3 tags, but that doesn't make any sense since Ogg Vorbis features a superior tag format. To store the artist, album, track title,... information in the tags, we have to provide them through the command line. Oggenc takes care of the rest.

Just ignore the Bit rate field and the high and low quality selectors. Since we use a custom command line they will be ignored by EAC.

Check if the settings on the ID3 Tag tab page match the settings of the screenshot below.

EAC Compression Options

Click OK to save the settings. Continue reading at Saving the compression options to a profile

Monkey's Audio

The first thing we need to do is getting Monkey's Audio itself: Download Monkey's Audio here (version 3.99 at the moment of writing). You can't download the Monkey's Audio command line compressor as a stand alone package, so you'll have to download and install the full Windows suite. When that's done you'll find the command line encoder mac.exe in the Monkey's Audio installation folder (default: C:\Program Files\Monkey's Audio\)

In theory it doesn't matter where you put the encoder, but the EAC installation directory is the best place. Move mac.exe to the EAC installation path (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\). If you like you can now remove the Monkey's Audio suite from your system.

Normally you would now make EAC point to mac.exe, similar as done in the examples of the other encoders. But we don't... The Monkey's Audio format supports the so-called APEv2 tags - a powerful tag format - but the command line encoder doesn't. Therefore we have to use a trick. We point EAC to another tool which does support APEv2 tags and which on its turn points to the Monkey's Audio compressor. That tool is wapet. Download wapet here. In the downloaded zip archive you will find the file wapet.exe. Place this file wapet.exe in the same folder where you put mac.exe (most likely the EAC installation folder).

Back in EAC set Use file extension to .ape (including the dot in front). Next we need to set the path to the wapet executable. You can use the Browse... button to navigate to wapet.exe or you can type the path by yourself (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\wapet.exe). Further set the last four options on the tab as shown in the screenshot below.

EAC Compression Options

The quality Monkey's Audio delivers is of course always the same: bit-by-bit perfect since it's a lossless compression. Yet you can set different option that have influence on the compression ratio and the compression speed. These settings are: fast = 1000, normal = 2000, high = 3000, extra high = 4000, insane = 5000. The harder Monkey's Audio compresses (towards insane) the smaller the filesizes will be, but the longer it will take. Taking a setting higher than extra high doesn't make much sense since it takes a lot longer to gain just a few megabytes. Also note that Monkey's Audio tend to consume a lot of CPU power at higher compression ratios. If playback performance is important, stick with fast or high. You might want to consider FLAC in this case. Although considerably slower during compression and with compression ratios not as good as Monkey's Audio, FLAC is extremely light on the CPU during playback.

On the External Compression tab enter one of following command lines in the Additional command line options input field:

Settings -c4000 en -c5000 provide almost no considerable compression gain, but are very CPU intensive during playback. On older systems the files may become almost unplayable. Not recommended thus.

Just as with Ogg Vorbis the tags are provided through the command line. But instead of passing them to the Monkey's Audio compressor directly, wapet.exe is called. Wapet passes the data to mac.exe and writes the APEv2 tag to the file after the compression finishes.

Just ignore the Bit rate field and the high and low quality selectors. Since we use a custom command line they will be ignored by EAC.

Check if the settings on the ID3 Tag tab page match the settings of the screenshot below.

EAC Compression Options

Click OK to save the settings. Continue reading at Saving the compression options to a profile

FLAC

The first thing we need to do is getting FLAC itself: Download FLAC for Windows (tools only) here (version 1.1.2 at the moment of writing).

In theory it doesn't matter where you put the encoder, but the EAC installation directory is the best place. Open the downloaded zip file. You only need one file from the zip archive: flac.exe (in the bin folder). Extract this file to the EAC installation path (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\).

Back in EAC set Use file extension to .flac (including the dot in front). Next we need to set the path to the FLAC executable. You can use the Browse... button to navigate to flac.exe or you can type the path by yourself (default: C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\flac.exe). Further set the last four options on the tab as shown in the screenshot below.

EAC Compression Options

FLAC is a lossless compression just as Monkey's Audio what means the output will always be bit-by-bit identical to the original. But as with Monkey's Audio you can set the speed/compression ratio. This is done by a number from 0 to 8 where zero is the fastest setting but 8 offers the best compression. Since FLAC is light on the CPU the recommended setting uses the highest compression ratio to get as close as possible to Monkey's Audio's ratio.

On the External Compression tab enter one of following command lines in the Additional command line options input field:

Just as with Ogg Vorbis and Monkey's Audio the tags are provided through the command line.

