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abcde is a frontend command-line utility (actually, a shell script) that
grabs tracks off a CD or a singletrack flac file with an embeded cuesheet,
encodes them to Ogg/Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, Ogg/Speex and/or MPP/MP+(Musepack)
format, and tags them, all in one go.

Your finished Ogg/MP3/FLAC/Speex/MPP's are, by default, stored in a subdirectory
of the current directory (named after the artist) with a filename based on the
track title. Spaces are replaced by underscores, and apostrophes and control
codes are filtered out. Colons are replaced with an underscore and a hyphen. The
end result usually looks like: Our_Lady_Peace/01.Supermans_Dead.ogg This
filename munging is customizable - edit the mungefilename function in your
abcde.conf to change it.

Many of the questions related of problems executing abcde have been moved to the
FAQ, which should be distributed along with this package. Reffer to that file 
for more help.

Changes in 2.5:
* Added working support for Musicbrainz using a perl helper script.

Changes in 2.4:
* Read TOC entries from the CD. The default uses cdrdao. The program mkcue is
  also optional.
* Possibility to use CDDBCHOICE1,CDDBCHOICE2 (i.e., 1,3) to get a diff of two
  parsed CDDB entries.
* Added SHOWCDDBFIELDS to define wether to show the YEAR and GENRE fields from
  the CDDB output.
* Added the possibility of embeding a cuesheet on a singletrack flac file. A
  single BACKUP flag is most likely needed to use all the needed flags:
  "abcde -1 -o flac -a default,cue"
* Added the possibility of using a singletrack flac file with an embeded
  cuesheet as a source to extract tracks from (use -X to specify an external
  CUE2DISCID implementation; check under examples in the distributed source
  code or package).
* Added replaygain for Ogg/Vorbis and Ogg/FLAC.
* Added M4A encoding.
* Uses the default found $CDROMREADER instead of forcing cdparanoia when
  cdda2wav is installed.
* BATCH mode has been split into two options: BATCHNORM and NOGAP.
* Added -U option for non-UNICODE (non UTF-8) tag encoding.
* Added -z for debug.
* Added -f to force the removal of left files.
* CUE support has changed from a flag (-M) to an action (cue).
Changes in 2.3:
* Support for mkcue, to create a CUE sheet of the CD structure. It can be used
  with "-1" to create a backup, so that later the original CD can be recreated.
* New -o <output(1)>:<options(1)>,... way of passing specific options to an
  output. Now we can pass specific options without having to modify a config
  file. This feature was already present in the last versions of the 2.2 cycle.
* Unix PIPEs, as a second way to encode files with a low disc space.
* Option to erase the "encoded" entries from the status file. Allows one to
  encode the wav files (in case they were not erased) into another format. This
  is needed until status information is stored for each format.
* The "ogg" output mode will be substituted for "vorbis" in the near future.
  This release adds a compatibility layer so that both entries work.
* The FLAC encoder forces the files to be overwritten, in case they previously
  exists. This avoids a half-through abcde run to continue without errors in
  case it was cancelled during the FLAC encoding.
* Added a post_read() function so that we can do things with the CD before we
  eject it.

Changes in 2.2:

* Support for MPP/MP+(Musepack) format. It can be downloaded from It is supposed to be Free (not only free), and released under
  the GPL...
* New "-t <number>" option for starting the numbering of the output files at a
  given starting number. Ideal for albums with more than one CD.  
* New "-T <number>" option, similar to "-t" but also modifies the tag entries
  on the files themselves.
* New "-w <COMMENT>" to add a comment to the tracks of a given CD rip. Use
* New "-W <number>" option to combine both a comment with "CD #number" and a
  starting number for both the tracks and the tags with "#01" (that is, 101 for
  the 1st CD, 201 for the second...)
* Support for keeping an existing playlist (and not add new entries to it),
  erase the existing one (overwrite) or append new entries to the existing
* Under ./examples you will find a very basic way to make abcde run in the
  background and start a non-interactive rip of a CD, if it can find an
  audio CD in the tray.
  The abcded script depends on eject and cdparanoia being installed in your
* New mungegenre function to switch off (or modify) the default behaviour of
  transforming uppercase characters to lowercase.
* cdparanoia permits performing a query to the CD drive and obtain a list of 
  valid audio tracks. So, now we perform such query and process the results.
* Support for "None of the above" has been added with the "0" selection. A 
  template is created, and the selection to edit it is defaulted to "y".

New options in 2.1.19:

* ONETRACK mode has been introduced. Setting the flag "-1" will create a
  single file with all the tracks from the CD.
Changes in 2.1.18:

* CDSPEED option defaults to eject. However, since cdparanoia has a built-in
  option to set the speed, we use it. There is not way (right now) to force the
  use of eject, but it will be introduced in a future release. Also one can use
  the pre_read function to set the speed with other program.

