Secure or not Secure?
Secure Ripping is the process where a CD Ripping program does its utmost to detect and potentially recover errors when ripping audio CDs. A number of technologies are employed for this feat:
- AccurateRip: online database containing ripping results from other people, comparing your rip to AccurateRip CD Ripper can tell with certainty that a rip was error free,
- C2 error pointers: a feature of some CD drives, errors are reported to a ripping program,
- Re-reading: more often than not errors will change each time they are read, then can be detected and recovered by reading multiple times.
This is where the real 'work' begins, effort put in at this stage will ensure best possible results - we have a saying 'rip once - rip right', ripping is a time consuming process, it should be only done once to create perfect, verified results. Decide on an audio format, preferably a lossless audio format (a file compressed with a lossless encoder will decompress 100% identical to the source file). Popular audio formats are FLAC and Apple Lossless. The choice of audio format depends on the programs used for playback: iTunes prefers Apple Lossless and practically all other programs prefer FLAC. This guide will continue with FLAC as its codec of choice.
In the lower left corner of CD Ripper:
Rip To audio encoder defaults to FLAC. Lossless audio codecs do not have many options, all compression modes are lossless, the higher modes require much more CPU encoding time and will only achieve an extra 1% compression. For FLAC Level 5 is a good selection (a good balance between minimal compression time and reasonable compression).
By default ripped audio files are placed in the Music folder saved under Artist\Album\Track Number Artist - Title this option could be changed to suit using Set next to Naming.
Click the DSP tab and Add a DSP effect ReplayGain (not ReplayGain (apply) ). This effect calculates the loudness of the audio track and writes such a value to the ID Tag. A compatible audio player can use that value to correct the volume of the track so tracks from different discs all appear with the same volume, ReplayGain does not change the audio, only contains a loudness value which a player can use. On the ReplayGain settings page:
EBU R128 is a new form of Replaygain calculation, if ripping to an Apple format enable the iTunNORM tag option to write in a format iTunes can use.
Depending upon which audio player is used, if the player can handle 24 bit audio files, then adding the DSP effect HDCD is useful, in that any HDCD audio CDs (a special encoded audio CD with 20 bits of encoded audio information) will be detected and encoded to a 24 bit audio file, non HDCDs are left at 16 bit.
Click the green menu button (top toolbar) >> CD Ripper Options the Ripping Method to Secure (Recover Errors):
Looking further down the page:
Now is time to configure the CD drive for secure ripping, click Secure Settings next to the Secure (Recover Errors) line:
The settings for Ultra Secure depend on your CD drives ability to report C2 error pointers (C2 pointers tell CD Ripper when a section of audio has errors).
If C2 pointers are supported use this ability (in other programs the recommendation might be to always disable C2 support, this is not true in CD Ripper). Before checking C2 Error Pointers for Error Detection, it is best to actually do a test with a simulated damaged audio CD: take an audio CD which is never to be used again, with a black permanent marker pen draw a triangle onto the silver side of the CD (side which is normally placed downwards into a CD player):
Place this CD in your CD drive and click Detect c2 Support, if your drive supports C2 pointers it will detect by the end of the disc - noting if a c2 pointer error is signaled right at the start then the cd drive might not be compatible (the above black marker test would signal a c2 error about 1/4 of the way through the test).
For a secure ripper to work correctly the cache must be invalidated, this is normally done by reading an area larger than the drives cache, by default CD ripper sets a 1024KB cache. The cache can be detected (it is likely to be much much smaller than the default value). Detecting cache size is quite difficult, it is recommended that 3 or 4 different unscratched CDs are used to detect the value. A 'no brainer' and safe option is to leave the cache as 1024KB.
Clear Read Cache with FUA is an option which can quickly clear the cache, it should only be used on compatible Plextor drives (the older true Plextors), there is an option to test for this feature.
Continuing with the options, set these:
The Secure Rip Abort options will end ripping early if the disc is badly damaged, this is important as a secure ripper can sometimes try too much to recover a damaged disc, sometimes spending 2 hours on one disc, which is not overly healthy for a CD drive. A Secure Extraction Log is used to save details (to a text file) of all actions taken on a disc (which tracks had errors, where the errors were), noting that Log Filename is left as the default value. The log file is saved to the Music Folder as a text file.
Moving up the options page, to Ultra Secure:
If your drive supports C2 pointers, set as Minimum Ultra Passes: 1 Maximum Ultra Passes: 2 End After Clean Passes: 1
If your drive does not support C2 pointers, set as Minimum Ultra Passes: 2 Maximum Ultra Passes: 4 End After Clean Passes: 2Maximum Re-Reads control how many times a 'bad' section is retried, with C2 pointer support this can be set to a higher number, such as 60. Without C2 support it is not recommended that this value be increased, as there is more of a chance of a consistent error getting through ripping.
AccurateRip consists of an online database of other users ripping results, by comparing your CD rip (a small CRC of the track data) to theirs it can be known with almost certainty that the rip was free from errors. Before AccurateRip can be used it must find your drives read offset. To do so insert a popular CD, if the CD can be used AccurateRip will offer to find the offset:
Normally only 1 CD is needed, but if your CD drive does not appear in AccurateRip's main database of CD drives then 3 matching results from 3 different discs will be required. When finding the offset for your drive, it is not required to actually rip the CD. Once the offset is found it will be reported:
When AccurateRip is operating it will report a message next to a track such as 'Accurate (12)': this reports your rip matched 12 other peoples rips (the confidence number), anything above a confidence of 1 can be relied upon. On a damaged track the report might be 'Inaccurate (2)', where your rip disagrees with two other peoples Rips. If all the tracks dis-agree with AccurateRip then it is likely your CD is a different pressing to the one in AccurateRip's database.
Finally an important part of CD Ripping, often overlooked is Metadata, quality track details and album art are important in the 'rip one - rip right' philosophy, CD Ripper uses 5 online metadata providers, with PerfectMeta active automated metadata retrieval results are as good as possible for an automated system, occasional manual intervention might be required:
If the track names are wrong, or require correction, press ALT + M (or click Metadata Icon on the tool bar) to activate the PerfectMeta review page, clicking on a different provider (buttons at the top) uses all the data from that provider, or clicking on a single item shown will use that item.
Missing album art can be added quickly by clicking on the art image.By default CD Ripper will embed album art inside each ripped audio file (audio format permitting) and also write a Folder.jpg file to the location of the album.