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Avrin

Ripping CDs directly to ATRAC3 105 and 66kbps in SonicStage 4.X

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At last my HEX-code staring has led to some practical results. Turns out SS40 does support directly ripping CDs into ATRAC3 @ 105 and 66 kpbs. It does not provide any controls to select these modes, so you have to select them via the registry. Do not worry - these registry modifications are reversible, and will be reset as soon as you select any other bitrate in SS40. So, here goes:

1. Close SonicStage.

2a. For 105kbps High Recording Quality modify the registry in the following way (or use the 105_High.reg file from the attached archive):

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Corporation\SonicStage\CDRipper]
"Bitrate_00090010"=dword:00019a28
"FileType"=dword:00090010
"CDRecordMode"=dword:00000002[/code] 2b. For 105kbps Normal Recording Quality modify the registry in the following way (or use the 105_Normal.reg file from the attached archive):
[code]REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Corporation\SonicStage\CDRipper]
"Bitrate_00090010"=dword:00019a28
"FileType"=dword:00090010
"CDRecordMode"=dword:00000001
2c. For 66 kbps High Recording Quality modify the registry in the following way (or use the 66_High.reg file from the attached archive):
REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Corporation\SonicStage\CDRipper]
"Bitrate_00090010"=dword:000101d0
"FileType"=dword:00090010
"CDRecordMode"=dword:00000002[/code] 2d. For 66 kbps Normal Recording Quality modify the registry in the following way (or use the 66_Normal.reg file from the attached archive):
[code]REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Corporation\SonicStage\CDRipper]
"Bitrate_00090010"=dword:000101d0
"FileType"=dword:00090010
"CDRecordMode"=dword:00000001

3. Start SonicStage. Do not change any settings, but proceed directly to ripping CDs (you will see the selected bitrate in the CD-ripping window). These settings will be kept until you change them in SonicStage by pressing the "Briefcase".

Both these bitrates may then be transferred to a Hi-MD without any problems. The unit shows them as "ATRAC3 105k" and "ATRAC3 66k" respectively, and plays them just fine. BTW, ATRAC3 files don't have any "padding" bits when recorded in Hi-MD mode.

For NetMD these bitrates are, unfortunately, almost useless. If you attempt to tranfer them, the program adds copy copy protection, and the unit pads 105kbps up to 146kbps (same as 132kbps LP2 - that's why the unit then shows such tracks as "LP2 Stereo") and pads 66kbps up to 73 kbps. There is no actual re-encoding during the process. When recording to a NetMD unit from an external source, all tracks are also "padded" with additional bits, as usual.

Now for some analysis. Both these bitrates have a cut-off frequency of about 13.8 kHz. This means that ATRAC3@66kbps may sound better for some material than ATRAC3plus@64k with its 15.5 kHz cut-off frequency, since there is less information to encode, which leads to less artifacts.

Most probably these modifications will also work in SS34, although I haven't tested them with that version.

Enjoy!

UPDATE 17.05.2008: padding and re-encoding information corrected.

UPDATE 25.05.2009: recording quality selection added.

UPDATE 09.11.2009: post format restored.

10566.zip

Edited by Avrin

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No way to do anything similar in SB. AFAIK, all bitrates it is able to work with are hard-coded into the program.

I am actually getting tired with all these experiments. Why doesn't SONY allow us to use our devices the way they should be used, instead of the stupid marketing way?

EDIT: Have just read in the Manual for the flash NW-E002/003/005 series: "CD recording cannot be done using SonicStage software in ATRAC3 at 66/105 kpbs." This is outrageous!

