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Digital Music Collection – Part II: REACT

June 9, 2007
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If you’re convinced to get full advantages of digital music collection, e. g. backing up into lossless files while enjoying your music on the road, what should you do? You’ll need an image file of a CD in some lossless format for backup and track files in loss format for portable listening.

Again, there are many methods and choices to do so. One criterion to me was to use EAC to rip the CD. Manually, You can

  1. rip a CD to an image file (wave) and a cue file via EAC;
  2. convert this image file into a file in lossless format (without deleting the original wave);
  3. split this image file based the cue file into tracks and can then convert them into some loss format.

This sounds tedious. Isn’t there a program that can do these tasks by one click? Not so easy as one click, but an interin application can process these tacks according to a preset configuration file: REACT. REACT package comes with 5 encoders; among them, two lossless — FLAC and WavePack and three lossy — MP3, Ogg, and AAC.

REACT’s wiki has more detailed information but may be still confusing for newbies. Here I try to make the procedure as clear as possible .

Step-by-Step:

  1. Get REACT2 from here (unzip and install). [PS: After installing  the original REACT 2.0, you will need to apply a mod file to match with recent EAC version]
  2. Clicking at REACT shortcut will bring up EAC. If it’s not configured using REACT, you can enable it by pressing Ctrl-F2.
  3. To change the setting, open the configuration file (REACT.ini) by pressing Alt-F2. If needn’t, go to step 4.
  4. Press F10 for an image task — “Copy Image and Save CUE Sheet” — (and tracks if the ini is set so). Or, press F5 for tracks — “Copy selected tracks – Compressed”.

Configuration:

Once you configure the ini file, it’s all automatic. Here I list items you probably need to change. For detailed information about specific item or others, please check the wiki.

=======================
[Settings]

ImageExt=flac <– the lossless format for image file

CreateAllCuesheets=0 <– for cue sheets; 0 means only one
RunCoverDownloader=0 <– for album art (a) (“1” means yes; “0” means no)

[UserTrackFormats] <– which format to use for tracks

[UserOutputNames]
OutRoot=F:\CD Archive <– where to save (default: My Music) (b)

[UserSettings]

ReplayGain=1 <– add ReplayGain tag info (c)
ApplyAlbumGain=0 <– No AlbumGain (which only acts on loss format, not lossless format)
AdjustAlbumGain_dB=+0 <– 89dB (default: +3 means 92dB)

(below are compression setting. you may need to change) (d)
Opt_Flac=-5 -f
Opt_Wavpack=-hmy
Opt_LameMP3=-V2 –vbr-new –noreplaygain –nohist
Opt_NeroAac=-lc -q 0.21
Opt_iTunesAac=-d -s 2000
Opt_OggEnc2=-q 6
=======================

(a) When enable CoverDownloader, it will run albumart (needs .NET installed) and allow you to pick up the cover art for your CD. But I found for many times it didn’t list the correct one. Maybe there’s a way to make this tool more efficient but I think getting it directly from Amazon is faster.

(b) Set up the directory of your music collection. Here also check out whether you prefer its default naming scheme here and the image naming in [Settings].

(c) If you only want ReplayGain tags and not getting the gain applied directly, then set ‘ApplyAlbumGain=0’ and set ‘ReplayGain=1’. This also applies on lossless format (image or tracks). DO NOT use AddCuesheetAG & UseWaveGainAG (set 0), because it applies the gain on Wave format and is not reversible.

(d) The default compression setting for lossy formats are not sufficient for my need. For instance, MP3 and Ogg. You can use the recommended setting in Hydrogenaudio’s wiki (see Part I – References).

Why an image file? Can I play it?

An image file is convenient for organization and restoration to CD. This is also a more appropriate choice for classical music collection (at least, I think so).

You can play a FLAC image in foobar2000. That’s what I do in the office PC. At home, I play CD in my audio system.

foobar2000 is a powerful tool (player/converter/tagging etc). I’m not an experience users. Just started to use it for this purpose. My layout is simple but enough for me.

My foobar

Other Useful References:

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