abcde(1)                     General Commands Manual                    abcde(1)

       abcde - Grab an entire CD and compress it to Ogg/Vorbis, MP3, FLAC,
       Ogg/Speex and/or MPP/MP+(Musepack) format.

       abcde [options] [tracks]

       Ordinarily, the process of grabbing the data off a CD and encoding it,
       then tagging or commenting it, is very involved.  abcde is designed to
       automate this. It will take an entire CD and convert it into a compressed
       audio format - Ogg/Vorbis, MPEG Audio Layer III, Free Lossless Audio
       Codec (FLAC), Ogg/Speex, MPP/MP+(Musepack) and/or M4A (AAC) format(s).
       With one command, it will:

       *      Do a CDDB query over the Internet to look up your CD or use a
              locally stored CDDB entry

       *      Grab an audio track (or all the audio CD tracks) from your CD

       *      Normalize the volume of the individual file (or the album as a
              single unit)

       *      Compress to Ogg/Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, Ogg/Speex, MPP/MP+(Musepack)
              and/or M4A format(s), all in one CD read

       *      Comment or ID3/ID3v2 tag

       *      Give an intelligible filename

       *      Calculate replaygain values for the individual file (or the album
              as a single unit)

       *      Delete the intermediate WAV file (or save it for later use)

       *      Repeat until finished

       Alternatively, abcde can also grab a CD and turn it into a single FLAC
       file with an embedded cuesheet which can be user later on as a source for
       other formats, and will be treated as if it was the original CD. In a
       way, abcde can take a compressed backup of your CD collection.

       -1     Encode the whole CD in a single file. The resulting file uses the
              CD title for tagging. If the resulting format is a flac file with
              an embedded cuesheet, the file can be used as a source for
              creating other formats. Use "-1 -M -o flac" for obtaining such a

       -a [actions]
              Comma-delimited list of actions to perform. Can be one or more of:
              cddb, cue, read, normalize, encode, tag, move, replaygain,
              playlist, clean. Normalize and encode imply read. Tag implies
              cddb, read, encode. Move implies cddb, read, encode, tag.
              Replaygain implies cddb, read, encode, tag and move.  Playlist
              implies cddb. The default is to do all actions except normalize,
              replaygain and playlist.

       -b     Enable batch mode normalization. See the BATCHNORM configuration

       -B     Disable batch mode replaygain. It processes file by file to add
              the replaygain information. See the NOBATCHREPLAYGAIN
              configuration variable.

       -c [filename]
              Specifies an additional configuration file to parse. Configuration
              options in this file override those in /etc/abcde.conf or

       -C [discid]
              Allows you to resume a session for discid when you no longer have
              the CD available (abcde will automatically resume if you still
              have the CD in the drive). You must have already finished at least
              the "read" action during the previous session.

       -d [devicename | filename]
              CD-ROM block device that contains audio tracks to be read.
              Alternatively, a single-track flac file with embedded cuesheet.

       -D     Capture debugging information (you'll want to redirect this - try
              'abcde -D 2>logfile')

       -e     Erase information about encoded tracks from the internal status
              file, to enable other encodings if the wav files have been kept.

       -f     Force the removal of the temporary ABCDETEMPDIR directory, even
              when we have not finished. For example, one can read and encode
              several formats, including ´.ogg´, and later on execute a ´move´
              action with only one of the given formats. On a normal situation
              it would erase the rest of those encoded formats. In this case,
              abcde will refuse to execute such command, except if -f is used.

       -g     Enable lame's --nogap option.  See the NOGAP variable. WARNING:
              lame's --nogap disables the Xing mp3 tag.  This tag is required
              for mp3 players to correctly display track lengths when playing
              variable-bit-rate mp3 files.

       -h     Get help information.

       -j [number]
              Start [number] encoder processes at once. Useful for SMP systems.
              Overrides the MAXPROCS configuration variable. Set it to "0" when
              using distmp3 to avoid local encoding processes.

       -k     Keep the wav files after encoding.

       -l     Use the low-diskspace algorithm. See the LOWDISK configuration

       -L     Use a local CDDB repository. See CDDBLOCALDIR variable.

       -n     Do not query CDDB database. Create and use a template. Edit the
              template to provide song names, artist(s), ...

