CD Ripping Guide for Mac Users
Posted 09 January 2010 - 08:41 PM
Download and install XLD builds and source code at http://tmkk.hp.infos...ld/index_e.html This guide will teach you how to set your XLD install correctly, how to rip a CD, and how to check logs for a good CD rip.
The official software page describes XLD:
X Lossless Decoder (XLD) is a tool for Mac OS X that is able to decode/convert/play various 'lossless' audio files. The supported audio files can be split into some tracks with cue sheet when decoding. It works on Mac OS X 10.3 and later. XLD is Universal Binary, so it runs natively on both Intel Macs and PPC Macs.
Anybody using xACT or Max should definitely switch from these to XLD. XLD supports critical things like Test & Copy rips, cache disabling, read-offset recognition, and others. You can view a feature-comparison of popular Mac Rippers XLD, Max, and xAct here.
Be sure to update your software frequently because the developer is known to release new versions with updates and/or bug fixes almost daily. The developer is in contact with the Hydrogen Audio forums, who in return give him immediate feedback on his software. For an idea of what features are planned and have been developed, see the thread at Hydrogen Audio.
Setting Up General Preferences
1. The first thing to do is correctly set up XLD to rip with your Mac. Go to XLD --> Preferences to set up the General tab.
2. You will see the following set of options. We will configure the format bar first.
FLAC (lossless quality)
i. Use the drop-down menu to set the output format to FLAC.
ii. Next to the drop-down, click Option.
iii. Set compression to high. Leave the padding option alone, at 4 kb. This is the FLAC spec default. Leave the "Allow to embed cue sheet" box unchecked unless you are going to rip to one single file, not multiple tracks. For What.CD, you will want it unchecked.
MP3 V0 (VBR) Quality
i. Use the drop-down menu to set the output format to LAME MP3.
ii. A new box will appear with the options for MP3 encoding. To encode V0 you should have it set up like the box shown below.
Multiple Formats (MP3, FLAC, and more...)
i. Use the drop-down menu to set the output format to Multiple Formats.
ii. Choose which formats you want encoded. You will need to configure each format separately.
3. Now we are going to configure the General settings tab. You should be here. And this is how your final settings should more or less look like.
4. The output directory will tell XLD where your rips and log file should go. Don't worry about the Output directory setting. You'll set that manually before each rip. Later in the guide you will encounter this option again.
5. Next you can set up the custom naming scheme if you wish. For a good rip, it should be set to "%n - %t" to have the tracknumber first.
6. Leave the cue sheet character encoding as the default setting.
7. Maximum #Threads - If you have a multi-processor or multi-core Mac, you should change this setting from "1" to however many your system has. For example, a Dual Core Mac should be set to use 2 threads. This will increase the number of simultaneous audio conversions XLD can perform.
8. Everything else should be left unchecked unless you want it for your own personal needs. The "Correct 30 samples moved offset problem" should be left unchecked. In brief, if you have the "30 samples..." box checked, then your CRCs aren't going to match EAC's or any other ripper's CRC values.
9. Finally make sure you are up-to-date every time you start XLD. Check the "Automatically check for updates" box. XLD is currently going through constant development, so best to double-check on having this option enabled.
10. 20090217 (101.1) Versions and newer: The addition of the Batch tab helps organize converted files of more than one title and format. Rather than dumping all converted files to one folder, you can convert multiple folders while retaining the separate directory structures. This doesn't affect the quality of your rip. This is more to save the trouble of creating new directories and moving the files around.
11. The other two tabs, CDDB and Cover Art, should be left alone. They are fine by default.
Setting up CD Rip Preferences
1. Select the CD Rip tab. Now you need to find the correct read offset value for your drive. Leaving the XLD Preferences pane open, go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac.
2. Click More Info.
3. This will open the System Profiler program. Go to Hardware --> ATA, then write down the make and model of your drive.
An alternative way of getting your drive info is through the Hardware --> Disc Burning tab in the sidebar. The drive name and model will be in bold at the top of the page.
4. Find your drive's offset correction value at the AccurateRip web site or WhiteBunny. XLD can automatically detect drive offsets from the Accuraterip offset database, so a manual search for your drive offset may be unnecessary.
5. Return to XLD's Preferences and go to the CD Rip tab. Enter the offset in the corresponding box (offset value can be different depending on your drive).
6. Older builds of XLD: Now we are going to determine if your drive caches audio data. If you do not want to do this, skip to 8 and enable "Disable Cache." Insert a CD then go to File > Open Audio CD and choose the CD. XLD will start to detect pregaps. After that is done, go back to File and click Measure Drive Cache Ability. This will test your drive to see if you need to enable cache defeating.
Newer XLD versions (with CDParanoia III 10.2) : Newer builds of XLD feature the CDParanoia III 10.2 engine. There is no "defeat cache" option available due to the new way CDparanoia III 10.2 handles drive cache. It has a max cache capacity of 2750KB that is larger than any amount a Mac drive can store. CDparanoia III 10.2 will automatically adjust to a drive's caching by constantly reading incoming data and adjusting itself in real-time. It will defeat drive cache by default. Skip steps 7 - 9 to step 10 for an accurate picture of the ripping options menu. You may still detect the drive cache with CDParanoia III 10.2 if you desire to do so; however, it is not necessary for defeating the drive cache.
7. Older builds of XLD: Now look at the log. For some drives, it says cache size is too small to have any effect, you may not need to defeat the cache. If your log says otherwise, then turn on cache disabling in the CD Rip tab.
8. Older builds of XLD: If the "Disable cache" option is checked, choose "strong" for cache defeating ability. (Note: this issue is currently under investigation, but for now use "strong" just to be safe.)
