High Speed Ripping Laboratory for EAC

Apart from my treasured audiophile recordings and SACD's, I have 2-300 CDs kicking around with no slip cases or jewel boxes with the scuffs and scratches that you might expect from moving them around, taking them in and out of the car etc.

Most of them play just fine, but they seem to take a bit of extra time to "rip" if I want skip free music on my PC or iPod.

And the iTunes program doesnt catch many of the errors, leaving some of them unplayable - not on my hardware at home but by the time they get to my iPod.

Therefore, I would like to put them all through the most meticulous EAC reading and ripping, but I am concerned that my computer will be obsolete by the time this gets done.

Have any of you devised ways to save time, save labor etc when using EAC to rip on the SLOWEST, most meticulous settings?

Is there any way to feed CDs into a tray, or hack a CD changing carousel or something?

Are there any audiophile services to rip bit for bit with EAC and maximum error detection and correction?

Or should I just bring a big pile to the office, and switch them out all day while I am working or something?

(My partners might not think this was the best use of my time.)

Thank you for any info on your experiences or suggestions.
EAC is outstanding for what it is - but it is not the last word on error-free ripping. You have a considerable investment in those 2-300 discs. If it were me...

I'd invest in a decent Plextor (I use a Plextor Premium-U USB external CD drive)drive and use the Plextools Professional software to rip utilizing its native error correction. The reason I prefer this method over EAC is that I was in a situation similar to yours with some scuffed discs. While comparing the two programs I found that EAC choked on them and I could not satisfactorily rip these discs. However, utilizing the Plextools software the program was able to recognize the disc error (caused by the surface scratches) and forced the CD drive to spin down to sub 1x speeds in order to recover the data - I was absolutely amazed. Now I've had a few discs that just had too many bad car rashes to make it through error correction so the software does have its limitations based on how bad the surface condition of your discs are. I've had a few where it took close to 2 hours for the program to recover the data - but it did and I was able to preserve a backup copy prior to trashing the disc. Perhaps there is a way of setting up EAC to perform better but I'm just too lazy to do all of that software tweaking. Plextools does it for me right out of the box with just a few mouse clicks.

Plextor makes good drives. The Plextools software has features specific to the drives themselves, making the combination an absolute powerhouse utility for this type of application (ripping). Also, check out the link I submitted in this thread. Apparently utilizing some of the more advanced features of Plextools and certain CDR media, you may be able to produce better sounding copies of your original discs. I personally have not had time to try this but a nice added bonus nonetheless should it prove to work.

Anyhow, my experience - your mileage may vary. Good luck.
it doesn't really take that long to EAC a cd. what speeds have you seen while extracting? some drives are faster than others. If you don't get any good drive recommendations here, you might want to visit a computer forum ask what drives excel with eac (or perhaps just google it). One machine i set up for EACing had a lite on cd-rw drive that maxed out at about 25X. that is only 3 minutes per disc! If the discs are really beat up it can take longer, but i would start with the best drive you can find to increase your chances of fast extraction.
There are a number of services that will rip CDs for you. SlimDevices provides such a service, and a quick Google for "CD Ripping Service" will yield a number of additional resources. You'll need to query the companies directly for details on how they perform their ripping, but I'd assume that any that offer lossless formats will do so with some measure of reliability.

If you choose to rip yourself, then EAC is a fine tool and will provide good results. However, the actual performance of the tool is very dependent on the hardware used (e.g. some CD-ROM drives will only rip at 3x using EAC, while others run at 16x and greater) which might be a consideration if you're planning to purchase new hardware for this purpose. Also, each drive has an optimal read offset value that must be computed and configured into EAC for the rips to be completely accurate. AccurateRip can be installed along with EAC and will provide the correct settings automatically for your drive when a key disc is ripped.
Ketchup - Are you sure that Secure mode ripping was enabled when you got 25x ripping speed? I've had several LiteOn drives and with the Secure ripping configuration the best I achieved was about 4x. Outside of Secure mode (e.g. Burst mode) I was able to achieve 15x and better, but the program won't guarantee accuracy with that setting. If you're really getting that speed with LiteOn drives in Secure mode, would you mind posting the model you're using?

