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AnalogWhole, an Alternative To FairUse4WM

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the digital-is-so-XX-century dept.

168

Squidmarks writes, "AnalogWhole is a free application that allows any file that can be played in Windows Media Player to be transferred to iTunes as an MP3. It uses, you guessed it, the 'analog hole' to re-record any DRM'ed song as an MP3. Because the analog signal doesn't actually leave the computer, but is simply looped back in the sound card, sound quality of the re-recording is excellent. All meta data is transferred as well. The MP3 file is automagically added to iTunes. Just show it where you store your DRM music and walk away."

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Sound quality (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625346)

Because the analog signal doesn't actually leave the computer, but is simply looped back in the sound card, sound quality of the re-recording is excellent.

...as long as you don't actually try to play the file on anything more than the cheapest and flimsiest stereo and speakers.

Re:Sound quality (3, Funny)

kiwimade (891424) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625398)

Considering its targeting stuff like ipod playback, this shouldn't be a problem.

well (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625548)

They don't mention re-compression. If they're using the Apple lossless format, quality loss should be negligible unless you have a really awful soundcard.

oops (0)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625572)

Clearly, I'm an idiot and/or I can't read. Re-encoding as MP3 is a terrible idea.

Re:oops (2, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625688)

Not as terrible as buying low-bitrate music with DRM was in the first place.

Re:oops (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625880)

Why, because MP3's don't play on commodore 64?

Re:well (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625710)

They don't mention re-compression. If they're using the Apple lossless format, quality loss should be negligible unless you have a really awful soundcard.

The Apple iTunes AAC format is not lossless. At the bitrate that they use for most of their stuff, it's not even close. Whenever you're going from one lossy compressed format (in this case AAC) to another lossy compressed format (MP3), there will be recompression. There's no other way around it.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625860)

go back and read it again. "Apple lossless format" is not AAC. They are two different things.

Don't take my word for it, go read about it at wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lossless.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625900)

Nobody said AAC is lossless. The grandparent was talking about the Apple Lossless Format.

Re:well (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625934)

Re:well (2, Insightful)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628480)

Apple has a lossless codec in addition to AAC. It's playable in itunes and the ipod.

Re:well (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628568)

Apple has a lossless codec in addition to AAC. It's playable in itunes and the ipod.

I wasn't aware of that. However, it's somewhat irrelevant as the topic of the conversation related to transferring files from WMP playable formats into MP3. Unless Apple has been more open with their lossless codec than they have been with their version of AAC, it's doubtful that WMP is able to play the files.

Re:Sound quality (1)

geeber (520231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626284)

Because the analog signal doesn't actually leave the computer, but is simply looped back in the sound card, sound quality of the re-recording is excellent.

Actually the quality of the conversion has little to do with the fact that the signal does not leave the computer and everything to do with the quality of the A/D and D/A converters in the sound card. Given the consumer grade sound cards in many computers I am skeptical of the claims of quality.

Re:Sound quality (2, Insightful)

Metteyya (790458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627818)

Bullshit. Or, if you like it that way, you're right, but that's completely not applicable here. It's just that signal - still in digital form - is received by another app, that's all. Sort of like JACK works - manages exchange of many (digital) audio "streams" between applications. So it's something completely different than "physical" loopback, like plugging your card's line-out to its line-in. Some audio apps already work that way (mentioned JACK for Linux, for example), the only new thing here is automatisation of the whole process and using already available players in the system.

Re:Sound quality (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628320)

Bullshit. If any A/D or D/A conversion occurs inside the PC case there will be noise (and lots of it -- according to professional standards).

That is why professionals never use internal sound cards for A/D (yes, Creative is considered crap). For a more serious option check out this baby from Roland : ahref=http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdeta ils.aspx?ObjectId=758&ParentId=114rel=url2html-241 56 [slashdot.org] http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails. aspx?ObjectId=758&ParentId=114>

Re:Sound quality (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628402)

I don't think professionals use regular PCs either, So I don't think it reall makes a difference which sound card you get. People who buy sound card like that are the same people who buy equipment like this

Re:Sound quality (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628848)

Or, if you like it that way, you're right, but that's completely not applicable here. It's just that signal - still in digital form - is received by another app, that's all.

So the signal is "intercepted" in its original digital format, before ever passing throughan D/A converter, and is not actually taken through the sound card? Perhaps there was some confusion or an ambiguity taken the wrong way? That would eliminate the other person's argument here, if I'm not mistaken. I'm no expert here, I'm just trying to comprehend how this analog hole stuff works.

