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icedax - a sampling utility that dumps CD audio data into wav sound files


icedax [-c chans] [-s] [-m] [-b bits] [-r rate] [-a divider] [-t track[+endtrack]] [-i
index] [-o offset] [-d duration] [-x] [-q] [-w] [-v optlist] [-V] [-Q] [-J] [-L cddbmode]
[-R] [-P sectors] [-F] [-G] [-T] [-e] [-p percentage] [-n sectors] [-l buffers] [-N] [-J]
[-H] [-g] [-B] [-D device] [-A auxdevice] [-I interface] [-O audiotype] [-C input-
endianess] [-E output-endianess] [-M count] [-S speed] [-paranoia] [cddbp-
server=servername] [cddbp-port=portnumber] [filename(s) or directories]


icedax stands for InCrEdible Digital Audio eXtractor. It can retrieve audio tracks (CDDA)
from CDROM drives that are capable of reading audio data digitally to the host (see README
for a list of drives).



-D device

-device device
uses device as the source for CDDA reading. For example /dev/cdrom or Bus,ID,Lun.
The device specification can also have influence on the selection of the driver
interface (eg. on Linux). See the -I option for details.

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

-A auxdevice

-auxdevice auxdevice
uses auxdevice as CDROM drive for ioctl usage.

-I interface

-interface interface
specifies the interface for CDROM access: generic_scsi or (on Linux, and FreeBSD
systems) cooked_ioctl.

Using the cooked_ioctl is not recommended as this makes icedax mainly depend on the
audio extraction quality of the operating system which is usually extremely bad.

-c channels --channels
uses 1 for mono, or 2 for stereo recording, or s for stereo recording with both
channels swapped.

-s --stereo
sets to stereo recording.

-m --mono
sets to mono recording.

-x --max
sets maximum (CD) quality.

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

-r rate --rate
sets rate in samples per second. Possible values are listed with the -R option.

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

-R --dump-rates
shows a list of all sample rates and their dividers.

-P sectors --set-overlap
sets the initial number of overlap sectors for jitter correction.

-n sectors --sectors-per-request
reads sectors per request.

-l buffers --buffers-in-ring
uses a ring buffer with buffers total.

-t track+endtrack --track
selects the start track and optionally the end track.

-i index --index
selects the start index.

-o offset --offset
starts offset sectors behind start track (one sector equivalents 1/75 seconds).

-O audiotype --output-format
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).

-C endianess --cdrom-endianess
sets endianess of the input samples to 'little', 'big' or 'guess' to override

-E endianess --output-endianess
sets endianess of the output samples to 'little' or 'big' to override defaults.

-d duration --duration
sets recording time in seconds or frames. Frames (sectors) are indicated by a 'f'
suffix (like 75f for 75 sectors). 0 sets the time for whole track.

-B --bulk --alltracks
copies each track into a separate file.

-w --wait
waits for signal, then start recording.

-F --find-extremes
finds extreme amplitudes in samples.

-G --find-mono
finds if input samples are in mono.

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

-e --echo
copies audio data to sound device e.g. /dev/dsp.

-p percentage --set-pitch
changes pitch of audio data copied to sound device.

-v itemlist --verbose-level
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 │
│ 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 │
│ trackid │ retrieve and display all International 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) │
-N --no-write
does not write to a file, it just reads (for debugging purposes).

-J --info-only
does not write to a file, it just gives information about the disc.

-L cddb mode --cddb
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 │
│ 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.

-H --no-infofile
does not write an info file and a cddb file.

-g --gui
formats the output to be better parsable by gui frontends.

-M count --md5
enables calculation of MD-5 checksum for 'count' bytes from a beginning of a track.

-S speed --speed
sets the cdrom device to one of the selectable speeds for reading.

-q --quiet
quiet operation, no screen output.

-V --verbose-SCSI
enable SCSI command logging to the console. This is mainly used for debugging.

-Q --silent-SCSI
suppress SCSI command error reports to the console. This is mainly used for guis.

Scan all SCSI devices on all SCSI busses 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

Like -scanbus but works in a more native way, respecting the device name
specification on the current operating system. See wodim(1) for details.

use the paranoia library instead of icedax's routines for reading.

-h --help
display version of icedax on standard output.

Defaults depend on the
Makefile and environment variable settings (currently CDDA_DEVICE ).


