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CDDA2WAV(1) FreeBSD General Commands Manual CDDA2WAV(1)

cdda2wav - dumps CD audio data into sound files with extra data verification

cdda2wav [ options ][ dev=device ] [file(s) or directories]

cdda2wav can retrieve audio tracks from CDROM drives which are capable of reading audio data digitally via SCSI (CDDA).

As cdda2wav implements strategies to work around typical defects on audio CDs it reads many disks that cannot be read by other software. As cdda2wav can use libparanoia (see -paranoia option below) to verify the data that has been read from the medium, it delivers superior quality even if the medium is dusty, scratched or if other problems occur.

As cdda2wav may be directed to write the audio data to stdout, it writes all its informational output to stderr by default. See out-fd=descriptor option below.

Cdda2wav defaults to read the first audio track from the medium and the default verbose level is set to -vtoc,summary,sectors,titles and cdda2wav by default writes *.inf files. To extract all audio tracks with quality verification, it is recommended to call:

cdda2wav -vall cddb=0 speed=4 -paranoia paraopts=proof -B

For hints on how to specify better parameters manually, see the paraopts= description below.

Most users do not need to care about device naming. If no dev= option was specified, cdda2wav implements auto target support and automagically finds the drive when exactly one CD-ROM type drive is available in the system. When more than one CD-ROM type drive exists, a list of possible device name parameters may be retrieved with cdda2wav -scanbus or from the target example from the output of cdda2wav dev=help, then the dev= parameter may be set based on the device listing.

The device parameter to the dev= option explained below refers to the SCSI CAM standard notation for scsibus/target/lun of the CD/DVD/BluRay-Recorder. If a file /etc/default/cdrecord exists, the parameter to the dev= option may also be a drive name label in said file (see FILES section).

display version information for cdda2wav on standard output.
display version and Copyright information.

-a divider
-divider divider
sets rate to 44100Hz / divider. Possible values are listed with the -R option.

The default divider value is 1.

copies each track into a separate file.

The default is not to extract all tracks.

-b bits
-bits-per-sample bits
sets bits per sample per channel: 8, 12 or 16.

The default is 16 bits per sample.

-c channels
-channels channels
for mono recording
for stereo recording
for stereo recording with both channels swapped

The default is stereo recording.

-C endianess
-cdrom-endianess endianess
sets endianess of the input samples to 'little', 'big', 'machine' or 'guess' to override defaults. The value 'machine' or 'host' is evaluated as the actual byte order of the host CPU in the current OS.

The default is to detect cdrom endianess automatically.

Create a CDRWIN compatible CUE file. A CUE file that completely follows the CDRWIN documentation can only be used to create 1:1 copies if there is a single file with audio data for the whole disk. The *.inf file format implements more audio CD features than the CDRWIN CUE format and it allows to create 1:1 copies if there is one audio data file per track. Use the CUE file format for meta data only if you really need this format.

To allow cdda2wav to create CUE files, you must also specify -t all to switch cdda2wav into a mode that creates a single audio data file for the whole CD.

undo the effect of pre-emphasis in the input samples.

The default is to keep the audio data in the same state as on the medium and to mark the pre-emphasis state in the *.inf files.

-L cddb mode
-cddb cddb mode
does a cddbp album- and track title lookup based on the cddb id. The parameter cddb mode defines how multiple entries shall be handled.
Parameter Description
-1 disable cddb queries. This is the default.
0 interactive mode. The user selects the entry to use.
1 first fit mode. The first entry is taken unconditionally.
sets the server to be contacted for title lookups.
sets the port number to be used for title lookups.
-d duration
-duration duration
sets recording time in seconds or frames (sectors). Frames are indicated by a 'f' suffix (e.g. 75f for 75 sectors). 0 sets the time for whole track.

The default is to extract the whole track.

