Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ripping DVD-Audio with DVD Audio Extractor

In an earlier post I explained how to rip a DVD-Audio disc using foobar2000 and a couple foobar plug-ins. In this post I'll explain a slightly easier method using a program called DVD Audio Extractor.

DVD Audio Extractor is an application that I originally used to extract the audio tracks from a video DVD. Also in an earlier post, I explained how to extract the audio from a Diana Krall DVD. You use the same technique to get the audio from a DVD-Audio disc. The application works like a wizard and steps you through the process.

I'm working with DVD Audio Extractor version 6.3.0, which is the most current version at this time (May/2012). Here's what the first screen looks like:

Before I launched DVD Audio Extractor, I already had the DVD disc in my drive and by default, it displayed the contents of the AUDIO_TS folder. You can use the drop-down navigation tools to get to the VIDEO_TS folder. The volume label is shown in the album field. In this case, it says BARENAKEDEVERYTHING, which is the volume label for my 'Barenaked Ladies - Everything to Everyone' disc. The DVD was part of a CD/DVD combo pack I bought many years ago. The DVD disc also includes a DVD Video with in-studio video clips of 11 acoustic songs.

First, let me explain the program's layout. It should be pretty self explanatory, so I'll just provide a simple overview.  Below the source selection drop-down is a row for entering the metadata, which includes the artist, album, year and genre. Below that, there are 2 windows. The one on the left is a list of titles included in the disc. On the right are all the chapters in that title. When you pick on one of the titles, the message box below the title window will show the audio format usually with sample rate, bit depth and the number of channels. With this disc, there are 5 titles, 2 of these have 14 chapters, 2 have 1 chapter and 1 title has 11 chapters. I can see that the titles with 14 chapters (Title1 and Title2), all of their chapter lengths match, so they're probably the same songs. The difference is Title1 has 6 channel tracks (5.1 surround) and Title2 is in stereo. It looks like Title3 and Title4 are the 5.1 channel and stereo versions of a bonus track and Title5 is the same 11 acoustic songs from their studio session that are offered in the VIDEO_TS folder. I'm going to extract the surround tracks from Title1 and Title3. These are all 24-bit, 96 KHz, 6 channel tracks.

First, I'll need to enter the metadata. I tried picking the pencil icon on the far right side of the metadata toolbar to see if I could automatically download the information for artist, album and track names, but it returned "no match found" so unfortunately, I'll have to enter this in manually. So using the info on the back of the jewel box, this is what it looks like after editing.

After entering the artist, album, year, genre and track names, I'm ready to go to the next step, so I picked the 'Next >' button at the bottom of the app's window. The program displays a message saying "Scanning chapters, please wait..." Hmmm, this is taking quite a long time and my computer has a Intel Core i3 540 (3 GHz quad core) and 4 GB RAM running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. This step didn't take very long with a video DVD, but it is pretty slow with this disc.

The second screen includes the output format and codec options. For this disc, I'm going to convert (transcode) the MLP tracks to FLAC. Since both are lossless, they will sound identical and FLAC has the added advantage of being supported by virtually every player and it supports tagging, which I'm not sure is possible with MLP. Since I want to convert from MLP to FLAC without any changes, I set the sample rate to "same as input", the channels to "all 6 channels" and bits per sample to "24 bits", which matches the bit depth of the original MLP.

Picking the 'Next >' button again will take us to the next screen, which is used to specify the location for your files. It can automatically create folders using the metadata fields I completed in the first screen. I'm going to use the metadata from 'Artist' and 'Album' to create an artist folder and an album subfolder. Each track will be placed in the album folder and the names will have the track number followed by the track name. With DVD Audio Extractor the track number comes from the INDEX data and the track name is the same as the CHAPTER name. This information was included in their help file, which you can see if you pick the 'HELP' button in the lower left corner. Since I am not making any changes, other than the basic conversion from MLP to FLAC, I will not do any normalization.

Picking 'Next>' takes us to our final step, which shows the progress of extracting and encoding. I picked the 'Start' button to make it run. This screen shows a snapshot of what it looks like while in the process of extracting and encoding. Upon completion, DVD Audio Extractor will pop-up a message to tell you the encoding finished with a link to the folder where your extracted tracks are located. That's it!

In conclusion, DVD Audio Extractor works and it's an easier method than the process I explained for extracting DVD-Audio tracks using foobar2000. However, I think foobar2000, once set up with the correct plug-ins, is pretty easy and is a lot faster. I waited at least 15 minutes between the first and second steps with DVD Audio Extractor.

Updates and edits

I tried to change the layout of the blog posts. I'm also trying to remove some of the out-dated crap that I don't really need. Does anyone even use 'DIGGIT!', 'DEL.ICIO.US', 'FURL', 'SIMPY', and 'SPURL'? Of those, the only one I'm really familiar with is DEL.ICIO.US. I have never used any of the others. Besides, I don't really understand why they're needed with a blog post.

If you know why they might be useful, please let me know and I'll consider keeping them.

Even if I decide to get rid of them, I can't figure out how. They don't appear in any of the blog layout/edit screens. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE: After failing to figure out how to get rid of the buttons for 'DIGGIT!', 'DEL.ICIO.US', 'FURL', 'SIMPY', and 'SPURL', I tried using a different template. This seems to have worked. I'm not sure if I like the design, but I think it should work as a temporary solution until I have time to go and mess it up with different colors, widths, etc.