Jack - rip and encode CDs with one command
Jack transforms your audio-CDs to FLAC, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis files. It
uses several helper programs in order to achieve functions such as
ripping, encoding and, tagging files with meta information. Ripping is
either done via cdparanoia (in which case the ripping status is
displayed by Jack as well) or cdda2wav. Jack works with several
encoders, namely oggenc, flac, lame, gogo, bladeenc, l3enc, mp3enc and
xing. Any time during operation (and even when everything is finished
and the original CD lost) you can let Jack look up the track names at
freedb.org and rename the tracks accordingly. Tagging of audio files
with meta information about artist, track title, etc. is performed as
If no freedb-lookup has been performed, Jack drops all files in a
directory ~/jack/jack-xxxxxxxx, with xxxxxxxx representing the CD’s
CDDB/FreeDB disc ID. This directory is renamed by Jack when the
appropriate information is known.
Most options like ripper, encoder, preferred FreeDB-Server, directory
and sound file format, etc. can be user defined by changing the
defaults in /etc/jackrc or by saving them to ~/.jack3rc. Additional
rippers, encoders and FreeDB servers can be defined by users through
the help of a plug-in directory (as defined by the plugin_path option
which defaults to ~/.jack_plugins).
While Jack is running, these keyboard commands are available:
q or Q quit
p or P disable ripping (for example, if you need the CD drive)
p or P (again) or c or C
e or E pause/continue all encoders
r or R pause/continue all rippers.
? toggle the copyright/help box
Different options need different data-types as arguments:
bool can be "yes" or "no", like in --vbr=yes
string can be anything, like in --rename-fmt "%n.%t"
int an integer number, like in --bitrate 192 (or --bitrate=192 )
list multiple strings, delimited by the final ";". Example:
--guess-toc file1.mp3 file2.mp3 ... fileN.mp3 \;
Jack understands the following options:
append this string to the directory name (useful with %y to add
the year an album was released)
-b, --bitrate int
target bitrate (in kbit/s, default is 160).
convert file names using a python method
charset of filenames (defaults to your locale).
compare toc-file and cd-toc, then exit. Jack caches the TOC of a
CD in a file ("jack.toc"). If you want to know if the inserted
CD matches the toc-file in the current directory, use this
rename directories even if they were was not created by Jack.
continue without FreeDB data if query fails.
tells Jack to create sub-directories in which Jack puts all the
files for the current CD. If no FreeDB data is available, i.e.
when not using -Q , these directories will be named "jack-
xxxxxxxx" where "xxxxxxxx" stands for the CD’s FreeDB ID.
Otherwise dir_template (see above) will be used. This option is
turned on by default.
The device-name of your cdrom-drive. The default is /dev/cdrom
if directories are renamed, this is the format used (default
don’t do DAE, encoding, tagging or renaming. This may be useful
if you only want to do a FreeDB query, e.g. while another jack
open an editor to change the CDDB information which has been
obtained previously (only useful with -Q).
--encoder-name, -E string
use which encoder (default "oggenc")
-e, --encoders int
encode how many files in parallel. If you have a SMP machine or
simply want to stress your system, you can have Jack encode
several files at once (default 1).
run predefined command when finished.
the artist is contained in the EXTT fields. The EXTT fields are
lines in the FreeDB file which contain additional data for each
track. As it’s the submitting user’s choice what to use them
for, Jack can’t determine by itself what they were intended for.
You have to provide this information.
the track title is contained in the EXTT fields.
a track comment is contained in the EXTT fields.
do not ask. Like when deleting incomplete files.
-f, --from-tocfile string
rip from a cdrdao created CD image on hd. The specified toc-file
contains the name of the image file. Use -F if jack can’t find
the image file.
-F, --from-image string
read audio data from image file. Like --from-tocfile, but the
image itself is specified instead of the tocfile. If you do not
have a toc-file (or don’t specify a toc-file), the TOC is read
from the CD itself.
-g, --guess-toc list
make up a TOC from the list of sound file given. The format is
track_01.ogg ... track_nn.ogg ; Note that the trailing " ; " is
only necessary if you want to append more options to your
command line. You can use it to do a FreeDB query based on your
sound files alone - no need for the CD. Very useful if you have
no idea which CD the songs are from. The songs must be given in
the same order as they were on their CD. The generated TOC file
is similar, but not identical to the TOC of the CD - do not
-G, --id3-genre string
set ID3 genre. Use ’help’ to get a list of all known genres.