-E endianess
-output-endianess endianess
sets endianess of the output samples to 'little', 'big' or 'machine' to override the default which is 'network byte order' (big endian). The value 'machine' or 'host' is evaluated as the actual byte order of the host CPU in the current OS.
finds extreme amplitudes in samples.
finds if input samples are in mono.
reformats the output for parsing by gui frontends.
does not write info file, cddb file or cdtext file.
-i index
-index index
selects the start index.
does not write to a file, it just gives information about the disc.
enables calculation of MD-5 checksum for all audio bytes from the beginning of a track. The audio header is skipped when calculating the MD-5 checksum to allow comparison of MD-5 sums for files with different header types.
sets to mono recording.
Ignore hidden tracks on the CD. By default, cdda2wav checks whether there might be a hidden track before track 1. This check may take a few seconds and thus can be disabled with -no-hidden-track.
does not write to a file, it just reads (e.g. for debugging purposes). If this option is used together with the -e option, the CD is read and the audio content is played back to the sound device without creating output files with audio data.
By default, cdda2wav replaces empty CD-Text fields from tracks with the related CD-Text field (when defined) for the whole CD. If the option -no-textdefaults is used, cdda2wav leaves the track related CD-Text fields empty in such a case.
If cdda2wav encounters useful CD-Text information on the CD, it writes a .cdtext file. The option -no-textfile allows to suppress the creation of the .cdtext file.
-o offset
-offset offset
starts offset sectors behind start track (one sector equivalents 1/75 seconds).
-O audiotype
-output-format audiotype
can be wav (for wav files) or aiff (for apple/sgi aiff files) or aifc (for apple/sgi aifc files) or au or sun (for sun .au PCM files) or cdr or raw (for headerless files to be used for cd writers).

The default output format is now wav for all platforms as it has become the most common format. Note that former versions of cdda2wav made an exception and by default created au type files on Solaris.

-p percentage
-playback-realtime percentage
changes pitch of audio data copied to sound device.
-P sectors
-set-overlap sectors
sets the initial number of overlap sectors for jitter correction in non-paranoia mode. Note that overlapped reads are handled differently in paranoia mode.

The default overlap in non-paranoia mode is 1.

use the paranoia library as a filter on top of cdda2wav's routines for reading. In paranoia mode, the latency time for the -interactive mode and with a read ahead buffer size of 150..300 sectors, is increased to typically 5..10 seconds. This is due to the paranoia code reading everything at least twice and having to empty the cache RAM of the CD-ROM drive.

The size of the read ahead area must be larger than the size of the RAM of the drive in order to allow libparanoia to empty the cache RAM in the drive. As the size of the read ahead area in former times was a constant compiled into the libparanoia code, the extract quality with using libparanoia was no longer sufficient with drives built after year 2000. See readahead= parameter to the paraopts= option below.

If the paranoia mode is used, cdda2wav displays some quality statistics for each extracted track. The following items appear in the list:

Value Description
rderr Number of hard read errors
skip Number of sectors skipped due to exhausted retries
atom Number of intra sector jitters (frame jitters) detected
edge Number of jitters between sectors detected
drop Number of dropped bytes fixed
dup Number of duplicate bytes fixed
drift Number of drifts detected
c2 Number of sectors with C2 errors
reads Number of readahead blocks read and percentage to track size
overlap Number of dynamic overlap size raises

The quality indicators in detail:

The number of failed low level read requests. Each read appears for sectors-per-request sectors. The sectors-per-request size is typically less than the read ahead size.
The number of sectors that have been skipped because the read error retry count was exhausted and no successful read was possible.
The number of jitters that have been detected inside sectors. This should never happen, but whenever a non-correctable C2 error occurs, the drive could lose streaming. Increasing the read ahead buffer size may reduce the results from atom errors.
The number of jitters that have been detected at the edges of sectors. This could be caused by sector positioning errors. Increasing the read ahead buffer size may reduce the results from edge errors.
The number of dropped samples. This could be caused by sector positioning errors. Increasing the read ahead buffer size may reduce the results from edge errors.
Duplicated samples could be caused by sector positioning errors like dripped samples. Increasing the read ahead buffer size may reduce the results from edge errors.
This is the amount of drifts detected when checking the overlap area.
The number of sectors with C2 errors seen when reading the last track. As the paranoia code tends to read bad parts of the disk many times, this number usually is above the number that would appear when the disk is just read once in a linear way. Use paraopts=disable,c2check to see a number that represents the state of the medium.
The number of read ahead blocks read for the last track by the upper layer and the percentage of the amount of data read compared to the size of the track. This percentage is typically 200% because the paranoia code reads all data at least twice. If there is a lot of overlap and a lof of read problems, this percentage raises.
The number the overlap size has been raised. This happens when the overlap size is below the maximum overlap size and errors in the overlap area are detected.

