For the second time, I’ve started the process of backing up my CD collection onto my computer. I’m doing this with two goals in mind:
- Allow me to restore an identical copy of a CD if I were to misplace it.
- Allow me to use the backup to produce a copy of the tracks in any format quickly and easily.
I’ve chosen to use EAC to rip the CD because it can correct errors on scratched discs, with the AccurateRip feature you can identify when a rip may not be perfect.
And I’ve chose to store the CD as a single file in FLAC format. There are other lossless formats that might offer better compression, but FLAC is open source so I can be confident of the formats longevity.
The reason this is the second time I’ve attempted a backup is because I spent so long researching the right configuration for EAC that by the time I got to the FLAC side of things I ran with some settings I seen online which wasn’t the ideal choice when it comes to handling cuesheets.
Cuesheets describe how a single audio file should be split up into tracks. EAC will create the cuesheet as a separate file which totally fine—unless, like me, you would feel more confident with your backup if the cuesheet can’t be separated from the FLAC file.
The solution for not allowing the cuesheet to be seperated from the FLAC file is to embed it. But there are two ways to embed a cuesheet:
- Embed as a tag named CUESHEET.
- Embed in the CUESHEET block.
I’ve chosen to embed the cuesheet in both the tag and block of the FLAC file. I made this decision because the block option only stores the track running times, necessary to recreate the CD using CD burning software, whilst the tag option allows you to store track information including the track titles which can be used by music players and convertors.
You could just use the tag option, but all FLAC software should read the cuesheet block, whilst cuesheet tag support could vary and I want to avoid having to export the cuesheet from the tag in this situation.
So here’s the punchline—my EAC command line options to import the cuesheet automatically after ripping:
-5 -V -T "ARTIST=%a" -T "ALBUM=%g" -T "DATE=%y" -T "GENRE=%m" --tag-from-file=CUESHEET="%a - %g.cue" --cuesheet="%a - %g.cue" %s
Here’s a quick breakdown of the parameters meaning:
- -5 : The amount of compression (between 1 and 8)
- -V : Verify the encoding
- -T : Each of the values after the T’s are tags. I’ve selected to use only tags recommended by the OGG specification.
- --tag-from-file : Creates the CUESHEET tag
- --cuesheet : Creates the CUESHEET block
- “%a - %g.cue” : This will resolve the file name of the cuesheet EAC generates.
- %s : The name of the Wave file to be encoded.