(You can also specify the ID3v1 genre as an int)
-Y, --id3-year int
set the year of the album (the term ID3 comes from MP3 but this
option also works with other audio formats, such as OGG Vorbis
Show summary of options.
do not delete WAVs after encoding them.
submit FreeDB entry via e-mail. HTTP submission is preferred.
You will have to enter the category of the CD.
-l, --max-load float
only start new encoders if your system’s load is below the
specified value. /proc/loadavg must be readable by you for this
try to query FreeDB for all dirs in searchdirs which have no
your e-mail address, needed for FreeDB submissions.
-n, --nice int
nice-level with which the encoders are started. Default is 12
which shouldn’t hurt your system much.
overwrite existing files, i.e. do not check if already ripped
WAVs or an already encoded file seem to be OK. Use this if you
know something went wrong last time. This is off by default.
only produce WAVs, implies --keep-wavs. This is off by default.
On-the-fly operation. Only on some encoders/rippers. Do not
create WAVs, pipe ripper output through the encoder. Default is
no as it’s a torture for the CDROM drive.
vbr encoding quality. -1 is lowest, 10 highest (default 6). You
can also specify a float.
do FreeDB query when all is done. This is useful if Jack was
previously run without a FreeDB query. If all tracks are done
you don’t even have to have a CD inserted as the TOC is cached
by Jack. After having finished ripping and encoding, Jack will
rename the files and tag them.
like --query-now, but only if FreeDB data hasn’t been
successfully queried before.
do FreeDB query when starting. Use this if you are connected to
the Internet when starting Jack. Know that the query may need
user-interaction. After having finished ripping and encoding,
Jack will rename the files and tag them.
-a, --read-ahead int
read how many WAVs in advance. At most read_ahead + num_encoders
WAVs are ripped before a track has completely been encoded.
Default is 99 which will read the whole CD, provided there is
enough disk space.
have Jack remove its temp jack*-files. Be careful - don’t
delete them too early!
rename and tag files according to FreeDB file. On startup, Jack
creates a blank FreeDB entry file (except if --query-now is
used, then the file is queried from your FreeDB server). If you
have changed its contents (e.g. because the CD was unknown to
FreeDB) and want to rename and tag your audio files accordingly,
use this option. Give all other needed options too, like -t ,
-E , ...
rename directory as well (default).
format of normal files (default "%n - %t")
format of Various Artists files (default "%n - %a - %t")
format of the track number (%n, printf() style) used to rename
the files (default "%02d")
optimize track-order for disk space. This can save you some peak
disk space during the encoding process; this may make it
possible to do a CD which would otherwise fail to be encoded.
unusable chars are replaced by the corresponding list item
which program to use for extracting the audio data (default
--save save options to ~/.jack3rc file and exit.
Scan this many levels from the current working directory for a
matching toc-file (0 to disable, default 2).
add these directories to the list of directories searched when
looking for the workdir (default ".").
which FreeDB server to use. Don’t forget to set your HTTP proxy.
Currently either "freedb" (default) or "freedb-de".
be quiet (no screen output).
-s, --space int
forcibly set usable disk space, in bytes. This option lets you
limit the disk space Jack uses, maybe you need it for something
else? Be careful: if set too high or too low, ripping and
encoding will probably fail. The default is to look how much is
free and to use this value.
submit FreeDB entry via HTTP. You will have to enter the
category of the CD.
swap byte order from image file. As cdrdao momentarily only
outputs "raw" .cdr files, you quite likely want to swap the byte
order. Try this option if your WAVs and encoded files contain
only noise. This is on by default as cdrdao currently generates
.cdr files that are "wrong".
--todo print what would be done and exit.
-t, --tracks string
limit ripping and encoding to the specified tracks, use comma to
separate tracks. Ranges are also possible; 5-9 is equivalent to
5,6,7,8,9; 12- is like specifying track 12,...,last_track. The
default is to process the whole CD.
undo file renaming and exit. If you don’t like how Jack renamed
your files, use this option to restore the previous state.
Several levels of undo are possible. Note that meta information
tags are not restored.
characters which can’t be used in filenames (default "/").
have Jack re-create its temp files. Use this if you deleted them
update the FreeDB info and exit.
show the help screen while running.