Re:Sound quality (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628172)

If your a audiophile then wtf are you doing buying DRMed music?
Wouldnt you be ripping CDs?

Still loss of quality (5, Informative)

amplusquem (995096) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625352)

It is still looped through the sound card, so while quality may still be "excellent", there is still loss. I would rather use a program such as QTFairUse [hymn-project.org] which doesn't lose any sound quality.

Re:Still loss of quality (3, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625546)

It is still looped through the sound card, so while quality may still be "excellent", there is still loss.

There's also loss do to re-compressing an already compressed file as an MP3. Overall, it's not the best of option...especially given the horrid quality of most consumer-level ADC's.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

westyvw (653833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625592)

If your starting with crap like WMA then moving it to lesser but still crap MP3 why would you care?

Re:Still loss of quality (5, Interesting)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626242)

I know a number of audiophiles who detest MP3s. I've tricked them into saying that the actual CD was an MP3 and the MP3 I ripped from that CD was the real CD. They couldn't actually tell a difference and were taking guesses.

If you use LAME, set your Q to 9. A 320kbps MP3 with Q=1 and 320kbps mp3 with Q=9 are WILDLY different, while both the same bitrate and same size. Whatever garbage MP3 files you have, re-encoding them as 320kbps/Q9 files isn't going to make them sound any worse to 99.9% of humans. Of course it takes more time to encode them this way.

Another point, not for you, but for some of your parent posts - think about a soundcard with a digital out. That means, the bits get decoded and sent to the amp - if the amp (or whatever you plug the digital line into) can capture the bits, you've got a perfect/lossless rip - no DAC was involved. Volume controls and DSP's may change the bits somehow, and it will take playing-with to get it right... but it will produce satisfactory results once you do.

I would test this for people, but I own (and will always own) absolutely ZERO DRM content.

I own a Creative SoundBlaster Audigy... I know even a cheap SBLive! can do this... I would try the following to get a pure digital copy, in this order:

1. Play a DRM'd file, set the recording channel to "What U Hear", and record. If that doesn't work...
2. Get a LiveDrive (plugs into SB Live's & Audigy's) cheap on eBay, and an optical cable... then plug optical out into optical in and try to record the optical in. If that doesn't work...
3. Get two computers, one with a digital out and one with a digital in. Try it that way. If that doesn't work...
4. Uninstall iTunes or whichever thing is giving you this unplayable worthless crap to begin with, and tell their distributor to go to hell. Then take your stereo equipment and hurl it at Sony-Poo's nuts, and sing to yourself until a better solution comes along.

I can actually guarantee positive results with that last one.

Re:Still loss of quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16626586)

I know a number of audiophiles who detest MP3s. I've tricked them into saying that the actual CD was an MP3 and the MP3 I ripped from that CD was the real CD. They couldn't actually tell a difference and were taking guesses.

A percentage of audiophiles are utter morons, deaf as they are clueless.

Still your test largely depends on source material and listening conditions. Try it with a clasical piece in a good listening room at medium volume.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626732)

A percentage of audiophiles are utter morons, deaf as they are clueless.
No, I checked - they're not those kind, it's okay.

I'm sure that still isn't good enough for you, is it.

I agree with you about the classical music, the utterly most pleasing sound I've ever heard was a performance of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra this Spring; it featured world reknown (and GORGEOUS) cellist Wendy Werner. She's the Paganini of the cello. I have both CDs and MP3's of classical music; I also have a 5.1 studio on my computer. I stand by my observations.

If you really don't believe me, try it yourself. I'm not here trying to offer empirical evidence... I'm offering my experience. If you have different experience, let's have it already!

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

chazwurth (664949) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626630)

I know a number of audiophiles who detest MP3s. I've tricked them into saying that the actual CD was an MP3 and the MP3 I ripped from that CD was the real CD. They couldn't actually tell a difference and were taking guesses.

Were you playing the content on a crappy (read: normal, average, home) sound system? In my experience the difference in quality between mp3 and CD audio is extremely clear if you're listening on a hi-fi system. And I'm not an audiophile.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627338)

The two I'm thinking of both used studio headphones. I've done comparisons with other people who weren't sound engineers just on my computer; I have a Carver M400 cube amp with two Advent towers on my front channels, and decent stuff (but ultimately junk) on my rears. The Advent towers are above average; but the Carver cube is far superior to stuff you find a Best Buy. I would call it a lower end studio amp (not even a volume control on it; you plug it in and it's on, because it's supposed to plug into the power supply of a preamp. I use my SoundBlaster Audigy 2 for a preamp, so it can result in some obnoxious surprises depending on where the card's mixer volume is set). It's your typical guy-pad type setup that no wife would ever approve of or be caught dead with in her living room. :)

One of the studio engineers actually proved that to my ear anyway, LP's on great record players with expensive stylus' & mics actually sound superior to CDs. I'm a believer, too.

