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ClaptonBoots

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Guidelines & FAQ

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This document is maintained by members of the ClaptonBoots Yahoo Group[1].

Contents

Eric Clapton III 1994; Screenprint Edition of 150; Paper Size: 75cm x 55cm
Image Size: 66,5cm x 49cm; Printed on: Somerset TP/300gsm; 15 Artist's Proofs; 8 Publisher's Proofs
Culled from: http://www.ericclapton.ch/rarities.php




Introduction

Welcome to the ClaptonBoots FAQ. It will hopefully be of use to new members hoping to get started in the bootleg trading community, as well as those more experienced traders looking to get involved in the exciting world of sharing the wealth online.

The intention is to give new traders a helping hand, but without becoming an in-depth tutorial. Wherever possible, links are included to more detailed discussions.

Thanks to all the contributors.

What is a Bootleg/ROIO?

The term "bootleg" originates in the smuggling world, where smugglers would hide contraband inside the long boots that they wore, to escape detection by customs men. It gradually came to be used to describe any item with dubious origins, (implying some kind of criminal activity), eventually ending up as a convenient name for unauthorised recordings. These were sometimes pressed up onto vinyl or CD and issued by obscure record labels, without the consent of the artist or the record company. These would take the form of live concert recordings, demo versions of tracks, and sometimes even completely unreleased songs by popular artists (as in the case of the first important bootleg, Bob Dylan's "Great White Wonder"[2].)

For more information on the history of bootlegs, check out Clinton Heylin's excellent book "Bootleg!"[3] which charts the history of unauthorised recordings from the beginnings right up to the 21st century.

Bootlegging should not be confused with piracy. Piracy is the act of making (and selling or trading) illegal copies of officially available material. Material contained in bootlegs is not available to buy from the shops, and although in some cases the record labels have noticed the demand and issued some of this rare material, the vast majority of it will only ever be available through these "unofficial" lines.

Bootleg is a term, which has some quite negative connotations, so traders sometimes prefer the term "ROIO" (Recording of Independent Origin). Some also prefer to call them live shows.[4]

Bootleg Origins

Bootlegs, as explained above, contain any material from a particular artist, which has never been released by themselves or their record company. This can include:

Live performances, sound-checks and rehearsals

Studio Demos, different mixes, alternate takes

Completely unreleased, totally new tracks

As for where they come from, there are various sources for bootlegs. Most traders will have this information on their trade list so that you can make an informed guess on how any particular bootleg is going to sound.

Audience Recordings (AUD)

As the name suggests, these are recordings made at live concerts by a member of the audience, using a portable recording device and a microphone. Although the sound is not usually comparable to that of a soundboard or radio recording, audience recordings have certainly come a long way since the early cassette recordings. Nowadays, thanks to DAT recorders, Mini-Disc, Flash and even Pocket PCs, an audience recording can actually be an enjoyable listen. In fact, with some bands and some tapers, shows sound just as good as a soundboard!

Soundboard Recordings (SBD)

This term is often used to describe any recording which is made using professional equipment, but in fact should only properly be used to describe recordings which are made directly from the mixing desk[5] at a live concert, which is what the audience hears. This means that the recording quality is usually excellent, however soundboard recordings often have a lack of bass, as bass is naturally loud at the venue and so is often turned down on the mixing desk. The other problem with soundboard recordings is that they are mostly devoid of crowd noise and hence the atmosphere of being there. This can be a good thing at unruly venues, but sounds odd when an excellent performance ends with the audience seemingly asleep!

Radio Recordings (FM)

Self-explanatory, these are shows, which are broadcast on the radio and then recorded off the air by fans. The sound quality on these will depend on the quality of the broadcast and the equipment used to record it at home, but generally, it is very good. Unlike soundboard recordings, these have a proper mix with decent bass and the right level of crowd noise, but suffer from amplitude compression. They can also have unwelcome commentary, even over the music.

Pre-FM Recordings

The best of the best, these are recordings taken from the radio station's master LPs, CDs or DAT tapes which they used to broadcast the show. As they have not been transmitted over the air and recorded at home, the quality on these is usually the best, and they do not suffer from the compression, which can affect FM recordings.

Studio Recordings

Anything which is not from a live concert is hard to pin down to an exact source; however, demos, outtakes and unreleased songs are usually professionally recorded and then somehow leaked from the studio, either via promo or reference CDs, or in some cases by theft from the studio itself.

Assisted Listening Devices (ALD)

Some venues provide facilities for the hard of hearing. It is a soundboard, compressed and FM-broadcasted to specific places in the venue where people have ALDs. Some people can tap into those ALDs and add a recorder and produce a compressed Soundboard recording. The recording from the Ice Palace Arena, Tampa, Florida, of the 19th. May, 2001 is a very poor example of this source, being heavily distorted; are there any better examples?

WebCast

To be avoided at all costs; they invariably contain dropouts caused by heavy network traffic conditions and have severe bandwidth restrictions.[6]

Digital Video Broadcast (DVB)

This is a relatively new and growing source, which is lossy and shows a characteristic absence of frequencies above 16kHz. This is an acceptable source, if no lossless recording is available.[7]

Obtaining Live Shows

Bootlegs started out in the late 1960s as actual releases, pressed in factories onto vinyl and then sold (often for extortionate amounts of money) at record fairs, small record shops and other outlets. The practice of buying and selling bootlegs is still around today but has been made largely redundant by the Internet, the widespread availability of CD-R, and the vast trading communities, which have built up between fans. It should be pointed out that buying and selling bootlegs is legally no different to trading them, however when there is so much material available free if you look in the right places, there really is no need to be spending any money on this stuff.

