since you say EAC is not for beginners, can you recommend another prog for ripping?
Well, I only use Feurio (and EAC) because with Ultraplex 40x Feurio shows the number of c2 errors. So, when I'm concerned about quality and get c2 errors with scratched CDs I use EAC.
Apart from EAC, the rest of rippers use burst mode without no info on errors. Well, CDDAE rips the track twice in order to check differences, but with scratched CDs is no good (too many blips in scratched zones).
I haven't used CDex almost never. I think it has a lot of options to encode/decode but nothing about error info. With Feurio you know that the rip was perfect if you get no c2 errors (a lot of c2 errors are correctable, so c2 errors don't mean there have been real errors actually but it's good to know the condition of a CD). The problems is reading c2 errors: a lot of drives don't do it, or don't work with other features enabled (the LG 32x CDRW can't do c2 errors and index marks at the same time).
In order to configure EAC you have to know if your drive has Accurate Stream (nowadays all drives), caches audio and C2-error info.
Well, EAC can detect it but sometimes it fails... EAC reads every sector twice and compares, so if the drive caches audio would get the same result always so EAC has to flush the cache (slower).
If you don't enable c2-error info in EAC, you'll get very good results but maybe is slower. (Don't enable the second option about c2 errors never, I think it's some kind of interpolation correction but will say correct reading when there were actually errors).
In practice, in new/not scratched CDs you can use any ripper and the result will be the same (you can use EAC's "Compare WAVs" tool to check that).
I use Feurio because it is such involving tool to do everything that I can't resist... it has almost everything to do all the process of ripping and burning audio comfortably... (it lacks crossfades and MP3/LAME encoding options, but the track editor is very fast because is non-destructive).[/quote]