If you really want to know (getting tired of saying this) try it for yourself; LAME is free. I wasn't offering scientific research, just my experience.

Not with good files. (3, Informative)

lindseyp (988332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627378)

Most people who say this are used to mp3s being low quality. I too can easily tell the difference when quality is that low.

But for "LAME --preset insane" quality files, which tend to be about 2x the filesize, I've done my own blind tests on high end equipment: i.e.:

Winamp

->Audiophile24/96 sound card

-> Benchmark DAC1

-> Decware Zen Triode Integrated Amplifier

-> Gallo Nucleus Reference II speakers

Or replace the DAC and amp with a Denon AVC-A1SE amplifier (that's a ref. quality $5000 a/v amp)

I've also listened with Sony MDR D77 headphones, and Shure E3 studio monitor earphones with both of these amps.

In my own conclusion I couldn't tell the difference.

I coded the files back to WAV, a mix of high quality recordings of classical, rock, techno and Clapton, and invited a self-professed bunch of audiophiles to volunteer their opinion on which were the true WAVs and which had gone through the mp3 coding process. Nobody volunteered an opinion.

Since then I always code my music to mp3 using that setting. I've DJd using that quality of file with Virtual DJ with no pitch correction (important, this affects quality a lot) and had other DJs tell me they couldn't believe I was not using Vinyl.

I wish I still had the files I prepared, I would post them here for your enjoyment, but I don't doubt some slashdot genius would come back with the correct answers by examining the files digitally.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626766)

I know a number of audiophiles who detest MP3s. I've tricked them into saying that the actual CD was an MP3 and the MP3 I ripped from that CD was the real CD. They couldn't actually tell a difference and were taking guesses.

This doesn't tell me much.

Edison used "blind" tone tests with live singers and musicians to demonstrate the quality of his acoustic recordings and phonograph players. But he was careful to chose just the right solo voices and instruments.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

CryoPenguin (242131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626772)

If you use LAME, set your Q to 9. A 320kbps MP3 with Q=1 and 320kbps mp3 with Q=9 are WILDLY different, while both the same bitrate and same size.

Huh? Lame's manpage says that -q 0 is the slowest and highest quality, while -q 9 is the fastest and lowest quality. Do the win32 frontends remap that range or something?

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627226)

Oops, I got them mixed up again.

Yeah, it's Q=0. :-) Sorry.

Parent is on the money (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627348)

I was just thinking that I've been doing something very similar with an old PIII with an SBLive card. My daughter brings all these files that have been ripped from who-knows-where and wants them on her player. It works just fine and the sound is great, especially when we're talking about the music she listens to. It would take a lot of digital crud to make this stuff any less listenable.

Seriously, I've seen old SBLive's with digital outs at the neighborhood used computer-gear store for 10 bucks. Good, stable drivers are readily available and some of them even have these nifty breakout boxes with optical in-outs.

Now, if I could just find a ready supply of PCI sound cards with old-fashioned game ports I can use for midi I/O. I've got a crraaazy project in mind, but it seems that all the new two-buck sound cards on the market don't do the game-port/midi thing any more. Just audio ins and outs. For what I want, a USB midi adapter won't do, I need the old fashioned sound card with game port, and about 6 of those in PCI.

Re:Parent is on the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16627578)

First of all, I am TERRIBLY SORRY for posting wildly off-topic. Unfortunately, you closed replies to your journal, and this is the only way I can tell you this.

Your journal entry about people smoking - first of all, I smoke (a LOT) and really, really wish it wasn't harmful. But, as my mom is dying of C.O.P.D. and Emphysima (Goddam dude, I've cried hard over this) I really wish you'd reconsider telling people that there's nothing wrong with it.

I know the whole correlation/causation thing. I can't actually prove that smoking caused her condition. However, she does go to the best respiratory/pulmonary hospital in the country (National Jewish in Denver, CO), if not the world, and they seem to think it's exactly what caused it. I'll take their science over the EPA's any day, that's for certain.