9. Older builds of XLD: For the CD ripping tab, almost everything is going to be checked. Check all boxes except "Use old CDParanoia engine," "Treat AccurateRip mismatch as an inconsistency," and "Scan ReplayGain." Select both "Always" buttons. Your preferences window should look like the following (due to XLD's rapid development, the kind of options may change more or less):
...or like this if you have your "Cache Defeat" disabled.
10. Newer XLD versions (with CDParanoia III 10.2) : For the CD ripping tab, almost everything is going to be checked. Check all boxes except "Use C2 Error Pointers," "Use old CDParanoia engine," "Treat AccurateRip mismatch as an inconsistency," and "Scan ReplayGain." Select both "Always" buttons.
XLD now features a C2 error correction option. This option speeds up the ripping process by relying on the drive's C2 error information instead of reading each CD sector twice. There is no standard in C2 error detection: it varies from drive to drive. Thus C2 pointers are unreliable for detecting errors. Test & Copy will not detect any C2 inaccuracies. Since errors may go undetected even with other options properly configured, this option should be unchecked: Your preferences window should look like the following (Note: due to XLD's rapid development, the kind of options may change more or less):
Ripping Your CD with XLD
1. Insert CD in drive.
2. Open XLD.
3. XLD does not automatically load the CD. You need to manually specify it.
4. XLD will begin to detect the pre-gaps once you select your CD.
5. XLD will try to detect your CD tags. If your CD title and track names are not auto-detected, you will see "Audio CD" for the CD title, and "Track xx" for each track title. You will need to enter the track names via CDDB or by hand.
a. Use CDDB to get tags.
b. If CDDB doesn't work, then you will need to enter the tags manually. Select one or more tracks and right-click (or control-click) to edit meta-data.
c. You can also type command-I or use the menu. If you are adding artwork, drag and drop the thumbnail on the No Image blank space.
6. Create a .cue sheet after all your tags are finished. Select File --> Save Cue Sheet As...
7. Save your .cue file with a file name that matches the artist - album name of your CD. Save the .cue to the folder you are ripping your files to. The new folder name should follow What.CD's music naming format standards such as "Artist - Year - Title." More information can be found on the uploading rules page.. Make sure to append the .cue extension to the file name. Select the "separated track files" option. This will create a proper EAC-style non-compliant cue sheet for CD burning. The "For single file" option is for album images ripped as one file, not for multiple-track rips allowed on What.CD.
8. Open the Preferences window again, set to specify, and set the folder folder path where you saved your cue sheet in the previous step. The directory where you saved the .cue file should automatically come up. Click "Open" to select.
9. Close the Preferences window. As a final step, confirm that the "Include pregap in the end of the previous track" option has been selected. You should always include the pregap in the previous track for a perfect rip. Don't rip to "Save as a single file." The only reason you would really need to save a CD as one file is if the album is a continuous album without gaps, then save it with a CUE file so people are able to split up the tracks from the continuous file.
10. Now select the "Decode" button to begin ripping. Note that there will be one process for testing and another process for extracting the audio to the format you previously selected.
11. After the process is complete, XLD will show you the log of the rip. It will automatically save the log in a .log format inside the same folder you ripped the audio files. You should read over it to make sure no errors occurred.
Reading your XLD Rip Log
Main things to look for
The main things you need to look at are log errors, the test CRC hash, the actual rip CRC hash, and AccurateRip results to justify the CRC values from the test and rip. These are explained in more detail on the following sections.
Under the "CD Rip" tab in the Preferences, you'll find a box that asks whether you want to query the AccurateRip database to confirm authenticity. This is optional but highly recommended. AccurateRip may or may not confirm whether an album has been ripped properly: there are false negatives from previous poor submissions, false positives (rarely) from identical bad rips, and many, many albums with no data at all. This is why it is best to leave the "Treat AR mismatch as an inconsistency..." check box in the CD Rip tab in your XLD preferences unchecked.
That said, some users (both downloaders and uploaders) appreciate the confirmation from a matched album in the AccurateRip database. In short, whether to use AccurateRip is entirely up to the ripper.
If you have enabled an AccurateRip check and the CD you are trying to rip is in its database, [AR] will appear in the XLD application's title bar.
Note for older builds of XLD: Those using CDparanoia engine before CDparanoia III 10.2 or the old CDparanoia engine are required to use AccurateRip for verification. Versions before CDparanoia III 10.2 lack proper audio cache defeat features. It is possible to get a proper rip in this manner (but not always depending on AR results).
Sometimes you may get errors in ripping your tracks. Some are still acceptable if you only see 1 or 2 of them, others are not so good and can greatly affect quality of your rips. Because XLD uses CDparanoia, logs may sometimes list a number of errors and still report the "No errors occurred / End of status report" message. This is similar to a proper EAC rip that reports one or more track values of under 100%.
If you have any of these, you should re-rip those tracks with the errors.
- Read error
- Skipped error
- Inconsistency in error sectors
These errors are common and most often can be fixed by CDparanoia. They will not affect the quality of your rips. These are labeled as "(maybe fixed)" in the log.
- Edge jitter error
- Atom jitter error
- Drift Error
- Dropped bytes error
- Duplicated bytes error
If your CRCs match up and you don't have any of the "bad" errors that are listed above, then your rip is considered good. AccurateRip isn't that relevant to your rip as things can interfere with the quality of AR results as I stated above. A rip that only has Edge, Atom, Drop, Drift, or Dupe "maybe fixed" errors is most likely clean. For a detailed discussion of XLD's error reporting, see this thread at HydrogenAudio.
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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:50 PM
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