Saturday February 24, 2024

I hate CD copy protection
  Posted by: AceBHound on Apr 6th, 2008 9:40 PM
I just began converting CDs I own to FLAC in order to create a library of FLAC music for my Slim Device's Squeezebox 2 (a digital music player). Easy CD-DA has made the job extremely easy compared to my experience with using EAC (Exact Audio Copy) -- well worth the $35 to register Easy CD-DA. I'm not going to go on believing that seeing "0 c2 errors" means I have a perfect copy of the CD, but I just want to be reasonably sure I won't have songs skipping. Some people choose to use CD Paranoia, etc and rip the tracks multiple times -- I tried this over a year ago and was getting too impatient to see even like-new cds generating errors.

After spending what has probably amounted to 30+ hours ripping CDs, I thought I had a pretty good handle on things -- that is, until I listened to Velvet Revolver: Contraband today. Track #1 was skipping like crazy and I started to doubt the c2 error checking since it reported no errors. I re-ripped the CD and had the same skipping issues. I loaded up Windows Media Player, lo-and-behold the CD still skipped, even though it just looked like it had some minor scuffing (no deep scratches).

As you might imagine, I wasn't happy -- how could Easy CD-DA not be reporting any errors on tracks that are obviously skipping? Was it a waste of time to re-rip my CDs to FLAC and spend $35 on software that can't even catch these kinds of errors? So I began to research the issue more and noticed that this Velvet Revolver CD has copy protection. Turns out, it installs a driver called SbcpHid that garbles some of the tracks when you play the CD on your computer. I'd always heard about these copy protection mechanisms that the CD companies got a bunch of crap for a while back, but never experienced it first-hand. As soon as I stopped the driver and restarted the CD it played perfectly. I started the driver back up and got garbled music, stopped it again and it was fine.

I was almost about to scrap the entire idea of re-ripping my collection to FLAC, figuring if a CD with this many skips could get through the c2 error checking -- what else got through???! But I guess since it's the driver garbling it, as far as Easy CD-DA knows it's ripping it without errors. Just glad I researched it more and found what was going on -- for anyone else having the same issue, you can follow these instructions to stop and disable the driver. Yeesh.

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