Apr 27 2009
By: Jon Gales
not condone the STEALING of music. We also don’t condone the RIAA cutting off
ALL Mac users (and all other non-Windows users). This is why I
have written this article. These directions are for use on CD’s you have purchased
legally and wish to back-up. Don’t distribute the songs to people that haven’t
directly bought the CD**
If you were not disturbed by an article
stating how certain CD’s play on PC’s but not Mac’s (we’re talking audio CD’s
here) you must not be a true Mac guy. If you didn’t read the article, do so
After you have read it, come back and finish this one. After reading that piece
I immediately went to Amazon
and ordered the CD "More
Fast and Furious: Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture".
Now, I am not a fan of this
type of music at all (so stop the hate mail) but it was known to not play on
the Mac so I had to give it a try. After popping it in, iTunes hit the
CDDB and got the track names. At this point I was feeling suckered that I paid
for an awful CD that will play just fine in my Mac. I selected a track and the
CD player spun and spun until iTunes started to not respond. So, this miracle
of the RIAA actually
freezes up iTunes. Nice. ::pats the RIAA on the back::
A quick Force-Quit and F12 gave me
back the CD to start cracking. It plays just fine in my home CD player, which
is as expected. It also plays nicely in my portable CD player (a Philips Expanium).
The Expanium has a line out jack (you could use a head phone jack if your player
doesn’t have a line out). It doesn’t matter what kind of CD player you use (portable
or not), just as long as it has a way to get the audio out to a mini jack).
Using a Mini-to-Mini cable from RadioShack (Cat.#:
42-2497) I hooked my Expanium into my G4 Tower. If you have an iBook you
will need something like Griffin
Technology’s iMic to mimic this setup. Mind you, this can be done at a friend’s
house and the songs taken home with you so that you don’t need to buy more hardware
than necessary. The iMic is very cool though, if you are an iBook user and think
you’ll have a few audio projects in the future go ahead and do yourself a favor.
As of writing this there isn’t a
software package to crack these suckers. If you are a budding Mac programmer
this would be a great project. If you have written one already (and I just don’t
know about it) please let me know and MacMerc
will give you some press.
The following directions detail what
is probably the most cumbersome and time consuming method to get the music off
of these Copy Protected CD’s. It will also work for other audio mediums that
your computer can’t play (cassettes, LP’s, live performances, 8-tracks, and
pretty much anything else out there that doesn’t directly play in your Mac).
It’s not a secret method, and it’s not hard. It just takes a little thinking
and a lot of time. Here we go!
In OS X, iTunes won’t record from
the microphone jack. Theoretically in OS 9 you can, since you can change the
monitoring source from the internal CD to the microphone jack. I haven’t done
this in 9, and won’t mention it any further. The software I mention is for OS
X but there are many packages available for Classic. Just peruse the Audio
section of MacUpdate and look for something that will record audio. That’s all
you need – audio recording. I downloaded AudioX,
Studio 2 and Audiocorder
OSX. If I had to suggest one it would be SoundStudio for two reasons: SoundStudio
doesn’t have an advertisement of audio recorded under the demo like Audiocorder
and it has a nicer interface than both the others. AudioX is free but very limited
(no gain controls, or editing…). SoundStudio has a whole lot more depth than
the alternatives and you can use it for 14 days without paying for it (so save
up all your copy protected CD’s).
Here’s a screen shot of my SoundStudio
SoundStudio allows you to do linear
editing, which is really handy for breaking up tracks and taking out long periods
of silence. Here is what I did to import my audio:
- Make sure the lights are"dancing"
when your CD is playing (while it is hooked into your Mac of course). To do
this if they aren’t already showing go to Window>Show input levels. If
they aren’t moving check your connections and then go to Audio>Sound input/output
Setup and change it to the appropriate setting (it will be internal if you
are using your Mac’s internal Mic port, and USB if you are using the iMic).
If you have a fancy soundcard it will be different than those covered but
should be obvious.
- Hit play on your CD player and
look at the dancing lights. Make sure you look for a good while (sometimes
there is a soft intro track that can throw this judgment off). Skip through
a few tracks. If you get a bar that turns red, you got problems. Red is OK
in analog but not in digital. To solve this just lower the gains or lower
the volume of your CD player.
- Now that you aren’t maxed out,
you can start the CD over and hit record in Sound Studio. This is pretty simple
and you will want to record all the way until the first track is over. Once
it is, hit stop.
- Now just save it off as an AIFF
(File>Save As, type a name and hit OK). It’s a good idea to save all these
AIFF’s into one folder (an empty folder with just the songs in it).
- Repeat for the rest of the tracks.
This method worked really well, and
has no shortcomings but it has two annoyances.
- You have to manually break up
tracks. At least in the software I found. There may be a package out there
that acts like iMovie and "thinks" for you. If you have written
one or know of one please email me
the link/info and I will include it on this page.
- Recording only happens at 1X.
If you are an avid CD Ripper this will nearly kill you. The only thing that
saved me was that I was pissing off the RIAA. iTunes normally imports at 5X-8X
(at least on my system) so this means it will take 5 to 8 times LONGER to
import a copy protected CD. However, it’s much more fun when you are circumventing.
So now that we have it recorded digitally
in the computer, we have to get it on a CD and in MP3 format. Both are really
easy to do.
For a CD:
Find the folder of AIFF’s. Drag
it into an iTunes play list and hit burn to CD. It’s that easy! Once your
CD is burned you have effectively negated the copy protection scheme on the
original – sit back and smile!
In iTunes go to: Advanced>Convert
to MP3… and select the folder that contains your tracks. Ideally when
you recorded it you should have saved it off as different files for every
track. If it is one big track you’ll have one long song . Once you hit ok,
iTunes rips all of the songs and you are rocking and rolling.
Remember it only takes one person
to do this! If you have bought the CD and your friend has bought the CD, go
ahead and share the files. It makes no sense to do it twice.
It’s not fair that these CD’s don’t
play on the Mac but with these simple instructions all CD’s will be made equal
again. I think that implementing these protection schemes will backfire because
of people who rip the CD’s and make them public (I’m not giving any addresses)
just because they are "Copy Protected". If labels want to sell protected
CD’s why don’t they drop the price to $5 a CD? That would at least be some consolation
for not being able to listen to it on your computer or iPod (without the trouble
of doing what I already covered). It shouldn’t cost them more since no one will
be "stealing" it…. right? Wrong, the protection scheme is
a sham and it just takes a few users who take a few more minutes to have the
MP3′s all ready for P2P sharing.
If you want to read more about these
types of CD’s and what to do about them (fight the system, heckle the labels….)
point your browser over to: Fat