List is a comma separated list of suboptions passed to the paranoia library.
Option Description
help lists all paranoia options.
disable disables paranoia mode. Libparanoia is still being used
no-verify switches verify off, and static overlap on
retries=amount set the number of maximum retries per sector
readahead=amount set the number of sectors to use for the read ahead buffer
overlap=amount set the number of sectors used for static overlap
minoverlap=amt set the min. number of sectors for dynamic overlap
maxoverlap=amt set the max. number of sectors for dynamic overlap
c2check check C2 pointers from drive to rate quality
proof set minoverlap=20,retries=200,readahead=600,c2check

The paraopts= parameters in detail:

The paranoia corrections are disabled, but the data is still directed through the code from libparanoia. This allows to switch on C2 error detection and to check the C2 error statistics for a CD.
This switches off the verification of the data integrity in the overlap area and turns off dynamic overlap control in favor of a static overlap value.
Set the maximum number of read retries per sector in case of hard read errors. The default value for this parameter is 20. This is the same value as used by the old cdparanoia(1) command.
Set the number of sectors to use for the read ahead buffer. Except when at the end of the medium, libparanoia never requests less than this amount of data from the low level I/O code. The size of the read ahead buffer is usually bigger than the maximum size for a single DMA in the system. For this reason, libparanoia calls several read operations in order to fill the read ahead buffer. The default value used by cdda2wav is 400, which is more than the 150 sectors that cdparanoia(1) uses but still a compromise for not requiring too much memory.

It is recommended to use a read ahead buffer size that is not less than the RAM size in the CD-ROM drive. If the drive has more than 1MB of RAM, use 425 sectors per MB of RAM in the drive.

Note that as long as the readahead= value is too small, the extract quality varies a lot with the value in use. The value used by cdparanoia(1) may cause an extract quality below what cdda2wav delivers without libparanoia.

Set the number of sectors used for static overlap. This switches dynamic overlap off. It is recommended not to use static overlapping. To get a larger overlapping, better use a higher minoverlap= value.
Set the minimum number of sectors for dynamic overlap. The default value used by cdda2wav is 0.5, this is more than the default used by cdparanoia(1) which is 0.1.

For old drives that do not support accurate streaming, it is not recommended to specify a minoverlap= value greater or equal to the maximal DMA size.

For best results on other drives, it is recommended to use a minoverlap= value that is not less than half of the readahead size.

The extract quality varies a lot with the minoverlap= value, but increasing the value also increases the extract time.

Set the maximum number of sectors for dynamic overlap. If maxoverlap= was not specified and a large minoverlap= value was specified, this results in a quasi static overlapping. The default value used by cda2wav is 32.
Turn on C2 error checking. For now, this just results in printing C2 error statistics.

Warning: some drives have been reported to fail reading hidden tracks when the c2check mode is in effect. If you encounter a drive where cdda2wav is not able to auto-detect whether c2check is usable, please report.

When you plan to use c2check while extracting hidden tracks, first verify that your drive will report hidden tracks the same with and without the c2check option.

This option is a macro for better extract parameters than used by default. The macro proof expands to:


If sectors-per-request-1 is more than 20, 20 is used as minimal overlap value.

The parameters used by proof are still not the best and there is no best parameter set for all cases. A larger value for the read ahead buffer size may e.g be too large for the available RAM in the system and the best value for the minimal overlap depends on whether the drive supports exact streaming. It is recommended to run experiments with larger values for the parameters minoverlap= and readahead= to get the best results for a specific platform.

Note that previous versions did include c2check with the proof macro, but this has been reported to fail on some drives and thus c2check was disabled by default. Current versions of cdda2wav auto-detect whether the actual drive supports the c2check feature and use it if possible.

quiet operation, no screen output.
-r rate
-rate rate
sets rate in samples per second. Possible values are listed with the -R option.
shows a list of all sample rates and their dividers.
-S speed
-speed speed
sets the cdrom device to one of the selectable speeds for reading. For maximum extraction quality, it is recommended to use speed values of 8 or below.

The default is to extract at maximum speed.

sets to stereo recording.
-start-sector sector
set an absolute start sector. This option is mutually exclusive to -track and -offset.
-t track[+endtrack]
-track track[+endtrack]
-track track+max
-track all
selects the start track and optionally the end track. If -t all is used, all audio tracks are selected. If -t 2+max is used, all audio tracks starting with track 2 are selected.
-v itemlist
-verbose-level itemlist
Retrieves and prints verbose information about the CD. Level is a list of comma separated suboptions. Each suboption controls the type of information to be reported.

Suboption Description
! invert the meaning of the following string
not invert the meaning of the following string
disable no information is given, warnings appear however
all all information is given
toc show table of contents
summary show a summary of the recording parameters
indices determine and display index offsets
catalog retrieve and display the media catalog number MCN
mcn retrieve and display the media catalog number MCN
trackid retrieve and display all Intern. Standard Recording Codes ISRC
isrc retrieve and display all Intern. Standard Recording Codes ISRC
sectors show the table of contents in start sector notation
titles show the table of contents with track titles (when available)
audio-tracks list the audio tracks and their start sectors

The default verbose-level is toc,summary,sectors,titles .

waits for signal, then start recording.
sets maximum (CD) quality.

