• Ripping Blu-ray The Easy Way

    Ripping high resolution Blu-ray audio just got easier thanks to Computer Application Studio. Its newest release of DVD Audio Extractor now supports Blu-ray audio. There are a few caveats to be aware of prior to embarking on a Blu-ray ripping weekend. This article details the software and hardware requirements and the simplest method of ripping Blu-ray audio to date. This method isn't free but I guarantee it's easy enough for even the most unseasoned computer audiophiles.










    Introduction

    Many Blu-ray discs contain Dolby multi-channel and Linear Pulse Code Modulation (LPCM) two channel audio mixes. Thus, concert Blu-ray discs can be a terrific source of uncompressed high resolution audio playable on a traditional Blu-ray player or a music server. Playback using a music server or computer is best accomplished by ripping the audio from the Blu-ray disc on to a hard drive. There are several ways to rip the audio from a Blu-ray disc. Some of these methods are free, some rip only to lossy audio formats, some are difficult to use, and some are very time consuming. The following tutorial details what I believe is the simplest method of ripping lossless Blu-ray audio that's ready for importing into a music collection without spending hours curating the audio files.


    Requirements

    Operating System: Windows7/Vista/XP (32-bit/64-bit)
    I use Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit running on the Boot Camp partition of my MacBook Pro to rip Blu-ray discs. Any computer capable of running Windows 7 should work just fine.
    * Note: Blu-ray ripping software for the OS X operating system does exist but I haven't been able to rip the audio to a lossless format with the OS X apps. Hopefully in the near future this will be possible.

    Application 1: Passkey for Blu-ray ($60)
    Passkey for Blu-ray is an application / driver that decrypts Blu-ray discs. This allows other applications to read the unprotected disc. DVDFab also offers a complete Blu-ray ripping solution, but it doesn't support ripping lossless audio at this time. i.e. even WAV files are not lossless when produced by the DVDfab solution. Thus, the need for better ripping software.

    Application 2: DVD Audio Extractor ($38.50)
    DVD Audio Extractor is an application to rip the audio from Blu-ray, DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, HDAD, and other discs. Because DVD Audio Extractor doesn't decrypt Blu-ray discs the aforementioned Passkey software is required. DVD Audio Extractor has a really nice user interface for ripping Blu-ray discs. It supports ripping to several formats and splitting up the Blu-ray music into individual tracks unlike most Blu-ray ripping software.

    Blu-ray disc drive: I use the Pioneer BDR-XD04 ($123.99)
    Any Blu-ray drive should work fine for this tutorial. I selected the Pioneer USB 2.0 External Slim Portable Blu-ray Disc Writer with BDXL Support Model BDR-XD04 because it's powered by a single USB port and is very compact. This drive also works on Mac OS X 10.8.1.




    The Blu-ray disc I am using for this tutorial is Leonard Cohen's Songs From The Road. I really enjoy the music, the sound quality (Mastered by Doug Sax and Robert Hadley), and the back cover of the Blu-ray clearly identified a PCM (uncompressed) Stereo (96khz/24bit) version of the audio. Most Blu-ray discs aren't this explicit but will usually say Stereo PCM if there's a stereo version on the disc. The quality and sample rates available are all over the board. Readers should post opinions and objective information in the Music Analysis forum when possible. Also The site Blu-ray.com has a plethora of information about Blu-ray discs. Here is a link to the Leonard Cohen disc on the site -> Leonard Cohen: Songs From The Road


    Back cover of Songs From The Road Blu-ray


    Step By Step


    Pre-ripping Step A. Install Passkey for Blu-ray and DVD Audio Extractor.

    Pre-ripping Step B. Insert a Blu-ray disc. Upon disc insertion Passkey for Blu-ray will display a little yellow popup window by the system tray (next to the Windows time in the lower right corner). This will let users know the decryption process is in progress and or complete. This usually takes ten seconds.

