DVD-Audio Explorer 2008

DVD-Audio Explorer 2008 is a useful program to rip tracks from, explore, and do all sorts of things with a DVD-Audio disc. You can set it up with other command-line tools to extract the tracks to any audio format you like. This manul has all the information you need, for both basic and advanced users.


First, you need to point to an AUDIO_TS folder. This may be on a disc you've loaded in your DVD drive, a mounted disc image, or just and AUDIO_TS folder on storage. Click any of the IFO files, it doesn't matter which one you select. DVDAExplorer will then show you the tracks on the left, and on the right you will see useful information for each track, including bit-depth, sample-rate, channel assignment, track size and other detailed information useful for the advanced user. You can also see if the tracks are in MLP format or uncompressed PCM, by the yellow icons in the left pane or the information on in the right pane. The DVD-Audio format allows for some advanced features and playback options, and can be much more complex than a CD. While it may be clearly-laid out in the playback menu on the screen, the way the tracks are actually structured on the disc may be more complex. You will have to look for patterns and figure out which are the album tracks to extract. Sometimes at the end of title groups, there will be 1-second "dummy tracks" which contain silence. 30-second "preview" tracks are also common on some discs, such as in Elton John's Yellow Brick Road. These tracks may also be of a lower resolution than the album tracks. However, some discs will be very clearly laid out, just like a CD, with a simple group of multichannel tracks, and then the stereo tracks.

Full explanation of details shown in the right pane:

- Stream type: this will either be Packed PCM (PPCM), another name for MLP, or PCM, which is simply uncompressed PCM.
- Track: the track number in its Titleset.
- Time: the length of the track of the track in minutes and seconds.
- Time in PTS: the length of the track in terms of "presentation time stamp" frequencies (one 90000th/second). Used for the MPEG streams and contained in the ATS_XX_0.IFO files.
- Channel assignment id: DVD-Audio supports up to 21 possible channel assignments, depending on the number of channels, grouping and channel order. More information is contained in the SurCode MLP manual.
- Group 1 channel assignment: the channels contained in Group 1. For 6-channel, most commonly it is: Lf = Left front, Rf = Right front, Ls = Left surround, Rs = Right surround.
- Group 1 sample rate: self-explanatory.
- Group 1 bit resolution: self-explanatory.
- Group 2 channel assignment: the channels contained in Group 2. For 6-channel, most commonly it is: C = Center, LFE = Low Frequency Effects.
- Group 2 sample rate: self-explanatory. N.B. the DVD-A spec allows for a lesser sample rate in group 2.
- Group 2 bit resolution: self-explanatory.
- Variable bit rate: either Yes or No.
- Peak bit rate: the highest possible bit rate that the track has been assigned.
- Substreams: usually there is just one substream, but there may be two when track contains stereo downmix.
- Copy control info: CCI for short. Shows maximum digital output resolution and allowed number of digital copies set by the authors of the disc. See http://www.4centity.com/data/licensing/adopter/200312CPPM_Compliance_Rules_DVD_Audio2.pdf
- First block: The logical block address (LBA) at the beginning of the selected MLP/PCM track, as contained in the AOB file that it belongs to.
- Last block: The logical block address (LBA) at the end of the selected MLP/PCM track, as contained in the AOB file that it belongs to.
- Size on disc: total size of the track in bytes on the disc.
- Estimated stream size: The size that DVDAExplorer estimates that the extracted MLP/PCM track will be. Exact size not known until extracted.
- Original size: raw data size when track is uncompressed.
- PCM compression: the compression rate of the track, if it has been compressed with MLP.
- Disc space utilization: The space that the audio information occupies on the disc, for the track (the rest is mostly made up of MPEG2 program/packet stream headers).
- Major sync offset: only applies to MLP tracks. It’s the difference between first block position (contained in IFO file) and the place in the track where MLP decoder may start its job (major sync). Some gapless albums (like the famous Pink Floyd DSOTM bootleg) are encoded as one MLP file and then “indexed” for tracks. As a result, the start of some tracks don’t match with the beginning of DVD block, so there are some offsets.


So, once you've decided which tracks you want to rip, we come to the extraction process. As DVDAExplorer has developed, more extraction options have been added to give more choice, flexibility and power for the user. With the program you can rip directly from any DVD-A disc, encrypted or otherwise.

First, select your output directory by finding the folder you want and clicking "save".

Should be selected if you just want to rip the tracks as the MLP or raw PCM that they come in. MLP files can be played in Winamp with the MLP/TrueHD plugin.

Convert To Wave
Select this to make DVDAExplorer decode the MLP/raw PCM and extract as WAV. If you want to rip to FLACs, have this option selected first! All the options below further refine how you want your tracks ripped.

Merge groups
Tick this to extract to multichannel wav files.

Split groups
Tick this if you want your channels separated into mono wav files (useful for later putting into programs such as SurCode DTS or Wavewizard).