       -N     Non interactive mode. Do not ask anything from the user. Just go

       -m     Create DOS-style playlists, modifying the resulting one by adding
              CRLF line endings. Some hardware players insist on having those to

       -o [filetype][:filetypeoptions]
              Select output type. Can be "vorbis" (or "ogg"), "mp3", "flac",
              "spx", "mpc", "m4a" or "wav".  Specify a comma-delimited list of
              output types to obtain all specified types.  See the OUTPUTTYPE
              configuration variable. One can pass options to the encoder for a
              specific filetype on the command line separating them with a
              colon. The options must be escaped with double-quotes.

       -p     Pads track numbers with 0´s.

       -P     Use Unix PIPES to read and encode in one step. It disables
              multiple encodings, since the WAV audio file is never stored in
              the disc.

       -r [hosts...]
              Remote encode on this comma-delimited list of machines using
              distmp3. See the REMOTEHOSTS configuration variable.

       -R     When CDDBLOCALDIR and CDDBUSELOCAL are defined, search recursively
              under the defined directory for matches of the CDDB entry.

       -s [fields...]
              List, separated by comas, the fields to be shown in the CDDB
              parsed entries.  Right now it only uses "year" and "genre".

       -S [speed]
              Set the speed of the CD drive. Needs CDSPEED and CDSPEEDOPTS set
              properly and both the program and device must support the

       -t [number]
              Start the numbering of the tracks at a given number. It only
              affects the filenames and the playlist. Internal (tag) numbering
              remains the same.

       -T [number]
              Same as -t but changes also the internal (tag) numbering. Keep in
              mind that the default TRACK tag for MP3 is $T/$TRACKS so it is
              changed to simply $T.

       -U     Set CDDBPROTO to version 5, so that we retrieve ISO-8859-15
              encoded CDDB information, and we tag and add comments with Latin1

       -v     Show the version and exit

       -V     Be a bit more verbose. On slow networks the CDDB requests might
              give the sensation nothing is happening.

       -x     Eject the CD when all tracks have been read. See the EJECTCD
              configuration variable.

       -X [cue2discid]
              Use an alternative "cue2discid" implementation. The name of the
              binary must be exactly that. abcde comes with an implementation in
              python under the examples directory. The special keyword "builtin"
              forces the usage of the internal (default) implementation in shell

       -w [comment]
              Add a comment to the tracks ripped from the CD.

       -W [number]
              Concatenate CD´s. It uses the number provided to define a comment
              "CD #" and to modify the numbering of the tracks, starting with

       -z     DEBUG mode: it will rip, using cdparanoia, the very first second
              of each track and proceed with the actions requested very quickly,
              also providing some "hidden" information about what happens on the

              A list of tracks you want abcde to process. If this isn't
              specified, abcde will process the entire CD. Accepts ranges of
              track numbers - "abcde 1-5 7 9" will process tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
              7, and 9.

       Each track is, by default, placed in a separate file named after the
       track in a subdirectory named after the artist under the current
       directory.  This can be modified using the OUTPUTFORMAT and
       VAOUTPUTFORMAT variables in your abcde.conf. Each file is given an
       extension identifying its compression format, 'vorbis' for '.ogg',
       '.mp3', '.flac', '.spx', '.mpc', '.aac' or '.wav'.

       abcde sources two configuration files on startup - /etc/abcde.conf and
       $HOME/.abcde.conf, in that order.

       The configuration options stated on those files can be overridden by
              the appropriate flags at runtime.

       The configuration variables have to be set as follows:

              Except when "value" needs to be quoted or otherwise interpreted.
              If other variables within "value" are to be expanded upon reading
              the configuration file, then double quotes should be used. If they
              are only supposed to be expanded upon use (for example
              OUTPUTFORMAT) then single quotes must be used.

       All sh escaping/quoting rules apply.

       Here is a list of options abcde recognizes:

              Specifies the method we want to use to retrieve the track
              information. Two values are recognized: "cddb" and "musicbrainz".
              The "cddb" value needs the CDDBURL and HELLOINFO variables
              described below. The "musicbrainz" value uses Python to establish
              a conversation with the server for information retrieval.

              Specifies a server to use for CDDB lookups.

