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3. April 2014

Convert Audible .aax/.aa audiobooks to mp3

Kategorie: Allgemein – Ronny Schmatzler 23:14

Recently amazon’s Audible audiobook store had a great deal – one could get Stephen Hawkings “A brief history of time” entirely for free when using the code “Hawking” in the store.

However, Audible uses a DRM mechanism. So in order to play the audiobook on the go, you would need an audio player that could play .aax or .aa files. My Android phone doesn’t (or at least I think it doesn’t, because I never tested it).

However, DRM is terrible, I want a free file and I am using Windows 8.1. So what to do?

At the moment it isn’t possible to convert .aax files with free software. But we can indeed convert .aa files.

In order to get an .aa file instead of a .aax file, you will have to choose “Format 4″ as the download format in your Audible library and download the audiobook again. You can find this file afterwars in “Documents/Audible” in your user directory.

Now I installed the Audible Media Player Filter (in order to get the installation to run successfully using Windows 8, I needed this DLL and this DLL copied into the same directory).

As the last step, I installed Goldwave, opened up the file with it and now I was able to convert it into any format I wanted. Tadaaa!

Note: If you don’t trust DLL files from untrusted websites you can also install the business software LicTrak Agent which includes these two files. Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft decided that they are not declared as system files anymore so you can’t get them from an official source if you use Windows 7 or 8. You can also install the game “Mob Enforcer” which is also shipping these two files.

1. April 2014

Stereo to 5.1 surround upmix in VIA HD Audio Deck

Kategorie: Allgemein – Ronny Schmatzler 19:05

Recently, my C-Media CM6206 soundcard from china died and so I was forced to use the integrated soundchip of my motherboard, a VT1705 from VIA.

What the C-Media software could easily handle was using a stereo source and upmix it to 6 channels so I had a really good ambience in my room. I also use to downmix some 5.1 sources from TV series and upmix them again using the C-Media software.

Why? Because some shows or movies just fill the two front speakers and have silence on all other channels most of the time, which sounds horrible without an additional subwoofer.

The VIA soundchip comes with a terrible software – HD Audio Deck. Not only is the german translation barely understandable (at least they included an option to switch to English), it is also filled with bugs.

Thankfully, they included an option that is able to upmix a stereo source to six channels, too – it is called “Speaker Fill”:

speakerfill

BUT: It doesn’t work right. It only works with LPCM sources – most of the video players out there use DirectSound or at least PCM, but not LPCM. I fiddled with VLC and Media Player Classic to give me a plain stereo signal, but the VIA software didn’t kick in to generate 6 channels out of that.

Then I finally found the solution: PotPlayer.

This is a really cool video player developed by the Koreans. Some guys were able to translate it to English, see the link above.

PotPlayer is able to send an LPCM signal to the audio driver, where the VIA software finally kicks in. The only thing I had to do was open up a video file, set the “Output Speakers” to stereo and the “Output Format” to LPCM. Now I can enjoy music with bass again.

speakerfillspeakerfill

I ordered a C-Media card again which makes this really easy. I can even set the volume levels for every single speaker without the program going crazy and they provide proper Windows 8.1 drivers. Thank you, C-Media!

Look at the VIA software: Every speaker is set to 3 (the highest value) but the sliders say otherwise? Who designed this broken thing?

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