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What's the best way to import audio from a CD? DAW Software
Old 24th August 2007
  #1
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What's the best way to import audio from a CD?

For the last couple years I've been importing audio via iTunes. It just occured to me, maybe there's a better (higher quality) way to import audio from CD's.

Anyone know?
Old 24th August 2007
  #2
Old 24th August 2007
  #3
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Thanks Brad, that looks great, however I should have mentioned:

On a Mac.
Old 24th August 2007
  #4
jdg
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sbooths "max"
http://www.sbooth.org/Max/
Old 24th August 2007
  #5
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uhhh..... what's wrong with just copying the AIFF files from the disc?
Insert disc into mac.
Disc mounts to desktop.
open disc
and there's all the aiff files just sitting there.
Drag and copy.

They are bit for bit copies so there is no possible way to improve on that.
Old 24th August 2007
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
uhhh..... what's wrong with just copying the AIFF files from the disc?
Insert disc into mac.
Disc mounts to desktop.
open disc
and there's all the aiff files just sitting there.
Drag and copy.

They are bit for bit copies so there is no possible way to improve on that.
The original poster is talking about copying Compact Disc Digital Audio off of an Audio CD - not copying digital audio files such as aiff or wav off of a data CD-ROM.

"Secure" Digital Audio Extraction software such as Exact Audio Copy (which as noted before is PC only) will re-read sectors if they receive an error flag giving much more asssurance that the copy from the disc will be done with the minimum possible errors.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 24th August 2007
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
The original poster is talking about copying Compact Disc Digital Audio off of an Audio CD - not copying digital audio files such as aiff or wav off of a data CD-ROM.

"Secure" Digital Audio Extraction software such as Exact Audio Copy (which as noted before is PC only) will re-read sectors if they receive an error flag giving much more asssurance that the copy from the disc will be done with the minimum possible errors.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
So what exactly is the problem with copying an audio CD:

1) directly to the desktop

2) directly into to one's DAW?

Is there error correction happening in either of these methods?
Old 24th August 2007
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
The original poster is talking about copying Compact Disc Digital Audio off of an Audio CD - not copying digital audio files such as aiff or wav off of a data CD-ROM.

"Secure" Digital Audio Extraction software such as Exact Audio Copy (which as noted before is PC only) will re-read sectors if they receive an error flag giving much more asssurance that the copy from the disc will be done with the minimum possible errors.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Yeah.
I got that.
Red Book Audio CD's work exactly as I described on a mac.
As for the error correction you mention in "Exact Copy Audio" - hmmm.... I'm not really sure how many errors it would reduce by re-reading them.
It's worth checking out though.
Errors that occured during the original burning - nothing can be done about that.
Errors from scratches on the surface - maybe.
Old 24th August 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
uhhh..... what's wrong with just copying the AIFF files from the disc?
Insert disc into mac.
Disc mounts to desktop.
open disc
and there's all the aiff files just sitting there.
Drag and copy.

They are bit for bit copies so there is no possible way to improve on that.
Only Macs 'see' the audio files as AIFFs, and make them that way (so to speak).

Technically speaking, they aren't actually AIFF files. When you copy them, they are PROBABLY bit for bit accurate, but CDs are funny things, and you never know...

My vote is for MAX (previously mentioned). Error-corrected read, I use it for extraction all the time. The price is certainly right!
Old 24th August 2007
  #10
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understood and agreed.

But let's be clear as to avoid any vodoo type misunderstandings.
The diff between redbook and the mac seeing them AIFF's (ie converting them in real time) is just the header data.
They are not doing anything to the actual bits of data containing audio.

As for my own testing - long ago - SDII files, .WAV files, AIFF files all completely canceled when phase flipped. Nada - zippo - no noise left.
This was back when "golden ears" were actually arguing that aiffs sounded better than wav files even when it could be proven that they were bit for bit identical after the header data.
Just trying to avoid having that type of discussion about 'importing' audio cd's.

I'm all in favor of 'error correction' that is actually attempting to re-read bad bits (as MAX perports to) but not in favor of 'error correction' that says '**** it - I can't read it - let me take a guess for you' - type of 'error correction'.
Old 25th August 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
uhhh..... what's wrong with just copying the AIFF files from the disc?
Insert disc into mac.
Disc mounts to desktop.
open disc
and there's all the aiff files just sitting there.
Drag and copy.

