Now that EAC is ready, let's rip a CD! This first rip will be a welcome check for your configuration. After you insert the CD in your drive, EAC will try to get CD info from freedb (an online music database), and write it into the EAC fields (CD title, artist, year, genre and tracktitles). Unfortunately that info is often faulty, so you will need to check it. You can rename a track by pressing F2 (or choose Edit | Rename track from the menu). For a 'Various Artists' CD mark 'Various Artists' and name the tracktitles as artist / tracktitle. Freedb writes artist - tracktitle or tracktitle / artist but those are wrong (they'd mess up the so-called tags - more info on tags in Appendix). A quick fix is Database | Transform actual CD info (with this you can also capitalize the first letter of every word. Try!). Now let's rip the CD. It goes in 3 steps:
|1. CUE Sheet||A CUE sheet allows to burn a CD with exactly the same track/pause structure as the original CD (more info in Appendix). To create a CUE sheet, click Action | Create CUE sheet | Multiple WAVs with gaps (noncompliant). You will see that EAC detects the gaps, just like on the previous page. Like all other files, the CUE sheet is saved here.|
|2. Test & Copy||Choose Action | Test & Copy selected tracks | Compressed. Now EAC starts ripping. That will take about 10 to 60 minutes, depending on CD surface state, drive speed and Drive Options.|
|3. Two Checks||1. When EAC has
finished ripping, it will show a report (log).
'No errors occured' means
the rip is perfect, 'There
were errors' means some tracks couldn't be ripped properly.
2. Look at the CRC checksums here. All tracks should say OK. If you see a # EAC has failed for that track. This additional check is needed because # do not generate a There were errors message!
|Read Error||EAC was unable to get the correct audio, despite all its rereads. This is usually due to dirt or scratches on the CD. You can remove the scratches (see Appendix) and rip the bad track anew.|
|Sync Error||A bad scratch might be the cause again, but more often it occurs on the last track and then it is often an indication that your drive does not support overreading.|
|CRC #||This is the slip-through-the-net error. Usually it comes from a mistake in the Drive Options: cache set to no while it should be yes (can cause a lot of #), a bad C2, or (rarely) a bad drive (use another one). It may also come from an error that EAC has failed to see (see further). In that case, ripping the bad track anew usually helps.|
This last chapter is mainly about how you can make ripping faster, and whether the rip will still be good quality. Recommended reading, though not necessary.
Faster Ripping. Slip-through errors
are usually due to wrong drive configuration (C2, Cache). What you probably
don't know, is that they also happen with a good configuration,
although far less frequently. Suppose an error accidentally gives 2 identical reads (while EAC can only see errors that give 2 different reads, remember?).
Result: a slip-through error! On 100 CDs this typically
happens a couple of times, which is far less frequent than the ones coming from
a bad configuration. Still, you may want to do something about them.
The previous page said that EAC cannot see or report slip-through errors. And this page says that EAC does show them (as #). This seems a contradiction, but it is not... This is because we did not rip in default secure mode (Copy) but in an extra safe mode (Test & Copy) which can see errors that would have slipped through Copy. In fact Test & Copy is better because it does 2 secure reads and compares them, and most errors will not slip through the net twice (even if they did it once).
The other side of the coin is that Test & Copy takes twice as long. Fortunately you can compensate for that, by enabling C2 (C2 doubles your speed, remember?). For most drives C2 is not guaranteed-safe in Copy because of those slip-through errors, but in Test & Copy it is safe to use, since in case of a slip-through error you will usually be warned by the #.
Conclusion: C2 + Test & Copy is both fast and very safe. To use C2 your drive must support it, which you should test with EAC | Drive options | Extraction method | Examine C2 feature. What if you can't use C2? Test & Copy will be slower. Use it if you are a perfectionist, otherwise Copy should do.
Don't forget to check the CRCs after each rip, because unlike other errors they do not generate a There were errors message (the log doesn't warn you).
If you decide to move to Copy and you think your drive does not cache, you will need more certainty that it really does not cache (because the detection we did with EAC is not perfect). You can get additional certainty with Feurio: start Feurio CD Manager | Ctrl+Alt+P | Device Parameters | Test Device | Cache Test. To be really sure, see these instructions. To get an idea of how safe your C2 is, there is an advanced test on the EAC website (under DAE Quality). If your C2 turns out to be reliable, you could enable it in EAC.
CD Image. Both Test & Copy and Copy create an audio file per track. An alternative is the CD Image, which creates one large audio file covering the entire CD (all tracks). Action | Copy Image & Create CUE Sheet creates both an image and a CUE sheet, in normal secure mode. The CUE sheet is essential here as it specifies where exactly in that big image each track begins/ends (there is no other way to find out). At any time an image can be splitted into separate tracks with Tools | Split WAV by CUE sheet | With Gaps. Notice that this command asks for a WAV file, so a compressed image need to be decompressed first. Images are not so suited for lossy compression, because subsequent lossy encodings (for example first the image itself and later possibly the split tracks) are murderous for sound quality.
Appendix. By now you know enough to create high quality rips that come close to absolute perfection. Congratulations! There is one more thing you can do to get even closer to perfection: Offset Correction. This comes down to an adjustment of the read shift (more info in Appendix). Another article I recommend, Gaps & Cue sheets, is about the relevance of CUE sheets - many people don't use them. Both articles are not essential and require some extra explanation, that's why I haven't included them in this guide. Are they worth bothering with? There is no easy answer for that, some say yes, others say no. My advice: read, understand and then decide for yourself. It's better to be informed before you start ripping than afterwards when it is too late ;-)
Last but not least... I'd like to thank Pio2001 for
his kind support and feedback.
May many people benefit from this no-nonse guide :-) I welcome all suggestions from you, reader, to make this guide even more useful!