Digital Audio Extraction Tips

I hope what follows will help some people having various problems performing Digital Audio Extraction (DAE). It's based on my own experience, so it might not apply "as is" but stick to the overall idea.

I have an internal Toshiba SCSI2 4xCD drive and am using CDDA2WAV (DOS, line command). Note that Toshiba's CD drives are distinct from others thus requiring a tailored DAE program such as the one above. The program doesn't rely on ATAPI or such interface (I can run it in a DOS box). The CD drive requires a caddie to hold the CDs.

  1. Media Error (sometimes Sync Errors). As ridiculous as it might seem, make sure the caddie is properly closed. It is sometimes almost closed, not completely. This doesn't seem to affect CDROMs from being used (or Audio CDs from being played), but it does seem to affect DAE. In the same line, CLEAN YOUR CD quite extensively (don't kill it thought !) with a proper CD cleaner (cleaning your drive's head should also help). It happened to me at least 5 times with CDs I borrowed from a friend. DAE worked only when I cleaned them !

  2. Repeating the command line sometimes helps: type the extraction command such as "cdda2wav -(various flags) filename.wav" and hit the "F3" key followed by the "RETURN" key immediately. This means the first command line is being executed while the second one is buffered. When the first fails, the second is immediately executed, and most important of all, works ! I suspect this has something to do with the position of the head, tracking and such ... Any idea ?

  3. This one is the most puzzling one. The SCSI2 internal connector runs from the AHA2490 to the HD and CD drives, in that order, let's call them position 1 and 2. The connector has a third position as well. Making room for additional HDs, I had to move the CD drive to the 3rd position. I could still perform DAE, but the extracted file sounded "fuzzy". I think it's called "jitter". Shuffling the drives around, I finally managed to put the CD drive in position 1, the closest (in term of data path) to the SCSI2 interface. No more jitter !

    Bottom line: keep the datapath as short as possible. I hope this also applies to IDE drives.

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