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.

4 comments:

  1. Hello Gregg,

    Nice to have you back.

    You forgot to mention (on this post anyway) that foobar2000+DVD-A Decoder is a free solution, while DVD Audio Extractor is not.

    Regarding the wait between steps 1 and 2, in my experience, it varies from DVD-A to DVD-A. I never had to wait 15 min, but maximum 3 min, and I have an old Pentium Dual-something running WinXPsp2 with 1Gb of RAM.

    Both methods seem to have different approaches when dealing with the DVD-A data. I have noticed that f2k+dvdad seems to read the DVD-A in smaller "chunks". I did a comparison using the same disc last night and the laser seems to move a lot (moving noises) along the disc surface with f2k+dvdad, while DVD-AE seems to do a "smother" read (no noises). Both methods took more or less the same time. It should be noticed that DVD-AE produced slightly smaller files, but I guess one can get the same results with f2k-dvdad by using a more time consuming Flac level.

    Keep posting!
    Jose.

    P.S.1 Still Waiting for those posts on BD/SACD Ripping.
    P.S.2 It would be interesting to get a post on DVD-A Watermarking, please read http://www.avrev.com/news/0800/09.dvdwatermark.shtml

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  2. Jose-

    Good point regarding foobar/free and DVD-AE/not free. I should've mentioned that, but didn't think about it because it was so long ago that I bought DVD-AE and probably paid less than $25. Having worked in software development, I don't shy away from buying inexpensive software knowing that it is helping someone earn a living. Or, maybe to put it another way, I don't bias toward free software. For example, I think J.River Media Center provides a good value even when compared to foobar2000. JRMC has several features I think are worth paying for that I can't get with foobar. Anyhow, I will remember to keep that in mind the next time I compare a couple products. In this case, I was focused on just the functionality. Since there isn't really a big functional advantage with DVD-AE over foobar, I'm not sure I can recommend it, especially to someone who's already familiar with foobar2000. However, if they need to extract the audio from a video DVD, then DVD-AE is probably worth buying. As for the speed difference, I haven't tried ripping anything other than the Barenaked Ladies DVD-A with DVD-AE, so maybe you're right, the performance might be better with another disc. I also haven't tried comparing the overall time from inserting the disc in my drive to having completed FLAC tracks fully tagged and ready to play in my media library. It might actually be faster with DVD-AE because they provide a more convenient interface for entering the main tags. You are also correct to point out that the processing at the end of the process (beyond step 2) with DVD-AE is pretty quick and with foobar, the actually conversion process might take longer. With either methods, I still need to edit more tags with JRMC after they've done their jobs.

    As for articles on SACD/BD, I'll try getting those out in the near future.

    BTW, thanks for the link to the watermarking article. I've always thought it was a non-issue because I play all my music from PCs. I've never known of anyone testing a high resolution recording that was watermarked vs the same high resolution recording that wasn't watermarked to hear if there was a degradation or difference. I have ripped several DVD-A discs that foobar (with the watermark plug-in) report watermark detected, but they still sound excellent on my system. I've ripped quite a few DVD-As that weren't watermarked and they too sound great. So, I'll try to investigate this some more. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  3. Nice tutorial. i just want to say thank you.
    BTW, does it can rip my dvds bought from itunes? i google searching many times and find that some tools cant crack commercial dvds.

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    1. I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. This blog article is about ripping the audio from a DVD-Audio disc to your computer. There are DVD-Audio discs and DVD-Video discs. The DVD-Video discs, which I talk about in another post, are what you get when you buy a typical movie DVD. A normal DVD can have 2 folders in its root - VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS. The movie DVDs usually only have the VIDEO_TS folder. Sometimes, they have the AUDIO_TS folder, but it could be empty. If there is content in both folders then you have both a video DVD and an audio DVD. If there are only files in the VIDEO_TS folder, then you have a video DVD. And if there are only files in the AUDIO_TS folder, it is an audio DVD. Audio DVD = DVD-Audio and video DVD = just plain old DVD (usually). Of all the commercial DVDs sold, 99% or more are just plain old video DVDs. These days it's pretty hard to buy DVD-Audio discs, except a few specialty audio stores on the web and maybe a few specialty audio shops. Where I live, in Madison WI, we have several specialty music stores and none of them carry DVD-Audio discs. It's also pretty hard to find a store that sells SACDs.

      So, to answer your question... I didn't know you could buy DVD discs from iTunes (I'm not an iTunes person, however my kids buy songs for their iPods), so I thought you could only download music and videos and not get the physical disc. I'm not sure what format the video files come in from Apple but it is probably something like an MP4 file (their music file are AAC if I'm not mistaken). So, if you already have the MP4 video file, what's there to rip? Ripping refers to transferring the audio or video from an optical disc to your computer. If you are downloading music or videos to your computer, you can just play them as is.

      That's why I'm a little confused by your question.

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