-D device
-device device
uses device as the source for CDDA reading. For example /dev/cdrom for the cooked_ioctl interface and Bus,ID,Lun for the generic_scsi interface. The device has to correspond with the interface setting if given (see -I and -interface option below).

If no -I or -interface option has been specified, the interface setting is derived from the device name syntax. A device name that is in the form Bus,ID,Lun or contains a colon (':') defaults to the generic_scsi interface.

Using the cooked_ioctl is not recommended as this makes cdda2wav mainly depend on the audio extraction quality of the operating system which is usually extremely bad. For this reason, avoid using parameters like dev=/dev/cdrom for the device.

The setting of the environment variable CDDA_DEVICE is overridden by this option.

If no dev= option is present, or if the dev= option only contains a transport specifier but no address, cdda2wav tries to scan the SCSI address space for CD-ROM drives. If exactly one is found, this is used by default.

For more information, see the description of the dev= option from cdrecord(1).

Set the debug level for the libscg SCSI OS abstraction layer.
Set the kernel debug level for the kernel driver called by the libscg SCSI OS abstraction layer. This option is not supported on all platforms.
Scan all SCSI devices on all SCSI buses and print the inquiry strings. This option may be used to find SCSI address of the CD/DVD-Recorder on a system. The numbers printed out as labels are computed by: bus * 100 + target
A comma separated list of SCSI options that are handled by libscg. The implemented options may be uptated indepentendly from applications. Currently, one option: ignore-resid is supported to work around a Linux kernel bug.
Set the maximum transfer size for a single SCSI command to #. The syntax for the ts= option is the same as for cdrecord fs=# or sdd bs=#.

If no ts= option has been specified, cdda2wav defaults to a transfer size of 3 MB. If libscg gets lower values from the operating system, the value is reduced to the maximum value that is possible with the current operating system. Sometimes, it may help to further reduce the transfer size or to enhance it, but note that it may take a long time to find a better value by experimenting with the ts= option.

Some operating systems return wrong values for the maximum transfer size. If the transfer totally hangs or resets occur, it may be appropriate to reduce the transfer size to less than 64 kB or even less than 32 kB.

enable SCSI command logging to the console. This is mainly used for debugging.
suppress SCSI command error reports to the console. This is mainly used for guis.

-A auxdevice
-auxdevice auxdevice
uses auxdevice as CDROM drive to allow to send the CDROMMULTISESSION ioctl on Linux although the generic_scsi interface is in use.
-I interface
-interface interface
specifies the interface to use for accessing the CDROM:

for sending SCSI commands directly to the drive.
for using the programming interface supplied by the OS kernel.

The latter is not recommended as it gives lower quality and only works on a limited number of platforms.

Go into interactive mode that reads commands from stdin and writes the textual replies to stderr, or the file descriptor specified by the out-fd option. This mode has been introduced mainly to allow cdrecord to be called by gstreamer plugins.

If cdda2wav was called with the option -interactive, it reads the TOC from the medium and then waits for command input as if it has been issued a stop command. If the next command is a cont command, then cdda2wav extracts the whole audio part of the medium. If the next command is a read command, then cdda2wav starts extracting from the position that was indicated by the read command parameter.

Command Parameters Description
cont continue processing at current position
exit exit processing
help print command help and wait for input
quit exit processing
read sectors sector number read sectors starting from sector number
read tracks track number read sectors starting from track number
stop stop processing and wait for new input
Redirect informational output to the file descriptor named by descriptor. The parameter descriptor specifies a UNIX file descriptor number. By default, cdda2wav sends informational output to stderr. Redirecting the informational output to a different file descriptor helps guis and other programs that call cdda2wav via pipes.
In case that the file name for the audio data file is "-", redirect audio output to the file descriptor named by descriptor. The parameter descriptor specifies a UNIX file descriptor number. By default, cdda2wav sends audio data to stdout if the output is not directed into a file. Redirecting the audio output to a different file descriptor helps guis and other programs that call cdda2wav via pipes.
Do not fork for extended buffering. If -no-fork is used and cdda2wav is used to play back audio CDs in paranoia mode, the playback may be interrupted due to lack of buffering. On the other hand, allowing cdda2wav to fork will increase the latency time for the -interactive mode.
copies audio data to the operating system's sound device e.g. /dev/dsp.
set an alternate sound device to use for -e.
-n sectors
-sectors-per-request sectors
reads sectors per request.
-l buffers
-buffers-in-ring buffers
uses a ring buffer with buffers total.

