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EAC FLAC Compression Error
post Dec 20 2012, 18:20
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I am having issues trying to rip to FLAC using EAC.

In the Compression Options, I have "Use external program for compression" enabled, "User Defined Encoder" for the parameter passing scheme, and ".flac" for the file extension.

"Program, including path, used for compression":
C:\Program Files (x86)\Exact Audio Copy\Flac\flac.exe

"Additional command-line options":
-8 -V -T "ARTIST=%artist%" -T "TITLE=%title%" -T "ALBUM=%albumtitle%" -T "DATE=%year%" -T "TRACKNUMBER=%tracknr%" -T "TOTALTRACKS=%numtracks%" -T "DISCNUMBER=%cdnumber%" -T "TOTALDISCS=%totalcds%" -T "GENRE=%genre%" -T "ALBUMARTIST=%albuminterpret%" -T "ALBUM ARTIST=%albuminterpret%" -T "BAND=%albuminterpret%" -T "COMPOSER=%composer%" -T "COMMENT="CRC: %TRACKCRC%" %haslyrics%--tag-from-file=LYRICS="%lyricsfile%"%haslyrics% %hascover%--picture="%coverfile%"%hascover% %source% -o %dest%

Upon compression of the first track, the following error message was returned:

The external compressor returned an error!

Options : -8 -V -T "ARTIST=Bell Boys Music" -T "TITLE=11ish" -T "ALBUM=The Jean Hagen EP" -T "DATE=" -T "TRACKNUMBER=01" -T "TOTALTRACKS=5" -T "DISCNUMBER=1" -T "TOTALDISCS=1" -T "GENRE=" -T "ALBUMARTIST=" -T "ALBUM ARTIST=" -T "BAND=" -T "COMPOSER=" -T "COMMENT="CRC: B2EA68ED" "Btmp556)!.wav" -o "Btmp556)!.flac"

File : C:\Users\JoAnne\Music\CDs\Other CDs\The Jean Hagen EP\Bell Boys Music - The Jean Hagen EP - 01. 11ish.wav

....Can someone smarter than me please tell me what I'm doing wrong? I appreciate it!
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post Dec 21 2012, 21:07
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Yes! The issue must have been caused by that stray quotation mark in the COMMENT tag that my untrained eye couldn't spot. Removing it fixed the problem.

I wish I had checked back here before the argument progressed so far... I do understand that with FLAC there is no difference in audio quality for any compression options you use, and that BFG is just utilizing EAC's allowance for the use of two different sets of commands depending on the user's choice between the built-in "High quality" and "Low quality" compression options in EAC. It probably would have confused me in the past before I studied-up on the way EAC works. It is important to distinguish between audio quality and degree of lossless compression for someone new to the subject, but I understand why BFG refers to "degree of lossless compression" in terms of "quality".

Would you be able to summarize the difference between "-8" and "-p -l 12 -b 4096 -m -e -r 8"? The FLAC documentation is a bit more technical than I care to struggle with at the moment. How much of an improvement in compression do those options provide over "-8"?
(NOTE: The FLAC documentation says "-8" is "Synonymous with -l 12 -b 4096 -m -e -r 6".)

I also happened to see that FLAC has an option "--best", described in the FLAC documentation as "Highest compression. Currently synonymous with -8". That statement seems to suggest that "-8" really is the highest possible compression. I'm just wondering if that's not exactly right.

I'm almost considering using "-8" anyway just so that my future self isn't confused by the complexity of my FLAC arguments, if the compression difference is miniscule, or if it would save substantially on encoding time.

About BFG's other recommended changes to my FLAC arguments:

My FLAC arguments are based largely on EAC's default FLAC arguments. In its default arguments, EAC includes an "ALBUMARTIST" tag. In response to one of my previous posts, someone recommended that I add an "ALBUM ARTIST" tag (with a space) because that is what foobar2000 will read. I then found this handy page here: http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?ti...ID3_Tag_Mapping

So for use with foobar2000, BFG is correct -- there is no need for an "ALBUMARTIST" tag (without a space). However, I was wondering if there is possibly some other player(s) that utilitze an "ALBUMARTIST" tag. I thought maybe I would leave it, just to be safe. Can anyone comment on this? I'll delete it if it's totally useless.

As far as "COMPOSER" being %albumcomposer% instead of %composer%, what if there are multiple composers on a CD and I want each track to be tagged with the correct composer? Or is the album composer field more likely to be filled in when I download the metadata from an online database? (I'm not experienced enough with ripping and tagging to know what I want here.) EAC's default FLAC arguments use %composer%.