[This comment mystifies me. In my experience the vast majority of the materials traded on this list, uploaded to torrent sites, etc, began as a commercial bootleg. Companies such as Mid Valley make the effort to source tapes, remaster them to increase their appeal, package them attractively and make them available to collectors. Without these companies acting as intermediaries very few of us would have access to these shows. These companies will only stay in business and continue to provide these shows only if they are able to make a profit through the sale of their product. If the community at large took the advice above and stopped buying bootlegs, we would kill the industry that we rely on as the source of our materials - taken to an extreme, the bootleg companies would be selling only one copy of each release, and obviously they can't survive on that. Does that make any sense? If too many people decide to take a free ride and wait for vines generously started by the people who shell out cash for bootlegs, we won't have a bootleg industry. Now naturally, not everyone has access to or can afford to buy everything. But people should really consider buying and then vining their "fair share" (whatever that is) and continuing to support this industry. Bootleggers need love too! - R.S. Millard, Oct 19 2006]]

Recommended Shows

A list of "must-have" shows is available here[8].

The ClaptonBoots Yahoo Group

The members of this Group[9] are amongst the most knowledgeable and helpful traders around, so if there's something specific you're after, try asking them. Bear in mind that a lot of traders are very busy people who also have a life outside EC's music so don't despair if you don't get an immediate response. It will help you if you have something to trade, but there are plenty of people out there who are willing to help newbies as well. Just remember to be nice and polite, and try to do the same for other newbies once you're up and running. Also please include a link to a list. Showing your list makes it easier to get a potential trade rather than just asking.

Trading Protocol

Since trading is the group's main purpose, it is appropriate to define a set of rules to promote flawless distribution.

Announcements
  • An offer is made with an initial announcement and after a suitable period, a response should be forthcoming.
  • If sufficient parties have responded and met the entry criteria, close the offer and announce the winners.
  • If the response is slow, place a second call after a few days and then a third and final call, then formally close the offer.
  • It is unreasonable to expect an offer to be re-opened, since the ripped files will have been deleted from the hard-disk.
Nomenclature
WO[#]: WEED OPEN
WC: WEED CLOSED
VO[#]: VINE OPEN
VW: VINE WAYPOINT (Update)
VC: VINE CLOSED
CO[#]: CHAIN OPEN
CW: CHAIN WAYPOINT (Update)
CC: CHAIN CLOSED
GO[#]: GIFT OPEN
GC: GIFT CLOSED
ISO: IN SEARCH OF
FYI: FOR YOUR INFORMATION
RFC: REQUEST FOR COMMENT
BTA: BIT TORRENT ALERT
SA: SYSTEM ANNOUNCEMENT
VA Various Artists

'#' option denotes subsequent Call numbers, '1' is implicit.

Rules

Language

  1. The "official" language of this group is International English.
  2. We are fortunate to have a substantial international membership in this group, so it is important that those with English as a first language write so that those with English as a second or even third language can easily understand. Remember, their English is a lot better than our Gujarati/Swedish/Danish/German/Japanese/ and the recently proscribed Albanian.
  3. Please write clearly, using proper grammar, capitalization and punctuation.
  4. Please DO NOT use text messaging short-hand.
  5. Swearing is okay, we are all grown up, (well almost); but you must *not* say "Jehovah". (I warned you!)

Eligibility

  1. No commercially released material, this includes "remastered", "alternate mix" versions and items out of print, (OOP).
  2. No audio rips from commercially released DVDs.

Taboo

  1. Never offer boots for sale.
  2. Never trade greater than one for one; i.e. only 1CD for 1CD.

Offerer

  1. Use a descriptive Subject title to the email offer; e.g. "WO: EC RAH 20060525 AUD 2xCD-A", or, "WO: EC RAH 20060525 AUD 1xCD-R FLAC". This is all that can be seen in the Message view of the Yahoo portal.
  2. Include the full Show Information, even when closing the offer. If this is a multi-show offer on DVD, include the complete information on the disk and if possible, publish a link to where it may be found.
  3. Never publish the winner's full details upon closing the offer; just sufficient to allow tracking. Don't put personal information on to a public site.
  4. If available, arrange for Artwork to accompany the disks, or publish a link to where it may be downloaded.
  5. If there is a short delay in posting the disks, inform the potential recipients of the actual post-date.
  6. If there is a longer delay in posting the disks, illness, holiday etc., inform the potential recipients of the situation.
  7. Never "convert" Weeds to a Vine; this is a mean-spirited way of reducing multiple copy offers to a single copy.

Recipient

  1. Respond directly to the offerer, NOT to the group.
  2. Give your mailing address and a solemn promise to meet the conditions of the offer.
  3. Give your full name, not initials; this is not a business, it's a hobby.
  4. Wait for the offerer to close before requesting another similar offer; be patient.
  5. Acknowledge receipt of disks within a sensible time-frame, state their condition and make a suitable expression of thanks.
  6. Re-offer within a week.
  7. When distributing CD-Audio disks, (a.k.a. "Redbook Audio"), always give them a careful listen before re-offering.
  8. If there is a problem with the disks, notify the group of your inability to continue and chase the problem back through the supply chain. Once the problem has been identified, simply re-source the material from the last known good link in the distribution chain.
  9. Never "fix" defective disks.

Mailing Lists

Groups are an ideal place to get started. Established traders will find plenty of people to exchange lists with, and newbies can get started thanks to processes known as "Weeding" and "Vining".

Download Sites

Bit Torrent

Sites such as (dimeadozen.org) host files known as BitTorrents, where you can download full audio and video concerts from a wide range of artists. Although this is technically possible using a dial-up modem, you really need broadband access to make this option viable. A small application, known as a Bit Torrent Client, is required to effect a download.

