RIPPING AND BURNING AUDIO CDRs / EAC - OVERVIEW

Found this here:

http://web.archive.org/web/2003051317364...;o=&fpart=1

Originally posted by buzzy with many comments/additions over the years.
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This is an overview and intro to ripping and burning CDRs. Like all these posts, it tries to reflect the core knowledge we've shared among each other at SPL on these topics (with special thanks to ShabbyDog, Northern Ranch and bobsmo). But, it's not meant to cover every good program - feel free to post about others!

This may seem kind of long and overwhelming, but if you work through it step by step you'll be glad you did. And, once you realize how many gaps and flaws are introduced if audio is not copied right, you'll wonder why you ever did it any other way. If you want an introduction, see etree's CD-R FAQ. Here are a few thoughts for those trying to deliver high quality copies on their trades, trees and vines:

Think of copying a CD as having two steps: ripping (extracting the digital audio information from a CD onto your hard drive); and burning the audio to another disc.

Ripping

Use a program with secure ripping. It's important to use secure ripping (currently only available on EAC, it seems) to make sure you don't introduce errors (gaps, clicks, etc.). But once EAC has extracted the audio to wavs on your hard drive, many programs will burn pretty well (if you use them right!).

Rip in secure mode. EAC is only better than other programs if you use secure mode. Because it reads multiple times, it may be only about 1/2 as fast. But it's worth it.

Very brief comments on specific programs:

* You can download EAC for free at Exact Audio Copy. EAC has burning built in too, if your drive is supported you can try that.
* Plextools will do a good job, but only with newer Plextor drives that report C2 errors properly.
* If you can't get EAC to work, Feurio is good at ripping with a good drive (especially a recent drive that really supports C2 reporting), and very good at burning. Free trial as long as you can stand the nag screens.
* Media Jukebox claims to do secure ripping but I have not used it and haven't seen any careful reviews.
* For Macs, etree's Software Page mentions Track Thief (OS 9, reportedly not really secure), the links don't seem to work but try this link. Also see this SPL thread.

Burning

Run the tests on your setup! One of the most important things you can do is to run the tests in your burning software on your system to see how fast you can actually burn. To burn audio at high speeds, your system has to deliver the data at high speeds, which depends on your hard drive, system bus, and so on. You can't burn good audio any faster than your system can deliver the data (or your burner or media will support - if the CDRs say 18x, don't burn faster than that). There's no need to burn really slowly (that burning at 1x stuff is urban legend), but you usually want to burn audio at less than your max burner speed. The goal is to find the speed at which you can do a steady burn - best not to rely on BurnProof for CD audio, and if your system can't deliver the data, trying to burn faster can't do any good. Watch the buffer level - if it's not close to 100% throughout the whole burn, you're either burning too fast or using too many other programs.

Update your software and firmware. It helps to keep your software up to date. Also, check to see if there is a firmware update for your drive (look at the last section of the first post at this SPL thread for more info.)

Very brief comments on specific programs:

* Nero is a bit complicated, but good for burning if you have it. Comes with many burners.
* Roxio is fine for burning, and a lot easier than most to use, but not ideal for ripping, use EAC if you can. (FYI Adaptec sold Easy CD to Roxio, it's one and the same. The current version is 5xx.) Also packaged with many burners.
* Windows Media Player does have a burner module (a variant of Adaptec/Roxio) but I've never used it. May be OK for burning, but not OK for ripping. I know people are using it, maybe someone can comment.

CDR Labs has forums on Nero, Roxio, NTI, CDRwin and others if there are questions people here at SPL can't help you with.

Configuring EAC

A detailed step by step tutorial for configuring EAC is at The Coaster Factory. If you work through it one page at a time, it's pretty clear. Also useful for info on specific features is Chris Myden's site.

This article by Chris Myden on creating MP3s has a clear, step by step on installing EAC (go to Step 1: Install EAC, and skip the part about the LAME encoder if you don't want to create MP3s). I didn't have much luck with the downloadable config files there, but they seem to have been updated since I tried it, so maybe they'll work for you. Worth a try perhaps as it can be complex.

An important tip from the developer of EAC:

Quote:
If you keep the mouse pointer over an option, this option is explained quite detailed! - link

If you have problems getting EAC to work see this SPL thread.

General Background

Burn DAO for live shows. When burning live shows, it's critical to burn Disc at Once so there are no silences between the songs. Also, if the file names don't start with a track number, be careful that the files get onto the disc in the right order.

CD Audio is an error-prone format. CD Audio wasn't designed to be read perfectly - that wasn't seen as critical. So if the drive can't read something, the data will either be fudged ("interpolated") or turned into silence. Errors are not always detected. That's why "secure ripping" is needed - it will read multiple times to make sure it gets an exact digital copy. It's also why you can't get good copies of CD audio using a disc to disc copy program that only reads once. In addition, ripping and burning audio at the same time is more than many systems can handle.