Generate variable bitrate files, only on encoders which support
this. Default is yes.
when parsing FreeDB data, Jack assumes that if the disc´s artist
is set to "Various" the track titles have the format "[artist] -
[title]". If the disc title is set to something else and you
still want the above behaviour, use --various.
exchange artist and title, many FreeDB entries have them wrong.
wait for key press before quitting.
-w, --workdir string
where to create directories and put the files.
write a smart id3v1 tag to the encoded file.
write an id3v2 tag to the encoded file.
create a playlist in .m3u format. This has bugs, don’t rely on
CONFIG FILE OPTIONS
In addition the the command line options, there are some options that
can only be set directly in the config file.
all FreeDB queries will be done in this (local) directory;
failed local queries will be done via the network. Example:
Insert a CD, fire up jack:
Now watch it work. It’s fun for a while. After having finished, you
have the following files on your HD: track_01.mp3, track_02.mp3, ...,
track_nn.mp3 plus jack.toc, jack.freedb, jack.progress. The last three
are used to store the state jack is in so it can resume work when
Jack will create a directory called jack-xxxxxxxx for you, there it
stores all the file for the CD whose id is xxxxxxxx. After a FreeDB
query this directory is renamed to something human readable, like
"Artist - Title".
When jack is interrupted, call it again using the same command line as
before to resume work, in this case
Now let’s try a FreeDB query:
If the query is successful the files will be renamed to something more
readable and will be tagged accordingly using ID3 or Vorbis tags. The
file jack.freedb will contain the queried FreeDB entry, and the
original file will be backed up as jack.freedb.bak.
You can use the --rename-fmt option in order to specify the format of
the name which will be given to your audio tracks. A list of valid
options can be found below. You may also want to specify a set of
characters which are not usable and should be replaced. For example,
on Unix systems the slash (/) should most certainly be replaced with
something else. The VFAT filesystem also does not support double
quotes ("). In order to replace such characters, you can specify the
options unusable_chars together with replacement_chars. For example,
jack -Q --rename-fmt "%n-%t" --unusable-chars A I ;
--replacement-chars a i ;
will query the FreeDB server, rip and encode all tracks of the CD and
save the files in a format which will contain the track number and the
title. All occurances of the letters A and I will be replaced with
their lower-case versions. These options can also be put in one’s
configuration file using the following format:
unusable_chars:[' ', '/']
This will replace whitespace and slashes with underscores. If you want
to convert all characters to lower-case, you don’t have to manually
specify all of them but can use the following option instead:
All in one: query, rip, encode, cleanup:
jack -Q --remove-files
Editing / normalizing / stripping the WAV files before encoding:
jack -O -D --remove-files ; gnoise *wav ; jack -g *wav ; jack
Just replace gnoise by the operation you’d like to perform.
Additional rippers, encoders and FreeDB servers currently not known by
jack can be defined using jack’s plug-in mechanism. Plug-ins have to
be put in the ~/.jack_plugins directory (or the path defined by the
plugin_path option). The plug-ins are simple Python scripts which
define a hash with the values for your ripper, encoder or FreeDB
server. For rippers and encoders, the hash plugin_helpers has to be
defined while additional FreeDB servers are specified in
plugin_freedb_servers. Both expect another hash whose names
corresponds to the entry you want to add (prefixed by plugin_) and have
to define certain values. Two examples are provided,
jack_plugin_cddb.py (to define a new FreeDB server) and
jack_plugin_lame.py (to show how rippers and encoders can be defined).
After defining plug-ins, you have to manually select them by specifying
the ripper, encoder, or CDDB server. An example would be:
jack --encoder-name plugin_lame --ripper plugin_foo --server
Plug-ins can also be used to define your own rippers and encoders which
uses different options than those used by default by jack.
There are several environment variables which can be used in jack’s
lists jack’s base directory in which files are stored.
lists the current directory of jack in which files of the
current album are put.
lists all track names which have just been encoded.
lists all track names which have just been ripped.
%n Track number
%t Track title
%l Album title
%y Album release year
%g Album genre
Site-wide configuration file.
User-specific configuration file. Use the --save option to save
your configuration to this file.
Arne Zellentin <email@example.com> is the author of Jack.
cdparanoia(1), cdda2wav(1), flac(1), oggenc(1) and lame(1)
November 22, 2004