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Proper compression options on EAC
androdion
post Nov 30 2012, 01:16
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Hi all. I've been using EAC to make CBR320 CD rips for a while now and I've been extremely happy with the way the program works. I currently use LAME 3.98.4 and EAC 0.95 with the settings configured from this internet guide which was passed down to me: http://fred.pouchayret.free.fr/eac-qs-en.htm

Now what I'd like to know is this. Am I losing anything by not using a more updated version of both LAME and EAC, and if so what is it that I'm loosing? In terms of CD to MP3 conversion will I notice any kind of difference by updating the program and encoder? One other thing I wanted to ask is about the compression options present in that same guide. How outdated are they? Or are they still valid?

And I mean these: -b 320 --add-id3v2 --pad-id3v2 --ta "%a" --tt "%t" --tl "%g" --ty "%y" --tn "%n" %s %d

Is there anything off with the versions and settings I'm using, and if so am I going to notice any difference in changing them?
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Dynamic
post Nov 30 2012, 18:43
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A more up to date version of LAME will make little if any difference, and very very very rarely noticeable either for good or bad given that you're using -b 320

A plausible quality gain might be to use halb27's special functional extension of lame 3.99.5 (search the forums) using setting -V0+ but you'll scarcely ever notice if it does perform better (or worse) than -b 320.

As for more recent EAC, that might be a truly worthwhile update. It now supports plugins. The most useful one is the CTDB plugin (that queries the Cue Tools DataBase as well as AccurateRip). This not only verifies your rip in a second database (of no great value itself unless the rip isn't in one of the databases - and I found one CD that was in CTDB but not AccurateRip the day it was released) but CTDB can also correct modest amounts of errors and query more sources of metadata. For that reason, you can speed up your rips and reduce optical drive wear by using a single Burst Mode rip if the disc is in CTDB and may avoid spending hours trying to do a secure mode rip on a damaged CD. An alternative is to install the open source CUETools package and use CUERipper instead of EAC, again with Burst Mode and CTDB error correction for improved speed yet verified secure results so long as the CD is in AR or CTDB or both. It appears CUERipper and EAC are both on a par on most measures, with CUERipper having simpler set-up than EAC, and CueRipper does perfectly good offset-adjusted rips on my hardware.

The other option you might consider is whether to rip accurately once to lossless (either to tracks or to Image+CUE, or even tracks+CUE) and then convert to your lossy or lossless format of choice using your encoder of choice at any time in the future. (Tools such as CUETools and foobar2000 make this conversion easy)

This way you never need to go through the laborious task of re-ripping all those CDs if ever you need a copy of your music in a lower bitrate lossy format or think you've disovered flaws with lame -b320 and want to compare with the original lossless.

I personally have a modest laptop drive with software occupying a lot of space, but can store over a terabyte on my external HDD. Thus I can use good lossy or even use lossyWAV --standard compressed with FLAC as a proxy for lossless on my laptop yet still have access to the lossless originals by hooking up the external drive - much faster than re-ripping from CD. I can also quickly convert on the fly from lossyFLAC or lossless into small lossy files (MP3, AAC, Vorbis or Opus) for portable listening on a phone or DAP.

Personally, I still haven't re-ripped all my stuff to lossless (when I first ripped some years ago, I didn't have the storage space I have now), but my new rips are lossless on the external drive, and often lossyWAV -S on the laptop.
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androdion
post Nov 30 2012, 19:03
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Thanks for the reply.

I have my entire CD collection in CBR320, that's the format I use for reasons that I won't start enumerating here. The point of this thread was to realize if the settings and versions I'm using were outdated or not, and given your response it seems that only marginal improvements can be found by updating either, at least at the current bit rate I'm using. I always use "Secure Mode" when ripping CDs on both drives I have on my PC and I don't care much for extra metadata in the MP3 files, since I tend to do cover art and genre tags manually. The rest of the fields are left blank because I don't really use them. So is there any point in updating EAC?

By the way, when you use EAC to create an image does it use FLAC as an encoder? So it can store a CD in FLAC as individual tracks as well as a contiguous file?
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Dynamic
post Nov 30 2012, 20:52
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You don't get more fields of metadata, just more sources to choose from.

QUOTE (androdion @ Nov 30 2012, 18:03) *
So is there any point in updating EAC?

By the way, when you use EAC to create an image does it use FLAC as an encoder? So it can store a CD in FLAC as individual tracks as well as a contiguous file?


Personally, I think the CTDB checking & error correction is an advantage of upgrading, slightly better than Accurate Rip alone, for two reasons:

1. Like Accurate Rip it allows me to use Burst Mode yet be sure of a good rip
2. It allows me to correct errors even in Burst Mode, without spending hours trying to secure rip a really bad CD.

You can rip to Image Uncompressed or Compressed. It will store as a single file - that's what an image is - in WAV (uncompressed) or any compressed format you've selected (e.g. MP3, FLAC, etc.)

CUETools or foobar2000 can convert to individual tracks. CUEripper can rip as an image+CUE or multple track files+single CUE file.

You can rip in normal track mode with FLAC as your encoder if you want individual FLACs from EAC.
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