Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Media Center wasn't the first with Changer Support

With all of this talk of 200 disc DVD/CD changers with Media Center Edition and DRM associated with modern media, I started thinking about CD ripping and why the original iPod was successful. It was a winner because it supported seven different audio formats. Sony allowed just one, their ATRAC. Apple opened up the gates and let you put many types of music within. Going forward, their iPod with Video is cool with H.264 movie support, but mine is primarily going to be a music device since I am frequently driving and don't need another distraction while on the road. Plus, it does take a while to get movies onto the thing. CD ripping is not only LEGAL, but relatively quick and easy.

Back in the early 2000 time frame, I used many PC's to simultaneously rip a handful of CDs to MP3 format, so the process didn't take long during evenings that I was home. Five years later, the new Sony X1 Media Center PC and associated VGP-XL1B 200 DVD/CD changer supports a Media Center plug-in to rip 200 CD's at a time, but at a cost of over $2200, it's an expensive proposition. Trying to do this on the cheap, I dug around my house and found some old SCSI NEC 2Xc 7 disc CD changers (just like the Nakamichi's) and went about finding software that supported them. Turns out that iTunes shows the two of them as 14 disc drives, and grabs the CDDB information associated with each disc, but doesn't allow you to rip sequentially.

The solution? Enter the Riptastic! MP3 CD Ripper with multi disc changer support. This thing will even sequentially rip between two single disc players in your PC if you don't have a changer! It grabs the CDDB information and rips along at 1.1x for my SCSI NEC's and faster with some of my other drives. The best thing about this solution is that I no longer have to babysit my computer. I just load up my discs then head about my business. You can pick your compression and bitrate and also the file naming convention. It will also encode simultaneously while ripping, but my 1GHz test machine could stand to be a bit more stout for the encoding process. Does anyone need a hundred or more discs ripped? My hardware is ready, but my music is already on hard drives...

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