I blogged before that I had used Exact Audio Copy to rip most of my CD collection to the lossless FLAC format. I haven’t ripped any more CDs since then, as the old Windows laptop that I was using had severe problems.
We went to the Columbia City Beatwalk on Friday night. I liked the Correo Aereo duo so much that I bought their CD.
It was time to figure out how to rip a CD to FLAC on the Mac. I found some hints that it was possible to run Exact Audio Copy in a virtual machine or under Wine, but neither choice appealed to me.
One guide recommended xACT over Max on the grounds that xACT will tell you exactly where an error occurs on a CD, should one occur, while Max only gives a percent encoded successfully. What you do if an error occurs was not described.
I tried xACT first. It’s a thin wrapper around various command-line utilities. The guide details a clunky process to rip a CD to FLAC.
Then I tried Max and I was greatly impressed. The UI is polished for an open-source app. It rips to WAV, then encodes to multiple formats if you want. It can also transcode over 20 audio formats. Max is multithreaded: it can be encoding a WAV from one track to FLAC and MP3 simultaneously, while ripping the next track from the CD. Exact Audio Copy rips a track to WAV, then encodes to FLAC, without overlapping. Net result is that Max rips a CD about four times faster than EAC. A lot has to do with the hardware. My five-year-old Windows laptop was not high-end even when brand new. My two-year-old Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro was top of the line.
I no longer have to run a Python script to convert all the FLACs to MP3s. Max puts both sets of files in the same folder, so I had to write a small script to split them into two separate trees. Otherwise, I’m very happy with Max.