              Specifies the protocol version used for the CDDB retrieval of
              results. Version 6 retrieves CDDB entries in UTF-8 format.

              Specifies the Hello information to send to the CDDB server. The
              CDDB protocol requires you to send a valid username and hostname
              each time you connect. The format of this is username@hostname.

              Specifies a directory where we store a local CDDB repository. The
              entries must be standard CDDB entries, with the filename being the
              DISCID value. Other CD playing and ripping programs (like Grip)
              store the entries under ~/.cddb and we can make use of those

              Specifies if the CDDBLOCALDIR has to be searched recursively
              trying to find a match for the CDDB entry. If a match is found and
              selected, and CDDBCOPYLOCAL is selected, it will be copied to the
              root of the CDDBLOCALDIR if CDDBLOCALPOLICY is "modified" or

              Defines when a CDDB entry should be stored in the defined
              CDDBLOCALDIR. The possible policies are: "net" for a CDDB entry
              which has been received from the net (overwriting any possible
              local CDDB entry); "new" for a CDDB entry which was received from
              the net, but will request confirmation to overwrite a local CDDB
              entry found in the root of the CDDBLOCALDIR directory; "modified"
              for a CDDB entry found in the local repository but which has been
              modified by the user; and "always" which forces the CDDB entry to
              be stored back in the root of the CDDBLOCALDIR no matter where it
              was found, and no matter it was not edited.  This last option will
              always overwrite the one found in the root of the local repository
              (if any). STILL NOT WORKING!!

              Store local copies of the CDDB entries under the $CDDBLOCALDIR

              Actually use the stored copies of the CDDB entries. Can be
              overridden using the "-L" flag (if is CDDBUSELOCAL in "n"). If an
              entry is found, we always give the choice of retrieving a CDDB
              entry from the internet.

              Coma-separated list of fields we want to parse during the CDDB
              parsing.  Defaults to "year,genre".

              Specifies the style of encoder to use for the Ogg/Vorbis encoder.
              Valid options are ´oggenc´ (default for Ogg/Vorbis) and ´vorbize´.
              This affects the default location of the binary, the variable to
              pick encoder command-line options from, and where the options are

              Specifies the style of encoder to use for the MP3 encoder. Valid
              options are ´lame´ (default for MP3), ´gogo´, ´bladeenc´, ´l3enc´
              and ´mp3enc´.  Affects the same way as explained above for

              Specifies the style of encoder to use for the FLAC encoder. At
              this point only ´flac´ is available for FLAC encoding.

              Specifies the style of encoder to use for Speex encoder. At this
              point only ´speexenc´ is available for Ogg/Speex encoding.

              Specifies the style of encoder to use for MPP/MP+ (Musepack)
              encoder. At this point we only have ´mppenc´ available, from

              Specifies the style of encoder to use for M4A (AAC) encoder. At
              this point we only support ´faac´, so ´default´ points to it.

              Specifies the style of normalizer to use.  Valid options are
              ´default´ and ´normalize' (and both run ´normalize-audio´), since
              we only support it, ATM.

              Specifies the style of cdrom reader to use. Valid options are
              ´cdparanoia´, ´debug´ and ´flac´. It is used for querying the
              CDROM and obtain a list of valid tracks and DATA tracks. The
              special ´flac´ case is used to "rip" CD tracks from a single-track
              flac file.

              Specifies the syntax of the program we use to read the CD CUE
              sheet. Right now we only support ´mkcue´, but in the future other
              readers might be used.

              It defaults to no, so if you want to keep those wavs ripped from
              your CD, set it to "y". You can use the "-k" switch in the command
              line. The default behaviour with KEEPWAVS set is to keep the
              temporary directory and the wav files even you have requested the
              "clean" action.

              If set to "y", it adds 0's to the file numbers to complete a two-
              number holder. Useful when encoding tracks 1-9.

              Set to "n" if you want to perform automatic rips, without user

              Define the values for priorities (nice values) for the different
              CPU-hungry processes: encoding (ENCNICE), CDROM read (READNICE)
              and distributed encoder with distmp3 (DISTMP3NICE).

              The following configuration file options specify the pathnames of
              their respective utilities: LAME, TOOLAME, GOGO, BLADEENC, L3ENC,
              CUE2DISCID (see option "-X"), DIFF and HTTPGET.