They are bit for bit copies so there is no possible way to improve on that.
HOLY CRUMBS!!! I didn't know you could do that. I just tried it and it works great. Thanks edham.

I will check out http://www.sbooth.org/Max/ though
Old 25th August 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
Yeah.
I got that.
Red Book Audio CD's work exactly as I described on a mac.
As for the error correction you mention in "Exact Copy Audio" - hmmm.... I'm not really sure how many errors it would reduce by re-reading them.
It's worth checking out though.
Errors that occured during the original burning - nothing can be done about that.
Errors from scratches on the surface - maybe.
Using Exact Audio Copy in it's "securest" mode I've been actually able to retrieve the audio off of discs that due to surface scratches had pops, clicks and dropouts when played with a standard CD player. I would be hesitant to DAE a CD Audio disc for "mission critical" applications such as mastering using a software that wasn't as capable as EAC.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 25th August 2007
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
Using Exact Audio Copy in it's "securest" mode I've been actually able to retrieve the audio off of discs that due to surface scratches had pops, clicks and dropouts when played with a standard CD player.
Well that's super freakin cool.

question - the clicks and pops are missing data thus the click and/or pop. Is EAC dealing with this by actually eventually being able to read those missing 1s and 0s or are they using some sort of algorithm to guess what those missing bits "should" have been???

Either way it seems useful but the first way would be really cool. (and mo correct).
Old 25th August 2007
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
Insert disc into mac.
Disc mounts to desktop.
open disc
and there's all the aiff files just sitting there.
Drag and copy.

They are bit for bit copies so there is no possible way to improve on that.
Exactly! Used this method many times, came along with OSX at some point.

However, if working in Pro Tools, import files from the disc directly to PT for "dual mono".

Props to JDG for pointing out the "MAX" app for extracting from problem discs.

JT
Old 25th August 2007
  #15
That's new ME's, working to much on PC.
Protools Mac AIFF good playback only in ME world.
.
Old 28th August 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Krehm View Post
So what exactly is the problem with copying an audio CD:

1) directly to the desktop

2) directly into to one's DAW?

Is there error correction happening in either of these methods?
There are two things to consider.

1. Does your drive correctly report errors when reading an audio CD?

2. If the drive correctly reports errors then does your reading software act on them?

I've no idea what tools are available for the Mac but Plextools and Nero will give you an indication of whether your drive will support correct error flagging on the PC. Look for a tick in the box that says C2 Errors (or something similar). Don't assume your drive correctly outputs error flags.

EAC and Plextools will also act on these error flags properly when extracting audio. EAC will work with drives that don't send error flags properly but it works much faster if it knows that it can trust the drive to set the error flags.

I understand that iTunes can also accept C2 error flags but I'm not sure whether it actually does anything sensible when it detects an error. On a PC iTunes is much slower than Plextools. Max looks like it will probably do the job although I'm not sure whether it is clever enough to make use of C2 error flags so it might be slower than it needs to be.

Cheers

James.
Old 28th August 2007
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
The diff between redbook and the mac seeing them AIFF's (ie converting them in real time) is just the header data.
They are not doing anything to the actual bits of data containing audio.

A.
I thought on a CD you surely have the same audio data but a very different bit structure regarding the data.

Isn´t CD-Audio a bit stream with a reduced error correction system called Reed-Solomon-Code? On the other hand the AIFF file of the same title contents more data because of a more redundant error correction.

So what does the Mac do when you drag a title from CD to the desktop? It cannot really be a bit for bit copy, can it?
Old 28th August 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adebar View Post
So what does the Mac do when you drag a title from CD to the desktop? It cannot really be a bit for bit copy, can it?
Time to try the almighty null test.

1. import a CD track on a PC via EAC (or maybe Max on a Mac)

2. drag AIFF file from same disc on Mac

3. compare the two in a "Null Test"

JT
Old 28th August 2007
  #19
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It will be good on the "Null Test". That was not my point.

I just wanted to express that an audio file - regardless if AIFF, BWF etc - is different in bit structure to an audio title on CD-Audio.

