Why do my books skip?
February 17, 2009 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Why can my mac (macbook pro) not rip audiobook CDs without skipping near the end?

I love audiobooks, but I hate carrying around CDs. Best solution for me? Buy CDs, rip them using iTunes "Join Tracks" feature, put on iPod and go.

However I have a constant problem ripping audiobook CDs (all of which run close to the full 70 minutes available on a CD). Near the end of the CD I end up with skips, audible artifacting, and sometimes completely un-listen-able audio.

It is always near the end of the CD, though the point at which the problems come in may vary. It may be as early as 50 minutes in a 70 minute CD or as late as 65.

I'm importing the CDs using Apple Lossles Encoder. I have tried both with and without error correction when reading Audio CDs.

I don't seem to get this problem at all with Audio CDs, no matter their length. It's just an audiobook problem (perhaps audiobooks aren't pressed at the same quality? I don't know...)

I was hoping someone might be able to offer a suggestion, or if this is a known issue.

I'm using my MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Core Duo Intel system (4GB RAM, 360GB 5400RPM hard drive), so 2 models back from the current. I'm using the internal Superdrive for the reading (are there any known problems with this drive? Might I do better with a USB 2.0 external drive?)

posted by arniec to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could try alternate ripping sofware like Max. My experience over several iterations of Apple hardware is that iTunes = meh.
posted by jet_silver at 8:16 AM on February 17, 2009

Sounds like you might be running into some type of anti-copy protection.

I recall there being one method where junk data is written onto the CD that produces effects you describe. With music CDs, the junk was written at the beginning of the CD. It does make a certain amount of perverse sense to put the junk at the end of the CD, totally trashing the end of the story.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:19 AM on February 17, 2009

I've had problems playing back audiobooks in iTunes/iPod where it just skips to the next track with about 2 or 3 minutes left on the audiobook track. Try playing the files with VLC, try playing Max-ripped files with iTunes vs. VLC.
posted by ijoyner at 9:03 AM on February 17, 2009

Try blowing out your drive with compressed air. I had a problem where my MBP's Superdrive would read and write CDs, but not DVDs. Oddest thing. So I took it into the Apple Store thinking I needed a new drive. They blew it out and it worked just fine. I felt quite stupid, not least because there had been a can of compressed air next to the computer before I left home. Ah well, lesson learned.

So maybe it's a software problem, or maybe there's some debris in there. Either way, it couldn't hurt to have a cleaner drive slot.
posted by The Michael The at 9:34 AM on February 17, 2009

I use an external drive with my old PowerBook and generally don't have any problems. But CD ripping has a some black magic in it and it often boils down to trying different tools until you get something that works right.
posted by chairface at 10:04 AM on February 17, 2009

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