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Microphone Month

Clarification on how to get audio from your PC’s CD drive out of your sound card.

Today’s tip readdresses the issue of getting CD audio from the CD drive of your PC to play through your soundcard. We did cover this in a previous issue of inSync, but some of the explanation was simplified to an extent that it could be misconstrued so we thought we’d set the record straight here.

CD audio from your PC CD-ROM typically goes over an analog cable to your built-in Soundblaster-compatable card. To use a professional audio card, you will need to go digitally from the CD-ROM through the computer to the audio card, as long as it supports standard MME or WDM drivers (all of the cards we sell do). Several programs support this, including Windows Media Player 7 and Winamp (with a plug-in). This will take up a stereo pair of outputs while the CD is playing, but will produce higher quality reproduction of the CDs (you’ll notice it immediately) because of the higher-quality D/A converters.

If you have Windows Media Player 7, go to Tools, Options, CD Audio, and turn on Digital Playback. This will tell Media Player to read the CD digitally and output audio CDs to whatever audio output is selected in your multimedia properties in the Windows control panel.

If you have Winamp, go to their homepage, search for input plug-ins, download a CD reader or CDDA plug-in (search the input plug-ins on the website), and install it to your winampplug-ins directory. Then, make sure Winamp is set to use your pro-audio card as an output. This will also allow you to use EQ and any other audio plug-ins in realtime.

One potential problem in using this method is with some of the new copy-protected CDs. There may potentially be a problem in getting this to work since using this method of playback is essentially the same as “ripping” a CD track to a file, but with most CDs on the market, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Several other programs do the same job: Music Match Jukebox, Sonic Foundry’s Siren, and many other mp3 players.

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