I see the reasoning for using %albumartist% for ALBUM ARTIST instead of %albuminterpret%. %albuminterpret% was EAC's default argument. Again, which field is more likely to be filled in correctly / filled in at all when I download metadata? Do most people just fill in the same data for ALBUM ARTIST and BAND?
According to that foobar2000 ID3 Tag Mapping wiki, it seems like ALBUM ARTIST was intended as a replacement for BAND (though I don't really understand what I'm reading; I don't know anything about ID3 "frames"). So maybe I should use "ALBUM ARTIST=%albuminterpret%" and completely do away with "BAND=%albuminterpret%", unless the BAND tag is used by other players. ?

About the "LYRICS" tag: I think BFG must be correct about the quote being in the wrong spot, after comparing the syntax to the other tags. I'm pretty sure that the way I had it matches EAC's default arguments (I even double-checked the "EAC and FLAC" wiki and the quote is in the wrong spot there, too), which leads me to think the author of EAC made a typo. I am wondering, though, because it appears that foobar2000 does not make use of a "LYRICS" tag anyway, so maybe the author of EAC just intended for the tag to be solely the text of the lyrics without "LYRICS=" at the front. But if that is the case, why did he even put "LYRICS=" in there at all?

What programs actually make use of a "LYRICS" tag?

For foobar2000, should I use the "UNSYNCED LYRICS" tag instead? The description in the foobar ID3 tag wiki: "Unsynchronised lyric/text transcription". I don't know what "unsynchronised" means here.

About "-o %dest%": Is the purpose of "-o %dest%" just to allow the user to force a different output filename somehow through EAC? I probably don't need that, since the temporary WAV files created by EAC during rips should already be named according to my specified naming scheme, but maybe I should leave "-o %dest%" anyway for added EAC functionality?

A lot to think about there! I greedily await your responses.

This post has been edited by heyo_speaker: Dec 21 2012, 22:01
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post Dec 22 2012, 01:14
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QUOTE (heyo_speaker @ Dec 21 2012, 14:07) *
Several questions

Heh, I'm glad I didn't end up confusing you, though upon reflection I think the others are right - I could've ended up causing more harm than help with my initial response!

Anyway, to answer your questions:

-8 and --best are indeed the same thing. The settings I suggested are identical to -8, except I add -p and -r 8. (These are the strongest "non-lax" compression options possible, without messing with the -A setting...more on "lax" and -A later.)

The -p flag forces FLAC to do a complete LP coefficient search. (LP = Linear Prediction, the stronger of two methods FLAC can use to generate the primary audio signal. Forcing it to do an exhaustive search means that it must look at every possible coefficient and pick the one which results in the best compression.) The -r flag, meanwhile, controls the residual/Rice partition function. I think this controls the residual i.e. error signal (the difference between the primary, or LP, model, and the true original signal). The higher the -r flag, the more separate blocks of data, and thus better compression, can be achieved.

It is possible, though, to exceed these compression settings. First, --lax allows for up to -r 16, and perhaps some other stronger settings. However, the resulting FLAC might not be streamable, or might not be playable on certain devices. Different -A settings, meanwhile, might allow for better compression in some cases. These would take a LOT of explaining though, and (especially since there's hundreds of possible -A settings!) aren't worth exploring in my opinion.

Finally, keep in mind that all of these settings provide diminishing returns versus the time needed to encode (and later decode) the track. -r 8, for example, seems to only compress about 0.5% better than -r 6, and takes significantly longer.

Not sure about the ALBUMARTIST versus ALBUM ARTIST question. I think that comes down to what tags are recognized in the player(s) you use most often.

It's up to you whether to use %composer% or %albumcomposer%. It appears, however, that the "Composer" entry on EAC's main interface is %albumcomposer%.

I think %albuminterpret% was a mistake in EAC's default commandline for ALBUMARTIST. I'd highly recommend using %albumartist%; that's what I use and I haven't had any problems with FreeDB or other metadata sources thus far.

LYRICS were added relatively recently in EAC's development. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the author typoed that section of the commandline. I'm not sure what programs, if any, use that tag, as it's not one I ever bother with.

I think -o %dest% is left over from earlier versions of FLAC. It isn't needed with the current version. And there's no way - that I'm aware of - to specify a different output directory than the one available on the Directories tab.

Hope that helps.
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