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CD-ripping is a jungle!
Digital Audio Extraction (DAE) is not even mandatory in the CD-ROM specifications and not all CD-ROM drives can actually read digital audio. Reading digital audio is absolutely not the same as simply playing a track.
If your rig has problems ripping audio tracks with Audiograbber, be sure you have the most recent version and that you try both ASPI and MSCDEX as the rip methods. In the unlikely event that your hardware is truly incompatible, try one of my worthy competitors' rippers listed at www.mp3.com/software/cdrippers.html. Still no luck? Try Audiograbber on another computer. If you find one that works, swap CD-ROM drives between them. That way you can determine whether the source of the problem is the drive or the computer.
In the worst case, you should at least be able to use Analog under General settings. The sound will then be converted to analog in the drive and back to digital in the soundcard. It's not a perfect solution, but at least one that will work.

It works, but I occasionally get ASPI errors or pops and clicks. Why?

  • Not all drives support DAE speed adjustment, but if yours is one that does, try ripping at a slower speed.
  • Try different settings under the ASPI and MSCDEX settings. A read method's accuracy depends on the system hardware and software.
  • Click the box "Synch data transfer" under the Start button > Settings > Control Panel > System > Device Manager > CD-ROM.
  • Click the box "DMA" under the Start button > Settings > Control Panel > System > Device Manager > CD-ROM. (Only available for IDE drives).
  • Move the CD-ROM drive to the secondary IDE, and let it be the only device on that IDE channel.
  • Get yourself another CD-ROM drive.

Sometimes Audiograbber gives me an "ASPI won't answer" error message. A reboot is usually required to start grabbing again. My motherboard is an Intel HX chipset with Intel PIIX IDE bus master drivers.
Remove the Intel bus master driver by selecting the uninstall option which is available during the install process. That is, install the driver again, but select the UNINSTALL option to remove the driver from your system. Reboot. This driver, which is available in several versions, is designed to speed up IDE disk access by off-loading part of the work to the Intel motherboard chipset. Motherboards which use the Intel FX, VX, HX and TX chipsets are affected. CD-Rippers, IDE CD-ROMs and this driver are apparently not completely compatible.

How can I rip several tracks into the same wav file?
Easy enough, but only with the full Audiograbber.
Doubleclick the last track and note the last sector's value. Doubleclick the first track and change the last sector's value to the one from the last track. Changing these values is also useful when you want to rip parts of a track.

I want to put my MP3s on an audio disc. How do I decode MP3s back to wav files?
Here's a page that describes how to make wavs from MP3s and WMA's with Winamp or Sonique: http://www.geocities.com/cdrippers/mp3tocd.html. Here is a good freeware program that converts between wav, WMA and MP3 (in either direction, MP3 to wav, WMA to MP3 etc). dBPowerAmp. (Homepage for dBPowerAmp).

ASPI is not available in my computer. Why?
Windows 95, 98 and ME come with a working ASPI manager but Windows NT, 2000 and XP do not have any ASPI manager at all. In rare situations, some other program may have replaced your ASPI manager even if you are using Win 95/98/ME. Audiograbber 1.62 or higher does not, however, need any ASPI manager under Win NT, 2000 or XP. Instead it reroutes the calls to the drive via something named Native NT calls but you need to be logged in as administrator to enable this. If you install an ASPI manager you do not need to be logged in as administrator.

Additional files: Adaptec has now released version 4.71 of their ASPI manager and it works on Windws 98/ME/NT/2000 and XP! Get it for free from Adaptecs page at:
http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/support/drivers_by_product.html? sess=no&cat=%2fProduct%2fASPI-4.70&prodkey=Windows+ASPI+Package

ftp://ftp.sony.com/ccpg/pc/SCSI1HLP.EXE is the scsi1hlp.vxd file needed to get MSCDEX to work under Windows 98.

How do I use external encoders?
As you know, Audiograbber does not have a built-in mp3 encoder. However, it supports other manufacturers' encoders as plugins. The easiest way to make MP3s with Audiograbber is to install an internal codec. See the download page for info about what codecs are available and how to install them.
If you want, you can also use some of the older command line programs as external encoders - just browse for your external encoder in the mp3 settings dialog. (External command line encoders usually have some extra settings that are not available in their internal dll version).

Which encoder/decoder gives the best sound?
This is a never-ending debate and people have different opinions. Everybody agrees that the encoder is much more important than the decoder anyhow. Connect headphones to your soundcard and do some listening tests yourself - the higher the bitrate, the larger the file and the better the sound quality. If you go for 192 Kbits, you will probably not hear any difference at all between the encoders. You can discuss this topic at MP3.COM's messageboard. The regulars there just loves this question!

    These are the codecs that can be used as internal codecs in Audiograbber:
  • Fraunhofers acm codecs.
  • QDesigns acm codec. (MP2 codec).
  • BladeEnc's freeware MP3 dll.
  • LAME's freeware MP3 dll.
  • Microsoft WMA. (Microsoft's MP3 competitor, which sounds quite good even at 64 Kbit/s).
  • Microsoft PCM Converter (should be on all computers by default). Useful if you want to make wav files of another format than the normal 44100 hz, 16 bit stereo.
    Here are some encoders that works as external encoders with Audiograbber:
  • Xing. has the absolutely fastest encoders - both the older ToMpg and the newer X3Enc. To use ToMpg, apply these arguments to the Own arguments setting: -L3 -B64 -M0 -S1 -P2. This tells ToMpg to encode using Layer3, 64Kbps/channel (this creates 128Kbps stereo). Increase the -B64 to max 160 for 320kbps. Get it? Their X3Enc works with the default Audiograbber external mp3-encoder settings. It is not possible to buy ToMpg any more, and you can only get X3enc.exe if you buy their stand-alone encoder for $19.95
  • BladeEnc. is a freeware encoder that works with the default Audiograbber external mp3-encoder commands.
  • Plugger 0.4. is another freeware encoder that works with the default Audiograbber external mp3-encoder commands. Encoding speed: 102 seconds.
  • LAME is an acronym for Lame Ain't an MP3 Encoder. In some countries, it is not legal to distribute MP3 encoders without paying Fraunhofer license fees. LAME is therefore normally distributed as source code instead. That seems to be legal! Some countries don't allow software patents, so you can get a working copy of LAME from the download page.
  • Fraunhofer. The older L3ENC was at first the de facto standard encoder, and the program that started this whole MP3 mania. L3enc is now obsolete, but the company has released a newer program called MP3ENC. Both programs work with the default Audiograbber external mp3 encoder commands.
  • JAEP Plugin. Alexander von Gostomski's Real Audio and VQF plugin.

What's next?
I plan to make a version that can rip karaoke CD's (CDG) to .bin files. Built in OGG Vorbis support. A rip and verify rip method (also called secure ripping). I will also look at karaoke MP3's and what that is to see if it can be useful in Audiograbber.

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