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ATRAC3/ATRAC3plus decoder for Windows Media Player

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Just found a couple of SONY-made files on my computer, and I have no idea where they came from (having been trying lotsa ATRAC applications lately). But they allow playing unprotected ATRAC3/ATRAC3plus files in Windows Media Player on a PC that has no SonicStage installed. I've packed them into a convenient installer for Windows XP/Vista, that puts them where needed and registers them with Windows.

Enjoy: http://depositfiles.com/files/8xi2in5qi

Edited by Avrin

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Posted · Report post

Just found a couple of SONY-made files on my computer, and I have no idea where they came from (having been trying lotsa ATRAC applications lately). But they allow playing unprotected ATRAC3/ATRAC3plus files in Windows Media Player on a PC that has no SonicStage installed. I've packed them into a convenient installer for Windows 2000/XP/Vista, that puts them where needed and registers them with Windows.

Enjoy: http://depositfiles.com/files/buuuu215y

Before I run this install, would you mind giving us a list of what's going to get installed where? Thanks. For the reasons you can see, I think I might feel it's a good idea to know what ends up getting installed.

Cheers

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Posted · Report post

Well: I ran it, and I am no further ahead. Some 1899 error from WMP. Tried removing and reinstalling both it and the atrac3.inf/acm separately and in combination. No dice, same error throughout. Makes me think something else is missing on that machine.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Sorry, been offline for a few days. Just tried the new decoder on a machine that never saw SonicStage (running Windows XP). Plays perfectly (and that on a Pentium MMX 266 MHz). So, I think the error you mention may be caused by the lack of some system components, e.g., DirectX 9.0c. Or by the actual incompatibility of the decoder with Windows 2000.

As for what actually gets installed. The installer contains two files: atxdec.ax and atxparser.ax. It puts them to the SYSTEM32 subfolder of your Windows installation, and registers them by running regsvr32 with the /s option (to avoid on-screen messages). To completely remove all traces of them, run the following two commands consequently from the command prompt:

regsvr32 /s /u %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\atxdec.ax %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\atxparser.ax
del %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\atxdec.ax %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\atxparser.ax[/code]

The first command silently unregisters the files with Windows, and the second one deletes them.

Edited by Avrin

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Posted · Report post

Sorry, been offline for a few days. Just tried the new decoder on a machine that never saw SonicStage (running Windows XP). Plays perfectly (and that on a Pentium MMX 266 MHz). So, I think the error you mention may be caused by the lack of some system components, e.g., DirectX 9.0c. Or by the actual incompatibility of the decoder with Windows 2000.

As for what actually gets installed. The installer contains two files: atxdec.ax and atxparser.ax. It puts them to the SYSTEM32 subfolder of your Windows installation, and registers them by running regsvr32 with the /s option (to avoid on-screen messages). To completely remove all traces of them, run the following two commands consequently from the command prompt:

regsvr32 /s /u %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\atxdec.ax %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\atxparser.ax
del %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\atxdec.ax %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\atxparser.ax[/code]

The first command silently unregisters the files with Windows, and the second one deletes them.

That's weird, I thought you were a W2K diehard :P

Anyway I have DirectX 9.0c as reported by DXDiag. so it's not that.

Thanks for the update.

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That's weird, I thought you were a W2K diehard :P

I used to be one. But switched to XP after buying a new laptop with Vista and downgrading it (there was no way to install Windows 2000 because of new hardware, but XP was fully supported). After that I also installed XP on two previous machines, just to have similar configurations. It looks like a more-or-less acceptable system after SP3 (and after disabling all that fancy stuff). On the other hand, updates for Windows 2000 during recent years have made this system much bigger and resource-intensive, so it is no longer as attractive as it used to be.

Anyway I have DirectX 9.0c as reported by DXDiag. so it's not that.

May be some other required component is missing. Or the decoder is not compatible with Windows 2000. I've removed Windows 2000 from the list of operating systems in the first message, just in case.