If neither Merge groups nor Split groups are ticked, you will get two wav files per track, which are the 2 channel groups (e.g. Group 1 Lf-Rf-Ls-Rs and Group 2 C-LFE as two separate wav files). You probably don't want that.

Get Stereo Downmix
This is an interesting option, and only applies to a select number of DVD-Audio titles. N.B It does not downmix multichannel tracks to stereo! It makes use of a special feature called "SMART" (System Managed Audio Resource Technique), which is a special way of storing a stereo substream in the multichannel stream. "Coefficients" are placed in the audio stream to determine what information goes into the matrixed stereo downmix. Some titles make use of this feature due to space constraints on the disc. For more info, see http://patches.sonic.com/pdf/white-papers/wp_dvd_audio.pdf, under the "SMART Content and Downmixing" heading. You can determine whether your disc has this feature by checking if there are two substreams, as shown in the right panel track info.

Recover from stream errors
This should only be ticked if you are getting any errors such as "MLP decoder failed during extraction". This currently happens with a very small number of titles, there seems to be a problem in decoding the MLP stream of a few tracks (using mlpdec.c, the open-source MLP decoder used in DVDAExplorer). This option will automatically skip the sector(s) causing problems, only resulting in a few miliseconds loss, not noticeable to any audiophile's ear, and this issue will be ironed out in future releases. It is unlikely you will come across this issue, so is best left unticked by default. If you come across this issue and have to use this option, it is advisable to tick "LOG MESSAGES", and check out how many errors were found.

Use old format
Tick this to extract to WAV with the "WAVE_FORMAT_PCM" header, which is more compatible with "old" programs such as SurCode MLP Encoder. Leave unticked to extract with the default option, "WAVE_FORMAT_EXTENSIBLE" header, which is preferable and reccomended by Microsoft for multi-channel and high-resolution WAV files. See http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/audio/multichaud.mspx

Run program
This powerful feature allows any external command-line program to be run on the extracted MLP/PCM/WAV tracks. Just put the program in the same folder as DVDAExplorer.exe, and enter the appropriate command line in "Run program" edit box.

Command line substitution:
%path% - file path without file name
%filepath% - file name with path
%filename% - file name without file path
%filebase% - file name without extensions
%ext% - file extension
%channels% - total number of channels in file
%samplerate% - sample rate for group 1
%bits% - bits in sample for group 1

Use 4C12bit utility to check presence of audio watermark. This software contains part of CyberLink PowerDVD v7, you should have licence to run.
For more detailed information about 4C 12 Bit watermark see http://www.4centity.com/data/tech/4cspec.pdf
command line: 4C12bit -i <wavfile> [-l <logfile>] [-t <seconds>]
<wavfile> - input file (wave format only)
<logfile> - redirect console output to this file
<seconds> - restart detector every s-th second (float format)

Useful command-line examples:

1. To encode files with flac: flac -f %filepath%
2. To encode files with ffmpeg: ffmpeg -i %filepath% -y %path%/%filebase%.flac
3. To check audio watermarks: 4C12bit -i %filepath% -l %path%/%filebase%.log

For flac, download at http://flac.sourceforge.net if you need to, and put "flac.exe" in the bin folder with DVDAExplorer.exe.

Wait threshold
This option you probably don't really to change around. It lets you specify how many MB of tracks are to be extracted and temporarily queued in the destination folder at any one time, while your external program goes through and proccesses them. With the default setting of 1000MB, DVDAExplorer will pause extraction if the difference between the queued tracks and fully-processed tracks reaches more than 1000MB. Then, as more tracks are processed by the exernal program, the difference becomes less than 1000MB, and DVDAExplorer will then continue extracting more tracks while the others are being processed. N.B. if you are encoding into e.g. FLAC, increasing this value will not make the process any faster, because the FLAC encoding speed will (in most situations) be slower than the WAV extraction speed of DVDAExplorer anyway. But, what this option is useful for, is if you happen to be really short of disk space. Provided that you have "DELETE FILES" option ticked, this option essentially means you can control the maximum space to be used up by the temporary queue. Set it to a lower value that you're comfortable with.

Delete files
This will have the temporary MLP/PCM/WAV tracks deleted after being converted or processed by your external program.

Ignore Stream Encryption
This is an option to tick if you ever happen to get any errors mentioning encrypted stream.

Log messages
This will create a log file, DVDAExplorer.log [and DVDAExplorerEnc.log – log file of external program] in the bin directory of where DVDAExplorer.exe is located. Some information including any errors will turn up in the log files, and some useful explanations are contained in the section below.

So, once you know the options you want ticked, click on the extract button at the bottom of the dialog box to start your ripping!




This is what you will see in the log when DVDAExplorer recovers from stream errors:

[16] Restart header sync incorrect (got 0x133a)
[32] ### Looking for major sync (length: 4400) ###
[32] ### Looking for major sync (length: 2013) ###
[16] ### Recovering from stream error (bytes skipped: 6372) ###


The External program's console output will be here. You can check out how the encoding went in this log file.