Some defaults for cdda2wav are compiled in and depend on the Makefile others on the environment variable settings.
is used to set the device name. The device naming is compatible with cdrecord(1).
is used for cddbp title lookups when supplied.
is used for cddbp title lookups when supplied.
If the RSH environment variable is present, the remote connection will not be created via rcmd(3) but by calling the program pointed to by RSH. Use e.g. RSH=/usr/bin/ssh to create a secure shell connection.

Note that this forces cdda2wav to create a pipe to the rsh(1) program and disallows cdda2wav to directly access the network socket to the remote server. This makes it impossible to set up performance parameters and slows down the connection compared to a root initiated rcmd(3) connection.

If the RSCSI environment variable is present, the remote SCSI server will not be the program /opt/schily/sbin/rscsi but the program pointed to by RSCSI. Note that the remote SCSI server program name will be ignored if you log in using an account that has been created with a remote SCSI server program as login shell.

cdda2wav uses the following exit codes to indicate various degrees of success:
Exitcode Description
0 no errors encountered, successful operation.
1 usage or syntax error. cdda2wav got inconsistent arguments.
2 permission (un)set errors. permission changes failed.
3 read errors on the cdrom/burner device encountered.
4 write errors while writing one of the output files encountered.
5 errors with soundcard handling (initialization/write).
6 errors with stat() system call on the read device (cooked ioctl).
7 pipe communication errors encountered (in forked mode).
8 signal handler installation errors encountered.
9 allocation of shared memory failed (in forked mode).
10 dynamic heap memory allocation failed.
11 errors on the audio cd medium encountered.
12 device open error in ioctl handling detected.
13 race condition in ioctl interface handling detected.
14 error in ioctl() operation encountered.
15 internal error encountered. Please report back!!!
16 error in semaphore operation encountered (install / request).
17 could not get the scsi transfer buffer.
18 could not create pipes for process communication (in forked mode).

cdda2wav is able to read parts of an audio CD or multimedia CDROM (containing audio parts) directly digitally. These parts can be written to a file, a pipe, or to a sound device.

cdda2wav stands for CDDA to WAV (where CDDA stands for compact disc digital audio and WAV is a sound sample format introduced by MS Windows). It allows copying CDDA audio data from the CDROM drive into a file in WAV or other formats.

Some versions of cdda2wav may try to get higher real-time scheduling priorities to ensure smooth (uninterrupted) operation. These priorities are available for super users and are higher than those of 'normal' processes. Thus delays are minimized.

If you only have one CDROM and it is loaded with an audio CD, you may simply invoke cdda2wav and it will create the sound file audio.wav recording the whole track beginning with track 1 in stereo at 16 bit at 44100 Hz sample rate, if your file system has enough space free. Otherwise recording time will be limited. For details see files README and README.INSTALL.

If you have more then one CD-ROM type drive in the system, you need to specify the dev= option.

Most of the options are used to control the format of the WAV file. In the following text most of them are discussed in a more verbose way.

dev=device selects the CDROM drive device to be used. The specifier given should correspond to the selected interface (see below). For the cooked_ioctl interface this is the cdrom device descriptor. The SCSI devices used with the generic SCSI interface however are addressed with their SCSI-Bus, SCSI-Id, and SCSI-Lun instead of the generic SCSI device descriptor. One example for a SCSI CDROM drive on bus 0 with SCSI ID 3 and lun 0 is dev=0,3,0.

-A auxdevice may be needed in some rare cases for CD-Extra handling. Cdda2wav usually has no problem to get the multi-session information for CD-Extra using raw SCSI commands. For Non-SCSI-CDROM drives this is the same device as given by dev= (see above). For SCSI-CDROM drives it is the CDROM drive (SCSI) device (i.e. /dev/sr0 ) corresponding to the SCSI device (i.e. 0,3,0 ). It has to match the device used for sampling.

-I interface selects the CDROM drive communication method. This interface method is typically automatically selected from the device name. For SCSI drives generic_scsi is used (cooked_ioctl may not be available for all devices). Valid names are generic_scsi and cooked_ioctl. The first uses the generic SCSI interface, the latter uses the ioctl of the CDROM driver. The latter variant works only when the kernel driver supports CDDA reading. This entry has to match the selected CDROM device (see above).

