Since the Windows emulation software, Parallels, has graced my new MacBook Pro, I’m reminded of all the little applications that posters on audio and video forums have produced or recommended. Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is a perfect example of a Windows only app that I’ve desired for a while. EAC promises to rip your CDs with massive error correction, making a perfect bit for bit copy of the music. 6Moons has a nice article explaining the need for EAC and its use (via Sonicflare). Unfortunately, EAC doesn’t recognize Parallel’s virtual CD drive. While looking for a fix I came across Slim Devices’, of Squeezebox fame, wiki of CD ripping technologies for the best audio quality. At the bottom of the page I found MAX, an open source Mac OS X equivalent to EAC.
MAX takes forever to rip a CD when compared to iTunes, maybe longer than real time. The extra time is due to MAX triple checking disc sectors after compensating for disc read errors. I’m planning on some more listening test comparing iTunes ripped (with its error correction on) into Apple Lossless and MAX doing the same. I’ll play the albums over my Airport Express as I’ve laid out in my Airtunes posts. I’ll also listen to original CD.
Like EAC, MAX can encode your ripped CD into almost any compressed and uncompressed audio codec. If you don’t have an Airport Express or other device that understands Apple Lossless, you can use MAX’s other major lossless format, FLAC.
The two apps, TAG and COG, are related to MAX and the three make up “OS X audio alliance.” TAG is a meta data editor for audio files; COG is an audio player that will play more obscure codecs than iTunes.
So, rip it up with MAX and report back if your digital audio collection’s sonics improve.