First of all, anybody using xACT or Max should definitely switch from these to XLD. XLD supports critical things like Test & Copy rips, cache disabling, read-offset recognition, and other things.
XLD website - http://tmkk.hp.infoseek.co.jp/xld/index_e.html
(Be sure to update frequently because the developer is known to release new versions with updates and/or bug fixes almost daily)
Setting up XLDGeneral Settings
The first thing to do is correctly set up XLD to rip with your Mac. First go to XLD>Preferences to set up the General tab. Then set an output directory to set where XLD will put the files that it rips; your log file will also automatically be put in this location. Next you can set up the custom naming scheme if you wish, for me the default is fine. Character encoding of cuesheet should also be left at default. The Maximum #Threads can be changed if you have a multi-core system. Since I have a dual core Mac mine is set at 2. This will increase the number of simultaneous audio conversions XLD can perform. Everything else should be left unchecked unless you want to check it for your own personal needs. The "Correct 30 samples moved offset problem" should be left unchecked. Long story short, if you have the "30 samples..." box checked your CRCs aren't going to match EAC's or any other ripper. Finally, to be sure you are up to date every time you start XLD you should have the "Automatically check for updates" box checked. The other two tabs, CDDB and Cover Art, should be left as they are. They are fine.Format Settings
For this tutorial I will be ripping to FLAC, and for this option, next to the "Output format" box, click Options and make sure the compression is set to High and do NOT use OggFLAC. You also do not need to have the "Allow to embed cue sheet" box checked unless you are going to rip to one single file, not multiple tracks.
To set up XLD for ripping or converting a file to V0 just click on the "Output format" drop-down menu and click LAME MP3. Then click options next to the menu. A new box will appear with the options for MP3 encoding. To encode V0 you should have it set up like the box shown below.
If you wish you can convert to multiple formats at once by clicking on the Output format drop-down menu, and selecting "Multiple Formats." Then just choose which formats you want encoded.
Under the General tab in the XLD preferences, in the "Format of file name" area, check Specify, and type this into the box:
%n - %t
This way the output file will have the name of something like "01 Track Title."
The Batch tab will allow you to set up how you want audio files to be organized when converting multiple folders of audio files at once. This can be set according to personal preference, and is ideal for converting multiple folders of audio files at once while still retaining their folder structure. As opposed to dragging two or more folders into XLD and having them all end up in the same directory, this will keep the files separated and put into folders with the same name as the original. Note that this tab has nothing to do with actually ripping a CD and is more for organizational purposes when converting.Ripping Settings
First off, insert a CD then go to File>Open Audio CD and choose the CD. XLD will start to detect pregaps. After that is done, go back to File and click Measure Drive Cache Ability. This will test your drive to see if you need to enable cache defeating.
Now look at the log.
More than likely you will see a similar message of "The cache is small enough..." The reason for this is that the default build of CDparanoia 10.2 has a max cache capacity of 2750KB which no Mac drive will exceed. CDparanoia 10.2 can dynamically and automatically adjust to a drive's caching by constantly reading incoming data and adjusting itself in real-time. This is the reason why a "defeat cache" option does not exist in XLD; it is not necessary to defeat cache when using CDparanoia 10.2 to achieve an accurate rip because 10.2 will "defeat cache" as necessary by itself. EAC, however, defines any drive with over 64KB of caching a "caching" drive, and cannot adjust itself dynamically so that is the reason you are forced to defeat cache when ripping with EAC.
For the CD ripping tab almost everything is going to be checked. Check the "Rip as accurate as possible" box, since this will engage CDparanoia in your rips. The max retry count should be left at 100, but the read sample offset will be different for your computer. To find out what your specific read-offset should be click on the apple icon at the top left corner of your menu, then go to About this Mac>More Info... and click on the Disc Burning tab in the sidebar. The drive name and model will be in bold at the top of the page.
First of all, make sure you that you are using the latest CDparanoia. Don't use the old engine. Don't use C2 error pointers. Now to select the correct read offset for your drive, just click the little drop-down arrow next to the "Read sample offset" box, your drive with the correct value should be listed, then select it. If your drive is not listed go to the AccurateRip offset page
to find what the correct offset should be for your drive, then enter that number in the "Read offset correction value" box in XLD. For me it is 48. Cache disabling is now automatically set to the strongest option, so you don't have to mess with anything there. The next box should be checked as you want to query the AccurateRip database to compare your rips to. You don't need to have the "Treat AR mismatch..." box checked because if you have a different pressing, or some other issue, AR will report back telling you your rip is wrong which may not be true. To check integrity of your rips, refer to your CRCs and error logging in your logs which I will explain how to read later. Next check the box to save a log file, and Always do this. Then you should be verifying suspicious sectors and doing a test before copy so have those two boxes checked. Check the "Scan ReplayGain" box. This will put the track's peak level, and gain info in the log like EAC. The other two can be checked depending on personal preference.
Next comes the actual ripping process. So insert your CD you wish to rip, then when it shows up on your desktop go to File>Audio CD and click on your album. If it doesn't show up, just hit Refresh and it should appear.
Once you select your CD XLD will begin to detect the pre-gaps.
Now to save a CUE sheet just go to File>Save CUE Sheet As... And save the CUE sheet to wherever you ripped your CD.
Then a window will appear with the tracks inside of them for you to edit tags, or select or deselect which tracks you do or do not wish to rip. Note that at the top of the window there will be a "[AR]" shown if XLD finds that your CD is in the AccurateRip database. If your CD does not show up with any track names automatically you can query the FreeDB by going to CDDB>Get CD Track Names. You should always be including the pregap in the previous track. And don't rip to as single file. The only reason you would really need to save a CD as one file is if the album is a continuous album without gaps, then save it with a CUE file so people are able to split up the tracks from the continuous file. If you wish you can add album art as well by dragging a picture into the Album Art window.
Once you have everything as you want, hit Decode and XLD will begin the ripping process. Note that there will be one process for testing, and one process for actually extracting the audio to the format you previously selected.
After the process is complete XLD will show you the log of the rip and automatically save it in a .log format in the output folder you selected in the preferences. You should read over it to make sure no errors occurred.
You are done ripping your CD! Please read below for things to look out for in your log when ripping.
Reading the XLD logMain things to look for
The main things you need to look at are the test CRC hash, the actual rip CRC hash and AccurateRip results to justify those, although AccurateRip has been known to be not so Accurate with some ripper reporting poor results and then screwing everybody who actually ripped correctly into thinking their rip is wrong. This is why it is best to leave the "Treat AR mismatch as an inconsistency..." check box in the CD Rip tab in your XLD preferences unchecked.Errors
Sometimes you may get errors in ripping your tracks. Some are still acceptable if you only see 1 or 2 of them, others are not so good and can greatly affect quality of your rips. Because XLD uses CDparanoia, logs may sometimes list a number of errors and still report the "No errors occurred / End of status report" message. This is similar to a proper EAC rip that reports one or more track values of under 100%.
***Errors that are bad:*** If you have any of these, you should re-rip those tracks with the errors.
Inconsistency in error sectors
***Errors that are acceptable:*** These errors are common and most often can be fixed by CDparanoia and will not affect the quality of your rips.
Edge jitter error
Atom jitter error
Dropped bytes error
Duplicated bytes error
A rip that only has Edge, Atom, Drop, or Dupe "maybe fixed" errors is probably clean. For a detailed discussion of XLD's error reporting, see this thread at HydrogenAudio.
In conclusion, if your CRCs match up, and you don't have any of the "bad" errors that I listed above your rip is considered good. AR isn't that relevant to your rip as things can interfere with the quality of AR results as I stated above.