Archive for the ‘CDs’ Category

Old School Audio Ripping – Music to my ears

Friday, April 17th, 2009

There are a million reasons to want to record the audio off of your Mac when it doesn’t want you to do so. For example, sometimes I want to burn a CD of a podcast to listen to in my car that only has a CD player (and certainly doesn’t have an iPod jack). Audio books are also nice to burn for the same reason. There are countless times when iTunes gives me the error message “can not burn because you have reached my burn limit for that song.” But it doesn’t take into account that my last burns were mistakenly made from the wrong playlist. Sometimes I want to burn live streams to a file or CD, but Mac doesn’t make it easy.

And for years, I was able to easily burn any audio my computer was “hearing” using a freeware called WireTap. But that was in OS9. My Wiretap doesn’t work right anymore. There are lots of other applications that allow you to capture the audio from your Mac, but many of them cost money or are ultra buggy.

So I say, go old school. That’s right. Use the oldest, most analog trick in the book. Simply use the wire that goes from your computer to your speakers and stick the RCA (red and white) plugs into some kind of recording device. I like to use my MiniDV deck, but even a VHS deck has great audio quality and will do the job.  But with the MiniDV deck, I can easily recapture the audio to my Mac via firewire.

Then re-import the audio into your Mac and you will get a file that has no copy protection and no metadata issues. It’s a clean, unrestricted audio file that you use to your “fair use” clause’s delight.

Yeah, it may take real time to create the real file, but the quality sounds great. Don’t poo poo analog audio too quickly. For more than a hundred years, analog audio was fantastic for recording the greatest stars of stage, and screen. In fact, the only recordings we have of such legendary talent as Caruso, were recorded in analog.  The freakin’ Beatles recorded every single song in analog!

And now for the audiophile test.

1) Play a CD in your computer

2) Take the audio out of your speaker wires and plug them into a MiniDV recorder.

3) Digitize the resulting MiniDV videotape back into your Mac via firewire.

4) Now, in a blind test of your friends, play the MiniDV file using Quicktime player and then… compare it to the live CD playing on the same computer.

Nobody will be able to tell you which is which.  And even if, they are aurally gifted with uber hearing powers, they will say that both sources sound perfectly acceptable for feeling the mood of the music and for transporting you from the worries of your day.

Analog, baby. It’s the forgotten tool of yore!