George V. Reilly

Max audio extractor


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.

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