Edited by Avrin

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Finally determined the origin of the decoder files. They are installed during the installation of SONY Content Transfer - a program used for the new NWZ-W202 flash Walkman to determine characteristic track parts to be used for track preview in the ZAPPIN mode.

The funniest thing is that the program has nothing to do with ATRAC - it only works with MP3, AAC, and WMA.

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So unless I installed that it won't work?

Unusually for you, the last post is not 100% clear to me. I can get this to work on a "virgin machine" with/without installing this Sony Content Transfer thingummajig?

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The whole situation is not 100% clear even to myself:

  1. SONY included an ATRAC decoder with a program that is not designed for playing or transferring ATRAC at all.
  2. The decoder itself is designed for some vague purposes, but works with Windows Media Player (w/o gapless playback or tag support).
  3. It works even without installing the program, but not with all configurations.

You may try the program, although it only works with Windows XP/Vista: ftp://ftp.vaio-link.com/PUB/DNA/CONTENTTR...STALLER-V11.EXE and you need to connect a supported Walkman for the program to do anything.

Edited by Avrin

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Posted · Report post

The whole situation is not 100% clear even to myself:

  1. SONY included an ATRAC decoder with a program that is not designed for playing or transferring ATRAC at all.
  2. The decoder itself is designed for some vague purposes, but works with Windows Media Player (w/o gapless playback or tag support).
  3. It works even without installing the program, but not with all configurations.

You may try the program, although it only works with Windows XP/Vista: ftp://ftp.vaio-link.com/PUB/DNA/CONTENTTR...STALLER-V11.EXE and you need to connect a supported Walkman for the program to do anything.

Well, the ATRAC-decoder is supposed to convert your old ATRAC-songs to MP3 so you can put them on your new non ATRAC-compatible Network Walkman.

And, the decoder can only play those ATRAC-files which are not DRM-protected. There is really no way of playing DRM-protected content on a computer without SonicStage installed and without the proper DRM-rights.

Adrian

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Well, the ATRAC-decoder is supposed to convert your old ATRAC-songs to MP3 so you can put them on your new non ATRAC-compatible Network Walkman.

I suspected that. Does it actually allow dragging and dropping ATRAC files into the program screen and transferring them to the device as, say, MP3s? There's not a word about it in the help file. I'm almost thinking of buying a NWZ-W202 for the sake of experiments.

And, the decoder can only play those ATRAC-files which are not DRM-protected.

That was obvious from the beginning. I've mentioned that in my first message.

Edited by Avrin

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Posted · Report post

I suspected that. Does it actually allow dragging and dropping ATRAC files into the program screen and transferring them to the device as, say, MP3s? There's not a word about it in the help file. I'm almost thinking of buying a NWZ-W202 for the sake of experiments.

That was obvious from the beginning. I've mentioned that in my first message.

Then why not use free ATRAC-decoders ? ffmpeg includes decoders for ATRAC3 and patches for ATRAC-SP are already in. Soon I will be able to use my MiniDisc without any software from Sony :).

Adrian

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Most people here are also interested in ATRAC3plus. And the decoder supplied with Content Transfer (which is also free) works with this format. To use the ATRAC3plus decoder, you can either install Content Transfer and then remove it (if you have no use for it), or simply use my installer from the first message.

And what exactly are patches for ATRAC SP? The format cannot exist on a PC (it is not uploadable, and there is no codec to create it).

Edited by Avrin

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Most people here are also interested in ATRAC3plus. And the decoder supplied with Content Transfer (which is also free) works with this format. To use the ATRAC3plus decoder, you can either install Content Transfer and then remove it (if you have no use for it), or simply use my installer from the first message.

Ok, Atrac3Plus is not yet supported but will certainly follow in future.

And what exactly are patches for ATRAC SP? The format cannot exist on a PC (it is not uploadable, and there is no codec to create it).

Well, you can upload ATRAC-SP with an MZ-RH1 from old MD-recordings, can't you ?