CDA on the disc => WAV on your hard drive. On CD audio discs, music files are stored in uncompressed digital format as files with CDA extensions. So if you look at a CD, you'll see CDA files. When you "rip" a CD (digitally extract the audio to your hard drive), those same files are saved in another format called WAV. (WAV files have more descriptive information and more error correction, but the data is the same if the rip is done right.) Most burning programs should be able to burn the WAV files pretty well.

Look at time, not file size, for audio. With a 700 mb/80 minute disc, you can burn EITHER (a) 700mb of PC data files OR (b) up to 80 minutes of CD Audio. There are two different formats for burning CDs - CD-ROM for data, and CD Audio - and the capacity of each is different. The WAV files on your hard drive for 80 minutes of audio would be more than 700mb, but that's mixing apples and oranges, so it's not a problem. (WAV files have the same music info as CDA files, but WAV files are a little larger. CD Audio takes up less space on the CD-R than WAV or PC data files, because CD audio has less error correction built in.) So, if it's 80 minutes of audio it will fit on an 80 minute disc, don't worry.

Communicate your expectations. Finally, as many have suggested (from having learned the hard way!), if you are sharing music it helps a lot to communicate what you have and what you expect (in terms of source of shows, type of media, and how to rip and burn). Don't assume anything, ever! That will save a lot of trouble and misunderstanding.

Quote:
Don't guess if you don't know. Ask questions even if they may sound silly. - GPRACER

Copying Other Types of Discs

For comparison, a few notes on copying other types of discs:

* A disc with shn, flac or mp3 files is a PC data disc. Those discs can be copied either by copying all the files and folders, or by copying the entire disc with a disc copier program, because the information is in the more reliable CD-ROM format. Or, you can decompress shn or flac to wav and burn it as CD Audio.
* A VCD or SVCD has a multi-track structure that is necessary for it to play properly. It can only be copied by using a disc copy program that copies the entire disc. See Pete's thread on S/VCDs for more info.

Use the CD Database with EAC!

A lot of Bruce boots are already in the database, so if you are ripping with EAC it can look up a CD and put names on the tracks automatically. If you use this with compression programs, it will name (and if you do it right, tag) your files. See this Coaster Factory link on using the CD database

Using EAC with Compression Programs

If you are creating compressed files (shn, mp3), you can configure EAC to automatically start compressing the files you rip, using your compression format of choice. Get the latest version from etree.org - the zip has shorten and cygwin1.dll, you need both - and set it up using the page at the Coaster Factory on Shorten. BE SURE TO NOTE THE LAST PART ABOUT DISABLING ID3 TAGS. The advantages of setting up EAC with the compression programs are (1) it may be faster, as it will start compressing track 1 while it is ripping track 2; and (2) you can leave it run and go do something else.

For info on using EAC as a front end with LAME for creating MP3s, see thus article by Chris Myden on creating MP3s .

Best Not to Use C2 With EAC?

"C2" is part of the specification for CD Audio, one part of detecting read errors. But it seems not to work well in practice, for the most part.

First, you should be sure to uncheck the box at EAC, Drive Options, Extraction, Use C2 error information for error correction

Quote:
The second [checkbox] is rather experimental. It means : "perform a remove glitch process on the waveform each time a C2 error is detected". ... it is buggy - Pio2001

Further, my understanding is relatively few drives report C2 errors well (only newer ones), even some that say they do. And it's not entirely clear EAC uses the C2 error reporting well, even for drives that do it well. So unless you are absolutely certain your drive reports C2 errors well, and maybe even if you are, it's best to also uncheck the "Drive is capable of retrieving C2 error information" box. It will take twice as long, but you are more certain of getting a good copy.

Quote:
The option 'capable of retrieving c2 information' is the most important. If you check this, you say to EAC: use the C2 information you get from the drive while reading secure. Whenever C2 reports an error, EAC knows it has to reread.

If you don't check the option 'capable of retrieving c2 information', EAC will always reread the audio data and compare to see if errors occured. ...

Because it is still unclear if there are drives available which are able to report correct C2 information correctly and in such a way that is useable by EAC, you are on the safe side by not selecting either on of these options. - Upp3rddOG

Also, if you are looking for the best quality:

Quote:
"Test and copy" is a very secure way to go. It's more secure than just "copy" with no C2, that is itself more secure than "copy" with C2. - Pio2001

Burning Audio With Nero

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
In Nero not only must you burn DAO but you must also select all wav tracks that you want to burn (excluding the first track) and - in Properties -you must set the pause between tracks to zero. If you are not doing this, you will get 2 second gaps even if you burn DAO.

Originally posted by Rhavisi:
Another way to do it in Nero, when you've got all of the files on the right hand side of the screen that you're going to burn on the disc, you can highlight them all, right click and choose "Link Files".

Last updated 23.Feb.03
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