BitTorrent FAQs
Download Sites

These are great sites to download lossless shows and DVDs:

  • Dime-a-Dozen[14], (Membership capped at ~97,000; keep re-applying)
  • The Trader's Den[15]
  • Taper Friendly Music[16]
  • Dylantree[17] RIP

And a list of resources:

Clients
  • Windows
    • ABC (Yet Another BitTorrent Client)[19]
    • BitBuddy (Formerly known as BTvampire)[20]
    • BitTornado (TheShad0w's Experimental)[21]
    • The Original BitTorrent Client (By Bram Cohen)[22]
    • uTorrent[23]
  • Linux
    • ABC (Yet Another BitTorrent Client)[24]
    • BitTornado (TheShad0w's Experimental)[25]
    • The Original BitTorrent Client (By Bram Cohen)[26]
  • Macintosh
    • Bits on Wheels[27]
    • The Original BitTorrent Client (By Bram Cohen)[28]
    • Tomato Torrent[29]
  • All Platforms
    • A comprehensive list[32]

FTP - File Transfer Protocol

This method involves the source running an FTP server and for the recipient(s) to use an FTP client. Whilst the technology is very well established, it imposes a tremendous load on the server, that has to supply each and every byte to all recipients.[33]

Direct Connect

The following is an example from the Genesis traders group:

To connect to the lossless SHNGENSIS hub, where boots can be freely traded, in loss-less formats (APE, SHN, FLAC)

Download DC++:[34]

Now connect to the address: genesishub.myvnc.com:4111

Rules

These are the rules you have to follow to be allowed to stay. If this is a problem, please contact a hub operator immediately, or you risk getting kicked and banned from the hub.

  1. Share at least one complete Genesis or related show in FLAC or some other compressed loss-less format. Please share something from your collection. You are a beginner with nothing to share? No problem! Just let us know and you can start sharing later when you have something to share. Note that you need to share at least 1GB for the Hub to let you in. If you share a full show or two this should not be a problem.
  2. Do not share MP3 files. This hub is only for loss-less bootlegs. Also, never ever convert MP3 files into FLAC or any other loss-less format.
  3. No illegal material, warez, porn, games, etc. This includes videos and MP3 files of any officially released material (including b-sides).
  4. Do not share incomplete shows unless they are very hot at the moment. Shows MUST include an MD5 file, (SHN), or FLAC-fingerprints, for integrity purposes and file-set recognition.
  5. No WAV files, they waste bandwidth. Use FLAC or other lossless compressed formats.
  6. No arguing, be nice to people and they will be nice to you.

Have fun and feel free to ask the Moderators any questions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC%2B%2B

File Formats

Lossy Compression

MP3 - MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3

Encoding to MP3 reduces the sound quality of bootlegs and in some cases very noticeably. MP3 conversion should only be done for personal use (e.g. listening on an iPod), or as illustrative samples. It is an encoding that tries to remove as much of the content as it can in order to keep it small, yet retain the fundamental sound quality. The higher frequencies of the WAV file are removed in an MP3, because those frequencies take up the most space. Although not many can hear the very high frequencies, it still degrades the quality. Many people swear that they cannot hear the difference, but listen to a 96kb/s MP3 and compare it to the original CD; the difference should be noticeable. If something is MP3-encoded, then leave it as an MP3. Making an audio CD from these MP3 files, will not restore the sound quality of the tracks. What is worse, if this audio CD is traded with someone else and they are unaware that it was MP3-sourced, they might then trade it with several other people. Before too long, many will have this 'reduced quality' version of the bootleg and it will get increasingly harder to find the 'real' version.

Codec Listening Tests - Highest value is best

Some great examples include the Genesis Vienna '92 show where it was very hard to find a non-MP3 source because everyone spread the MP3 version around. As the aim for many traders is to find the ultimate in sound quality for each particular show, passing round reduced quality versions of the shows will not make you very many friends.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3

AAC - Advanced Audio Coding

This coding method is epitomised by its use in Apple's iPod[35]. It is a proprietary standard and hence requires a licence, from one or more companies. It claims to compress better than MP3, (LAME), for the same bitrate and tests seem to support this. Whilst a (near) lossless extension exists, MPEG-4 SLS, [36], it is preferable to use FLAC.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding

Codec Listening Tests

Highly subjective stuff, but someone's got to do it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codec_listening_test

http://www.rjamorim.com/test/128extension/results.html

Lossless Compression

As has been established, audio traders do not generally accept MP3. However, uncompressed, or "WAV" files are huge and not practical for transferring over the Internet. This is where "Lossless Compression" comes in. Lossless compresses the raw WAV file so no quality is lost. The files are stored as data rather than audio. With data, a damaged file will be flagged as corrupted when it is played or copied. The file size is still large in comparison to an MP3, but no data is lost. Most people will keep copies of shows in lossless to ensure that when they need to burn a copy, they have the "original" version. There is a problem because most of the shows do not have originals, so there are people who will find the lowest, cleanest generation source and convert it into a lossless form, for archival and distribution; this is the source to get. Do not convert any show to lossless that has problems such as digi-noise, pops, clicks, TAO, etc.

SHN - Shorten

This is the first of the lossless formats to be used. SHN utilises a checksum, to demonstrate the data's integrity, denoted MD5,. With every SHN set, there is at least one of these files. After receiving a show, check the MD5s to verify. Programmes that utilise this format are MKWACT and SHNAMP. This format has been superceeded by FLAC.

These can both be found at Etree:[37]

A SHN FAQ:[38]

Wikipedia Entry:[39]

FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec

This is a newer lossless format and has integral checksums so when you play the file in WinAmp or try to extract it, you will know whether or not, it is corrupted.

FLAC has selectable levels of compression, which trade compressed file-size against compression time. FLAC compression Level-6 is the default setting which is acceptable for most purposes. A typical WAV compressed at Level-6 attained a file-size of 27.245MBytes; with Level-8 compression, it gave 27.225Mbytes; a 20kByte saving!

Remember, the fingerprints relate to the original decompressed WAV file, NOT to the resultant FLAC. This means that the same file, compressed with different levels and hence file-sizes, will have the same fingerprint. There is a good argument to include a whole-file MD5 checksum of the file-set.

