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The EAC guides are written by xuncat, all screenshots by xuncat (February 2008 - September 2009).

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4. Configuration - Compression Options

Most of the settings here have to do with setting up EAC to use flac.exe as an "external compressor" after the files have been ripped to .wav. There is important do not do this-or-that advice here, too.

If you want to set up EAC for making mp3 or Ogg Vorbis files, follow the instructions for "Compression Options" in the Lossy Setup Guide.

  • Hit F11 or click "Compression Options" in the EAC menu.

4a. Waveform

Ignore this tab, it is irrelevant for FLAC rips.

4b. External Compression

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  • Use external program for compression: Checked.

You need to check this in order to make EAC look for the flac.exe file that you specify below.

  • Parameter passing scheme: Select "User Defined Encoder" in the dropdown menu.
  • Use file extension: .flac - remember the dot before "flac", and do not type "Flac", or "flc", or "FLAC". The program will copy what you type here exactly the way you typed it!
  • Program, including path, used for compression: Browse to flac.exe. Since FLAC is included with the EAC 0.99 installation, you will find the flac.exe file in a subfolder in the Exact Audio Copy folder.

Explorer view of the location - this is where to browse to as you set up EAC:

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When you have browsed to flac.exe, select it and click "Open":

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  • Additional Command Line Options: Select, then copy this line, and paste into the box in EAC:
-V -8 -T "artist=%a" -T "title=%t" -T "album=%g" -T "date=%y" -T "tracknumber=%n" -T "genre=%m" %s

This is what the command line options mean:
-V makes flac.exe verify the files after compression.
-8 is the level of compression. There are 8 compression levels, and level 8 is the highest of them all. Level 8 produces the smallest possible file size for the FLAC files. Using the highest compression level makes the process take only slightly more time than the other levels on new computers. However, if you have an old computer, say with a CPU speed of less than 1 GHz, level 8 may take too much time. In that case, it is OK to change the compression level to 5. The resulting files will be somewhat larger than those compressed at level 8, though.
All the -T options are for adding proper FLAC tags (Vorbis comments) for the files. The tags will be what you see in the main EAC window:

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%s will be replaced by EAC with the full path to the source wave file.

Many (older) EAC guides will recommend the command line "-8 -A tukey(0.25) -A gauss(0.1875) -b 4096 -V -T "artist=%a" -T "title=%t" -T "album=%g" -T "date=%y" -T "tracknumber=%n" -T "genre=%m" %s". This probably became a "standard" due to a bug in FLAC version 1.1.3, for which the -A tukey switch is a workaround, see this Hydrogenaudio forums thread. You can use that command line with later versions of FLAC, too, it will do no harm, but it is doubtful if there is much point in it: see this this Hydrogenaudio forums thread and make sure that you read the FLAC developer Josh Coalson's reply.

The command lines are different for FLAC, mp3 and Ogg Vorbis - see the Lossy Setup Guide for mp3 and Ogg Vorbis command lines.

  • Bitrate: Will be ignored, so it does not matter what it says. It happens to say "320" in the screenshot; but you can just as well leave it at 128 kBit/s.
  • Delete WAV after compression: Checked (unless, for some reason, you want to keep the wave files).
  • Use CRC check: Unchecked.

This setting will be ignored when a "user defined encoder" is used. In some other cases, it makes the encoder store the CRC value in the file's header, which is seldom of any practical use. This setting has nothing to do with the Test and Copy (= Read) CRC values that show in the main window and the log file.

  • Add ID3 tag: Unchecked.

It is very important that you do not check this option. The tags will be added by the use of a command line (which is different for FLAC, mp3 and Ogg Vorbis, see EAC Lossy Setup Guide for the latter). Adding anything but Vorbis comments (FLAC Tags) to FLAC and Ogg Vorbis files will make them unplayable by some players. (To be sure, the files may be OK even if you have checked this option, provided that you have not checked some options under 4d. ID3 Tag as well. Still, you need to open the files in a hex editor in order to check if they are really free from ID3 headers. It is much better to simply keep this checkbox unchecked.)

  • Check for external programs return code: Checked.

This option makes EAC check for and report errors reported by the external compressor (flac.exe), including incorrectly used parameters in the command line. Enable it as an extra precaution against encoding errors (that may happen after the actual rip is finished).

  • High/Low quality: Leave this at "High" - it will have no influence on the rip anyway.

4c. Offset

Ignore this tab, do not change any settings here. This means that the "Use Offset Correction" option should be left unchecked. Enabling this setting, even with "0" as the sample offset value, would permanently alter the ripped files (by adding a number of samples), so that you would not create an exact copy of the CD.

The option is included in EAC for the very special cases when you use one (mp3) codec that introduces a certain offset for encoding, and you know that you will use another (mp3) codec with a different offset for decoding. As mentioned above, even a zero offset will affect the files, and it has been shown that encoding LAME mp3s with a zero offset causes problems with gapless playback.

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4d. ID3 Tag

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Important: nothing checked here! Tags get added by using the command line in the "Compression Options" tab. It is especially important to keep this unchecked for FLAC (and Ogg Vorbis) since mp3 headers would make the files unplayable on some systems.

Continue to 5. Configuration - Drive Options