abcde: As simple as that

I wish I had known more about some of the console tools for CD access, ripping and playback about six or eight years ago, when I actually still had CDs.

Mostly because some of them are better than their graphical counterparts.

abcde is one I did actually try out a few years ago, when I needed to rip out a sizeable stack of CDs from my former office. It’s still maintained, still available, and still working.


(Sorry for the crowded screenshot. It’s at the lower center of the image. 🙄 )

I liked abcde then and I like it now, mostly for subtleties that make it quick and straightforward to use.

It will scan a disc and search online for track data, without much prodding. If it can’t find what it wants, it can drop you into your $EDITOR and let you manage the information directly.

It keeps a progress bar on the screen with smiley faces to show status. No color, but that’s okay.

It can use cdparanoia or a couple other CD access tools. It can encode to ogg, mp3, flac and others.

And while it’s ripping, it will split out a process for encoding. On a fast machine, that might actualy save you some time. On this one … not much.

I suppose if you keep CDs then abcde might still be useful from time to time. And it’s always aptly named … “a better CD encoder.”

5 thoughts on “abcde: As simple as that

  1. JJ Posti

    Console tools are nothing but superior. I find myself doing every single thing in a terminal these days but still I have the same feeling like you do: I do wish that I have had at least some of my current knowledge years ago. Very good and detailed post. Thank you for that. Have a nice day.

  2. Elena

    abcde is also useful in a CD-less environment because it is able to recognise a flac + embedded cue file as a source to be converted in other formats.

    Years ago I’ve ripped all of my CDs to flac and now I can simply use abcde -d $SOME_DISC.flac -p -o ogg:”$SOME_OPTIONS”
    or -o mp3:”$SOME_OPTIONS” to get lossy files for players where file size is still an issue (handelds, car stereo, etc.)

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