I almost lit up when I read your journal, like "Hey, what's this? Someone found out that I'm not killing myself after all?" But as soon as I remember my mom, I mean Jesus. I can't believe that.

Again, very sorry for posting so off-topic.

Re:Still loss of quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16628340)

A couple of years ago, I archived all of my CDs to my hard drive and wanted to choose the best codec. I did a little comparison between musepack, LAME, and ogg vorbis, and the results were surprising. I ripped a Nirvana song to wave format and then encoded it at ~200kbps variable bit rate in all three formats. I then queued up the wave file and all three encoded files in Winamp and did a listen test by switching back a forth between the wave file and the encoded files.

I used a Nirvana song because their songs have a very wide frequency range and typically produce lots of artifacts at low (~128) bit rates.

Compared to the wave file the LAME file's low-end frequecies were higher.
The musepack file's mid-level frequencies were higher.
The ogg vorbis file sounded exactly like the wave file.

While none of the codecs produced any audible artifacts, the differences in frequency response lead me to choose ogg, as it did the best job at reproducing the original sound.

I also agree about sound cards DA converters being decent enough. I've done transfers of my vinyl records using my cheapy SBLive Value card and the results were just fine.

Re:Still loss of quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16628832)

congratulations, you chose the format supported by ~5% of portable music devices and 1% of car digital audio devices! have fun listening to all that music while tied to your computer though

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628570)

LAME has a nice set of settings called "presets" that have all the best-quality settings put in them (this was done using suggestions based on r3mix evaluations). There are several of them. Just use --alt-preset or --preset, with "standard", "extreme" or "insane" (in increasing order of quality). This enables VBR, which keeps the files smaller (no need for 320kbps when you don't need it, but gives LAME the flexibility to go to 320kbps). I use Extreme, and it tends to average between 192 to 256kbps. I can't tell the difference, but 128kbps is painful.

I used to use tons of command line options, but now, I just use --alt-preset extreme. Works great.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

westyvw (653833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628706)

My point was that taking a lossy format and converting it into mp3 with make that mp3 bad. Lossy --> lossy is MUCH worse then CD --> MP3.

However I can, and have proven to others, that I can tell when I hear a WMV VS a MP3.

Telling the difference between a high bitrate MP3 and source is much harder, but MP3's usually sound "harsher" and somewhat empty compared to the source.

Re:Still loss of quality (5, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625614)

> It is still looped through the sound card, so while quality may still be "excellent", there is still loss.

mmm...but just listen to that lovely analog warmth! I'll take that over digital accuracy anyday...

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627234)

I like the fact that someone modded this Insightful. Very funny.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626388)

The current version of QTFairUse (2.4) doesn't work with the newest iTunes, however there's currently 2.5 beta 1 which is awesome. I don't know if these features were also in 2.4 since I jumped from 2.3 to 2.5 beta 1 (because 2.4 didn't work after the iTunes upgrade), but 2.5 now includes the ability to not just strip the DRM from the m4p files and redo the ID3 tags, it even has the option of backing up the the files, removing the DRM version from your library and adding the new DRM-free version back into your library, transfer your rating from the old file to the new file, and even finding all the playlists that had that song and re-adding the song back to these playlists.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626472)

I actually forgot to mention that the best new feature is the ability to recreate the file without playing the file at 1x speed. In previous versions, it had to play the entire song through before it was done recreating the new m4a file. However with this new version, it was able to recreate the DRM-free version in just a few seconds. I guess they found a way to get iTunes to play the file really fast because it still needs iTunes to play the file, but no audio comes out.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626578)

What sort of level of loss are we talking about here?

Is it actually going to reduce the quality below that of around say 192k?

Personally, for anything higher than that I really can't tell the difference anyway.

Re:Still loss of quality (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627058)

I would rather use a program such as QTFairUse which doesn't lose any sound quality.

And I'd rather use FairUse4WM than QTFairUse. It is much faster because it's a standalone decrypter that doesn't rely on iTunes API or hooking into the iTunes process. At least 4x faster, subjectively and IIRC. It also doesn't require a reencode because it's just removing the DRM.

I'd guess that the only use for AnalogWhole is for files that for some reason don't work with FairUse4WM.

DAC/ADC is not the loss source -- transcoding is. (1)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628098)

DAC and ADC circuits are really good these days. By really good I mean that a $100 sound card is better than a high-end tape deck from the 1980s, or even than most audiophile turntables playing brand-new vinyl. The built-in soundcard on your motherboard probably "sucks", which means it's only as good as that really nice component tape deck your older brother bought in the 1990s and you drooled over until you discovered mp3s. The suckiness is probably digital noise from the motherboard, leaking it at the -50 or -60 db level (about the same as the noise floor for a cassette tape w/o Dolby or DBX). Harmonic distortion is probably buried in the digital leakage, even on cost-engineered, sucky on-board sound.

