Friday, April 30, 2010

Best Free CD Ripper: Exact Audio Copy

One day, you may find out that you have more music CDs, that storage place in your apartment can handle. The logical step would be rip all the music collection to the hard drive and keep it handy for further burning as needed or simple transfer to the MP3 player or mobile phone. Some of the old disks you have might be already scratched and slightly distorted over the long-term use. So, for this task, you need not just any CD Ripper software utility, but a really good one.

The competition on the market for these products is strong. There are lots of rippers available. All media players including Windows Media Player can rip. You can find both free utilities and commercial products with versatile sets of features. Most of the utilities will rip to WAV, MP3 and usually several other formats. But when it comes to handling scratched and dirty disks, rippers will vary greatly upon their ability to handle the problematic media. Some will simply get stuck, others will skip forward over the problem track, or create a silent gap.  However, the best programs will try repeatedly to fix the problem with no audible effects.

Today, I would like to present one of the best products to rip the music disks with less than perfect media surface - Exact Audio Copy. This utility can be characterized by the following main features, essential for your task:
  • It is free (for non-commercial purposes).
  • All kinds of CD and DVD drives are supported (including USB, Firewire, SATA and SCSI drives)
  • Hidden sector synchronization (jitter correction)
  • A secure, a fast and a burst extraction methods selectable. Fast extraction should run at the same speed as other grabbers with jitter correction, but is probably not exact anymore. Burst mode just grabs the audio data without any synchronization.
  • Detection of read errors and complete losses of sync and correction in the secure mode, as far as possible
  • Output of time positions of all non-exact corrections and the possibility to listen to these positions
  • EAC is able to copy ranges of music data, not only tracks
  • Automatic speed reduction on read errors and fallback to a higher speed afterwards (depends on the used drive)
  • Volume normalization of extracted audio to a given percentage
  • Usage of the Windows Audio Compression manager (ACM Codecs) for direct compression to e.g. MP3 waves
  • Support for the LAME DLL that is usable like an ACM Codec for on-the-fly MP3 compression
  • Support of external MP3, WMA, flac and OggVorbis encoders for automatic compression after extraction (supports multi-processor environments)
  • Batch compression to WAV files and decompression of supported encoded files to WAV
  • Compression offset support for exact compression/decompression
  • Detection of pre-track gaps (positions where negative track times runs towards 00:00:00)
  • Detection of silence in pre-track gaps
  • Automatic creation of CUE sheets for Burnnn, Feurio, Nero or even EAC, which can include all gaps, indicies, track attributes, UPC and ISRC and also CD-Text for an exact copy
  • CD player functionality and prelistening to selected ranges
  • Automatic detection of drive features, whether a drive has an accurate stream and/or does caching
  • Sample offsets for drives with non-accurate streams, including the option of filling up missing samples with silence
  • Synchronizing between tracks for non-accurate stream drives
  • Trackname editing with local/remote CD databases support and more features like ID3 tagging
  • Browse and edit local database
  • Certified Escient ® CDDB(TM)Compatible
  • Local CDDB support
  • Record and loop record functions for recording from LP, radio, etc.
  • Automatic renaming of MP3 files according to their ID3 tag
  • Catalog extraction function (e.g. first 20 seconds of a track)
  • Multisession (CD-Extra) support
  • CD-Text support
  • CD-Write support for some drives (internally and using CDRDAO)
  • ID3 V1.1 tag editor with drag and drop ability from track listing and CD database browser
  • Glitch removal after extraction
  • Small WAV editor with the following functionality: delete, trim, normalize, pad, glitch removal, pop detection, interpolation of ranges, noise reduction, fade in/out, undo (and much more)
    Authors’ website:


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    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    FileLocator Lite – Free File Searching Utility

    Modern computer-related reality brings new challenges to users. Amount of saved information on your Hard Drive sometimes makes it difficult to find what you need. Windows built-in capabilities do not offer adequate answer to your needs, so you might be looking for third-party utilities to fill the gap. While I was using for sometime Google Desktop, I do not quite completely satisfied with its speed and functionality. In search for descent alternatives, I have stumbled into freeware utility, I am going to test for all the computer search needs.

    Today, I am going to present FileLocator Lite – Free File Searching Utility. It is absolutely free for both personal and commercial use.

    Main features:

     Get immediate results   
    This is a killing and very attractive software capability, not usually provided by the competitors. Found text is shown with highlighted keywords so you don't need to waste time opening each file looking for the right information.   
    Boolean expressions    
    Combine search terms using the familiar Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT.
    Office formats         
    Support for popular Office formats including Office 2007 and OpenOffice.
    Perl regex  
    Support for Perl compatible regular expressions.
    64-bit Version   
    Natively compiled 64-bit version for improved compatibility.
    Fast searching  
    Highly efficient search algorithms mean that you spend less time waiting for results.
    Printing and Exporting   
    Results can be shared with others through printing and exporting.

    File System Unicode Support

    FileLocator Lite is built with the Windows Unicode libraries and therefore supports searching of the file system with full Unicode support.

    Content Searching Unicode Support

    Content searching of files processed by extensions (such as IFilters) supports Unicode searching if the underlying format supports Unicode.

    Hardware/Software Requirements

    - Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/SP2/2003/Vista/2008/7
    - PC with at least a 486 66Mhz processor and 64MB RAM
    - 10 MB of available hard-disk space
    - Mouse or compatible pointing device
    - VGA (640x480) or higher resolution monitor with 256 colors.


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