    Step 1. Once decryption is complete launch DVD Audio Extractor. The following window will appear with several Titles and Chapters. Most of the Titles in the left box are very short and couldn't contain the entire Blu-ray content. On this Blu-ray Title3 is the only Title long enough to contain twelve tracks at one hour and eleven minutes. Selecting the other Titles doesn't hurt and will give users an idea what's contained in those Titles such as transitional menus or Blu-ray extras. Once Title3 is selected in the upper left box, the available audio tracks are displayed in the lower left box. I only have a two channel audio system thus select the English LPCM (96kHz 2CH) version for extraction. A huge benefit of DVD Audio Extractor is the ability to enter metadata before ripping the Blu-ray Audio. Chances are slim to none the metadata will be in the database used by the application but entering in this data manually isn't the end of the world. On this specific Blu-ray I de-selected Chapter 13 from the right side box because I don't want to extract the 0:03 track. The short length is a dead giveaway that this isn't an audio track. Once the first screen looks like the image below click Next >













    Step 2. Select the preferred output format. I select FLAC for its metadata support and playback support on a wide variety of music servers. I set the Sample Rate at "Same as input", Channels at "Stereo", and Bits per sample at "24 bits". Most Blu-ray discs don't identify if the bit depth is 16 or 24 bits. Setting the Bits per sample to 24 bits will not hurt if the audio is only 16 bits. Play it safe by using the 24 bit setting or use a different set of geeky applications to identify the bit depth ( eac3to and HdBrStreamExtractor ). Once the parameters are set click Next >





    Click to enlarge ALAC, PCM, WAV.












    Step 3. Select the preferred Output location. I rip the files to my Desktop. Check the box to save each chapter into individual files. This eliminates the need to create a CUE sheet or split one large file into smaller files down the road. The Name format option doesn't allow much creativity but is good enough. The Name format box options include Artist, Album, Title, Chapter, and Index. This box must contain at least the Chapter or Index option or this error message will appear on the screen. I use the %INDEX% %CHAPTER% options to name the files with a track number and track name. The track number option works only if all tracks on the album are ripped because the option simply numbers the files in order of extraction. Once the parameters are set click Next >
















    Step 4. Slide the Thread priority option over one notch to "higher" to give DVD Audio Extractor a bit more processing priority over other items running on the computer. Select Start














    Step 5. Once the extraction is complete and as long as the option to "Pop up a notify window" is used, the following window will notify the user when the process is finished and will display a link to the extracted files.
















    Step 6. The files are now ready for import into one's music player of choice. DVD Audio Extractor doesn't allow embedding album art into the files. The simplest way to add this art is through a playback application such as JRiver Media Center or iTunes if ALAC was the selected output format.



    Wrap Up

    Ripping Blu-ray has never been easier although it has been cheaper. Paying for Passkey for Blu-ray and DVD Audio Extractor is well worth the expense because of the time these applications can save users. The learning curve is nearly nonexistent and the process of curating the files after extraction is very minimal. Once users have this simple Blu-ray ripping process mastered a new door to the world of high resolution concerts will open up and increase one's enjoyment of computer audio even more.











    Comments 129 Comments
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      Nice job! When I sent you that email about the updated DVDFAB I had no idea about the need for Passkey. Good catch!! Thanks
      Ted

      Edit: DVDFAB website shows a 20% coupon code till Sep 2 (for Passkey)
    1. Mercman's Avatar
      Mercman -
      Thanks Chris. Very easy!

      I just ordered the Patricia Barber Blu ray. Do we have a list of titles with 24/96 or greater?
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mercman View Post
      Thanks Chris. Very easy!

      I just ordered the Patricia Barber Blu ray. Do we have a list of titles with 24/96 or greater?
      Steve,
      Modern Cool is well done. The surround is ok, but the 24/192 stereo is much better than even the DSD rip (which was PCM-based anyway).
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mercman View Post
      Thanks Chris. Very easy!

