Exact Audio Copy(EAC) is a CD ripper, tagger, metadata searcher and burner which uses AccurateRip to verify the copy. It's fairly easy to use, but setting it up may be tricky if you don't know about the calibration well. You need a good standard legit CD to help calibrate it. If you use a CD that doesn't calibrate it well, EAC will spit out CDs and only copy certain ones. I had this problem and wrote an earlier review and gave a lower score, but I researched the problem more, found the solution and rewrote my review. The calibrating may be a problem for some who don't understand how to calibrate EAC and end up having problems with it, so it isn't that simple to set-up for everyone. But when you calibrated it correctly it's simple to use from there.
I prefer EAC over other rippers because I favor the AccurateRip feature that is rarely found in others. EAC will rip your CD perfectly or near-perfect. You can be at ease to know that your music files will have no crackling or distortions that may ruin your speakers(it happened to me once).
I can only complain about the GUI it's really old looking and needs an update, but it's functional. Overall, it is the best ripper to use. It's free and has all the tools others may have, but the AccurateRip feature is the main reason to have it.
The hardest part about using this software (unless you chose advanced mode) was getting the lame.exe download, which isn't that hard but yes, it needs to be installed prior.
It has an basic set up for those who are not advanced users and is basically as simple as click and do. I'm not a stickler for my music being so exact. That said, I am completely happy with the basic interface (but I am dabbling into more of course) and can't tell the difference between the copied music and the disk.
There is far too much to mention on how to use, what to do, etc... to cover in this area. This is probably the BEST copier out there. Get it and don't waste time with others.
I have tried a lot of different cd ripping software,to finally come to this conclusion: EAC is the ultimate application! Easy for rookies and a loaded weapon for the advanced user! Either way, the job gets done easily and professionally! Lots,lots,lots... of features that will satisfy even the most demanding taste! Feel free to combine it with an external compressor (e.g. LAME)to produce the ultimate mp3s, get freedb tagging of your metadata, instantly acquire album covers,export your cd audio to wav,flac,mp3 or a .cue image file, configure the program to make an exact copy of your disk, a secure and accurate copy, that is. Save your configuration on a profile etc. There are so many features that these few lines I'm writing are really really poor to describe the whole story! Even though I've been using this excellent piece of software for years, there hasn't been yet a single moment I would trade it for something else...The funny story is that it is still in a beta version. I wonder how the first regular version would be...if the beta is already the ultimate cd ripper. Give it a try! Worth your attention!
If you have never backed up your music by anything but WMP or ITunes software, you will need to understand going in, that there are multiple choices, on multiple choices. You should read up a little before going head-first into this program. There is a config wizard, use it.
My primary goal was to back up my CD collection, with the best (in my case) option for keeping the originally intended quality. I made a mistake after assuming I had set up FLAC, and had to redo about 20 CD's. This process takes time, but because it is doing the job VERY WELL. In a non-scientific way of explaining the process.. the software actually looks at your CD, and if it is damaged, goes out to a database and finds what is missing on your CD and fixes it from the database.
Your CD-Rom plays a major role in all of this. The speed, the firmware and type of CD-Rom has to be 'approved' by the software before you can start any of the above. What happened with me was, I kept putting in CD's (8 of them) and all I would get was a INVALID KEY error. I went to the website and found that every CD-Rom has to be 'calibrated' and all I had to do was keep feeding it CD's until (3) of them were of the right criteria, so the CD-Rom would then be setup correctly. It hasnt burped since. Once I found the 1st CD, the next 2 passed easily.. and I was good-to-go.
I recommend this software because it is free, functional, and thorough. Documentation and help is all over the internet... Google if you get stuck.
I agree with everything said by reviewer "charlesk" below. To add to it, this program reads and corrects errors better than most so called cd data recovery applications(some support audio ripping). I have ripped disks with EAC that looked awful and would not play in most players. Just let EAC configure your drives on installation and choose for it to read as accurately as possible. Now you have the best tool you could hope for to save your scratched up cd's.
Some people might hope for a prettier interface that has animation and such, but I am not one of those people. My XP machines even look like 98 on steroids :-)
Less flash = More fast
I used a dozen other rippers but often found later there was an tick, jump, or other error in the audio. I needed to find a program that sampled the audio multiple times to ensure 100% accurate extraction. I was desperate (crazy) enough I considered writing my own when I found Exact Audio Copy. It does exactly what I want, produces extremely accurate rips, and also uses the "accurate rip database" to make doubly sure the extract is correct (via checksums). If anything seems suspicious it gives excellent reports and a direct way to play the possible problem section. If you're going to spend time transferring your CDs to the computer, do it right the first time with this program. It can write out MP3, Ogg and normal wav files; plus it has a very good, flexible system to automatically save your songs any way you want them. It may be slower, but that's because it's eliminating reading errors. Very impressive.
Okay, I admit it...I don't always take the best care of my CDs. A lot of my CDs are quite scratched, and when I went to rip them, I found that iTunes often couldn't do the job. So I downloaded EAC and gave that a try--what a difference! EAC was able to rip almost all of my CDs perfectly. It is a bit slow, but the results are worth it.
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