Adrian

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Well, you can upload ATRAC-SP with an MZ-RH1 from old MD-recordings, can't you ?

No. ATRAC SP cannot be uploaded. Legacy recordings are decompressed and uploaded by the RH1 as PCM, and then converted to ATRAC3plus 256 kbit/s (by default) or left as PCM. There's no way to have ATRAC SP on a computer, because Dolby (the holder of most patents ATRAC is based on) never allowed SONY to create an ATRAC SP computer codec.

Edited by Avrin

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No. ATRAC SP cannot be uploaded. Legacy recordings are decompressed and uploaded by the RH1 as PCM, and then converted to ATRAC3plus 256 kbit/s (by default) or left as PCM. There's no way to have ATRAC SP on a computer, because Dolby (the holder of most patents ATRAC is based on) never allowed SONY to create an ATRAC SP computer codec.

Can the upload of ATRAC SP in its original format ever be accomplished? Are you sure the answer is a no?

The reason I ask is that just as with so many things Sony (encryption, DRM, etc etc), is it possible that the SP codec *could* exist hidden somewhere under so many layers of needless meddling? You yourself found a way to play un-DRM'd Atrac3plus files through an application procedure which Sony never made public.

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The answer may be yes, but only theoretically. If someone delves deep into the heart of NetMD drivers and libraries, it may be possible to find a way to upload SP as data. And then some effort will be required to create a computer codec to play it directly.

What needs to be made clear is the exact format the RH1 uploads SP in. That is, where the actual decoding takes place. If the RH1 uploads SP already decoded to PCM, then we're most probably out of luck. If, on the other hand, it uploads SP as is, with the actual decoding on the PC, then some possibilities are out there.

An interesting area of study for a start will be to compare the original version of SonicStage 3.4 and the one supplied with the RH1 to see where SONY enabled NetMD uploading functionality.

Edited by Avrin

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Very interesting! I always though that, when transferring in SP compatibility mode to NetMD, files are converted to encrypted LP2, and then transferred to the unit in this format, where they are decoded and converted to SP by the unit itself. But your research seems to show that it is encrypted PCM that is actually transferred.

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The linux-minidisc group is now sure that the RH1 in fact uploads pure SP. It has been decoded too. However this capability is not (yet) built into any piece of software you and I can try.

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Has the group, by any chance, tried uploading SP from other NetMD-compatible units? I'm somehow starting to think that if pure SP is uploaded, the whole upload problem is just a software limitation.

Before that, I thought that SP is not uploadable "as is", but the RH1 has the circuitry to decode it to PCM before uploading, which makes it the only unit able to upload. But if pure SP is actually uploaded, then probably any NetMD unit can do it.

Edited by Avrin

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Currently we think that the units simply don't have firmware commands they can respond with to actually send bulk data. They can clearly send header info, but that's not enough. Seems likely the software limitation is in the firmware of the device.

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Currently we think that the units simply don't have firmware commands they can respond with to actually send bulk data. They can clearly send header info, but that's not enough. Seems likely the software limitation is in the firmware of the device.

So what you are saying is that different minidisc units, specifically RH1 vs all the rest, have different firmware limitations inside?

That would seem to me to go against Sony's principle of having backward compatability. My own theory is that *all* minidisc units that can connect to a computer should be able to upload data. I can recall reading one of Avrin's threads where the RH710 (which cannot record in Atrac3 natively) was able to be hacked to record in SP. Perhaps every possibility is therefore hidden within the hardware and you just have to find out how it can be manipulated by the software.

Edited by kino170878

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Don't think so. I think there are significant timing problems with upload from RH1 to PC, that might even have represented a practical difficulty to do with the USB connection, back when NetMD was specified. Avrin mentioned lots of releases to the firmware, that makes sense right?

Sure, Sony was paranoid and encrypted as much as possible later for HiMD, but they had no reason to include a command to transfer bulk data TO the PC. This was by design, and possibly by necessity.

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Posted · Report post

Updated the link in the first message with a newer version taken from Content Transfer 1.2.

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