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Tier 12 Support

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Self-Hell CD's [Oct. 10th, 2011|10:05 pm]
Tier 12 Support


Help! Of the Self type...

#Boss has about a hundred grand worth of Self-Help Books-on-Disc. He wants them converted to MP3 (for all intents we are looking at middle-of-the-road MP3's) and from there he wants them dropped into iTunes and onto iPods.

We are talking thousands of discs here, enough to make single-disc ripping functionally useless.

The Hardware:
Box: Lower end i3 with 8 gigs memory and Windows Vista
CD Carousel: Sony VAIO VGP-XL1B 200 Disc Changer (Support no longer offered by Sony) - Firewire connection
3TB Western Digital external drive (USB)

The Software:
dbPower Amp R14
MP3 Tag

dbPower Amp is the only windows based utility that I have found that can control and batch-rip using this carousel.

I rip using DBPA Batch Rip and then line up all of the MetaData using MP3 Tag. I then move the files I just ripped out of that folder and begin the next batch of discs ripping.

The Problem:
-DBPA only pulls in about 30% of the discs that I run through it. It does not show any failed or rejected discs (Settings are set to rip even if no metadata is found in databases, and to not reject for anything but an unreadable disc.) The remaining 70% of the cd's that it rips, I can't locate the files for.

I rip to an external drive over USB - some of the files make it, some don't. I changed the order of the discs in the changer to find out if it was a bad slot. I used a different changer of the same make and model with the same results.

Discs rip fine on single disc rip in the regular CD drive through DBPA, Win Media Player and iTunes.

#Boss wants it done, but doesn't want to use a disc ripping company. Otherwise money is seriously no object. (And yes, that is a VERY accurate statement) He will buy all new equipment if he has to. We don't care about track names - as long as artist and album (book title and author) are in line - which i do manually with MP3 Tag


The history:

#predecessor used two machines for this: Rip using windows xp media center into .WMA files with the changer. Drop them onto a network share on the second machine, convert them to MP3, and use TuneUp to fetch SOME metadata, drop onto iPods using a very broken (read: no logical explanation) setup of different iTunes libraries.

Going through #Predecessors work, I found that random discs and files were missing, (IE a 6 disc set would be missing track 8 of 12 from disc 3, and disc 5 would be gone altogether)

[User Picture]From: melstav
2011-10-11 01:26 pm (UTC)
I recently borrowed the Mitsui Transcorder (bottom) from work to rip my entire DVD collection. I replaced the SCSI CD writer with a SATA DVDRW on a USB bridge, and attached a USB->RS232 cable to the robot's command port. (the transcorder came with a shoebox 486 as a controller.)

Hooked it up to a linux box and wrote a shell script that used DVDDecrypt and dumped the entire contents of the disk to a storage drive. Worked well.

From what you describe of the predecessor's work and your own experience, I think there's either something wrong with the optics on the drive in the carousel, you have scratched/dirty disks, or the firmware on the carousel needs updating (whether or not said update is available). Actually, it's probably some combination.

The concept of a "bad slot" doesn't exist with a disk carousel, outside of a physical obstruction or actual breakage. There's only the one drive for reading/writing. The carousel's (the turny part) only job is to move the needed disk to where the mechanics can load it in and out of the drive.

Unfortunately, using a completely integrated solution like that, it'll be hard to diagnose and fix. Especially if you aren't capturing any messages output by DBPA during the ripping process.

My suggestion:

Ditch the carousel and replace it with a robotic arm-based loader using one or more off-the-shelf drives. My personal preference would be to grab one with support for operating systems other than Windows, or at least sufficient documentation that you wouldn't have to reverse engineer the communications protocol (like I did) to control the robot if you wanted to roll your own control software. But your needs may vary.

If you're going to consider buying new equipment, might I suggest something like Primera's Bravo SE duplicator? I know you don't need the printer, but I don't know that I've seen a current robot-based duplicator solution for less, even without a printer.

Or troll ebay for duplicators, then email the mfr to ensure that they'll sell you software that'll work for controlling it before you buy. The two main names in disk duplicators for the last decade have been Primera and Rimage.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: melstav
2011-10-11 01:27 pm (UTC)
I should clarify that when I said:
... but I don't know that I've seen a current robot-based duplicator solution for less, even without a printer.

I meant "brand new".
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: daddykatt
2011-10-11 01:39 pm (UTC)
Problem being that we are not trying to duplicate, only rip to MP3.
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