For a couple of years now, I have been awaiting a decent, standalone, freeware program that can extract DVD audio tracks and convert them to audio mp3’s. There are dozens and dozens of trialware and shareware applications, but absolutely no decent freeware programs that get this done in a satisfactory manner.
I only have a couple of music concert DVDs, but the live music from these shows are not available on CD, and nowhere else in digital format on the web either. I also have a couple of comedy shows that I wanted to rip from. So I did some significant research and testing, and came up with four simple tools that will get the job done for free. Here are the detailed instructions.
Download the following programs first:
* Please note that this is the only DVD ripper that would consistently extract the AC3 file. DVD Decrypter is supposed to have this ability as well, but I could not get it to work.
A. Smart Ripper
1. After you download and extract Smart Ripper to whichever folder you would like, insert the audio DVD of your choice and run the SmartRipper.exe in the extracted Smart Ripper Folder.
2. Once open, it will run through a verification process of the DVD.
3. Once that is complete, go to the ‘Stream Processing’ Tab of the application.
4. In the ‘Streams’ section, make sure ‘Enable Stream Processing’ is checked and uncheck all of the boxes below, and then ONLY re-check the proper AC3 file(or .WAV/2 Channel file). Also make sure that ‘Demux to extra file’ is selected on the right side.
Finally, make sure you have selected your designated location to store the AC3 file.
5. You then will see the progress of the ripping.
6. Once the process is complete, you will be prompted with a ‘Rip Complete’ dialog.
B. Belight and Besweet
1. After downloading each of the Belight and Besweet applications, make sure you extract both of their zip files into the same location. (Belight depends on the Besweet.exe file)
2. Open Belight.
3. Go to File>Open, and browse to your newly created AC3 File.
4. Adjust advanced however you like, or simply keep the default, and they should be sufficient.
5. Click ‘Start Processing’.
6. Once the process is complete, you should see a identical file to the original, but the difference will be a MP3 extension.
1. The final step of the process will be using the extremely popular Audacity application to separate the chapters/songs. This unfortunately will be the most tedious step of the process, but should not take that long.
2. After downloading and installing Audacity, open the application.
3. Go File>Open, and open the newly created MP3 file. The import process may take a while, due to the file size.
4. After the import is complete, the imported file will display an audio graph that has a large dip in between songs.
5. You will cut each of these sections into a new file, by highlighting, then selecting EDIT>CUT.
6. You will then select File>New, and paste each of these sections into a new file. These files will be your songs.
7. That’s it, you now have your concert DVD added to your audio collection.
As you can see this process is as simple as some of the many DVD audio extraction programs out there, but the difference is that these don’t come along with the typical $30.00 price tag either. Plus, once you have the process down, it shouldn’t take you much longer then 30 minutes, as it did for me.
Since Smart Ripper is somewhat of an old application (no updates since 2005), some of the newer methods of encryption may block its capability, so you may have to resort to a newer AC3 extraction tool. (if you can find one).
I not only did this article to get the instructions out on how to do this, but to see if there were any other suggestions for conversion. If you know of any standalone, freeware applications that can do this, please speak loudly.