A few years ago I did audio comparisons between a cheap-ass I-Opener computer playing mp3s ripped from a record and a midrange Technics tape deck playing the same tracks recorded from the same record, and the I-Opener did better.

So if you've paid any attention at all to your sound card, you probably won't hear any distortion from passing the sound through it. You're much more likely to notice the fuzz and tinkle-bells from the initial low-quality Rhapsody encoding.

And the point is?? (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625358)

Users have always been able to do this manually, if they had a decent recording program. Why the hoopla over a fancy software tool designed to do this one thing specifically? Does it save a few seconds? Further, this is really beside the point. DRM often still prevents users from making faithful digital copies of their own -- purchased, paid for, and legal -- media. This is a non-issue.

Re:And the point is?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16626954)

I guess the point is that now any idiot who can start wind'ohs and download iTunes for it can do this, whereas before one had to be slightly more computer-literate. Of course this is supposed to be "News For Nerds : Stuff That Matters" but nothing is as it seems as usual...

Re:And the point is?? (1)

Monsuco (998964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628072)

Why are their not programs that do this for iTunes in the same way. They both cannot really be patched? An option of converting it from WMA protected to WMA unprotected would be good to minimize quality loss.

So... (2, Insightful)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625366)

So, it's just like using Audacity to record whatever goes through the sound card?

thanks, but no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625370)

I'll stick with FairUse4WM, since the file that goes in is the same as what comes out, minus DRM. I'd rather not mess with unnecessary conversions, if possible.

Re:thanks, but no thanks (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625456)

Just show it where you store your DRM music. . .

On a DRMed music free disc you can search forever.

KFG

Analog? (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625372)

If it just uses the Windows mixer and the sound never actually leaves the soundcard, I suspect that it just stays digital the entire time, and is never actually converted to analog. I'm not sure how the Windows soundcard interface works, so I might be wrong. In any case, if you're using this program to play WMA files, you're still degrading their quality by transcoding them to MP3. That probably won't matter if you're just going to play them on your iPod though.

Re:Analog? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625500)

The wma is decoded to produce the sound signal that is played through your speakers. This program just recaptures the signal and encodes it as an MP3. It is no different than reencoding a file from one format to another, but you cannot reencode easily on DRM'd files.

Re:Analog? (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625720)

There is more degradation this way, because instead of having:

decode->encode

you have

decode->adc->dac->encode

Re:Analog? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626434)

Assuming you're not patching from the Line Out to the Line In with an analog cable (if you're just using the soundcard's "record wave" mode), would it be running it through the DAC or ADC?

Re:Analog? (2, Informative)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626678)

Well seeing as we've been told it's using the 'analog hole' I think it's a fair assumption that that's how it works.

Seems the analogue in can capture the analogue out before it leaves the card, presumably bypassing whatever DRM enforcement happens in the lower level Windows Media layers:

"Windows Media Player does the tough job of converting the 1's and 0's particular to that codec the music was stored as into an analog output that is played through the sound card. While the song is playing, AnalogWhole re-routes this analog signal back into the recording input of the sound card. "

Re:Analog? (2, Insightful)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625738)

Right. So unless it's going through a DAC, it's the digital hole. Anyway, I thought everyone knew not to transcode files.

Re:Analog? (2, Insightful)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625566)

If it just uses the Windows mixer and the sound never actually leaves the soundcard, I suspect that it just stays digital the entire time, and is never actually converted to analog.

I hope you're right, I get the feeling heads would roll if the general public found out the digital music stuff they sold a kidney for was just converting it back to what they already had before they actually hear it.

Re:Analog? (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626660)

the sound never actually leaves the soundcard, I suspect that it just stays digital the entire time,

Correct. Unfortunately, most consumer-grade soundcards resample all channels to 48 kHz, which means that the 44.1 kHz data stream will be resampled two times: once from 44.1 to 48, and then from 48 back to 44.1. Although it is in theory possible to do that without change of the data (48 k should contain redundant data), in practice the re-sampling will introduce artifacts. Resampling well is especially computationally intensive if the difference in sample rates is so small.