FLAC is the preferred audio compression method on most BitTorrent sites and must be used for new compressed distribution on ClaptonBoots. SHN-compressed file-sets that are in wide-circulation, should remain in their original state; examples are Bluesbreaking! and Cream's Grande Ballroom.

Information

  • FLAC compression.[40]

Codec

  • Useful tools and a FLAC FAQ.[41]

Frontends

  • Windows GUI front-end.[42]
  • MacFLAC, (untested, please report findings).[43]

PlugIns

APE - Monkey's Audio

This is another lossless format. The compression sizes are quite small in comparison to SHN but about the same as FLAC. The problem with APE is that it takes a long time to decode compared to SHN or FLAC. Whilst this compression format is mentioned for your awareness and from a sense of completeness, it must not be used for distribution via ClaptonBoots.

  • Monkey's Audio:[45]
  • Wikipedia Entry:[46]

Detecting Lossy Material

Occasionally shows will appear with a lossy ancestry; it is important to know how to detect the resultant signature. This can be gleaned from an examination of both the frequency and spectral responses. Increasingly shows recorded from Digital Satellite or Terrestrial channels will exhibit a similar lossy nature to MP3s. If these are the only recordings available, then they are valid items for trading, but the lineage must indicate the source.

A famous example of this is EC's Belfast, Ireland show, on the 24th. April, 2004. The BBC recorded this for transmission on Radio-2 and *all* copies exhibit a severe cut in frequencies above 15kHz. This effect is also on the pre-FM copy, suggesting a band-limited digital-link between the venue and the studio/transmitter. Mid Valley originally released "Black Beauty" culled from the transmission and subsequently "Black Beauty Complete", which contained the untransmitted encores.

  • Detecting MP3-Source & Mini-Disc Audio:[47]
  • Tau Analyzer v1.2 - CD Authenticity Detector:[48]
  • AuCDtect - DOS Console application for use with WAV-files:[49]

Media Players

There are many free media players, but the following two will enable nearly all audio and video material to be played.

WinAmp

Version 2.8 is still a favourite and has plug-ins for gapless playing of SHN, FLAC & APE compressed files.[50]

New plug-in for MP4/AAC, (m4a).[51]

Media Player Classic

This is a most versatile video player, which includes the K-Lite Codec pack.[52]

Media

Audio CDs

Audio CDs are disks that can be played in CD players. An audio compact disc consists of one or more stereo tracks stored using 16-bit PCM coding at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. It holds up to 80 minutes of music, which is more than 700MBytes of data.

Quality Guide

CD Suppliers

Many trading groups are in agreement that Taiyo-Yuden discs are the best quality CD-R and DVD-R blanks available. In addition to quality, another benefit is their relatively low cost when compared to more expensive "name brand" discs. Taiyo-Yuden discs are manufactured in Japan. Most Internet Media Sites carry them.

  • UK Sources:
  • US Sources:

For that special occasion:

    • Mitsui Branded Gold Spindle:[58]
    • HHB CDR74 Gold in Jewel Case:[59]

Burning Issues

Audio disks are burned in two ways, Track at Once (TAO) and Disk at Once (DAO). The difference between the two is that DAO is seamless, creating no gaps between the tracks and TAO adds up to 2 seconds of space between tracks. So, imagine hearing a medley with gaps between the different songs, bad news! When burning CDs, ensure it's DAO rather than TAO.

Now if you already have a show that is TAO you cannot make it DAO. Regardless of how much you remove the gap there is still a click or micro gap. This is what we call Forced DAO (F-DAO). In this case you need to try to find a new copy if you want a seamless copy. No programme can completely remove the gap because you will miss something that although is very small, changes the original. There have been shows such as the Genesis "Savoy 81" show that have been spread with micro-gaps and finding a seamless copy was very tough. Another reason for having a lossless copy is because you know that there aren't any gaps between tracks. Moral of this story, do not burn TAO and do not spread TAO or F-DAO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_CD

Burn Speed

Nero has an extremely useful utility called CDSpeed.exe, which can test the CD-Drive(s), ascertaining the best performance that can be obtained from the media, drive and computer combination. Pay attention to the CPU Usage parameter, this should be less than 30% for a reliable burn.

This is available from: http://www.cdspeed2000.com/go.php3?link=download.html

Download, extract the executable and run. A manual is also available at the site.

View after a Write-Test on an Audio CD in a 3GHz PC;
The green line shows the Transfer Rate and the yellow, the rotation speed in RPM x 1000.

Executing the basic tests of Nero CD Speed will give an accurate view of the performance of the drive in your system.

Here are some things to consider when testing:

  1. Use a disc with large capacity. Most drives only reach the maximum speed at the very end of the disc. To get accurate results the disc capacity should be 70 minutes or higher for CD's and 4 GB or higher for DVD's.
  2. Don't use damaged/dirty discs. A disc with scratches or fingerprints on the surface is much more difficult to read. In most cases the drive will slow down and you will not see the maximum performance of the drive.
  3. Don't run any CPU intensive tasks in the background. This will have a negative affect on the testresults.
  4. Make sure your configuration is set up properly. For atapi drives DMA must be enabled (if supported). For SCSI drives, the SCSI card must be configured correctly.


By sacrificing a blank disk, a write test may be performed. The accompanying screen-shot shews the result of just such a test.

Burning Tips
  1. Ensure DMA is enabled for your CD-Writer.
  2. Always check that the 2-second gaps are disabled.
  3. Burn at lowest speed for best compatibility with other drives.
  4. If the CD-Drive supports "Burn-Proof", (Buffer Under-run Protection), enable it.
  5. Resist running other applications whilst burning a disk.
  6. Beware of background applications that perform auto-updates; force an update, or defeat its operation.
  7. Use quality media.
DMA - Direct Memory Access

Enabling DMA will reduce CPU utilisation and allow maximum transfer rates to be achieved.[60]

In order to enable DMA under Win200/WinXP, go to:

Desktop -> My Computer -> Right Click -> Properties -> Hardware Tab -> Device Manager -> IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers -> Primary/Secondary IDE Channel -> Advanced Settings -> Transfer mode -> Select DMA if available

CAVEAT:

XP will turn off DMA after multiple time-outs or CRC Errors. This usually occurs when your computer resumes from sleep-mode more than six times.