Of course the audio data on the CD-Audio are the same. Audiofiles just need more bits because of more and better redundancy.
Old 28th August 2007
  #20
jdg
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someone correct me if im wrong...
but isn't audio data one large stream (with subcode data telling the laser beam where each track start/end/etc is)?
so, with OSX, u open your CD in the finder, and see .aiff files, which are really just the computer, representing where the TOC and subcode data is, so, then you copy it, and OSX streams and converts it to an actual .aiff file.

if someone could rip an .aiff from a cd like this, and sync your CD transport to start at the same exact time down to the sample, u could do a good null test... DATA vs CD playback.

no? maybe?

either way, i use MAX because it uses the CD paranoia library, and im pretty paranoid.
Old 29th August 2007
  #21
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.aif, .wav, .sdII and red book cd's are all pcm data streams.
In the case we are talking about the 16 bit stereo pcm data is bit for bit identical in each and every format.
It's the headers and as previously posted the toc data that's format specific.

This is why the mac can play them as .aif's with little effort.
The PCM data is identical.

I remain skeptical that any extraction program is actually doing anything good to the audio. A digital copy is a digital copy is a digital copy.
The only useful thing would be if it attempted to re-read any missing bits - but think about it.

When's the last time you copied a word document and found a missing letter?
A spread sheet with one missing number.
Those are just bits and if there was a missing bit it would create an error in the file.

Roger Nichols wrote a great column on this a LONG time ago.
A digital copy is a digital copy.
Old 29th August 2007
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBM View Post
That's new ME's, working to much on PC.
Yah, I just started last week...
Old 29th August 2007
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesp View Post
There are two things to consider.

1. Does your drive correctly report errors when reading an audio CD?

2. If the drive correctly reports errors then does your reading software act on them?

I've no idea what tools are available for the Mac but Plextools and Nero will give you an indication of whether your drive will support correct error flagging on the PC. Look for a tick in the box that says C2 Errors (or something similar). Don't assume your drive correctly outputs error flags.

EAC and Plextools will also act on these error flags properly when extracting audio. EAC will work with drives that don't send error flags properly but it works much faster if it knows that it can trust the drive to set the error flags.

I understand that iTunes can also accept C2 error flags but I'm not sure whether it actually does anything sensible when it detects an error. On a PC iTunes is much slower than Plextools. Max looks like it will probably do the job although I'm not sure whether it is clever enough to make use of C2 error flags so it might be slower than it needs to be.

Cheers

James.
I have noticed two things in copying files to either my Mac desktop or directly to Pro Tools.

Sometime the drive will slow down from time to time (as if it is taking longer on hard to read sectors) and if it can't read a file, it will stop copying and a flag will come up with an error message.

My conclusion has always been that if it finishes copying to my system, it must be OK! Of course I have done many random null test over the years to satisfy myself that the system copies properly.

I've been mastering for a long time and no client has ever said to me that their mix, copied via one of the methods above, didn't sound right! Nor has anyone ever commented that the master didn't sound good b/c the mix didn't get copied properly.

However, I am going to try MAX, although it seems to me that that will create another layer of work, i.e., having to copy the audio file to desktop via MAX and then import into Pro Tools.

But really, I can't see how this is going to tangibly improve my work unless MAX will carry on and figure out how to capture the troublesome sectors that make my current system stop copying. So maybe that's how it should be used. When something won't copy to the desktop or PTs?
Old 29th August 2007
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Krehm View Post
I have noticed two things in copying files to either my Mac desktop or directly to Pro Tools.

Sometime the drive will slow down from time to time (as if it is taking longer on hard to read sectors) and if it can't read a file, it will stop copying and a flag will come up with an error message.

My conclusion has always been that if it finishes copying to my system, it must be OK! Of course I have done many random null test over the years to satisfy myself that the system copies properly.
It sounds like your setup may be working fine - the problem is that there are so many programs and drives that don't work properly for audio extraction that it is usually safest to assume the worst.

I have a scratched disc here that I use as a test. If a program is working properly it should fail to extract at least one of the tracks and slow down on a few others. It is interesting to see that certain popular programs just sail through the whole disc without reporting any problems.

Cheers

James.
Old 29th August 2007
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post

I remain skeptical that any extraction program is actually doing anything good to the audio. A digital copy is a digital copy is a digital copy.
The only useful thing would be if it attempted to re-read any missing bits - but think about it.
Read my previous replies...

When a drive reads an audio CD it either ignores any errors or it reports errors in a different way to the method used when it is reading a data CD. Many audio extraction programs don't seem to understand this and simply ignore the error flags.

If your disc is error free then you will notice no difference but damaged discs will cause problems.

Cheers

James.
Old 29th August 2007
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
.aif, .wav, .sdII and red book cd's are all pcm data streams.
In the case we are talking about the 16 bit stereo pcm data is bit for bit identical in each and every format.
It's the headers and as previously posted the toc data that's format specific.