Anyway, these artifacts will probably be neglegible compared to the compression artifacts caused by the encoder. Especially mp3 (with LAME) does a very bad job dealing with compression artifacts from the previous encoding, even if the original encoding was a high bitrate. See also the hydrogenaudio.org wiki [hydrogenaudio.org]

Allright but.. (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625380)

Will it run on Vista?

No WMA files here... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625402)

I don't have any WMA files or any other DRM crippled music on my computer, do you?

Re:No WMA files here... (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626470)

me neither - i don't imagine many /.rs do ...

An alternative (2, Informative)

moggie_xev (695282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625484)

Look at http://www.highcriteria.com/ [highcriteria.com] Total recorder when I was more windows centric I used it and I was happy.

And this is new how? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625486)

Tunebite has been around for a while now (probably only one among many, but the only one I've actually used). It provides its own driver allowing accelerated encoding of both Window Media and iTMS files (video too, which is what got me interested, but doesn't seem to work as well, at least not with my temperament).

PatchGuard (2, Insightful)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625490)

If it just pipes sound output from the mixer to MP3, what are the chances that Vista could block off access to mixer output except for low-level (driver) access, which is then blocked by PatchGuard?

Re:PatchGuard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625632)


then here is the patch [axemusic.com]

Secure Audio Path is in Windows ME, XP, and Vista (5, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625656)

what are the chances that Vista could block off access to mixer output except for low-level (driver) access

Very high. Windows Millennium Edition and Windows XP operating systems already support the Secure Audio Path [google.com] , which places the (WHQL logo approved) decrypter, (WHQL logo approved) decoder, and (WHQL logo approved) audio output driver in kernel space. Part of the WHQL logo requirement is that no driver may mix Secure Audio Path audio into any cleartext digital output, and no driver without a logo is a valid Secure Audio Path playback device. However, few if any WMA files that require the Secure Audio Path are in the wild yet. However, record labels will begin to change their requirements as WMA stores' customers replace their computers that came with Windows 98 or Windows 2000 with newer computers that come with Windows Vista.

For WMA files that use Secure Audio Path, you'll need a $5 audio cable and Audacity.

Spend 3 minutes naming it next time, not 2. (2, Funny)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625528)

I dare you to find anything at all funny about the word "AnalogWhole".

Hey BeeBeard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625588)

Have you taken your head out of your analogwhole yet?

Re:Spend 3 minutes naming it next time, not 2. (1)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625658)

Anna's Log Hole?

You know what the ants standing on the turd in the toilet were singing? "When the log rolls over we're all gonna die..."

I know. == !(that funny).

Re:Spend 3 minutes naming it next time, not 2. (0, Redundant)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625666)

Other than me seeing "AnalogWhore" at first glance of the title, I would imagine years from now when virtual reality is common this word could be funny.

Great, great, resurected Grandfather to great, great, test tube Grandson while gangbanging virtual hookers at digiHooker.cum : "Boy, when I was your age, we didn't have all this fancy shmancy DigitalHole stuff, why, I had to whip out my piss stick & put it in an AnalogWhole !"

Rudy Van Gelder (1)

Einstein_101 (966708) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625642)

With all this focus on the amount of quality lost in the reconversion, people are overlooking the most important issue:
 
  DRM'd music and .wma have mediocre sound quality to begin with.
 
Being considered good quality on computer speakers or iPod ear buds is one thing; sounding good on $150 audiophile earphones or a dolby digital surround system is another thing entirely. I see this all the time with old Jazz records. You can re-encode with the best software modern science can provide, but it doesn't mean a damn thing if the initial conversion was a crappy one.

Re:Rudy Van Gelder (3, Interesting)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626056)

DRM'd music and .wma have mediocre sound quality to begin with


Can you please justify this? I have a Klipshe ProMedia 5.1 surrounds system with an SB Audigy Gamer Edition (yes ancient sound card but it sounds beautiful to me) and I can not tell the difference between a high bit rate .WMA file (or even one of the "lossless" compression ones.) and the same song playing from CD. The Klipshe setup i have was also one of the "Kick Ass" rated setups from Maximum PC before they changed the styling and unfortunatly lost some sound quality in ~2002.
Now don't get me wrong, maybe you DO hear a difference, but I don't and I have been a "audiophile" for many years, i can't listem to music unless it is on a HI-FI stereo in my car, same for my home theater system.
I even remember a Maximum PC article ( lete 2005-ish) where they took a bunch of people and played music THEY brought in and had them try to tellthe difference between .wav 128K 296K and the 392K compression schemes (well it was on MP3 format but still the same goes) and most of the people got them wrong.


