Maybe the problem is that the world CAN'T listen.
March 26, 2007 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Why won't this CD rip properly? 12 out of 18 songs are completely garbled, regardless of which program I try to use.

I've been trying to rip the Smiths' "The World Won't Listen" to my computer for about three weeks now, and it always fails. The first four and last two tracks are fine, but 'Shakespeare's Sister' through 'You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby' are garbled completely -- each song is at the proper running length, but is made up entirely of approximately five-second bits and pieces of other tracks from the album. Occasionally it plays the correct song for about fifteen seconds, and then returns to the mishmash.

This has happened no matter what program I use. At first I used solely iTunes to rip and play the tracks, but I've had the same results ripping in CDex and playing in foobar2000. The CD plays fine in regular CD players, and is in no way scratched. I get bad results when I try to simply play it as an audio CD through iTunes as well.

I don't believe that the CD is copy-protected. I purchased it new from a record store in Omaha, but it appears to be an Australian import -- if it matters, the inner bit on the underside of the CD reads "D.A.T.A. IFPIL 311 4509918982 D E1" (D.A.T.A. apparently stands for "Digital Audio Technologies Australia).

This hasn't happened with any other CDs I've ripped -- only this one, so I don't think it's a problem with the drive. Thanks!
posted by punchdrunkhistory to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
Try Exact Audio Copy? (Not that I've ever had any problems with CDEx)
posted by Leon at 2:35 PM on March 26, 2007

There may be a problem with the disc. Have you tried ripping at the slowest possible speed?
posted by caddis at 2:45 PM on March 26, 2007

I could be wrong, but it does sound like copy protection to me. I have encountered those kind of "5 second loop" tracks "online" before.

I always assumed they were uploaded by RIAA-types to thwart file-sharers. I just don't see how something like that could happen as a result of a legit error- how could pieces of other tracks get into the one you're trying to rip as a result of an error?
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:57 PM on March 26, 2007

I'm going to guess that it's something with the disc - either it's dirty, scratched, or otherwise. Technically, CDs are supposed to have enough error protection/redundant information that you could drill a 1/8th" hole in the disc, and it would still be playable. We all know how true that is, though. I've had discs that looked perfectly fine, but wouldn't play at all in some CD players.

Is this a recent pressing? I have serious doubts that a disc originally released in '93 would have DRM on it.

You say that it plays fine in other players - have you tried it in other computers? I'd rip it somewhere else (at the slowest speed, with error correction at the highest level), throw the tracks onto a flash drive, and dump them into iTunes that way.
posted by god hates math at 4:14 PM on March 26, 2007

Definitely try Exact Audio Copy. It's able to work around a few forms of copy protection. And slow speed is also a good idea, although I'd let EAC make up its own mind about speed the first time you try.

With an Australian import, this may not apply, but any disc with the "Compact Disc Digital Audio" logo should be unprotected; Philips will not allow the use of the logo if the CD isn't fully standards-compliant. If you always examine your CDs for that logo, you shouldn't normally have this problem.

But with an import... I have no idea if that applies or not.
posted by Malor at 4:34 PM on March 26, 2007

Get a wave editor, record it to PCM (.wav or .aif), then compress it.
posted by pompomtom at 4:37 PM on March 26, 2007

My first attempt to fix this would be to make sure CDex is set to Full Paranoia, and then keep turning the ripping speed down until it either works or won't go any slower. If I got no joy that way, I'd suspect my PC may have been compromised, and I'd boot a live Linux CD and try using some of these useful command line tools.
posted by flabdablet at 4:47 PM on March 26, 2007

I've had luck with some copy-protected CDs by using ISOBuster to 'extract tracks' to the harddrive then converting to whatever. I've also had luck using Nero's 'extract track' option on "Enhanced" CDs (copy protected, autoloads something when inserted into WinXP computers).
posted by porpoise at 4:51 PM on March 26, 2007

Thirding Exact Audio Copy. This sounds like copy protection along the lines of messing with the table of contents (or whatever it is they call it).
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 5:52 PM on March 26, 2007

Fourthing EAC (if you're on Windows).

Since you already own the CD, go ahead and download it off the back alleys of the net.
posted by unixrat at 5:56 PM on March 26, 2007

Response by poster: OK, I've tried EAC (both on Actual speed and on the slowest possible) and each time I've tried extracting only one track, the program freezes and I get a "Sync Error" in the 'Copy Status' section. Nothing ever appears in the 'Copy Progress' bar. Is this just me being unfamiliar with the program, or is this still a problem with the CD?
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 7:09 PM on March 26, 2007

I don't think you would be able to copy any of the tracks if it was copy protection. Do any of your friends have a copy you could use? The library?
posted by caddis at 8:02 PM on March 26, 2007

Best answer: I think it's time to find another computer to try this on. Surely you've got a friend with a computer with a cd drive.
posted by 6550 at 8:22 PM on March 26, 2007

Give ISOBuster a try; it's shareware but it has full functionality during the trial period.

Install, run. Click the dropdown menu on the top left to select the CD drive your CD is in.

There might be two entries on the folders list on the left panel. I just popped in a protected CD and it defaults to Session 2. Select Session 1. There should be a dropdown list such as

Track 01
Track 02
Track 03

Right click on a track, extract -> extract as wav (and extract it somewhere on your harddrive).

Use something like DBPowerAmp to convert it to whatever you want.

Worth a try.
posted by porpoise at 8:48 PM on March 26, 2007

Best answer: You could just get it from BitTorrent instead - you do own the CD, after all.
posted by reklaw at 2:35 AM on March 27, 2007

DBPowerAmp is a pretty capable ripper too, but if EAC can't read it in either Secure or Burst mode (menu, EAC -> Drive Options) nothing much else is likely to have much luck. AnyDVD might be worth trying, and different drives can be better/worse with the more nasty "protections", but that can be hit and miss (Plextor are known for being pretty good in this area).

Personally I'd just return it as faulty. I have exactly zero use for a CD I can't rip. Does the case mention anything about copy protection? Is the CDDA (Compact Disk Digital Audio) logo on it? Maybe you don't have a real audio CD, just something close enough to play on a dumb CD player.
posted by Freaky at 4:25 AM on March 27, 2007

Response by poster: It's definitely not copy-protected - it does contain the CDDA logo. Meanwhile, ISOBuster gives me the exact same results.

I'll try my brother's computer and, failing that, BitTorrent looks to be my best solution. Thanks for all your help.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 8:33 PM on March 27, 2007

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