SBE - Sector Boundary Errors

Audio CDs hold data in minimum block ("sector") sizes of 1/75th second (0.01333 seconds / 2352 bytes of data / 588 stereo samples). If you try to burn an audio file to an audio CD, and its length is not an exact number of sectors, the last sector will usually be padded with digital silence (zeros). This gap is referred to as a "sector boundary error" because it is an error caused by a large audio file having been split into individual tracks at places other than sector boundaries (1/75th second intervals).

As such, an SBE is a silence of less-than-but-not-equal-to 1/75th second found "between" audio tracks on a CD; "between", because technically it is at the end of the preceeding track and has nothing to do with the one that follows. In some cases, this flaw could be completely unnoticeable, as it could be only one sample, and could fit neatly into the current flow of samples. However, more likely it will leave an audible silence, or an audible click. The click is caused when the silence interrupts a "loud" part of the waveform, i.e. one that is not close to digital silence. The waveform makes a sudden jump from a loud value to silence, and then back up again to carry on when it left off.

Once you burn an audio CD with SBEs, the silences become part of the audio data - they won't disappear again if/when you extract back to your computer. An audio file extracted from a CD can never have an SBE because it's come from a CD and is as such sector-boundary-aligned.

It should be noted that "SBE" has falsely become something of a catch-all term for anything that has a short (non-two-second) silence between tracks. There's no such thing as a "large" SBE - it's by definition, less than 1/75th second in length.

If you wish to avoid creating files with SBEs, split using CDWave[61]. For assured reliability, don't actually split the files - just save the cuesheet and burn using software that can handle cuesheets (CDRWin, newer versions of Nero etc).

The FLAC Front-End has an "Align On Sector Boundaries" switch to align the encoding of multiple CD format WAVE files on sector boundaries.

Ripping

Simply copying and pasting the audio files from a CD will not ensure the song is the same as on the disk. The programme EAC, "Exact Audio Copy", is used to extract the audio tracks from the CD and ensures a verbatim copy of what is on the disk. This programme also checks for errors and creates a useful log of its operation. Always save the log file to disk and include this with the file-set, this is your proof that you have performed the task correctly and that the CD was in good condition. The presence of errors emphasises the need to take good care of the disks; little scratches can write-off an entire CD. It is a good reason to keep a lossless copy of a show. That way, an exact copy can be burnt from the "originals", rather than worry if the audio copy has errors.

EAC - Exact Audio Copy

The Red Book standard for audio CDs expects little error correction to be performed in the drive, consequently incorrect data can be read unknowingly. EAC is the best programme available for accurately ripping audio from CDs.

Exact Audio Copy:[62]

After downloading EAC, refer to The Coaster Factory:[63]

This page will help in setting up EAC before disk extraction.

Other useful on-line documents for EAC are here: Technical

Reference CDs for determining Read Offset:

  1. Eric Clapton - Eric Clapton Unplugged - 936245024-2
  2. Eric Clapton - Pilgrim - 936246577-2 01/98
  3. Eric Clapton - Timepieces - 8000142 04
File Naming

A good naming convention has been defined by etree. [64]

It is important to define file-sets such that the tracks will automatically sort in the correct order for burning. Certain characters are disallowed as they are handled differently across operating platforms, in many cases they are illegal file-naming characters. Spaces should be replaced by underscores or hyphens. Whilst it is 'nice' to see the song title in the file-name, it is a luxury that causes many problems, the resultant file-name can be too long and is then truncated when archiving to ISO-formatted disks.

The information text file is the place to find the track names; "07-Wonderful_Tonite", is YAWT and only fit for MP3-players!

Below is an example of what a flac set should look like, tracked for audio CDs.


ec2004-04-24.flac <--- Directory for the set

ec2004-04-24.txt <--- Show information file
ec2004-04-24d1eac.log <--- EAC rip log-file for disk-1
ec2004-04-24d2eac.log <--- EAC rip log-file for disk-2
ec2004-04-24ffp.txt <--- FlacFingerprint file for the wav portion of the .flac files
ec2004-04-24d1t01.flac \
ec2004-04-24d1t02.flac \ __ disk-1 .flac files
ec2004-04-24d1t03.flac /
ec2004-04-24d1t04.flac /
ec2004-04-24d2t01.flac \
ec2004-04-24d2t02.flac \ __ disk-2 .flac files
ec2004-04-24d2t03.flac /
ec2004-04-24d2t04.flac /
ec2004-04-24.md5 <--- optional md5 whole-file checksum file for your .flac files

NB: Place a '0', zero, before any single-digit track number (1 to 9). Without the '0', 10 would come before 2 during file sorting. This can mess up track orders when the decompressed files are burned to audio discs.

A well compiled file-set will be equally eligible for trade distribution or for torrenting.

MD5 Sum Generator

MD5summer is an application for Microsoft Windows 9x, NT, ME, 2000 and XP which generates and verifies md5 checksums. As discussed elsewhere, FLAC fingerprints relate to the uncompressed WAV-file. What is needed is a means of assuring the integrity of the whole file-set, this is especially important with a Video DVD file-set. The MD5 checksum utility provides this function and produces a text file with a long hexadecimal number checksum against the name for each file in the set.

Windows MD5 Sum generator, MD5ummer.[65]

NB:

[1] Filenames with excessive length will get truncated when burnt to DVD, causing subsequent MD5 errors due to the name mismatch.