I apologize if i rambled a bit i am posting from a hospital. They have free WIFI....woot! Now if only the painkillers were free :-(

Re:Rudy Van Gelder (1)

PenGun (794213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626490)

Klipsch is the word you are looking for. They have never made an accurate speaker. Even the mighty Klipsch horn based corner filling beasts from the 50s were anything but accurate, impressive is what they do..

  What you have is a poorly damped overly sensitive mush maker. It's not surprising you can't hear differences between compressed and merely digitaly simulated files, or between WMAs and WAVs if you like that better.

  I guess I have to pull out my c**k here to prevent bandwith abuse.

  M-Audio 24/96 Audiophile (the weakest link, the record player just destroys any digital effort BTW)
  Sonic Frontiers SFL1 Signature with gold pin Mullard (factory modded)
  Kimber Cable braided interconnects (cheap but very good)
  Sonic Frontiers SFM75 Monoblocks with Svetlyana 6550Bs
  Tara Time and Space Speaker Cables (oldies but goodies)
  B&W Matrix 1 Speakers bi-wired with crossovers rebuilt with Multicaps (best bang for $ I ever experienced in audio)

  The difference is obvious if you have the tools.

    PenGun
  Do What Now ??? ... Standards and Practices !

Re:Rudy Van Gelder (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627314)

I can not tell the difference between a high bit rate .WMA file (or even one of the "lossless" compression ones.) and the same song playing from CD
Well you're not supposed to be able to tell the difference with the lossless one, because it's, well, lossless. It is the exact same audio data as from the CD. The regular WMA one on the other hand is easily discernible with the right system and ears. If you can't tell the difference, great, that makes your life a lot easier :)

Re:Rudy Van Gelder (1)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626380)

DRM'd music and .wma have mediocre sound quality to begin with.

The presence of DRM has absolutely no effect on the audio quality whatsoever - once it's decoded, the audio data is exactly the same as an equivalent file without DRM.

You could say that the most common DRM music suppliers encode in a mediocre format (although many would challenge that), but the fact that they use DRM is irrelevant to the audio quality.

Time loss, not quality loss is the problem (1)

metaphorever (906202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626936)

No, the real issue that everyone is ignoring has nothing to do with audio quality or loss of it. The problem with these "analog hole" solutions is TIME loss. Seriously, if it's reading from the sound card it has to play each and every file, and for any reasonably sized music collection that will take a lot of time. Even with the added step of going from unDRMed WMAs to MP3s, FairUse4WM is infinitely faster because you can do everything in batches. This is a nice proof of concept, but if you really have a WMA music collection FairUse4WM is the only practical solution.

Freeware programs (1)

WhatDoIKnow (962719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625674)

that capture anything going to the speakers from the sound card and save it as mp3 have been available for years. Maybe they don't get the metadata, but that wouldn't be too tough to fix by other means.

:wq

Would be more impressed with a digitalwhole (1)

sokoban (142301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625676)

DACs and ADCs and output stages on most soundcards are pretty awful. I would think that using a loopback of a digital audio out would be much better.

Re:Would be more impressed with a digitalwhole (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625866)

And on top of that, many a sound chip nowadays only does 48khz samplerate, which means you get some crappy resampling at least once, and probably twice.

Re:Would be more impressed with a digitalwhole (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626310)

DACs and ADCs and output stages on most soundcards are pretty awful.

Then buy a USB or FireWire sound card. They generally have higher quality DACs and ADCs that sit outside the electrically noisy PC case.

People are missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625726)

I suspect the most important point of this project is not to make MP3 from WMA, but to show the utter futility of DRM mechanisms.

An MP3? (2, Funny)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625758)

Shouldn't be a problem. Heck, you could even say that it plays for sure.

The Anal Ogg Hole (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625786)

Good name for a pr0n flick about open source audio codecs, yes?

Yes, I know what you're saying.. there aren't any porn flicks about open source software.

I aim to change that.

As soon as I get a video camera and work up the nerve to leave mom's basement. *peeks out window*

DEAR SIR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16625846)

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Quit Your Sniping and See the Benefits (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16625884)

Get off your high horses about already having this facility in some other, already existing, manner and see the benefits. This is another arrow in the quiver of those fighting DRM and the right to use your music as you wish. So what if there are other methods available. Some day those may be closed off, while this still works. There are a lot of people out there being paid to work full-time on shutting down every method of unlocking DRM for fair use.

