The EAC Guides
Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is simply the best CD ripper for archiving your CDs while using as little storage space as possible. There are plenty of other ripping tools that are easier to use, indeed, but no other software (so far) allows you to make perfect rips, compress the files to FLAC, and keep the CD structure so that you can re-create a perfect copy of the CD.
However, if you are using Mac OS X, you may want to take a look at X Lossless Decoder(XLD).
The EAC guides are about making such perfect rips; alternative ways of ripping CDs with EAC are not covered in the guides.
The guides may seem to contain a lot of "superfluous" information...
If you just want to get EAC set up right, you can breeze through the guides:
- Follow the bulleted instructions.
- Compare your settings with the pictures.
If there is more than one picture for a section, make sure that you compare with the picture that shows the resulting settings, not with a picture that shows some intermediate step of the set-up process.
The extra information is there for you if you want to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, and also for trouble-shooting purposes if things do not go as expected.
There are five guides in all.
EAC Installation Guide - very basic, included for those new to installing software.
EAC Setup Guide - shows you how to configure EAC for making those perfect FLAC rips.
EAC Lossy Setup Guide (mp3 and Ogg Vorbis) - for the specific settings for lossy files (mp3 and Ogg Vorbis).
EAC Ripping Guide - a step-by-step walk-through of the extraction (= ripping) process. There are also a couple of appendices: separate sections for how to deal with hidden tracks, how to deal with pre-emphasis, and how to make a proper image/single file rip.
EAC CD Burning Guide - how to use EAC in order to burn a perfect copy of the CD from the FLAC files. As an appendix, there are instructions for how to split an image file (that is, a CD ripped as one long single track).
Last but not least, "Spectral Comparisons" briefly informs you about different formats and encodings, and the horrors of transcodes.