Just ignore the Bit rate field and the high and low quality selectors. Since we use a custom command line they will be ignored by EAC.

Check if the settings on the ID3 Tag tab page match the settings of the screenshot below.

EAC Compression Options

Click OK to save the settings. Continue reading at Saving the compression options to a profile

Saving the compression options to a profile

You've just set the options for your prefered encoder. But sometimes you want to use different settings for some tasks. Or you might even want to use several different encoders. Each time you change the compression options in EAC the old settings will be lost. If you often have to change between two encoders this gets very frustrating. Luckily EAC offers the ability to save your settings to a profile.

In the status bar on the bottom of the EAC main window you'll notice Load, Save, New and Delete buttons. With these buttons you can manage profiles in EAC. Since you've just set the compression options you'll want to save these to a new profile. Click the New button. Provide a name for the profile, select Compression options and click OK.

EAC Profiles

Your new profile should now be added to the dropdown box on the left of the buttons. If you have several profiles in the list you can switch between those by selecting one from the list and clicking the Load button.

You may now continue setting another compressor or another profile, or you can start using EAC. For a more detailed explanation over the options we've seen so far and others in EAC read the EAC Tutorials. Please note that these are somewhat outdated, but still very valuable.

Using EAC

Insert the cd you want to rip in your cd-rom and wait for EAC to request the cd information in the online freedb database (if enabled). Verify the titles because the information is sent in by volunteers to freedb and often contains typos. If you want to capitalize every first letter: Database -> Transform Actual cd Information -> Upper All First Characters.

For a Various Artists cd there are a few strict naming rules. The track title in EAC should look like Track Artist / Track Title. If that is not true, the resulting mp3s will have faulty ID3 tags which is very annoying. Constructions like Track Artist - Track Title and Track Title / Track Artist are not allowed and will result into faulty filenames and or ID3 tags! In the menu Database -> Transform Actual cd Information you can find a few tools to quickly correct these mistakes. Also the option Various artists must be checked on the toolbar or in Database -> Edit cd Information. You can find more detailed information about this in the EAC Tutorials: Entering cd Information.

Ripping an audio cd to separate tracks

This is the most common used extraction method. But sometimes it's desirable to extract the whole cd as one big track. More about that later.

Select all tracks (or only the wanted tracks) in the main window of EAC and choose from the Action menu Copy Selected Tracks -> Compressed..., or press key combination Shift+F5, or click the mp3 icon in the left vertical toolbar. EAC will now ask where you want the files to be stored on your harddisk. Browse to the desired location and click Save.

If you want to extract to uncompressed wav files instead of compressed files, choose from the Action menu Copy Selected Tracks -> Uncompressed..., or press key F5, or click the wav icon in the left vertical toolbar.

And the rest is done automatically by EAC. EAC will now start reading the cd. If suddenly some kind of DOS box pops up, no panic. That's the encoder kicking in.

Ripping with EAC

During extraction you'll sometimes notice red dots lighting up in the extraction dialog window and after the extraction completed you get a log with things like Peak Level and Track Quality. If you want to know what all that means, read Extracting Tracks from the EAC Tutorial.

When a Read Error or Sync Error occurs, there's an uncorrectable error in the read audio data. After extraction you'll get a list of the exact locations of the suspicious positions. Again, more information about that can be found in the EAC Tutorials: Extracting Tracks.

Ripping an audio cd to an image + cue sheet

With mix or live cds it's sometimes advisable to rip the whole cd to one big track. Especially with lossy compressors. For example, the framesize of mp3 is different from the framesize of an audio cd and the first samples of an mp3 file are always incorrect. That makes there's a short silence and a small part missing between two mp3 files. For regular cds this is not much of a problem because tracks start and end with silence, but live and mix cds have applause or music on the track transitions. This almost always leads to an audible tick on the transition when you burn the mp3s to cd. The solution is ripping to one large mp3 and a cue sheet (the cue sheet contains the track positions). Thanks to the cue sheet the better players will still be able to navigate through the image as if it were separate tracks. If you downloaded such an image you can still split it to separate mp3s if wanted using a tool like MusiCutter or mp3DirectCut.

Ripping an audio cd to an image + cue sheet is as easy as ripping to separate tracks. From the Action menu select Copy Image & Create CUE Sheet -> Compressed.... You cannot use key combination Alt+F7 or the IMG (image) icon in the left vertical toolbar: these extract to an uncompressed wav file.

EAC will first do a gap detection. If this seems to take forever (like 10 minutes) you have to change the gap detection options. More information about that in Configuring Gap Detection from the EAC Tutorials.

Ripping with EAC

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