      I just ordered the Patricia Barber Blu ray. Do we have a list of titles with 24/96 or greater?
      I wish I had a list. I've been using Blu-ray, Blu-ray Movies, Blu-ray Players, Blu-ray Reviews to browser concert discs and glean as much info as possible from the stats there.
    1. Mercman's Avatar
      Mercman -
      Thanks guys. As I discover good titles, I'll post something here. Maybe we can start a list of good Blu-ray titles besides the obvious ones like 2L.
    1. nckslvrmn's Avatar
      nckslvrmn -
      For anyone who is also obsessed with Blu-ray for movies (like myself) and wants to squeeze the highest quality out of the disc and into a file, I reccomend you check out MakeMKV MakeMKV - Make MKV from Blu-ray and DVD. This program is free (find the beta key in their forum) and it allows you to rip a movie from Blu-ray or DVD to a playable MKV file with no loss in quality. It also allows you to select which audio formats and subtitle tracks to include in the mkv file.

      Cheers
    1. bleedink's Avatar
      bleedink -
      Interesting. We were having a discussion on SurroundSound forums about this very topic. One thing Chris that is causing some debate on the forums is whether or not this software actually decodes the DTS HD MA tracks or just gives you the core DTS. A gentleman on the forum contacted the customer support unit of DVDAE and they indicated that their DTS decoder only works for the core DTS. They indicated that they hope to add support for DTS HD MA in a new version. I think it's an important thing to note as most of the Blu Ray discs that come out tend to be of the DTS varient, not usually dolby true hd. I don't really have a way to confirm this or not so was wondering if you might be able to confirm or deny this. Perhaps the gentleman was using the OS X version? You seem to indicate only the windows version will do any kind of lossless.

      To nckslvrmn- The only problem with MKV files is that they cannot contain lossless audio. AFAIK the main problem with MKV's is that you can't get anything other than dolby or dts cores. I wasn't aware this had changed.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by bleedink View Post
      Interesting. We were having a discussion on SurroundSound forums about this very topic. One thing Chris that is causing some debate on the forums is whether or not this software actually decodes the DTS HD MA tracks or just gives you the core DTS. A gentleman on the forum contacted the customer support unit of DVDAE and they indicated that their DTS decoder only works for the core DTS. They indicated that they hope to add support for DTS HD MA in a new version. I think it's an important thing to note as most of the Blu Ray discs that come out tend to be of the DTS varient, not usually dolby true hd. I don't really have a way to confirm this or not so was wondering if you might be able to confirm or deny this. Perhaps the gentleman was using the OS X version? You seem to indicate only the windows version will do any kind of lossless.

      To nckslvrmn- The only problem with MKV files is that they cannot contain lossless audio. AFAIK the main problem with MKV's is that you can't get anything other than dolby or dts cores. I wasn't aware this had changed.
      I'll check what I can right now and post a follow up.

      I was able to encode the audio part of the MKV file as FLAC when I tried MakeMKV. However extracting the FLAC from the MKV file is another story altogether.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mercman View Post
      Thanks guys. As I discover good titles, I'll post something here. Maybe we can start a list of good Blu-ray titles besides the obvious ones like 2L.
      Here's the plan.When you have info about a Blu-ray please post it in the Music Analysis Forum. The just apply the tag "blu-ray rip" without quotes.






      Searching by tags is easy -> blu-ray rip - Search Results - Computer Audiophile
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by bleedink View Post
      ...whether or not this software actually decodes the DTS HD MA tracks or just gives you the core DTS. ... I don't really have a way to confirm this or not so was wondering if you might be able to confirm or deny this.
      Hi bleedink - I ripped a DTS-HD track from Peter Gabriel's Secret World Live Blu-ray. Here is the information seen via JRiver Media Center. How can I tell if the DTS HD MA was decoded?


