Fare use of SoundTaxi

October 16, 2007

Books In my recent post, inaudible.com, I referred to the DRM on audiobook files from audible.com (or audible.co.uk) preventing them being burned as mp3s onto a “data” CD, as opposed to an uncompressed audio CD. This stops you squeezing a whole audiobook onto a single CD, or manageable number of CDs, for playback via a car stereo (assuming the in-car CD player supports mp3 playback).

There were, in the the past, a number of options for converting audiobook (.aa) files to mp3s, such as specific old versions of software from River Past, Goldwave, etc., but audible seem to have very much the same mentality as record companies, forcing the relevant software vendors to remove the conversion facility from current versions of their programs. I’m not certain whether the old executables, if you can find them, still work on current audiobook files.

I did find one program, SoundTaxi, that does work. It is not free, but reasonably priced. I downloaded the demo, which only converts the first 30sec of any file, but that did succesfully convert an audiobook so that I was able to burn the resulting mp3 to a CD-RW which played just fine in the car, for 30 seconds anyway. OK if you like your books very abridged.

I rather suspect that if I were to use SoundTaxi in anger for playback of audiobooks in the car I would be in contravention of audible’s terms of service or wider copyright legislation, even though I would only be making personal use of an audiobook I had acquired legally and paid for. It doesn’t arise in practice because I succeeded in salvaging an old iPod long believed dead, as mentioned in my previous post.

I mention SoundTaxi out of interest, having considered it, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the vendors forced to go the way of Goldwave et al and remove the audiobook conversion feature at some point.

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  1. yes, the disadvantage of NoteCable is the conversion time is too long, but it is easy to use, so does SoundTaxi. Actually, you can try a program called NoteBurner(http://www.noteburner.com) to convert audio books. This program uses virtual burning to burn virtual discs, but it split the whole audio books into several mp3s. That’s not good, but the conversion speed is really fast.

  2. NoteCable looks like a con to me. It does nothing more than you could do for free with something like the Audacity sound software. Recordings are in real time, so it would take 32hrs to capture an unencrypted version of say “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” (unabridged) by Susanna Clarke. Also, the sound is captured from the analog output and redigitised (that’s what they mean by “virtual”) so there will be some degradation in quality. Sorry, but SoundTaxi would beat this hands down.

  3. I always buy audio books from iTunes and it is protected, too! I don’t have iPod either, so I am forced to bypass the DRM. NoteCable I am using is quite similar to SoundTaxi, but it records the DRM audio in virtual way. Anyhow. DRM is really bad.

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