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Digital Audio: Working with Audio CDs using Windows Media Player


General Information

These steps and tips are intended to help with the process involved when you want to prepare a sound clip, from a music CD, for use in a presentation. A quick, but important, reminder before getting started is in order. Be aware of any copyright laws and “fair use” guidelines that may pertain to what you are doing. If you are not sure, check with your instructor or a Library Media Specialist. You may also refer to the "Terms and Resources" link on the Digital Audio/Sound support site, for more copyright and fair use information.

There is no question that music can build mood – excitement, anticipation, danger, etc., communicate emotion – sadness, pride, joy, capture and hold the attention of your audience, reinforce interactivity with button sounds, make the audience feel like they’re somewhere else, and give projects that “professional” feel. However, music, especially background music, need not always be “embedded” into a presentation to make it effective. Playing music from a portable CD player (jam box) can provide several advantages. You also have the option of having PowerPoint or other authoring tool, just cue and play the CD track "live" during the presentation as well. (Make sure you test thoroughly using the hardware that will be used at the actual presentation though.) There are many factors that can help you determine which way to go. Some are: 1) file size and portability, 2) file size and load time, 3) overall length of presentation, number of clips, and how much sound (total length), 4) location, equipment, network access at the final presentation spot, 5) did I mention file size and hardware performance consistency.

Getting a CD Music Track Recorded into your Computer

If you intend to edit the CD audio file with Audacity, you will need to "rip" the audio file from the CD to a file type that Audacity can work with. At the time of this writing, Audacity is not able to read ".CDA" audio files directly from an audio CD. CD Audio (.cda) tracks are audio files that are stored on CD media. The following steps explain how to use Windows Media Player 10 to "rip" .CDA tracks from the CD and save them to your computer in the MP3 format that Audacity is able to edit.

1. Insert a CD into the tray and open Windows Media Player image. It is located in the Multimedia folder on your desktop.

2. You will need to specify where Windows Media Player will rip (or save the MP3 file) the track to. Select Tools > Options and switch to the Rip Music tab. In the "Rip Music to this Location" box, change the path to where you would like the file ripped to, preferably a folder on your H: drive.

3. Select Rip from the toolbar. image

4. Check the box next to the track that you intend to rip. By default all of the tracks are selected to be ripped. Be sure to uncheck the tracks you do not intend to use. You are able to preview tracks by highlighting it (turns blue) and then clicking the Play button.5. When ready, click image from the toolbar. A typical "progress" window will appear and the selected tracks will be ripped from the CD and saved as an MP3 file to the location you chose.

Now that the file is in the MP3 format, you are able to use Audacity to work with the audio file.

Final Tip!

When assembling a PowerPoint presentation that has music clips like the one described above, you should save a copy (or your original) sound file in the same directory (folder) that you are saving your “.ppt” file to. If, for some reason, you need to move your “presentation” files to some other computer or disk or drive etc., it is critical that you move your sound clip(s) files along with the “.ppt” file. If you don’t do this, your presentation will not have sound where it once did! (It is possible to embed your media files completely into your .ppt file but it requires an extra step or two.)

This page last modified March 13, 2007

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