New options in 2.1.16:

* -S, CDSPEED and CDSPEEDOPTS for setting the speed of the CDROM. One can set
  the options in abcde.conf and pass the value on the command line.  This option
  can be used with "eject -x <speed>", "setcd -x <speed>" or the built-in
  cdparanoia option "-S <speed>", if the CD reader supports it.
* Added a pre-read function. Modify it at your pleasure in abcde.conf
  One can use it to close the CD drive.
* -m option, to modify the playlist to include CRLF in every line. Some players
  insist on having those to work properly with playlists.

New options in 2.1.15:

* -V can be used to obtain some more information about the CDDB queries.
* -v shows the version, basic help, and exits.

New options from 2.1.10 to 2.1.13:

* CDROMID has been introduced for cdda2wav use with SCSI devices.
* Use -L to retrieve the CDDB entries from a local repository (also one can
  set CDDBUSELOCAL in the config file).
* If CDDBCOPYLOCAL is set to "y" we store copies of the CDDB entries, under
  CDDBLOCALDIR (defaults to "~/.cddb).

Modifications from 2.1.9 to 2.1.10:

* Initial (still incomplete) MacOSX support is on the works.
* A new tool (curl) has been added for MacOSX compatibility, as HTTPGET
Options modified from 2.1.8 to 2.1.9:

* KEEPWAVS option now sets the clean to "no".

Options added/modified from 2.1.3 to 2.1.5:

* Ogg/Speex added. Use "-o spx" to rip your audiobooks, for instance.

Options added/modified from 2.1.1 to 2.1.3:

* WGET has been substituted by HTTPGET. Now we support fetch as retrieval
* KEEPWAVS has been introduced. Set it to "y" and the wav tracks will be
* CDDBPROTO is used to specify the protocol level in the CDDB retrieval.
* DAGRAB has been introduced as a cd ripper.

Options added/modified from 2.0.3 to 2.1.x:

* -b use batch processing. It uses normalize-audio to adjust the volume of 
  the songs, and a -g gapless option from lame to remove gaps. Only available
  for mp3+lame combination.
* a new "normalize" option has been added to -a, to normalize the volume.
* -o works now with a combination of the different outputs: ogg, mp3, flac.
  Combine them separated by ",". Example: "-o ogg,flac".
* OUTPUTTYPE is no longer used for the output file type. From version 2.1 abcde
  implements multiple-output and the file type is always appended at the end of
  the file. The OUTPUT variable can be used in the PLAYLISTFORMAT and
  OUTPUTFORMAT to create different directory structures and playlist names for
  each of the output formats selected.

* DYEAR can be used as DiskYear value in CDDB data. If the data is not supplied 
  by the CDDB server, it can be added.

Other options that changed from 1.x to 2.x:

* -e doesn't exist anymore, abcde now presents you with all of the cddb data
  and asks you if you want to edit it. If you don't want to be asked,
  use -N or INTERACTIVE=n
* The output type defaults to Ogg/Vorbis. Specify -o mp3 or OUTPUTTYPE=mp3
  if you still want to output mp3's.
* -l 2 is now just -l, LOWDISK=2 should now be LOWDISK=y
* -V and -v are gone, abcde will now prompt you if you'd like to use Various
  Artists handling, after showing you the cddb data.
* -P is now '-a playlist,clean', PLAYLISTONLY=y is now
* -p is now '-a playlist,move,clean', PLAYLIST=y is now
* cddb-tool has been cleaned up a little bit. 'get' is now 'query' and
  'read', and the tempfile handling has been removed.
* FreeDB is now the default CDDB database.


abcde requires the following backend tools to work:

* An Ogg/Vorbis encoder (oggenc, the default, or vorbize) or:
* An MP3 encoder (lame, gogo, bladeenc, l3enc, etc). Any MP3 encoder that
  takes two filenames on the command line, one for input, one for output,
  will work.
  You can get lame at:
  You can get gogo at:
  You can get BladeEnc at:
  You can get a trial version of mp3enc at: or:
* FLAC encoder (flac) or:
* Ogg/Speex encoder (speexenc) or:
* MPP/MP+(Musepack) encoder (mppenc) or:
* AAC encoder (faac)
* normalize-audio for volume normalization.
* CD Paranoia, an audio CD reading utility or:
* icedax/cdda2wav, the audio CD reading utility cdparanoia was born from or:
* dagrab, another audio CD reading utility.
* cd-discid, a CDDB DiscID reading program. Formerly bundled with abcde.
  It's available in Debian or
* An HTTP retrieval program: wget, fetch (FreeBSD) or curl (MacOSX)
* id3, an id3 tagging program. Available at:
* id3v2, an id3 version 2.0 tagger.
* (optional) distmp3, a client/server for distributed mp3 encoding.
  You can get distmp3 at

Abcde's new mailing list is Visit

to subscribe. Posts from non-subscribers are moderated to prevent

Abcde's current page is at

Jesus Climent <>
Colin Tuckley <>
Steve McIntyre <>

abcde was originally created by Robert Woodcock <>

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