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abcde - A Better CD Encoder

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

Why abcde?

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), M4A (AAC) or Opus format(s). With one command, it will:

  • Do a CDDB or Musicbrainz query over the Internet to look up your CD or use a locally stored CDDB entry, or read CD-TEXT from your CD as a fallback for track information
  • 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), M4A and/or Opus 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.


Older releases of abcde were hosted using Google Code, but Google removed the ability to push new tarball downloads there a while ago so we decided to move away. We're still using the Issue Tracker there (for now!), but the canonical place is now http://abcde.einval.com/download/ (here!).

We've also moved to git for development at git.einval.com.

Mailing list

The best place for discussion is the abcde-users mailing list.

Meet on IRC

If you prefer a more 'interactive' experience another place for abcde discussion is in the new Freenode channel #abcde where you can speak directly to the abcde developers or just chat about audio encoding in general with abcde.


The abcde tarball contains comprehensive documentation including a detailed FAQ and a sample abcde.conf file. There is also some quality documentation to be found elsewhere:

More documentation will hopefully appear soon in this wiki! If you'd like an account to help with that, please mail abcde-wiki AT einval.com to ask.


Over the years, abcde has seen contributions from Robert Woodcock <rcw@debian.org>, Jesus Climent <jesus.climent@hispalinux.es>, Colin Tuckley <colint@debian.org>, Steve McIntyre <93sam@debian.org>, Andrew Strong <andrew.david.strong@gmail.com> and many others.

Interesting starting points:

How to use this site

A Wiki is a collaborative site, anyone can contribute and share:

  • Edit any page by pressing Edit at the top or the bottom of the page

  • Create a link to another page with joined capitalized words (like WikiSandBox) or with [[words in brackets]]

  • Search for page titles or text within pages using the search box at the top of any page
  • See HelpForBeginners to get you going, HelpContents for all help pages.

To learn more about what a WikiWikiWeb is, read about MoinMoin:WhyWikiWorks and the MoinMoin:WikiNature.

This wiki is powered by MoinMoin.

AbcdeWiki: FrontPage (last edited 2021-05-26 06:35:34 by AndrewStrong)