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Karaoke Tutorials

Transfer CDG Song Tracks to a Hard Drive

So you have decided to transfer the songs from your CDG discs to a hard drive for use with hosting software or other karaoke file player. You may have thought that you could rip them in the same way you would standard CD audio song tracks. It's not quite that easy but still not a very difficult process.

When viewing the contents of a CDG disc you will see files with a .cda extension just like a standard audio CD. Those are not really files but rather just links to CD sound tracks. Many times people have contacted me saying that they had copied the CDA files to their hard drive but they wouldn't play. Now you know why.

Virtually all hosting and other karaoke file players support the industry standard compressed karaoke file format MP3+G™. This format consists of two files per song which are most often zipped together to form a single file. Most players that play MP3+G™ also play them in this zipped format.

To "rip" the song tracks from CDG discs to the MP3+G™ format requires the proper software. There are several programs available for this task but they are not all created equal. From my own experience, and from a considerable amount of feedback from professional karaoke hosts, I highly recommend Power CD+G Burner. This is the program that will be used for demonstration in this tutorial.

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.

So now we will go through the steps of ripping songs from CDG discs to an external hard drive using Power CD+G Burner. A 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.

Power CD+G Burner Rip Tab

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

Power CD+G Burner Settings

Load a CDG disc in 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" format and others in "Song - 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.

The FreeDB is going to assign a Disc ID to each disc. This is usually the manufactures disc ID which varies greatly between companies. For example, the ID given to the disc in the image below is "SGB0030". Some will be much longer. For this reason I strongly suggest that you create your own Disc ID system. Actually it will no longer be a Disc ID but rather a song cataloging number. My system is to use 001 to 999 for disc number and 01 to 99 for track number.

Its up to you on what naming convention you use. The most common format, and the one I would recommend, is "Disc ID-Track No. - Artist (Last Name, First Name) - Song Title".

This produces a song file name like "098-01 - Bega, Lou - Mambo Number 5". This produced with the filename mask {Album}-{TrackNumber} - {Song} providing the song artist and titles are configured correctly in the track list. As you will notice in the track list below the artist and song titles are in the correct order but the artist names are improperly formatted (last name is not first). Some of the song tracks will need to be renamed. For example, "Lou Bega" will have to be renamed "Bega, Lou".

CDG Track List

Now you can see that the artist names have been fixed. Click the Edit disc ID button and you will be able to change it. This originally had SGB0030 as the ID and I changed it to 001. Don't worry about the Year field as it affects nothing.

Set Disc ID

Now all the settings should be like below. Click the Select All button (unless there songs on this disc you don't want). Now click the Rip button at the bottom left of the program and wait for the process to finish.

Rip CDG Disc

You should now use Windows Explorer to browse to the folder and view the song files you just created to make sure they were named correctly. You should load a couple of them in whatever program you will use to play them to make sure they play properly with good audio and graphic quality.

As you add more songs to a Disc ID you will need to manually rename the track numbers from Windows Explorer. For example, when you add the next disc to Disc ID 001 duplicate track numbers will be created. I know it's quite a bit of tedious work but you will end up with a well organized library of karaoke song files that will import effortlessly into any songbook of hosting software.

View Karaoke Zip Files in Windows Explorer

Article by Richard Wise. Follow me on Google+

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