Transfer CDG Song Tracks to a Hard Drive

It is common practice for the karaoke files to be stored on an external USB hard drive. This saves space on the laptop's internal hard drive and makes for easy and fast replacement with a backup drive in an emergency. Modern external hard drives are very small and powered from the USB port which eliminates the need for a separate power supply. Of course you are free to rip the songs to a folder on the laptop's hard drive if you prefer.

Additionally, many modern karaoke machines will play karaoke songs from a USB thumb drive and/or SD card. The procedure described here can be used for this purpose as well.

To rip the song tracks from your CD+G discs you will need the Power CD+G Burner software. There is a demo version of this program but it has the limitations of allowing only 5 tracks per disc and only the first minute of each track will be ripped. If you purchase the program you will immediately receive an unlock code that will remove all limitations from the demo version. I always recommend this program for two reasons. Firstly, it is unsurpassed in the percentage of successful rips and quality of the ripped files. Secondly, for virtually the same price as other ripping programs it has the added features of being able to burn CD+G discs and convert between various karaoke file types. All in all it's just a great deal.

Below we will go through the steps of ripping songs from CDG discs to an external hard drive using Power CD+G Burner. With an internet connection an online FreeDB karaoke disc database will be used to automatically name the song files.

The Settings

When you run the program select the Rip Tab. Basic settings are illustrated below. Your external USB hard drive should already be connected to the laptop. The button used for selecting the folder on the external hard drive would be used to select a folder on the laptop's hard drive if that is what you prefer.

Rip settings.

Click on the Settings button near the bottom right of the program and you will be presented with this panel. Typical settings are shown below. When correct click OK to return to the main program.

FreeDB setting.

Load a CD+G disc into the disc drive and close the tray. Wait a few seconds and click on the Refresh button. If you are connected to the internet, and no firewall is blocking the program, the song names should appear in the pane. If there is more than one listing for that disc in the database you will get a popup with options to choose from. If you choose the wrong one you can click the Refresh button again to bring up the options.

A shortcoming of the FreeDB is that the listings are submitted by users and there is no standard naming convention in place. Some may be in "Artist / Song Title" format and others in "Song Title / Artist" format. Sometimes the artist will be in "Last Name, First Name" format and other times vice versa. The FreeDB system is worth using but you must configure on a disc by disc basis.

There is no way around it, this is a time consuming process. It's also an opportunity to assure that all of your song files are named correctly and in the same format. This is very important to prevent a lot of future headaches when creating songbooks or importing songs in a hosting application. Take your time and do it right the first time.

Now is the time you must make the decision on exactly which naming convention you will go with. Once you decide this you should always stick with it from this point on. There are numerous configurations.

The first decision will be on how to arrange the artist name. Do you want FirstName LastName as in Kenny Rogers or do you want LastName, FirstName as in Rogers, Kenny? You may need to manually rename the artist depending on how the database automatically names them.

Next you need to decide which order to place the artist and song title in. Do you want Artist / Song Title or
Song Title / Artist? Again you may need to manually name them in that order depending on how the database automatically names them.

The next decision will be on whether or not you go with a Disc ID and Track Number. With hosting software installed, and a searchable database of all your songs by artist or title, having the Disc ID and Track Number doesn't hold the importance it once did. Song book software used to rely on a database of disc IDs in order to create custom song books. Now song book programs simply scan the song file names from the hard drive. Still, if you are a karaoke host who has your singers turn in a request form, you may prefer they have a song ID to write down rather than the full song title. Another reason to add the Disc ID would be if you have the same song on different disc brands and you want to list them all.

As you can see below I have a disc loaded and the song names are displayed. This is the way the online FreeDB automatically named them. Notice that they are in a Artist / Song Title format. This is what I want except that I prefer the artist to be LastName, FirstName instead of FirstName LastName like they are now. So now I must manually rename each song that has an artist with a first name and last name. To do this I click on the song name to highlight it and click on the Names.. button and select Edit name (actually double clicking on a the name does the same thing).

Load Disc

As you can see below, I now have all the songs named the way I want. Having the Output file mask set to {Song} will produce a song file name like McBride, Martina - Where Would You Be. Unless you want to add the Disc ID this is good enough.

File name mask

Now lets say that you do want to add the Disc ID and Track Number to each song. By clicking on the Edit disc ID button a panel will appear that contains the Disc ID assigned by the FreeDB database which you can see below is SD095. If this does not match the ID on the physical disc, or you simply want to change it, you can replace this ID with whatever you like. Notice that the Output file mask has been changed to {Album}-{TrackNumber} - {Song}.

This will produce a song file name like SD095-01 - McBride, Martina - Where Would You Be

The Year: field does absolutely nothing and I don't even know why it's there.

Set Disc ID

Once you have everything set the way you want it you will click on the Rip button. It should take between 15 and 30 seconds per song depending on the reading speed. When finished with the first disc you should browse to the file folder with Windows Explorer to make sure they are named properly. The songs should also all have a .zip extension. If the songs are not named properly you may need to tweak the Output file mask setting.

Article by Richard Wise. Follow me on Google+

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