Edited by Avrin

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32 kbps (even if you can get it) is not downloadable to anything. The routines are unofficially lost. Officially they never existed. I'm not going to test this in any way, but if you want, you may try the following values to try ripping CDs to 32kbps in SS30 (I DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY RESULT!!! THESE VALUES ARE OUT OF THIN AIR!!! WILL NEVER WORK IN SS40!!!):

"Bitrate_00090012"=dword:00007d00

"FileType"=dword:00090012

Edited by Avrin

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32 kbps (even if you can get it) is not downloadable to anything. The routines are unofficially lost. Officially they never existed. I'm not going to test this in any way, but if you want, you may try the following values to try ripping CDs to 32kbps in SS30 (I DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY RESULT!!! THESE VALUES ARE OUT OF THIN AIR!!! WILL NEVER WORK IN SS40!!!):

"Bitrate_00090012"=dword:00007d00

"FileType"=dword:00090012

I would try, but I don't think I can get an installer for SonicStage previous versions! :wacko:

and then would It be possable to get that to Hi-MD with another 'hack'?

I would If I could and thanks! :D

Just one more question...

How did you get your md player to give up the 32 infomation?

Edited by danielbb90

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You may try to find an older version on the CD that came with your player.

AFAIK, it will not be possible to transfer 32kbps to a Hi-MD without hacking the program itself (not the registry), and I am not sure it will work.

As I have already said elsewhere, my player revealed the 32kbps information under torture.

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It looks like you should be able to take over any of the other entries in that list and use them rather than only altering the 90010 category/rate/name.

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All the other possible entries are controllable via the SonicStage interface, so there is no reason to adjust them with registry modifications.

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Oh - I saw lots of entries with no assignment so was guessing they were available. I think I see what happens, they only get filled out the first time you select something.

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I tried using some unassigned entries, but most of them are not recognized by SonicStage (and result in errors when trying to rip). The only other registry modification that actually works, is as follows:

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Corporation\SonicStage\CDRipper]
"Bitrate_00090001"=dword:00158880
"FileType"=dword:00090001
"CDRecordMode"=dword:00000002[/code]

This one sets SonicStage to rip directly to OpenMG-wrapped PCM. The only difference from WAV is that these PCM files are directly transferred to Hi-MD units, without converting them from WAV to PCM first (Hi-MD units do not accept WAV - they need OMG-wrapped PCM). This may save some time when transferring lots of CDs to Hi-MD discs in PCM mode.

Edited by Avrin

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It looks like SonicStage was initially intended to support much more formats, but support for most of them has never been never implemented. Setting the FileType key to various values results in SonicStage actually showing the formats, but the corresponding bitrate keys are ignored, and ripping to these formats leads to errors. The following formats are shown:

90001: PCM - works when selected in the registry with the corresponding bitrate (1411 kbps)

90002: AACLC

90003: AAC

90004: AACSSR

90005: AACMP4

90006: AC3

90007: MPEG Audio Layer1,2

90008: MPEG Audio Layer3

90009: MPEG2 Audio Layer1,2

90010: ATRAC (actually, ATRAC3) - works from the interface, with 66 and 105 kbps only selectable in the registry

90011: ADPCM G.726

90012: ATRAC (actually, ATRAC3plus) - works from the interface

90013: WMA Lossless

90014: DSD

90016: ATRAC Advanced Lossless (with ATRAC3 lossy part) - works from the interface

90017: ATRAC Advanced Lossless (with ATRAC3plus lossy part) - works from the interface

90018: HE-AAC v1

90019: HE-AAC v2

Edited by Avrin

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I tried using some unassigned entries, but most of them are not recognized by SonicStage (and result in errors when trying to rip). The only other registry modification that actually works, is as follows:

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Corporation\SonicStage\CDRipper]
"Bitrate_00090001"=dword:00158880
"FileType"=dword:00090001
"CDRecordMode"=dword:00000002[/code]

This one sets SonicStage to rip directly to OpenMG-wrapped PCM. The only difference from WAV is that these PCM files are directly transferred to Hi-MD units, without converting them from WAV to PCM first (Hi-MD units do not accept WAV - they need OMG-wrapped PCM). This may save some time when transferring lots of CDs to Hi-MD discs in PCM mode.

Ah, but that should get around the quality "rabbit-hole" into which I fell. Using this I should be able to get and store 1411 kbps PCM, and then convert to whatever lower bitrate takes my fancy. Correct?