[2] The file resulting from this utility gives three lines of comment at the beginning. These comment fields will throw-up "file not found" errors with other MD5 checkers, (mkw Audio Compression Tool[66]). It is wise to delete the first three lines and save the file.

Line-1: # MD5 checksums generated by MD5summer (http://www.md5summer.org)
Line-2: # Generated 08/10/2006 17:01:04
Line-3:


This is the content of "ec1983-07-10.flac16.md5".
2d58e8031155042b179feb2d83b2f1b4 *ec1983-07-10.txt
257a626069e60bd93f2112b0c7a51a0b *ec1983-07-10d1t01.flac
953fd79c74384799aab90e3d7101c5d9 *ec1983-07-10d1t02.flac
57d2f9807f03618afb9e526b1af8272f *ec1983-07-10d1t03.flac
6198e2adebc6c2431830b94a8599623f *ec1983-07-10d1t04.flac
463110fb8728b762669226be12aaf32a *ec1983-07-10d1t05.flac
111109712a8e7b9e80dcdb32c4dafdcd *ec1983-07-10d1t06.flac
07fe90806892aadd0fa890350b18e612 *ec1983-07-10d1t07.flac
e7a59e648da41384d139ca8e4a9e90fc *ec1983-07-10d1t08.flac
4b44ab675f17363b137aaaa889b4ba66 *ec1983-07-10d1t09.flac
27694350c752f2cc7d376f1e8fb793fb *ec1983-07-10d2t01.flac
d365e34e2d64bd6b15b4b2d75967cad2 *ec1983-07-10d2t02.flac
4dee52136b18fe3dd355c8f48fa7d2d5 *ec1983-07-10d2t03.flac
3b6a0320b9b269bd6c397b10aeef7350 *ec1983-07-10d2t04.flac
f62c80efdfe47df4af3d945afa977bbb *ec1983-07-10d2t05.flac
726162b2ad38b7bf1939c530b7a1591b *ec1983-07-10d2t06.flac
e50e5b0461183bbf11cfaeb68bb04c4a *ec1983-07-10d2t07.flac
bf9840ca74d46de6df5b5d8e515f1cf2 *ec1983-07-10ffp.txt


This is the content of an md5 file for a typical DVD.
bd18ef93b24ea037578cbe06da8813a6 *VIDEO_TS/VIDEO_TS.BUP
bd18ef93b24ea037578cbe06da8813a6 *VIDEO_TS/VIDEO_TS.IFO
001f62aafd5446b80a819e26c0c302e7 *VIDEO_TS/VIDEO_TS.VOB
79a7ab9e4aa2035b86eafda4a3656afe *VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_0.BUP
79a7ab9e4aa2035b86eafda4a3656afe *VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_0.IFO
10f68e4153c6f8f5418d7b95a137642d *VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_0.VOB
3baae552408f906896561b918ae78a62 *VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_1.VOB
7521358ab226ebdf1645decc03eb54d9 *VIDEO_TS/VTS_02_0.BUP
7521358ab226ebdf1645decc03eb54d9 *VIDEO_TS/VTS_02_0.IFO
001f62aafd5446b80a819e26c0c302e7 *VIDEO_TS/VTS_02_0.VOB
00085124461eb7ab2ac2dc240a11acb8 *VIDEO_TS/VTS_02_1.VOB
c702ebf9c84db713dba4dbc0e96867ae *JJC_RSteady_Later.txt
e624bdeb5742fc84edc679666e8ddc17 *RockSteady.jpg

Damaged Disks

Scratched disks can be restored with a metal polish such as UK brandnames: "Bluebell", "Brasso" or even "T-Cut".

  • The Scratch Doctor[67]

DVDs

A whole new bucket of Penguins.[68]

If you have problems copying a DVD:

  1. Try copying the contents of each disk in turn to temporary directories. You should always do this to copy DVDs; never copy on the fly.
  2. If each disk copies without errors, then the disks are okay and so is your DVD drive in read-mode. Goto [5]
  3. If you can't copy without error, try this exercise on another DVD drive, (or call a friend).
  4. If you still can't read the disk(s) contact the guy/chick that sent them to you and request replacements.
  5. Create a DVD from the hard-disk copies and use the "Verifiy after Burn" option.
  6. If this fails, use slower burn speeds or different media, run diagnostics or a simulated burn. Ensure that DMA is enabled.
  7. If you still can't fix it, burn CDs from the de-compressed files and save up for some new hardware.

Quality Guide

  • DigitalFAQ[69]
  • CDR-Zone[70]
  • How to tell if you have fake or real Taiyo Yuden[71]
  • Why +R is a preferred archival method[72]

DVD Suppliers

Taiyo Yuden DVD Sources

  • US:
  1. CDRDVDRMedia:[73]
  2. SuperMediaStore:[74]
  • UK:
  1. DVDShopOnline:[75]
  • Oz:
  1. SelectMedia:[76]
  • Canada:
  1. BlankMedia:[77]

TY Ident Codes

Taiyo Yuden DVD-R x16 media ident

The Taiyo Yuden DVD media type may be identified from the following codes:

TY DVD-R:
4x - GDxxxxxx
8x - GGxxxxxx
16x - GHxxxxxx


TY DVD+R:
4x - TSxxxxxx
8x - TGxxxxxx
16x - THxxxxxx

Look at the burnable side and locate the purple ring close to the center of the disc, in the burnable section. It will have text on it; this is an attempt to prevent faking, (fakers don't usually copy this technique, because it is supposed to be difficult and expensive).

Data Archiving

The advent of recordable DVDs allows the cheapest practicable archive medium for the average computer user. The media is significantly more robust than the CD, since it is composed of a sandwich with polycarbonate outer layers, unlike the CD's one. It is prone to delamination at the central hole and DVD jewel cases are redesigned to alleviate this problem; just don't wrench them out! Use +R media, *not* -R, due to its technical superiority.