This is why the mac can play them as .aif's with little effort.
The PCM data is identical.

I remain skeptical that any extraction program is actually doing anything good to the audio. A digital copy is a digital copy is a digital copy.
The only useful thing would be if it attempted to re-read any missing bits - but think about it
Of course, its all PCM. But on CD-Audio this PCM is enbedded in additional data for controlling the system of the CD Player. The PCM data remains always the same but is encoded in th CIRC Code strudcture (Cross Interleave Reed Solomon Code)

The PCM input signal is coded on CD in the following structure.
6 samples with 16 bit left channel are follewed by 6 samples with 16 bit right channel. Out of this 12 words with 16 bit is built a block with 24 words with 8 bits. each 8 bit word is called "symbol". These symbols come to the C2 coder which adds 4 parity symbols (Q-symbols). The C2 coder outputs 28 symbols which will now be interleaved and go to the C1 coder which adds another 4 parity symbols (P-symbols). In the end whe have 32 symbols with 8 bit or a frame with 256 bit.

But this is not the whole format. A control signal (P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W) is added which has another 8 bits. So we end at 264 bit for 1 frame. Each frame has the information for 6 samples and comes with the frequency of 7350 Hz.

Together 98 frames are needed to build a complete control signal. That means we have that with a frequency of 75 Hz (7350 / 98). So we have 75 subcode blocks per second containing the important P- and Q data important for the player to navigate to start and end marks, pre emphasis ISRC data, minutes and seconds and frames.


So please don´t tell me the bit structure is the same when tragging a title from CD to my desktop. This is not just trivial copying data. It is extracting the inherent PCM data out of the CIRC code. Nothing is added or changed to PCM, for sure. But the data are not just copied. They have to be extracted out of this code.
Old 30th August 2007
  #27
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It was not my intention to stop this thread with my last post.

2 years ago a mastering studio told me they would never extract audio from a CD, they play it in their DAW 1:1 via AES/EBU to be safe. I wonder if there is really a reason for that. Even if extracting is not just copying data it should be possible to do that properly and to avoid time consuming 1:1 load in.

Maybe extracting with a goos application giving me a report is even better?

What do you think?
Old 30th August 2007
  #28
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Yes CD-DA extraction has gotten ~very~ reliable the last few years, thanks to improved technology.

Saves oodles time over a real time AES "load-in".

We used to do real time load in, now we do extraction via the OSX finder, or EAC on PC for problem discs.

We still listen through each song in real time to verify, but are usually EQ'ing at that point.

JT
Old 30th August 2007
  #29
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If extraction were fool-proof, these guys would be out of business - they're not!

http://www.eclipsedata.com

CDDA is PCM (after decoding), but not file-based. You want to turn it into a file by ripping or recording - there's room for error in both. Test your source discs with PTP (or better) before doing either. Of course, DVD/CD-ROM is better and can support higher bit depths/sample rates.

I think this PC, and now Mac, thing of showing CDDA tracks as wav/aif files is bad - they are not files until extracted. I use Max, EAC, PTP for ripping, or play-in from good player with a digital out (Tascam CD450, etc.).
Old 30th August 2007
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyoteous View Post
If extraction were fool-proof, these guys would be out of business - they're not!

Eclipse Home Page

CDDA is PCM (after decoding), but not file-based. You want to turn it into a file by ripping or recording - there's room for error in both. Test your source discs with PTP (or better) before doing either. Of course, DVD/CD-ROM is better and can support higher bit depths/sample rates.

I think this PC, and now Mac, thing of showing CDDA tracks as wav/aif files is bad - they are not files until extracted. I use Max, EAC, PTP for ripping, or play-in from good player with a digital out (Tascam CD450, etc.).
Thing is besides Eclipse offering CD-R master analysis tools (to insure that the pre-master disc is to specs and does not have uncorrectable errors on it) in their glass mastering software/hardware - their Image Encoder IS a "secure" Digital Audio Extraction software!!

from ImageEncoder -


Advanced Read-in

Multiple images can be read-in and analyzed concurrent with mastering. Many image problems such as incorrect postgap, link blocks, subcode problems, and 3rd layer correctable errors are identified and can be easily corrected during the read-in process. This on-the-fly image correction allows for higher yield at mastering.


Best regards,
Steve Berson
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