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Are theswe CDs weird?

I have a couple of older WinXP computers used only for audio work, one mainly for audio extraction from CD and encoding results to mp3, using two optical drives for reading the CDs.

I obtained an audio book (from 2005) and started to process it to get an mp3 version for my  Sansa player, which is how I listen to all such material. I have done the same with somewhere between 50 and 100 books on this machine. EAC wasn't seeing the CDs.

I then found that Windows Explorer also didn't see them. I tried several different disks from the book. Then I tried some data CDs and they were fine. Then some other audio CDs and they were fine. This particular book's disk just were not even in either of the optical drives, as far as the computer was concerned.

I tried another WinXP computer. Same result. The I tried them in my Win7 computer and everything seemed normal. These book CDs appear to be stamped CDs, not CD-R. Is there some way they were made to be invisible to WinXP?

Re: Are theswe CDs weird?

Reply #1
Some copy-protected CDs can be invisible. I have one such CD that is invisible on old PC with WinXP but it is visible on modern PC with windows 7. But optical drives are also different. If optical drives are different on PCs, you can't be sure if this OS or optical drive that makes difference.

Re: Are theswe CDs weird?

Reply #2
I think that's round about the time when Sony was doing those non-standard CDs with copy protection. I complained and said I used my PC to listen to them and managed to get a different free CD. I had to use the hard way of ripping, i.e. optical cable and a real CD player :D

Re: Are theswe CDs weird?

Reply #3
Sony BMG Copy Protection Rootkit Scandal

You can try a sharpie marker or the shift-key but if you're running a version of XP that's never been patched, consider your current operating system installation totally and completely fucked over courtesy of big unethical business practices.  There's a reason why the CD itself works in Windows 7 and not Windows XP and that's not exactly pleasant to think about at all as later versions of Windows are actually patched out of the box against this kind of crap and is exactly one of the reasons why autorun in newer versions of Windows is disabled by default.

Re: Are theswe CDs weird?

Reply #4
I have a couple of older WinXP computers used only for audio work, one mainly for audio extraction from CD and encoding results to mp3, using two optical drives for reading the CDs.

I obtained an audio book (from 2005) and started to process it to get an mp3 version for my  Sansa player, which is how I listen to all such material. I have done the same with somewhere between 50 and 100 books on this machine. EAC wasn't seeing the CDs.

I then found that Windows Explorer also didn't see them. I tried several different disks from the book. Then I tried some data CDs and they were fine. Then some other audio CDs and they were fine. This particular book's disk just were not even in either of the optical drives, as far as the computer was concerned.

I tried another WinXP computer. Same result. The I tried them in my Win7 computer and everything seemed normal. These book CDs appear to be stamped CDs, not CD-R. Is there some way they were made to be invisible to WinXP?
If you have the original jewel case with the cover and back, see if you see a CDDA logo anywhere on it, or on the front (label) of the CDs themselves. If you can't, then chances are they're copy-protected and the above suggestions probably apply.
Lossless: flac --best --verify
Lossy: opusenc --bitrate 160

Re: Are theswe CDs weird?

Reply #5
Not all copy-protected CDs try to install rootkit to your PC. Some of them (like the one that i have) just contain additional session with malformed data - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key2Audio


 

Re: Are theswe CDs weird?

Reply #7
Not all copy-protected CDs try to install rootkit to your PC. Some of them (like the one that i have) just contain additional session with malformed data - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key2Audio

I always considered myself lucky to have never encountered any kind of these discs back in the day when they were making them.  I own standard Redbook CDs with some having CD text or ISRCs (part of the redbook standard or simple extensions to it kind of stuff) on them but never any data tracks.  I know of their existence because of the media reporting on it back in the day.  I can deal with some of these formats if I was ever to encounter one of them because of how well documented the existence of copy controlled CDs are these days.

Fun fact: each CD with Sony's malware is by itself pirateware.

That's always a good laugh, too.  It shows how shady they were willing to go at handling their issues.  Make malware from pirated software while trying to prevent people from pirating their own music.  Makes perfect sense when you're super greedy.  Karma has a funny way of coming back to bite those in the ass that deserve it, too.

Re: Are theswe CDs weird?

Reply #8
I'm going to go with weird.

The book is obviously used but doesn't "look" particularly bad. I've had used CDs that were definitely more scratched and scuffed than these appear to be yet played pretty well.

I extracted the first CD under Win7. It took almost an hour to do test and copy (just slightly faster than 1X). Every track failed , which doesn't necessarily mean there is anything perceptively wrong with the audio. However, what I attempted to listen to with CoolEdit was terrible, not intelligible, a few words or parts of words widely scattered in stutters and noise.

I tried it on a DVD/CD player. There were some minor skips and repeats and some not very loud ticks, but since it is a story, not music, it seemed useable. I decided to play the CDs on the audio player and record to computer via S/PDIF. The book is 12 hours so I monitored just a little here and there. The audio seemed to improve after the first few CDs.

I took the 9th CD to the WinXP machine. It showed up in Windows explorer immediately like any other audio CD. I listened to parts of a few tracks via foobar2000 but never all the way to the end of the track. There was a little minor repeating or brief skips here and there, annoying but nothing bad enough to loose the story line. There was however an occasional noise that sounded exactly like a small bell being tinkled for a second or so.

I extracted a track on the Win7 machine, a track where I definitely heard the occasional bell tone under XP. Extraction proceed pretty rapidly but did not pass test and copy. I listened to the track in CoolEdit. It was perfectly fine (and no bells) until the last few seconds when it became all spikes and square waves.

I then listened to the track directly from the CD with foobar 2000. After listening to the first part of the track, which again played without error, I used the slider to quickly approach the end of the track where it had not extracted properly. When it reached that point the audio stopped and the entire monitor screen went black with thin yellow vertical lines every 1/4 inch or so. There was no response to keyboard or mouse. I had to do a hardware reboot to get back into Windows. So, weird.

 
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