              If you wish to specify command-line options to any of the programs
              abcde uses, set the following configuration file options:

              Set the value of the CDROM speed. The default is to read the disc
              as fast as the reading program and the system permits. The steps
              are defined as 150kB/s (1x).

              The default actions to be performed when reading a disc.

       CDROM  If set, it points to the CD-Rom device which has to be used for
              audio extraction. Abcde tries to guess the right device, but it
              may fail. The special ´flac´ option is defined to extract tracks
              from a single-track flac file.

              Defined as "d" when using cdparanoia with an IDE bus and as "g"
              when using cdparanoia with the ide-scsi emulation layer.

              Specifies the directory to place completed tracks/playlists in.

              Specifies the temporary directory to store .wav files in. Abcde
              may use up to 700MB of temporary space for each session (although
              it is rare to use over 100MB for a machine that can encode music
              as fast as it can read it).

              Specifies the encoding format to output, as well as the default
              extension and encoder. Defaults to "vorbis". Valid settings are
              "vorbis" (or "ogg") (Ogg/Vorbis), "mp3" (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III),
              "flac" (Free Lossless Audio Codec), "spx" (Ogg/Speex), "mpc"
              (MPP/MP+ (Musepack)), "m4a" (for M4A (AAC)) or "wav" (Microsoft
              Waveform). Values like "vorbis,mp3" encode the tracks in both
              Ogg/Vorbis and MP3 formats.
              For each value in OUTPUTTYPE, abcde expands a different process
              for encoding, tagging and moving, so you can use the format
              placeholder, OUTPUT, to create different subdirectories to hold
              the different types. The variable OUTPUT will be 'vorbis', 'mp3',
              'flac', 'spx', 'mpc', 'm4a' and/or 'wav', depending on the
              OUTPUTTYPE you define. For example

              Specifies the format for completed Ogg/Vorbis, MP3, FLAC,
              Ogg/Speex, MPP/MP+ (Musepack) or M4A filenames. Variables are
              included using standard shell syntax. Allowed variables are GENRE,
              ´${ARTISTFILE}-${ALBUMFILE}/${TRACKNUM}-${TRACKFILE}´.  Make sure
              to use single quotes around this variable. TRACKNUM is
              automatically zero-padded, when the number of encoded tracks is
              higher than 9. When lower, you can force with

              Just like OUTPUTFORMAT but for Various Artists discs. The default
              is 'Various-${ALBUMFILE}/${TRACKNUM}.${ARTISTFILE}-${TRACKFILE}'

              Just like OUTPUTFORMAT but for single-track rips (see option
              "-1"). The default is '${ARTISTFILE}-${ALBUMFILE}/${ALBUMFILE}'

              Just like ONETRACKOUTPUTFORMAT but for Various Artists discs. The
              default is 'Various-${ALBUMFILE}/${ALBUMFILE}'

              Defines how many encoders to run at once. This makes for huge
              speedups on SMP systems. You should run one encoder per CPU at
              once for maximum efficiency, although more doesn't hurt very much.
              Set it "0" when using mp3dist to avoid getting encoding processes
              in the local host.

              If set to y, conserves disk space by encoding tracks immediately
              after reading them. This is substantially slower than normal
              operation but requires several hundred MB less space to complete
              the encoding of an entire CD. Use only if your system is low on
              space and cannot encode as quickly as it can read.

              If set to y, enables batch mode normalization, which preserves
              relative volume differences between tracks of an album. Also
              enables nogap encoding when using the ´lame´ encoder.

       NOGAP  Activate the lame's --nogap option, that allows files found in CDs
              with no silence between songs (such as live concerts) to be
              encoded without noticeable gaps. WARNING: lame's --nogap disables
              the Xing mp3 tag.  This tag is required for mp3 players to
              correctly display track lengths when playing variable-bit-rate mp3

              Specifies the format for completed playlist filenames. Works like
              the OUTPUTFORMAT configuration variable. Default is
              ´${ARTISTFILE}_-_${ALBUMFILE}.m3u´.  Make sure to use single
              quotes around this variable.

              Specifies a prefix for filenames within a playlist. Useful for
              http playlists, etc.