It looks like SonicStage was initially intended to support much more formats, but support for most of them has never been never implemented. Setting the FileType key to various values results in SonicStage actually showing the formats, but the corresponding bitrate keys are ignored, and ripping to these formats leads to errors. The following formats are shown:

90001: PCM - works when selected in the registry with the corresponding bitrate (1411 kbps)

90002: AACLC

90003: AAC

90004: AACSSR

90005: AACMP4

90006: AC3

90007: MPEG Audio Layer1,2

90008: MPEG Audio Layer3

90009: MPEG2 Audio Layer1,2

90010: ATRAC (actually, ATRAC3) - works from the interface, with 66 and 105 kbps only selectable in the registry

90011: ADPCM G.726

90012: ATRAC (actually, ATRAC3plus) - works from the interface

90013: WMA Lossless

90014: DSD

90016: ATRAC Advanced Lossless (with ATRAC3 lossy part) - works from the interface

90017: ATRAC Advanced Lossless (with ATRAC3plus lossy part) - works from the interface

90018: HE-AAC v1

90019: HE-AAC v2

Are any of them implemented in the latest Japanese (or, cough! EARLIER) versions of SonicStage?

The WMA one sounds interesting - you're saying that it would allow bit perfect copies in My Library, effectively. So that would be even better than "High Quality" setting in conjunction with PCM???

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Ah, but that should get around the quality "rabbit-hole" into which I fell. Using this I should be able to get and store 1411 kbps PCM, and then convert to whatever lower bitrate takes my fancy. Correct?

I don't think that the original lossless format (WAV or PCM) makes any difference, as long as it is ripped correctly (this may depend on the CD drive and the disc itself). And remember that you only have the Recording Quality selector when ripping from CDs. All conversions of files already stored on the HDD drive are made in Normal quality only.

Are any of them implemented in the latest Japanese (or, cough! EARLIER) versions of SonicStage?

Some of them (MP3, AAC) are even implemented in earlier English versions of SonicStage (MP3 in version 3.0, etc.), although in a different way and with different codes. But there is no way to use the 900XX (or the 600XX) group for any of the other codecs.

The WMA one sounds interesting - you're saying that it would allow bit perfect copies in My Library, effectively. So that would be even better than "High Quality" setting in conjunction with PCM???

There is no way to enable WMA Lossless in SonicStage. But WAV, PCM, and ATRAC Advanced Lossless should produce bit-perfect copies (under good conditions).

Edited by Avrin

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There is no way to enable WMA Lossless in SonicStage. But WAV, PCM, and ATRAC Advanced Lossless should produce bit-perfect copies (under good conditions).

Yup, I had good luck with AAL as soon as I tried it, though until now I never understood why. Maybe it's time to try that route from CD->LP2, see y'all after another long stretch shuffling CD's :)

.....

Yes, it works just as expected. So AAL is probably a relatively reliable intermediate for storing in My Library and subsequent transfer to whatever bitrate you like. I guess I'll try your "high quality" modification for 1411kbps import too, just for completeness.

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It looks like SonicStage was initially intended to support much more formats, but support for most of them has never been never implemented. Setting the FileType key to various values results in SonicStage actually showing the formats, but the corresponding bitrate keys are ignored, and ripping to these formats leads to errors. The following formats are shown:

90001: PCM - works when selected in the registry with the corresponding bitrate (1411 kbps)

90002: AACLC

90003: AAC

90004: AACSSR

90005: AACMP4

90006: AC3

90007: MPEG Audio Layer1,2

90008: MPEG Audio Layer3

90009: MPEG2 Audio Layer1,2

90010: ATRAC (actually, ATRAC3) - works from the interface, with 66 and 105 kbps only selectable in the registry

90011: ADPCM G.726

90012: ATRAC (actually, ATRAC3plus) - works from the interface

90013: WMA Lossless

90014: DSD

90016: ATRAC Advanced Lossless (with ATRAC3 lossy part) - works from the interface

90017: ATRAC Advanced Lossless (with ATRAC3plus lossy part) - works from the interface

90018: HE-AAC v1

90019: HE-AAC v2

Is it possible that some or all of these do in fact work but only in the presence of some missing "plugin" (I don't necessarily mean that formal term which may have specific signficance) and/or registry setting to control it?