Many shows can be archived on one disk and this is rapidly becoming the preferred method of distributing shows, especially the multi-disk box sets. Being a data disk, it benefits from the full file integrity-checking features that the operating system bestows. Furthermore, all relevant artwork and show information can be included.

Whilst not everyone has DVD-burning capability, most have DVD-readers. This allows shows to be distributed, whereby a recipient can burn the shows to CD and pass the original DVD to the next interested party. A significant saving in postal charges can be realised.

An Ode to Backups

Yesterday,
All those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
There's not half the files there used to be,
And there's a milestone hanging over me
The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong
What it was I could not say.
Now all my data's gone and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.

Yesterday,
Need for backup seemed so far away.
Seemed my data were all here to stay,
Now I believe in yesterday.

Anonymous

Video

A DVD video is a data disk with two sub-directories, (folders): VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS. The latter is required to meet the standard and for compatibility with older players, modern players and PC applications are unaffected by its absence. Other folders and/or files may reside at the root, (top-level) and this is an ideal way of sending artwork, pictures and an information text file on the same disk as the video content.

The "TS" stands for "Transport Stream" and the new High Definition video files reflect this with a ".ts" extension, rather than ".mpg".
DVD Root Directory example
VIDEO_TS contents example

As an example, here are two screen captures of a recent DVD. The Root view shows the contents of the DVD with additional Artwork and Info files. Note the use of the MD5 checksum, which rapidly allows verification of the disk's contents. The VIDEO_TS directory contains just the VOBs, IFO, (Information) and BUP, (Backup) files. The BUP files are copies of the respective IFOs and are used by the player if it experiences a problem reading the IFO itself.



Longevity

  • Keep out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep media in a temperature controlled/restricted environment, with low humidity
  • Don't get fingerprints on the optical surface, nor allow the surface to become scratched.
  • Never use stick-on labels - Ever!
  • Don't write on CDs, DVDs are okay with a felt-tip marker, but don't mark media that is supplied for trade.

Distribution

These are the traditional methods for distributing shows via the postal system.

Blanks & Postage (B&P)

This is an individual trade, whereby CD or DVD blanks are sent to a person with enough postage to burn the disks and return them to you; it's how most of us started. This method is only applicable to domestic trade; international trades must support a "postage" equivalence.

Instructions can be found at: [78]

Tree

This is a way to spread a show to a large audience, especially over large geographical distances and relies on trades or B&P. The tree "root" will B&P out to branches, which will then B&P it to its leaves. This spreads the show out to many people relatively quickly, but depends on the person above you to burn quickly and reliably. This method involves considerable organisation prior to sending the first copy(s), sorting the would-be recipients into geographical groups. Branches should be chosen from those of known high integrity.

Dylantree[79] was perhaps the greatest exponent of this method, yet has closed its doors due to the predominance of Bit Torrents.

Weed

A weed is the quickest way to get a show out to a group. One person will start the weed and send out multiple copies out to people who promise to send multiple copies to other people. The number of people with the show multiplies after each generation. There is a flaw in this technique, depending on how people copy/burn the disks, errors are introduced and then spread out to many others who may not notice it. Weeding will help a newbie start a collection, but it will not get them the certain shows that they want. This system does not require a B&P, or a trade from respondents.

Chain

This method sacrifices speed for integrity. A chain is a very slow method in which a show is distributed but the recipients do not trade for it. First somebody decides they have a show that they wish to chain. An announcement is made to a bulletin board or mailing list that he/she is chaining this show. The announcement will request certain information to be supplied in the responses, usually name, e-mail address, country and other information that the "chain-er" considers important. A deadline will be set when no further signups will be accepted. The responses to the announcement, if supplied correctly off-list, (this is important), will enable the chain head to arrange the chain in such a manner to minimize shipping distances, and therefore costs. The chain is then set.

The original disk(s) *must* be indelibly marked with the Artist /Venue /Date /Format and the phrase "CHAIN ORIGINAL", to remove any excuse for error. In a chain, the originator sends the original discs to the next person in the chain. He/she makes a copy for himself from the original discs and then passes the originals on to the next person in the chain. This carries on until the last person in the chain, who makes their copy and returns the originals to the originator of the chain. Everybody ends up happy, except those that missed the deadline. For them it is a case of waiting, checking the structure and arranging a private B&P, trade, etc. Chains should be resent within a week of receipt and preferably sooner.

Vine

This is a Chain without a structure, but faster. One master copy of a show (in either audio or loss-less) will be offered up and sent out to the first-comer. That person copies the show from the original copy and then sends the original copy on to the next person. Problems stem from ensuring that the original is re-sent and possible damage to the original from its accumulated air-miles. Vines should be resent within a week of receipt and preferably sooner.

The original disk(s) *must* be indelibly marked with the Artist/Venue/Date/Format and the phrase "VINE ORIGINAL", to remove any excuse for error. PLEASE NOTE: Discs should never be marked using "Sharpie" or similar style "permanent" markers as these can damage the media. TDK, Klone, and other manufacturers issue markers specifically designed for use on recordable media. At the end of the vine, (when no one else is prepared to pass it on), the original disk(s) may be offered to a non-burner.

Wine

This is the bastard offspring of a quick, alcohol-fueled, torrid affair between a "weed" and a "vine". It bears some superficial resemblance to its parents, but upon closer examination, no one can really decide what on earth it is!

Please note, in an amazing coincidence, when pronounced correctly, "Wine" also accurately describes the noises made by the intended recipients of the parent weed/vine when they realise that the entire operation has gone tits-up.

Show Information

Always include the full details of a show, including track-list and musicians, when making an offer. This avoids confusion and allows the recipient to copy and paste the information into his trade-list/database. Don't "quote" the text, the information soon gets swamped with chevrons, '>'.