I'd also like to second the comments about Plextor drives mentioned previously. I use a Plextor Plexwriter Premium CR-RW with the Plextor Plextools software and I get quite accurate rips at greater than 20x speed using the very highest level of error detection/correction. However, this drive has been discontinued and I don't know if the current models of DVD-R provide the same degree of precision. Perhaps someone with more knowledge about these drives can comment on the current lineup.
Thanks for info so far and slothman, very interesting points!

Of course, I would like to do this as quickly as possible, but not if I lose one single bit of data or have one skip in my hard drive based file.

Other than the type of software to use, or the choice of drives, it sounds like this is still a pretty tedious and manual process?

Re ripping services, yes, I know they exist. But since even on AUDIOgon, I am constantly defending my choice of avoiding compression, I find it hard to imagine that any profiteering ripping service would really want to go to the trouble to ensure perfect, bit for bit copies.

Worse, I have nightmares that they would say that, and then slip in some easier algorithm, or I would find I had screechy recordings or skips long after I had paid their bill.

Looking forward to more ideas and suggestions.
Cwlondon - I probably share your skepticism of ripping services, and if you do pursue this route I'd very much like to hear about your results. I know that the folks at SlimDevices are quite concerned with audio quality, and the gentleman that runs the company is fairly active on their own Audiophile forum. It would surprise me if the ripping quality of their service was hugely compromised for better margins, but there's no way to know for sure.

That said, I've ripped my entirely collection of about 1000 CDs and I can certainly say it's a process I'd like never to have to repeat. It took many, many months in front of the computer and represents a huge investment in time and energy. I'm very careful to maintain multiple backups of the music so that I'm protected against hardware failure or theft because, quite frankly, the ripped music represents a much higher value to me than the CDs themselves. In this context, a few hundred dollars to have someone else rip the music actually looks like quite a bargain.

That said, it would be very interesting to find someone has used their service and compare the rips with those from a properly configured EAC setup. If 5-10 random CDs all turn out to be identical, that would be enough evidence (to me) that the ripping process they use is at least adequate. This might be worth fishing for.

Anyway, best of luck with improving your ripping results, and let us know if you work out a good time/labor saving process :).
Ripping CD's in their entirety is not too hard. Wait until you decide to extract only those song titles you like on each disc. Now that is a lot of work!

I also second Slothman. The Plextor Drives have a lot of features that make it better than the others. That is based on the advice of my IT helper who I asked to find the best platform. Slothman makes some very good points I was not aware of.

I think most Plextor also do “CD text” which is invaluable when trying to find the song title on my gold Mitsui CDRs. On my computer, I know that I like every song, but I do not always remember what the title and artist is on every CD I burn from my computer. I burn with Ahead Nero and use CD text.

I am at the point where I play the original disc less than 6 times before it is retired and resold or if it really a band I am a fan of, archived.

my setup for audio PC

I use an old fashioned case to hold more hardware.
I don't find ripping CDs to be hard work once you have configured EAC; I use my computer daily and just ripping in the background does it for me.
one question that has not been addressed yet:
for autoloading of cd's check out what is refered to as a 'CD DVD Duplicator' of the 'robotic' type. These can be had for as little as $699 (see below) or up to many thousands:




although this may be a bit pricey for only 300 cds (at $2/cd) ...
I would imagine that there are ripping services that would do it for you but they are going to charge you am arm and a leg to do it. Prolly more than the CD's are worth. If your CD takes 20-40+ minutes to rip you are going to be paying by the hour and it aint gonna be cheap. Just my opinion as someone who makes a living with their computer.

Another angle. Have you considered polishing your CD's or having that done. My local mom and pop (more like gang of x bandmembers) CD shop will polish CD's for a buck or two to like new, depending on how many you have. They use a big bench grinder with a buffing wheel and polishing compound, heck you could pick one up on eBay for a song. Once polished, they will play and rip like new.

Now that i think of it, my local independant video store has a big, impressive machine that they use to clean DVD's. I'm pretty sure they farm out cleaning and polishing too.