EAC Drive Options

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EAC is the most powerful and advanced ripper available. It delivers the highest quality rips possible and unsurprisingly is the most popular ripping software at Hydrogenaudio. There's one catch: configuring it correctly is a newbie's nightmare. This guide will take you through all necessary steps of the configuration, so you will be able to enjoy error-free compressed audio no matter how advanced you are.

Software Needed

To begin with, download EAC and unzip it to a folder of your choice.

Note: This tutorial assumes you are installing EAC for the first time and have no previous configuration stored. If this is not the case, you can reset your configuration by doing the following:

  • Press <Windows Key> + <R> (or click 'Start | Run'), type regedit, and hit <Enter>.
  • Go to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\AWSoftware\EAC, and delete it by pressing Del.

EAC Configuration Wizard

  • Upon running EAC for the first time, a setup wizard will appear. Close it by clicking Cancel, and close and restart EAC.
    • Important: We have to do this to circumvent a bug in EAC which makes the program configure your reading devices (CD-ROM/DVD/CD-RW drives) incorrectly when it is first run.
  • After restarting, re-run the config wizard by clicking EAC -> Configuration Wizard. Keep a clean Audio CD handy, you'll need it in a minute to test and configure your drives.
  • Click Next; EAC will now list all CD drives it found in your system (all of them should be checked). Click Next again.
  • You will now be asked what read mode to use for the drive. Be sure to enable I prefer to have accurate results:
I prefer to have accurate results
  • Click Next again. On the next page, click I don't trust these values, detect the features for my drive.
I dont trust these values
  • Now, insert an Audio CD (Original, factory-pressed CD only. No CD-Rs, CD-RWs or bootlegs.) into your drive (if you have more than one, you will see in the window which one to use), and click Next twice. EAC will now perform some tests in order to determine your drive's capabilities, and display the results within a few minutes.
Detection results
  • If this is the case, click Next again. If you have more than one drive, the same procedure must now be repated for the other drives; once all drives have been tested, a summary like this will be displayed:
Drive ranking
  • Don't rely on this. This is purely a feature-based ranking (mainly dependant on the Audio Caching feature which is an obstacle for secure audio extraction) - it provides no assessment of the drives' actual ripping quality (in this example, EAC is completely wrong - the NEC drive is totally unreliable for audio extraction, while the Lite-On is excellent). You will have to test this for yourself later.
  • Now, click Next again. EAC will now ask you whether or not you would like to configure the LAME encoder - uncheck the appropriate option, and proceed to the next page:
Uncheck 'Install and configure the external LAME.EXE compressor'
  • You will now be asked for your e-mail address in order to access the freedb online music database. You needn't enter your real one, something like this will do:
Enter e-mail address
  • Click Next, and select I am an expert, let me use the full potential of EAC on the next page:
Expert mode
  • Don't worry about it if you're not an expert ;-) - this tutorial explains all important options. Also, when run in Beginner Mode, EAC resets some settings that are important to us.
  • Click Finish now to close the wizard.

EAC Options

Check out the EAC options in the EAC menu. While there isn't necessarily much you should change, it is important that you set error recovery quality to "high". Notice that the below Coaster Factory tutorials are for EAC 0.9 Prebeta9, so don't take everything as a fact. Once you have configured EAC options as per the Coaster Factory tutorials, continue reading this article and configure the drive and encoder as instructed below.


CD-ROM Drive Options

For perfect rips, you should setup your CD-ROM drive correctly (secure mode options, offset correction options, gap detection options). Go to the drive options in EAC menu and follow these instructions:

Drive Setup (done once):

Select: Secure mode with the following drive features (recommended)

You will need to detect & apply drive features when using secure mode but only if you chose not to use the configuration wizard otherwise you can skip drive setup. Beware that these features are unique to every CD-ROM drive

Drive Features

Accurate Stream/Drive has ‘Accurate Stream’ feature 
If EAC reports "Accurate Stream: Yes", enable this option by ticking the "Accurate Stream" box. This means that your drive doesn't jitter and enabling this option on such drives will decrease the probability of errors & cause a speed increase.
Caching/Drive caches audio
If EAC reports "Caching: Yes", enable this by ticking the "drive caches audio" box. This message means that your drive caches audio data. In such cases, every sector read will be read from cache and is identical, this will increase the probability of errors & cause a speed decrease. EAC needs to clear the cache by overreading it.
Tip: EAC may misinform about audio caching as an alternative you can use Feurio's audio caching test found in Feurio.exe\Ctrl+Alt+P\Test device\Cache test.
Tip: If you are not sure whether your drive caches audio data or not (or if you simply don't wish to perform Feurio's audio caching test and yet you want accurate results), as a rule of thumb, enable this option. By doing this, you instruct EAC to flush the cache every time it reads audio data-irrespective of whether your drive caches audio data or not. This might result in lower ripping speeds, but the results will be most accurate.
Tip: Some drives disable audio caching at low speeds, if your drive is set to DMA transfer mode try changing it to PIO only transfer mode then re-test for caching.
C2 Error Info/Drive is capable of retrieving C2 error information
With C2 enabled, EAC's error detection becomes dependent on the drives C2 accuracy which varies from drive to drive & increases the probability of errors, this feature also results in a speed increase because EAC doesn't read the data twice anymore, If your drive supports this feature & you decide to use it enable this by ticking C2 Error Info box.
Tip: To determine your drives C2 accuracy you could attempt creating a DAE Quality test CD. This takes a long time though. If you are not completely sure your drive supports C2 correctly you should disable this feature in EAC.
Tip: If you are not sure whether your drive is capable of handling C2 error information, as a rule of thumb, disable this option. Once again, this might result in lower ripping speeds, but the results will be most accurate.

So an ideal drive would support accurate stream (tick) & wouldn't cache audio (no tick). However, there is no need to spend a fortune on buying a new drive. EAC works well with almost any decent drive available in the market to give you near-perfect results; provided EAC is configured properly as per instructions given above.

Once you have successfully configured the EAC drive options, you must configure the encoder options by following the Compression Guide of your favorite encoder. Optionally, if you are a perfectionist and want to make exactly identical copies of your CDs, you may also read about gaps and learn how to deal with them.

Additional Reading