-e copies audio data to the sound card while recording, so you hear it nearly simultaneously. The soundcard gets the same data that is recorded. This is time critical, so it works best with the -q option. To use cdda2wav as a pseudo CD player without recording in a file you could use

cdda2wav -q -e -t2 -d0 -N

to play the whole second track or

cdda2wav -q -e -B -N

to play the whole disk. This feature reduces the recording speed to at most onefold speed.

-p percentage changes the pitch of all audio echoed to a sound card. Only the copy to the soundcard is affected, the recorded audio samples in a file remain the same. Normal pitch, which is the default, is given by 100. Lower percentages correspond to lower pitches, i.e. -p 50 transposes the audio output one octave lower. See also the script pitchplay as an example. This option was contributed by Raul Sobon.

-m or -c 1 selects mono recording (both stereo channels are mixed), -s or -c 2 or -c s selects stereo recording. Parameter s will swap both sound channels.

-x will set stereo, 16 bits per sample at 44.1 kHz (full CD quality). Note that other format options given later can change this setting.

-b 8 specifies 8 bit (1 Byte) for each sample in each channel; -b 12 specifies 12 bit (2 Byte) for each sample in each channel; -b 16 specifies 16 bit (2 Byte) for each sample in each channel (Ensure that your sample player or sound card is capable of playing 12-bit or 16-bit samples). Selecting 12 or 16 bits doubles file size. 12-bit samples are aligned to 16-bit samples, so they waste some disk space.

-r samplerate selects a sample rate. samplerate can be in a range between 900 and 44100. Option -R lists all available rates.

-a divider selects a sample rate divider. divider can be from 1 to 50.5 in steps of 0.5. Option -R lists all available rates.

To make the sound smoother at lower sampling rates, cdda2wav sums over n samples (where n is the specific dividend). So for 22050 Hertz output we have to sum over 2 samples, for 900 Hertz we have to sum over 49 samples. This cancels higher frequencies. Standard sector size of an audio CD (ignoring additional information) is 2352 Bytes. In order to finish summing for an output sample at sector boundaries the rates above have to be chosen. Arbitrary sampling rates in high quality would require some interpolation scheme, which needs much more sophisticated programming.

-R shows a list of all sample rates and their dividers. Dividers can range from 1 to 50.5 in steps of 0.5.

-t n+m selects n as the start track and optionally m as the last track of a range to be recorded. These tracks must be from the table of contents. This sets the track where recording begins. Recording can advance through the following tracks as well (limited by the optional end track or otherwise depending on recording time). Whether one file or different files are then created depends on the -B option (see below).

-i n selects the index to start recording with. Indices other than 1 will invoke the index scanner, which will take some time to find the correct start position. An offset may be given additionally (see below).

-d n sets recording time to n seconds or set recording time for whole track if n is zero. In order to specify the duration in frames (sectors) also, the argument can have an appended 'f'. Then the numerical argument is to be taken as frames (sectors) rather than seconds. Please note that if track ranges are being used they define the recording time as well thus overriding any -d option specified times.

Recording time is defined as the time the generated sample will play (at the defined sample rate). Since it's related to the amount of generated samples, it's not the time of the sampling process itself (which can be less or more). It's neither strictly coupled with the time information on the audio CD (shown by your hifi CD player). Differences can occur by the usage of the -o option (see below). Notice that recording time will be shortened, unless enough disk space exists. Recording can be aborted at anytime by pressing the break character (signal SIGQUIT).

-B copies each track into a separate file. A base name can be given. File names have an appended track number and an extension corresponding to the audio format. To record all audio tracks of a CD, use a sufficient high duration (i.e. -d99999).

-o sectors increments start sector of the track by sectors. By this option you are able to skip a certain amount at the beginning of a track so you can pick exactly the part you want. Each sector runs for 1/75 seconds, so you have very fine control. If your offset is so high that it would not fit into the current track, a warning message is issued and the offset is ignored. Recording time is not reduced. (To skip introductory quiet passages automagically, use the -w option see below.)

-w Turning on this option will suppress all silent output at startup, reducing possibly file size. cdda2wav will watch for any signal in the output signal and switches on writing to file.

-F Turning on this option will display the most negative and the most positive sample value found during recording for both channels. This can be useful for readjusting the volume. The values shown are not reset at track boundaries, they cover the complete sampling process. They are taken from the original samples and have the same format (i.e. they are independent of the selected output format).

-G If this option is given, input samples for both channels will be compared. At the end of the program the result is printed. Differences in the channels indicate stereo, otherwise when both channels are equal it will indicate mono.