    1. RobbieC's Avatar
      RobbieC -
      Hmmm...16/48 seems a little suspect
    1. thrand1's Avatar
      thrand1 -
      Looks like that might be the core DTS. Core DTS runs at ~1.5Mbps bit rate I believe, and I think DTS HD MA is 24 bits bit depth
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by RobbieC View Post
      Hmmm...16/48 seems a little suspect
      The Blu-ray was remastered from the original 16mm film. Wish they would have used at least 24 bits.
    1. RobbieC's Avatar
      RobbieC -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      The Blu-ray was remastered from the original 16mm film. Wish they would have used at least 24 bits.
      Are we sure they didn't? The core stream may very well be 16/48 with the "residual" stream containing all the information needed to bump it up to 24/96 or even 24/192 since Blu-ray supports that high up to 6 channels. There's still hope Chris! (The hope supposes DTS-HD MA.)
    1. Russell_L's Avatar
      Russell_L -
      There is an option in MakeMKV to make a "decrypted full-disc backup" of a DVD or (presumably) Blu-ray. You can then use DVDAE to extract the audio track from the resulting files. (DVDAE won't work with MKV files.) More info here:

      MakeMKV FAQ » How to create decrypted full disc backup (M2TS) ?

      I'm going to try this out tonight in OSX--hopefully I'll be able to extract full lossless files using this method. (BTW, the OSX version of DVDAE works great with non-encrypted Blu-rays--at least with the one I tried (Chris Botti Live), where I was able to directly extract the 24/96 stereo file with no problem whatsoever on my MacBook Pro and Pioneer BD drive.)

      Russell
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Russell - Please let everyone know if this method works. Also how much disk space is needed to copy the whole Blu-ray first? How long does the process take?
    1. Russell_L's Avatar
      Russell_L -
      Well, it seems to have worked! Using MakeMKV on OSX (Mountain Lion 10.8.1) I made a backup from a Blu-ray disc, carefully following the directions on the FAQ page referenced in my post above. It took about 20 minutes. (The Blu-ray was of the Shostakovich 8th Symphony and other works with Andris Nelsons and the Concertgebouw Orchestra on the C Major label, a copy-protected disc that DVDAE couldn't extract from on its own.) MakeMKV placed 1 file (23GB) and 2 folders (25KB and 8MB) on my Desktop, where I had told it to place the files. The program also reported quite a few hash-check errors while encoding, but they didn't seem to be of any concern.

      I then opened DVDAE and initially had some difficulty with getting it to recognize the files--it wouldn't open any of the 3 files/folders that MakeMKV made. It was only after I simply told it to look in the Desktop (duh!) that it recognized all the chapters, just as if I had inserted a real disc. I selected the 48kHz PCM stereo track and DVDAE went to work, extracting the files in just under a half-hour. (I had also told it to output 24-bit files, even though the source files were likely 16-bit.) I verified the results with Audacity, which clearly showed output all the way up to 24kHz. The files sound great!

      This was my first time extracting audio from a copy-protected Blu-ray disc, and I'll need to try it again with a few more, but so far, so good!

      Russell
    1. bleedink's Avatar
      bleedink -
      Sorry Chris my thread thing wasn't set correctly. I am thinking you only have the core DTS. It sounds kinda small for that kind of thing--again that's where the debate comes in. Again, if the gentleman on the forum is to be believed, according to the DAE folks they only do the core. Same for MKV, unless something has changed in the last couple months, which is why folks aren't using it for music. You only get the DTS core. Not saying that can't sound great, but it isn't the same animal. There are a LOT of DTS varients that are not 1.5mbps. DTS96/24 f.e. DTS does have the ability to be 16 or 24 bit at either rate. I'm no expert though. But my experience tends to bear out the fact that only DTS is getting decoded.
      FYI I am using the trial. I don't think I have access to tech suport so I'd think someone with a registered copy would be able to find this out for sure from DAE.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Great to hear Russell!
    1. KDinsmore's Avatar
      KDinsmore -
      Chris,

      I see you are using an external Blu-ray. I'm out of the loop with these but looks to be a better solution than installing an internal BD so you could use it with other computers. Is that the rational or is it just because they look way cool.........