              If set, the resulting playlist will have CR-LF line endings,
              needed by some hardware-based players.

              Specifies a comment to embed in the ID3 or Ogg comment field of
              each finished track. Can be up to 28 characters long. Supports the
              same syntax as OUTPUTFORMAT. Does not currently support ID3v2.

              Specifies a comma-delimited list of systems to use for remote
              encoding using distmp3. Equivalent to -r.

              mungefilename() is an abcde shell function that can be overridden
              via abcde.conf. It takes CDDB data as $1 and outputs the resulting
              filename on stdout. It defaults to eating control characters,
              apostrophes and question marks, translating spaces and forward
              slashes to underscores, and translating colons to an underscore
              and a hyphen.
              If you modify this function, it is probably a good idea to keep
              the forward slash munging (UNIX cannot store a file with a '/'
              char in it) as well as the control character munging (NULs can't
              be in a filename either, and newlines and such in filenames are
              typically not desirable).

              mungegenre () is a shell function used to modify the $GENRE
              variable. As a default action, it takes $GENRE as $1 and outputs
              the resulting value to stdout converting all UPPERCASE characters
              to lowercase.

              pre_read () is a shell function which is executed before the CDROM
              is read for the first time, during abcde execution. It can be used
              to close the CDROM tray, to set its speed (via "setcd" or via
              "eject", if available) and other preparation actions. The default
              function is empty.

              post_read () is a shell function which is executed after the CDROM
              is read (and, if applies, before the CDROM is ejected). It can be
              used to read a TOC from the CDROM, or to try to read the DATA
              areas from the CD (if any exist).  The default function is empty.

              If set to "y", abcde will call eject(1) to eject the cdrom from
              the drive after all tracks have been read. It has no effect when
              CDROM is set to a flac file.

              If set to "y", some operations which are usually now shown to the
              end user are visible, such as CDDB queries. Useful for initial
              debug and if your network/CDDB server is slow.

       Possible ways one can call abcde

       abcde  Will work in most systems

       abcde -d /dev/cdrom2
              If the CDROM you are reading from is not the standard /dev/cdrom
              (in GNU/Linux systems)

       abcde -o vorbis,flac
              Will create both Ogg/Vorbis and Ogg/FLAC files.

       abcde -o vorbis:"-b 192"
              Will pass "-b 192" to the Ogg/Vorbis encoder, without having to
              modify the config file

       abcde -W 1
              For double+ CD settings: will create the 1st CD starting with the
              track number 101, and will add a comment "CD 1" to the tracks, the
              second starting with 201 and so on.

       abcde -d singletrack.flac
              Will extract the files contained in singletrack using the embedded

       abcde requires the following backend tools to work:

       *      An Ogg/Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, Ogg/Speex, MPP/MP+(Musepack) or M4A
              encoder (oggenc, vorbize, lame, gogo, bladeenc, l3enc, mp3enc,
              flac, speexenc, mppenc, faac)

       *      An audio CD reading utility (cdparanoia, cdda2wav, dagrab)

       *      cd-discid, a CDDB DiscID reading program.

       *      An HTTP retrieval program: wget, fetch (FreeBSD) or curl (Mac OS
              X, among others). Alternatively, musicbrainz-get-tracks (which
              depends on Python) can be used to retrieve CDDB information about
              the CD.

       *      (for MP3s) id3 or id3v2, id3 v1 and v2 tagging programs.

       *      (optional) distmp3, a client/server for distributed mp3 encoding.

       *      (optional) normalize-audio, a WAV file volume normalizer.

       *      (optional) a replaygain file volume modifier (vorbisgain,
              metaflac, mp3gain, replaygain),

       *      (optional) mkcue, a CD cuesheet extractor.

       cdparanoia(1), cdda2wav(1), dagrab(1), normalize-audio(1), oggenc(1),
       vorbize(1), flac(1), toolame(1), speexenc(1), mppenc(1), faac(1), id3(1),
       id3v2(1), wget(1), fetch(1), cd-discid(1), distmp3(1), distmp3host(1),
       curl(1), mkcue(1), vorbisgain(1), mp3gain(1)

       Robert Woodcock <>, Jesus Climent
       <> and contributions from many others.