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I tried using some unassigned entries, but most of them are not recognized by SonicStage (and result in errors when trying to rip). The only other registry modification that actually works, is as follows:

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sony Corporation\SonicStage\CDRipper]
"Bitrate_00090001"=dword:00158880
"FileType"=dword:00090001
"CDRecordMode"=dword:00000002[/code]

This one sets SonicStage to rip directly to OpenMG-wrapped PCM. The only difference from WAV is that these PCM files are directly transferred to Hi-MD units, without converting them from WAV to PCM first (Hi-MD units do not accept WAV - they need OMG-wrapped PCM). This may save some time when transferring lots of CDs to Hi-MD discs in PCM mode.

Now I am stuck. I tried this. But the ripping seems to take place at the same speed (3 minutes for a disk instead of double that for AAL at High Quality). In addition, underneath the briefcase it says PCM 1411 kbps. Oh, when you select WAV it actually says WAV, so the mod at least appeared to be recognised by the GUI.

So now it's back to A-B comparisons with my ears to see if this actually works.

Noted: as soon as one clicks on the briefcase, all registry entries go back to what they were (default). I wonder if somewhere else in the registry is the list of default bitrates?

Later: As far as my ears can tell the PCM rip is identical in quality to the WAV rip.

The AAL rip beats it by a Scotch Mile.

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Is it possible that some or all of these do in fact work but only in the presence of some missing "plugin" (I don't necessarily mean that formal term which may have specific signficance) and/or registry setting to control it?

I don't know. But the fact that bitrate settings for the "unused" formats are not recognized by SonicStage (it always shows 64 kbps for them) speaks for itself.

Now I am stuck. I tried this. But the ripping seems to take place at the same speed (3 minutes for a disk instead of double that for AAL at High Quality).

Time taken for ripping to AAL includes time required for lossy+lossless encoding.

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So you are saying my observation is simply some weird artifact?

I agree, in a sense - it is an artifact of Sony not ripping my CD's properly in their highspeed mode to WAV.

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Try EAC, and then compare its results to those of SonicStage.

But don't forget that EAC needs to be properly configured to achieve the best possible results. Configuring it takes some time and a few quality CDs. After that EAC either produces bit-perfect results, or tells that it is not possible because of unrecoverable errors. And it is the only program that can actually make exact CD copies (hence the name). Again, you'll need to configure it for proper burning.

Edited by Avrin

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Will do.

However I can tell you, now I think back that I have seen this dramatic loss of quality on three completely different CD drives, all on relatively high-powered computers. I still think think that Sony is playing games with us, since the AAL and all the other compressed rips work so well.

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Further studies revealed that the fake SP download mode is actually hard-coded in the main SonicStage executable, Omgjbox.exe. Address 0x00178DB7 (in version 4.3.01) contains the value corresponding to ATRAC3 132 kbit/s. And it looks like only ATRAC3 can be put there, i.e., it is possible to hack the program and set 105 or 66 kbit/s for fake SP, but other options, like ATRAC3plus or PCM, do not work.

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The magnificent http://www.sonymatome.com/sonicstage/index.php?Tips site contains patches for SonicStage 3.4 and 4.0 that re-enable selecting ATRAC3 66 and 105 kbit/s directly from the SonicStage bitrate selection list. The patches work only with their respective SS versions. And I am too lazy to create a patch for the "Ultimate" version. But those of you who may want to try it, may use any suitable hex-editor (e.g., XVI32) to open the Omgjbox.exe file, find the "81 FF D0 01 01 00 74 C6 81 FF 28 9A 01 00 74 BE" hex-string and replace it with "90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90".

But I would still advise using the above REG files to select the bitrates, instead of hacking the program.

Edited by Avrin

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