Thursday, May 04, 2006

Digital music surprises

You'll remember that recently I ripped my entire CD collection to the hard disk. It's all done now though there are a few discs that didn't rip correctly; using the trial version of Easy CD-DA Extractor[^] I see many thousands of C2[^] errors.

Easy CDDA (for short) does a much better job of extracting the problematic CD's. A suffciently better job compared to Windows Media that I paid for the program.

Now, of course, I have to go through the entire collection again listening for glitches then search out the CD and rerip it. Oh the things I do for art! :-)

So as I sat down to tonights blogging session I opened up Windows Media Player (WMP) and went through the album view looking for the something to play that would exactly match tonights mood. Hmmm, I don't remember owning an album called 'Mysterium: Sacred Arias'. Of course, I still can't explain why my copy of Pink Floyd's 'Dark side of the moon' clearly has a publication date of 1994 on the disc yet I'm completely certain Sue gave me that CD for my birthday in 1987, along with my first ever CD player!

Ok, so I'll give it a play. Quite the surprise when the first track of 'Mysterium: Sacred Arias' turned out to be a 1930's British Dance Band song called 'Choo Choo' (the artist is Ambrose).

A little searching on Google revealed the secret and something I didn't know before. I'd always thought that each audio CD had some kind of unique identifier in the datastream, something that identified this as such and such a CD and no other. It turns out that it ain't so! Instead, the way and other CD databases[^] identify an audio CD is a combination of the total playing time for the CD, the number of tracks and the playing time of each track. Thus, you can have two completely different CD's that resolve to the same identifier if they match on playing time and track count.

Well that explains why WMP insists that I have two Christmas albums that I would not, on principle own! They happen to be CD's 3 and 4 of the Solti recording of Wagners Siegfried.

Another mysterium solved! And, as I write this I'm listening to this[^]. Deliberate choice, it seemed appropriate. And yes, it really does sound like late Scriabin. Good album and well worth the 50 bucks!

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