-T Some older audio CDs are recorded with a modified frequency response called pre-emphasis. This is found mostly in classical recordings. The correction can be seen in the flags of the Table Of Contents often. But there are recordings, that show this setting only in the subchannels. If this option is given, the index scanner will be started, which reads the q-subchannel of each track. If pre-emphasis is indicated in the q-subchannel of a track, but not in the TOC, pre-emphasis will be assumed to be present, and subsequently a reverse filtering is done for this track before the samples are written into the audio file.

-O audiotype can be wav (for wav files) or au or sun (for sun PCM files) or cdr or raw (for headerless files to be used for cd writers). All file samples are coded in linear pulse code modulation (as done in the audio compact disc format). This holds for all audio formats. Wav files are compatible to Wind*ws sound files, they have lsb,msb byte order which is the opposite byte order to the one used on the audio cd. The default filename extension is '.wav'. Sun type files are not like the older common logarithmically coded .au files, but instead as mentioned above linear PCM is used. The byte order is msb,lsb to be compatible. The default filename extension is '.au'. The AIFF and the newer variant AIFC from the Apple/SGI world store their samples in bigendian format (msb,lsb). In AIFC no compression is used. Finally the easiest 'format', the cdr aka raw format. It is done per default in msb,lsb byte order to satisfy the order wanted by most cd writers. Since there is no header information in this format, the sample parameters can only be identified by playing the samples on a soundcard or similar. The default filename extension is '.cdr' or '.raw'.

-S speed allows to switch the cdrom drive to a certain speed in order to reduce read errors. The argument is transferred verbatim to the drive. Details depend very much on the cdrom drives. An argument of 0 for example is often the default speed of the drive, a value of 1 often selects single speed.

-M count enables calculation of MD-5 checksum for 'count' bytes from the beginning of a track. This was introduced for quick comparisons of tracks.

-paranoia selects an alternate way of extracting audio sectors. Monty's library is used with the following default options:


for details see Monty's libparanoia documentation. In this case the option -P has no effect.

(This applies unless option -paranoia is used.) -P sectors sets the given number of sectors for initial overlap sampling for jitter correction. Two cases are to be distinguished. For nonzero values, some sectors are read twice to enable cdda2wav's jitter correction. If an argument of zero is given, no overlap sampling will be used. For nonzero overlap sectors cdda2wav dynamically adjusts the setting during sampling (like cdparanoia does). If no match can be found, cdda2wav retries the read with an increased overlap. If the amount of jitter is lower than the current overlapped samples, cdda2wav reduces the overlap setting, resulting in a higher reading speed. The argument given has to be lower than the total number of sectors per request (see option -n below). Cdda2wav will check this setting and issues a error message otherwise. The case of zero sectors is nice on low load situations or errorfree (perfect) cdrom drives and perfect (unscratched) audio cds.

-n sectors will set the transfer size to the specified sectors per request.

-l buffers will allocate the specified number of ring buffer elements.

-C endianess will override the default settings of the input format. Endianess can be set explicitly to "little", "big" or "machine" or to the automatic endianess detection based on voting with "guess".

-E endianess (endianess can be "little", "big" or "machine") will override the default settings of the output format.

-v itemlist prints more information. A list allows selection of different information items.

Print a summary of possible members of the diffopts list.
Invert the meaning of the following string. No comma is needed after the exclamation mark.
Invert the meaning of all members in the diffopts list i.e. exclude all present options from an initially complete set compare list. When using csh(1) you might have problems with ! due to its strange parser. This is why the not alias exists.
disables verbosity
all information is given
displays the table of contents
displays a summary of recording parameters
invokes the index scanner and displays start positions of indices
retrieves and displays a media catalog number
retrieves and displays international standard recording codes
displays track start positions in absolute sector notation

To combine several requests just list the suboptions separated with commas.

The display will show the table of contents with number of tracks and total time (displayed in mm:ss.hh format, mm=minutes, ss=seconds, hh=rounded 1/100 seconds). The following list displays track number and track time for each entry. The summary gives a line per track describing the type of the track.

track preemphasis copypermitted tracktype chans

The track column holds the track number. preemphasis shows if that track has been given a non linear frequency response. NOTE: You can undo this effect with the -T option. copy-permitted indicates if this track is allowed to copy. tracktype can be data or audio. On multimedia CDs (except hidden track CDs) both of them should be present. channels is defined for audio tracks only. There can be two or four channels.

-N this debugging option switches off writing to a file.

-H this option switches off creation of an info file and a cddb file.

-g this option switches on simple line formatting, which is needed to support gui frontends (like xcd-roast).