For a video/DVD, you should show the TV standard, (PAL/NTSC/SECAM), the framerate, (25fps/29.97fps), the bitrate, (Mbps) and specify the encoding of the audio stream(s), (LPCM/AC3).

Lineage

Always state as much information about the source of the recording as you know, ask your supplier for details if none are provided. Show the number of copy generations; this will help you and others to recognise an upgrade.

Date

Please use the ISO_8601 yyyy-mm-dd (year-month-day) date format, to avoid the disastrous mix-up with the trans-pond date-stamping. Better still, take the time to spell out the month, so as to avoid any possibility of error.

Artwork

Please include available artwork on any FLAC/DVD release. For audio CDs, please email the artowrk to the recipients, or post a link, where it may be found. Artwork should be of 300dpi resolution, please don't reduce it.

Some excellent repositories are given in the External Links section.

Remastering

In general .... don't, it is presumptuous to think you can improve someone else's work.

If it is a show that you have personally recorded, you are entitled to present it in the best fashion. However, it should be performed on the whole show, as an entity, not the tracked version.

Audio Mastering and Remastering[80]

Noise Reduction

Heavy NR can ruin an otherwise listenable recording. It can introduce a metallic sound, or something variously described as "flanging", or "phasing".

An informative interview may be found here.[81]

The following discussion relates to Adobe Audition.

Most noise will come from the generations of re-taping; this can be reduced by selecting a quiet region which characterises the noise and using the "Effects|Noise Reduction|Noise Reduction" pull-down menu selection, tick the "Get Profile from Selection" to generate a noise profile and "Add" it using a relevant name. Then back-out to the "Edit|Select Entire Wave", re-select the "Effects|Noise Reduction|Noise Reduction" option and select the previously saved profile. Preview the operation and select the "Keep Only Noise", pull the "Noise Reduction Level" slider to the left until none of the required content can be heard and then a tad further. Select the "Remove Noise" tick-box and toggle the "Bypass" tick-box, to gauge the effectiveness of the cleansing. If the resultant sound is at all metallic, too much reduction has been performed. The "FFT-Size" value may be increased, but remember that larger values will take correspondingly longer for the processing to stabilise and hence the effect to be noticed.

An old AM recording with only 8kHz worth of frequency range can accumulate a lot of noise in the region from 8 to 22kHz. An FFT filter, with an abrupt cut-off at say 9kHz, will remove over half the noise in one fell swoop.

Level Adjustment/Balancing

[stub]

Equalisation

There is a very good interview on this topic at: [82]

Speed Adjustment

Speed correction is something that can be applied using modern tools like Adobe Audition. The amount of correction may be determined musically or scientifically. The latter relies on finding the supply frequency and/or its harmonics in an FFT examination of the entire performance. Old recordings can show amounts of hum caused by the local supply frequency; if the observed peak is not at the expected frequency, then a correction can be determined. Power supplies produce ripple at twice the supply frequency and this can also be identified and used. Of course, these components may have been introduced at a later stage in the recording's history, in which case a correction would be inappropriate.

Linear

This is relatively easy to perform.

Tapered

Each track will need to have its correction identified and applied.

De-Glitching

Don't, get hold of a pristine copy!

Good/Bad Traders

There are many traders' pages, which also list their own personal good and bad traders. Check them out when you are browsing trading lists. When you have any question about a trader feel free to ask on the Group; we are all glad to help out.

When you think a trader may have reneged, there are a few things to consider:

  1. Personal lives (trading isn't everything)
  2. Post office problems (foreign trades take time)
  3. Computer problems
  4. Incompetence

Now after you think this has taken enough time and if communication hasn't worked you should do an ISO, (In Search Of), post. It could look like this:

Subject: "ISO: Name of user"

Message: "I was in a trade with so and so for so many disks. I haven't heard from this person for so many days. Does anyone else have some experience with this trader."

This way you can get some other responses from people who traded with this person. Calling a trader "bad" is an absolute last resort.

External Links

General Interest

  • The "Eric Clapton" wiki[83]
  • The Official Eric Clapton Web Site[84]
  • The Swiss Eric Clapton Web Site [86]
  • Klaassen, Gerd. Slowhand Blues Guitar An Eric Clapton Site [87]
  • Chrome Oxide Music Collectors Pages [88]
  • Graeme Pattingales' Cream - "Those Were The Days" [89]
  • Graeme Pattingales' The Cream Digital Remasters [90]
  • Eric Clapton Bootography [91]
  • Slowhand Tourography [92]
  • Well... All Right ~ Blind Faith!!! Web Site [93]
  • Well... All Right ~ Blind Faith!!! eGroup [94]
  • The Essential Eric Clapton List[95]
  • The Archivist's Code[96]

Artwork

  • Geetarz Artwork & Reviews[97]
  • Space Coast EC Artwork:[98]
  • EasyTree Artwork[99]
  • Pink Robert Artwork[100]

Trading

  • CD-R Trading in the Modern Age[105]
  • Newbie Frequently Asked Questions[106]
  • An Introductory Guide To Bob Dylan CD-R Trading[108]

Recording Specialists

  • The Sound Professionals[111]

Technical

  • Sector Boundary Errors[114]
  • The Death of Dynamic Range[115]
  • Audio Mastering and Remastering[116]
  • Optical Storage Technology Association[117]
  • DVD Recording Information[118]
  • Why DVD +R is the preferred archival media technology[119]
  • Time To Check Your CDRs[120]
  • CD-Recordable FAQ - Media[121]
  • Exact Audio Copy
  1. Exact Audio Copy Guide[122]
  2. EAC Setup (Beware Pop-ups)[123]
  3. EAC Drive Options[124]

Articles requiring an update to reflect contemporary hardware:

  • How Long Will A CD-R Last?[125]
  • Transferring Digital Audio Using PC Soundcards[127]

Please feel free to edit or add to this page; it is yours.
Use the Discussion page to suggest ideas or offer new tracts of text.




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