Anything that shows the futility of the whole idea of DRM is a good thing!

Anything that may still work the day everything else stops working is a good thing!

Anything that makes their job harder by forcing them to divert their efforts to yet another hole in the dike to plug is a good thing!

So quick being fsking pseudo-geek snobs and rejoice that yet another method has been found.

Re:Quit Your Sniping and See the Benefits (2, Interesting)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626066)

Yes, but if you have those DRM'ed files, it means you have bought them. Your dollars told the record company that you accept DRM, even if you find a workaround later. Of course, it is a good thing that this workaround exists; but, as a principle, one should not have bought that junk in the first place!

Re:Quit Your Sniping and See the Benefits (1)

linefeed0 (550967) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628562)

I'm not so sure that this is a good thing at this stage. It's less of "another hole in the dike"; if people use this and spend their time on it, that is less time spent on cracking the DRM where it really hurts. It almost seems like a flag of surrender on the DRM issue, and it would be better to create tons of uncertainty and doubt that DRM works at all (in the digital, compressed original) by repeatedly cracking it wide open than to make media companies think that we're resorting to this because we can't manage or are too lazy to crack the original. This could cause them to redouble their efforts to plug the analog hole or make using it circuitous and obnoxious.

Sigh. (2, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626064)

What can be seen or heard can be copied, no matter how difficult you make it.

Analog Loopback (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626168)

Isnt that soon to be disabled/removed due to DRM/attorneys ?

Good method for most. (1)

Programit (1019644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626282)

Contrary to the knockers and music perfectionists, this method works very well. I've been using a similar method for years and to be honest, the quality loss is that small that only the perfectionist in ideal conditions will pick it up. 99% of the people couldn't tell the difference in normal surrounds! Well Done!

If you don't want to lose quality... (4, Interesting)

gregorio (520049) | more than 7 years ago | (#16626500)

...build your own USB "converter". Companies like Texas Instruments have lots of devices like PCM2704 [ti.com] , that allow access to an unprotected sound bitstream. It's pretty simple to build a fake digital speaker that just redirects the data to a fake digital line in. Some microcontrolled usb sound devices contain both input and output devices on the same IC, so you can software redirect the output (coming from the computer) to the input (going back to it).

So you don't even need an "Analog hole". You can use a digital hole and don't lose any quality at all. And this kind of device is perfectly accepted by any "content protection" driver schemes.

It's impossible to protect sound files.

Re:If you don't want to lose quality... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16628484)

There is also a purely software-based solution that doesn't lose quality: QEMU [bellard.free.fr] . Install this emulator, instal Windows inside there, install drivers for the emulated SB PCI sound card (they already have the needed signature), and redirect the emulated sound output to a wav file. You'll get a bit-precise copy of the sound.

Firs7 Post.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16626640)

polite Tjo bring

OR.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16627000)

You can buy a CD and never have to deal with DRM or sound quality loss.

biZnAtch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16627570)

Re:biZnAtch (1)

CleverBoy (801540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627656)

Yep. Every since I read the title of this article, this is image has been wallpapered to the back of my mind. Sigh.

Re:biZnAtch (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628308)

Yep. Every since I read the title of this article, this is image has been wallpapered to the back of my mind. Sigh.


And to think all this madness started with the ancient Chinese Taoist Goa Tse [uncyclopedia.org] .

And hopefully the humorless bastards at Wikipedia haven't deleted this [wikipedia.org] yet.

Dont know much about law (1)

cky625 (947281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627680)

Dont know much about copyright law, if i'm wrong please correct me. Here is a some action, could be music/movie/whatever. There whole action is being captured, processed and finally into a digital media. The media, which is different from the action, could be reproduced identically in digital form, meaning that it is unauthorizely manufactured. Same could apply onto books distrubuted in plain letter size paper form being photocopied, in college it's serious. What is permitted in school is that you learn from that book and write your own version, plagiarism lies beeneth whatever you are just simply memorizing it and then rewrite in your paper or you abosrb the knowledge and have altered (e.g. add/subtract) the main concept and wirte somthing different(proof is alter also since its more proofable). When paper has become punch card and to hard disc now, brain proccess become recode, then loop back and record sounds way dark then in the grey area.

Now the DMCA has a new enemy (1)

1310nm (687270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16627858)

The too-lazy-to-put-a-loopback-cable-on-their-soundcar d teenagers with too much time on their hands.

YOU FAIL IT! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16628422)

Polite to bring infinitesimaaly in jocks or Chaps engineering project
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