-V this option switches on logging of SCSI commands. This will produce a lot of output (when SCSI devices are being used). This is needed for debugging purposes. The format is the same as being used with the cdrecord program, see cdrecord(1) for more information.

-q suppresses all screen output except error messages. That reduces cpu time resources.

-J does not write a file, it only prints information about the disc (depending on the -v option). This is just for information purposes.

-L cddbp mode Cdda2wav tries to retrieve performer, album-, and track titles from a cddbp server. The default server right now is ''. It is planned to have more control over the server handling later. The parameter defines how multiple entries are handled:
interactive mode, the user chooses one of the entries.
take the first entry without asking.

cddbp-server servername When using -L or -cddb, the server being contacted can be set with this option.

cddbp-port portnumber When using -L or -cddb, the server port being contacted can be set with this option.

Don't create samples you cannot read. First check your sample player software and sound card hardware. I experienced problems with very low sample rates (stereo <= 1575 Hz, mono <= 3675 Hz) when trying to play them with standard WAV players for sound blaster (maybe they are not legal in WAV format). Most CD-Writers insist on audio samples in a bigendian format. Now cdda2wav supports the -E endianess option to control the endianess of the written samples.

If your hardware is fast enough to run cdda2wav uninterrupted and your CD drive is one of the 'perfect' ones, you will gain speed when switching all overlap sampling off with the -P 0 option. Further fine tuning can be done with the -n sectors option. You can specify how much sectors should be requested in one go.

Cdda2wav supports pipes. Use a filename of - to let cdda2wav output its samples to standard output.

Conversion to other sound formats is possible using the sox program package (it should no longer be necessary to use sox -x to change the byte order of samples; see option -E to change the output byteorder).

If you want to sample more than one track into different files in one run, this is currently possible with the -B option. When recording time exceeds the track limit a new file will be opened for the next track.

Cdda2wav can generate a lot of files for various purposes.

There are audio files containing samples with default extensions .wav, .au, .aifc, .aiff, and .cdr according to the selected sound format. These files are not generated when option (-N) is given. Multiple files may be written when the bulk copy option (-B) is used. Individual file names can be given as arguments. If the number of file names given is sufficient to cover all included audio tracks, the file names will be used verbatim. Otherwise, if there are less file names than files needed to write the included tracks, the part of the file name before the extension is extended with '_dd' where dd represents the current track number.

If cdda2wav detects cd-extra or cd-text (album/track) title information, then .cddb, .cdindex and .cdtext files are generated unless suppressed by the option -H. They contain suitable formatted entries for submission to audio cd track title databases in the Internet. The CDINDEX and CDDB(tm) systems are currently supported. For more information please visit and

The inf files describe the sample files and the part of the audio cd it was taken from. They are a means to transfer information to a cd burning program like cdrecord. For example, if the original audio cd had pre-emphasis enabled, and cdda2wav -T did remove the pre-emphasis, then the inf file has pre-emphasis not set (since the audio file does not have it anymore), while the .cddb and the .cdindex have pre-emphasis set as the original does.

IMPORTANT: it is prohibited to sell copies of copyrighted material by noncopyright holders. This program may not be used to circumvent copyrights. The user acknowledges this constraint when using the software.

The index scanner may give timeouts.

The resampling (rate conversion code) uses polynomial interpolation, which is not optimal.

Cdda2wav should use threads.

Thanks go to Project MODE ( and Fraunhofer Institut fuer integrierte Schaltungen (FhG-IIS) ( for financial support. Plextor Europe and Ricoh Japan provided cdrom disk drives and cd burners which helped a lot to develop this software. Rammi has helped a lot with the debugging and showed a lot of stamina when hearing 100 times the first 16 seconds of the first track of the Krupps CD. Libparanoia contributed by Monty (Christopher Montgomery)

Heiko Eissfeldt (1993-2004,2015)


Joerg Schilling
D-13353 Berlin


A frequently updated source code for the cdrtools is included in the schilytools project and may be retrieved from the schilytools project at Sourceforge at:

The download directory is:

Check for the schily-*.tar.bz2 archives.

Less frequently updated source code for the cdrtools is at:


Separate project informations for the cdrtools project may be retrieved from:

The interfaces provided by cdda2wav are designed for long term stability. As cdda2wav depends on interfaces provided by the underlying operating system, the stability of the interfaces offered by cdda2wav depends on the interface stability of the OS interfaces. Modified interfaces in the OS may enforce modified interfaces in cdda2wav.
Version 3.02 2020/05/21

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