Fryth's EAC Ripping Guide
There are many popular programs used to extract audio from CD (commonly known simply as "ripping"). While you can sometimes achieve acceptable results using common ripping programs coupled with the proper encoding engines, Exact Audio Copy is really the best program out there. The cost of this program is merely a postcard, and it's a very accurate ripper. Coupled with the LAME program to encode mp3's, MPPEnc for MPC files, or OggEnc for ogg vorbis, or any format with an encoder program, EAC is your best choice for ripping music.
(Note: EAC doesn't work for some people, due to some CD-ROM drive incompatibility, or an incompatibility with some other aspect of your hardware configuration. If you are one of them, the open-source CDex is another excellent option. CDex is outside the scope of this document, however.)
Here you will find everything you need (including links to free [as in beer] software) to get you started with making excellent-quality MP3, MPC, ogg and FLAC CD rips using Exact Audio Copy, and maybe learn a few things about music compression formats at the same time.
Exact Audio Copy is available here.
The current recommended LAME version is 3.98.2. A group of maintainers and testers on the HydrogenAudio forums develop LAME, and new versions are certified from time to time for archive-quality use. Check hydrogenaudio.org for more information. You can download the binary from RareWares.
Configuration of EAC
Install EAC and extract the LAME files to some directory. (The EAC directory will do.)
Start up Exact Audio Copy. The various configuration sections are accessed in the EAC menu.
Normalize tabDON'T normalize. Normalizing is a lossy technique which will destroy your audio.
Instead, check out the amazing PiMP ripping guide for information on how to accomplish this and preserve the original audio by using the ReplayGain feature with the MPC format. MPC is currently the only format that supports this.
Use either Native Win32 or ASPI interface. If one gives you problems, use the other. Windows doesn't include ASPI support, but you can download a third-party ASPI layer.
Step 2: Drive Options
Extraction Method tab:
Use secure mode ripping! Click the box Detect Read Features to hopefully detect and configure your drive. Remember that caching audio data is bad, and most drives don't do it even if they say they do, so try ripping without checking the 'Drive caches audio data' box. C2 error correction is only truly supported on a small of drives, so nowadays it's usually recommended that you leave it off. Secure Mode is really the only way to go. Your configuration may not look exactly like the one in the screenshot.
Step 3. EAC menu -> Compression Options:External Compression tab:
With User Defined Encoder selected in the menu, click Browse and find your LAME executable that you extracted earlier. The Additional Command-Line Options should read:
The Bitrate drop-down menu is overridden by your command line.(This setup above applies to MP3 ripping.
For setting up this dialog for Ogg Vorbis, click here.
For MPC, click here.
For FLAC, click here.)
NB: It's up to you whether to use id3v2 tags in addition to v1.1, however, leave the box 'Use id3v2.4.0 tags instead of id3 v2.3.0 tags' unchecked. id3v2 tags have problems on some older mp3 players [supposedly] and adds a gap to the end of the file)
Before you rip, set the tracknames. Freedb can be used to download track names and artist/album name (or you can edit them manually). Whichever way you do it, it is best to set this information first within EAC, because then your id3 tags and filenames will be nice and formatted. Press F12 from the main screen to set an e-mail address for freedb (required), then use the Database menu -> Get CD Information From -> Remote Freedb option to download album information. If you have a particularly obscure album that isn't in the database, you'll have to enter it into EAC yourself. (Consider submitting it to the database - but make sure the information is correct first...)To rip tracks, click MP3 button (or press Shift-F6). If nothing is selected, all tracks will be ripped; otherwise, only selected tracks will be extracted.
Including SFV files with your albums
.SFV files contain checksums (a unique 8-byte hash value obtained by performing mathematical operations on the file involving all the bytes in the file) that can be used to verify the integrity of your files. If you generate an .SFV file of your album tracks as soon as they are ripped, you can run the .SFV later (for instance, after archiving onto CD or DVD) to ensure that the mp3 files are in exactly the same condition as when they were made.
LinksPiMP Ripping Guide: Much of this guide borrows from the amazing PiMP ripping guide. [Note: Can't find a link to the PiMP guide anywhere, anymore.]
LAME project homepage: http://www.mp3dev.org/mp3
LAME binaries: HydrogenAudio.org forums
RazorLame (excellent GUI interface to LAME): http://www.dors.de/razorlame/
EAC Drive Offsets Database: http://www.ping.be/satcp/eacoffsets01.htm#-
Version history:1.4 (Oct 2009):