CDDA_DEVICE is used to set the device name. The device naming is compatible with the one
used by the wodim tool.

is used for cddbp title lookups when supplied.

is used for cddbp title lookups when supplied.

RSH 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 icedax to create a pipe to the rsh(1) program and disallows
icedax 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.

RSCSI 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.


icedax uses the following exit codes to indicate various degrees of success:

│Exitcode │ Description │
│ 0 │ no errors encountered, successful operation. │
│ 1 │ usage or syntax error. icedax 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). │


icedax 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.

icedax 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.

The latest versions 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 your CDROM is on device DEV and it is loaded with an audio CD, you may simply invoke
icedax dev=DEV 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


Most of the options are used to control the format of the WAV file. In the
following text all of them are described.

Select Device
-D device selects the CDROM drive device to be used. The specifier given should
correspond to the selected interface (see below). CHANGE! For the cooked_ioctl
interface this is the cdrom device descriptor as before. The SCSI devices used
with the generic SCSI interface however are now 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 -D0,3,0.

Select Auxiliary device
-A auxdevice is necessary for CD-Extra handling. For Non-SCSI-CDROM drives this is
the same device as given by -D (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.

Select Interface
-I interface selects the CDROM drive interface. For SCSI drives use generic_scsi
(cooked_ioctl may not yet be available for all devices): 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).

Enable echo to soundcard
-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 icedax as a pseudo CD player
without recording in a file you could use icedax -q -e -t2 -d0 -N to play the whole
second track. This feature reduces the recording speed to at most onefold speed.
You cannot make better recordings than your sound card can play (since the same
data is used).

Change pitch of echoed audio
-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.

Select mono or stereo recording
-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.

Select maximum quality
-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.

Select sample quality
-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.

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

Select sample rate divider
-a divider selects a sample rate divider. divider can be minimally 1 and maximally
50.5 and everything between in steps of 0.5. Option -R lists all available rates.

To make the sound smoother at lower sampling rates, icedax 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.

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

Select start track and optionally end track
-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

Select start index
-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).

Set recording time
-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

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
.IP "Record all tracks of a complete audio CD in separate files" -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).

Set start sector offset
-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

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

Find extreme samples
-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).

Find if input samples are in mono
-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.

Undo the pre-emphasis in the input samples
-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.

Set audio format
-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 as being 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'.

Select cdrom drive reading speed
-S speed allows to switch the cdrom drive to a certain level of speed in order to
reduce read errors. The argument is transfered 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.

Enable MD5 checksums
-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.

Use Monty's libparanoia for reading of sectors
-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.

Do linear or overlapping reading of sectors
(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 icedax's
jitter correction. If an argument of zero is given, no overlap sampling will be
used. For nonzero overlap sectors icedax dynamically adjusts the setting during
sampling (like cdparanoia does). If no match can be found, icedax retries the read
with an increased overlap. If the amount of jitter is lower than the current
overlapped samples, icedax 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). Icedax 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 (not scratched) audio cds.

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

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

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

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

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

disable keeps quiet

toc displays the table of contents

summary displays a summary of recording parameters

indices invokes the index scanner and displays start positions of indices

catalog retrieves and displays a media catalog number

trackid retrieves and displays international standard recording codes

sectors displays track start positions in absolute sector notation

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

The table of contents
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

No file output
-N this debugging option switches off writing to a file.

No infofile generation
-H this option switches off creation of an info file and a cddb file.

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

Verbose SCSI logging
-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 from Joerg Schilling
or the wodim tool. See there for details.

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

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

CDDBP support

Lookup album and track titles option
-L cddbp mode Icedax tries to retrieve performer, album-, and track titles from a
cddbp server. The default server right now is 'freedb.freedb.org'. It is planned
to have more control over the server handling later. The parameter defines how
multiple entries are handled:

0 interactive mode, the user chooses one of the entries.

1 take the first entry without asking.

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

Set portnumber for title lookups
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 icedax supports the -E endianess option to control the endianess of the
written samples.

If your hardware is fast enough to run icedax 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.

Icedax supports pipes now. Use a filename of - to let icedax output its samples to
standard output.

Conversion to other sound formats can be done using the sox program package (although the
use of sox -x to change the byte order of samples should be no more necessary; 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.

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