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Exact Audio Copy >EAC & LAME Quickstart >


Extracting tracks to your harddisk is easy with Exact Audio Copy. Basically you just select the tracks and start the extraction. Of course it is important that you have correctly Configured The EAC Options and done the EAC Drive Configuration properly.

Insert an audio CD and wait for the CD-ROM to initialize it.

It may be interesting to enter track names for each track instead of the standard track names EAC uses. Read Entering CD Information to find out how to automatically lookup CD artist and track title information in the online CDDB or manually enter it. Once that's done the EAC main screen should display the CD information:

Prelistening the tracks

Previous Track
Fast Forward
Next Track

You not always want to extract every track, and often you don't know each track on a CD, thus you'll probably want to prelisten some tracks. If no tracks are selected you can use the the CD player buttons on the toolbar to listen to the CD as you would with a normal CD player. On the right you can see a description of each CD player button on the toolbar, but most of you will be familiar with the symbols and don't have a problem with that.

You can also first select some tracks and then use the CD player buttons. In this case EAC will only play the selected tracks which may be handy to verify that you really selected the correct tracks right before extraction. Especially handy for those people who use EAC's default Track01, Track02, Track03,... track names.

Extracting the tracks

Select the tracks you wish to extract. Selecting tracks works similar as selecting files in Windows Explorer. Thus use the Shift and Control keys to select multiple tracks. If you select no tracks at all, EAC will select all tracks automatically when you start extraction. Once that's done you are ready for extraction. Choose Action -> Copy Selected Tracks... from the menu or pres F5. Exact Audio Copy now shows a Save Waveform dialog box. No need to enter a file name. EAC will take care of that. Just browse to the location you want to save the tracks and click the Save button.


Unless things are going awful wrong the extraction process should now start. Exact Audio copy displays extraction monitoring data and progress status in the Extracting Audio Data dialog box as shown on the left.

On the top of this dialog box is displayed which track is currently being extracted. Track Progress shows the status of the current extracting track. Time is the time already elapsed and Est. Time is the estimated time left for the track to finish extraction. Total Progress shows the same information as Track Progress but for the overall extraction process. The Error correction field shows the number of rereads EAC is performing. More information about how to interpret this follows alter on this page. The Status field shows additional extraction information like possible read errors.

After extraction completed click the OK button. This will show the Status and Error Messages dialog box (right image). The CD we used as extraction example did not contain any errors as you can see in the Status and Error Messages dialog box. All tracks were extracted correct!

Some explanation of the information displayed in the Status and Error Messages log. Peak level is the loudest peak in the extracted track. Though the example screenshot has all peak levels at 100%, the maximum volume, this is not necessary true for all CDs. Some CDs (especially older ones) are recorded a lot softer. Thus if the Peak level shows a low percentage for certain tracks, don't worry. This does not mean that Exact Audio Copy was not able to extract the tracks 100% correct!!

While Peak level tells nothing about the quality of extraction, Track quality does. A Track quality of 100% obviously means that the track was extracted 100% correct. But here's where some people make mistakes; sometimes EAC rereads certain audio sectors multiple times to get accurate extraction results. For every reread EAC does, the Track quality decreases, but this does not mean that the extraction is less accurate. It is possible to have a bit-by-bit perfect copy of a track, while Track quality is lower than 100%. As long as Exact Audio Copy does not report any errors in the Status and Error Messages log, the extracted files are bit-by-bit perfect copies of the original. Track quality should be interpreted as the physical quality of the CD and not of the extracted data. A CD with some scratches or dirty fingers on will certainly cause rereads in EAC and thus a Track quality lower than 100%, but still the extracted tracks may be perfect. Thus if the log says Copy OK for a track that means it's extracted perfect - no matter of the Track quality. So, I hope that made things more clear as many people are confused by the Track quality.

Click the OK button to close the Status and Error Messages dialog.

In case of read errors

Sometimes you'll have to extract CDs with scratches. As we've seen before Exact Audio Copy reads every sector twice or uses C2 error information retrieval to detect read errors. If one is detected EAC takes action by rereading the audio sector 16 times. If the 50% of the rereads returns the same sector data the chances are minimal that these samples are wrong, and EAC will use those samples and continue. If after 16 rereads no satisfying result is returned, EAC will do another series of 16 rereads. This up to 5 times thus resulting into a maximum of no less than 80 rereads before giving up and displaying a read error. This rereading information is displayed in the Error correction gauge on the Extracting Audio Data dialog window, so let's take a closer look at it.

On the left the Error correction gauge is displayed in its initial status. If you look good (because it's somewhat vague) you see that the gauge is a raster of 5 rows of each 16 dark red blocks. Each block represents a reread.

When a read error is detected EAC starts to reread and this is shown by bright red blocks in the raster. In the example on the left you can see that the first series of 16 rereads did not return the correct sector and thus it starts a second series.

Continuing on the previous example we'll assume that EAC managed to read the correct sector information after 2 series of rereads. Even when EAC starts reading the following sectors, the maximum number of needed rereads stays displayed in the Error correction gauge as (darker) red blocks so you always can see how many rereads a CD required.

After extraction finished the Extracting Audio Data dialog box should look similar to the screenshot on the left. As you can see no more than 2 series of rereads were needed to read the whole track. Click the OK button. Now the Status and Error Messages dialog window (right image) shows up. As you can see due to the rereads the Track quality is only 97.3%, but since Exact Audio Copy also reports Copy OK you can rest assured that the track was extracted bit-by-bit perfect.

Of course EAC isn't a miracle drug, so it's not unreal that a sector cannot be read correct even after 5 series of 16 rereads. In this case EAC gives up, and reports the sector as a suspicious position.

As you can see on the left screenshot of the Extracting Audio Data dialog box, Exact Audio Copy now reports a Sync Error. If the next sector can also not be retrieved a Read Error is displayed.

After clicking OK when the extraction finished you can see the status report in the Status and Error Messages dialog window (right screenshot). New is the There were errors warning what means the extracted track may not be a bit-by-bit perfect copy anymore. It's in theory possible that even with read errors the extracted track is still a 100% perfect copy, but in practice you can be sure the extracted track contains errors. That does not mean there are audible artifacts in the extracted track!

Click the Possible Errors button on the bottom of the Status and Error Messages dialog window. This opens the Possible Errors dialog box.

All suspicious positions per track are displayed here. Just select a suspicious position in the list and click the Play button. Exact Audio Copy plays the part of the track EAC reported errors in. You can then listen to those positions and decide whether or not you can hear artifacts.

The example track on the left has 4 suspicious positions, but no audible neither a visual (checked in a wave editor) artifact could be detected. Thus even while some samples may be incorrect, it still sounds perfect.

If you hear artifacts like plops or cracks in the sound you may wish to use the Glitch Removal tool, but this tool may also remove stuff that looks like artifacts but is part of the music.

Click OK to return to the Status and Error Messages dialog.