MiniDisc Manger - CDJ Playlist Recorder ReadMe
April 28 2001
Version 1.01 (010428)
by William Hollingworth
email: will@airmail.net
http://web2.airmail.net/will

What is it?

The CDJ Playlist Recorder feature is a new extension to my MiniDisc Manager software that automates the recording and track naming of CDs and MP3s to MiniDisc when using an slink compatible Sony MiniDisc recorder.

MiniDisc Manager uses the Nirvis CDJ program to generate a playlist of CD and/or MP3 tracks. MiniDisc Manager will communicate with CDJ to load the current playlist which is then used to control recording on the MiniDisc and playing on CDJ. The track names from the playlist will automatically be written to the MiniDisc.

*

Why use it?

Normally recording MP3s and CD tracks to MiniDisc can be a pain. Even with CD-sync features, the tracks must still be manually named. Recording MP3s is even more difficult since it requires both the MP3 player and MiniDisc recorder to be started simultaneously.

MiniDisc Manager automates all of this, plus it allows advanced playlist generation with the ease of use of CDJ. Tracks on multiple CDs in a multi-CD player can be selected for recording.

Features:

How does it work?

It then controls the MiniDisc recorder and CD players using Sony Slink signals via the Nirvis Slink-e controller. As each track is recorded, it will be automatically named.

The audio signal is separate from the slink command signals, and will usually be a direct connection between either the CD player and the MiniDisc recorder, or the PC's Sound Card (in the case of playing MP3s) and the MiniDisc recorder.

For MP3s, CDJ's built in MP3 player is used. The sound can be either analog or digital from the PC. I'm using a HOONTECH Digital XG Sound Card with coaxial and optical I/O. This allows direct digital recording of MP3s to the MiniDisc recorder. Other cards like the SB Live! have digital option expansion cards.

What do I need to get going?

  1. Nirvis slink-e controller box and slink-e server software installed on a Windows based PC
  2. Sony slink compatible MiniDisc recorder such as the MDS-JB920/930
  3. Sony multi-CD "MegaChanger" CD player(s) for recording CDs
  4. Nirvis "CDJ" application
  5. Sound Card audio connection (analog or digital) for recording MP3s
  6. MiniDisc Manager software.

Basic Instructions

  1. Open MiniDisc Manager
  2. Open CDJ
  3. In CDJ add the required tracks to the playlist (see CDJ online help for instructions). Be sure to "expand" any full CDs into indivdual tracks.
  4. Load the first CD into the players slot by briefly playing the first item in the playlist
  5. Load a MiniDisc into the recorder
  6. In MiniDisc Manager, select "CDJ Playlist Recorder" from the "Playlist" menu
  7. In the CDJ Playlist Recorder dialog, press the "Get Playlist" to load the current CDJ playlist. The tracks will appear in the playlist list.
  8. Confirm the "Album name in track name" and "Artist name in track name" options are correct. When these are selected, the Album/Artist name will be appended to the Track name, separated by " / "
  9. Press the "Start" button to being the recoding process. The MiniDisc recorder will automatically enter record mode and the CDs or MP3s will be played.
  10. - To abandon recording, click the "Stop" button
    - When finished recording, to return the main window, click the "Done" button
    - If you edit the playlist in CDJ, you can update it again by clicking the "Get Playlist" button
    - Exiting the dialog box will cancel the recoding

 

Initial Software Configuration

  1. Turn off CDJ's library "auto-save" feature. When CDJ is auto-saving it stops other processing and will interfere with the recording process.
  2. In the CDJ Options dialog, on the "Players" tab, make sure "Poll status of idle players" is selected (very important!).
  3. Make sure that CDJ is configured to "Use Slink-e through SlinkX"
  4. Shut down any applications that may take up a lot of CPU time.

Initial Hardware Configuration

  1. Make the appropriate connections to route the audio signals from either the CD player or PC Sound Card to the MiniDisc recorder
  2. If possible, put the MiniDisc recorder and CD players on separate slink ports on the Slink-e controller box. This allows the slink commands to be sent simultaneously to both devices. If they share the same slinke ports then some commands may collide on the slink bus and cause operation problems. You can set the slink-e port used by MiniDisc Manager in the preferences dialog.

FAQs

1. Can I run CDJ and/or MiniDisc Manager on separate PCs over a network?
Yes. Slinke can use DCOM to communicate, however because the recoding signals are very time critical, running over a network may cause the track marks to appear late.

2. I don't have a Sound Card with digital output. Can I still use this?
Yes. Connect the analog line out from your Sound Card to the analog inputs on the MiniDisc recorder.

3. Can I record both MP3s and CDs on the same playlist?
Yes and No. If the audio signals are on separate inputs to the MiniDisc recorder, they would need to be manually switched as the different medias were played. It is not possible to switch the MiniDisc recorder inputs remotely. However it is possible to automatically select digital inputs automatically if you are using the new Nirvis DXS Digital Crosspoint Switch.

Known issues

1. When using a digital interface from the CD player directly to the MiniDisc recorder, the recorder *may* detect the track marks on the CD and automatically insert a track split while recording the MiniDisc. Since MiniDisc Manager automatically generates it's own track split operations whenever the track changes on the CD player, tracks may be "double split". This can be corrected after recording with the "combine" editing function.

This problem doesn't occur with MP3s, because the digital output from Sound Cards do not contain any track split information.

When checked, "Insert Track breaks automatically" will make a track break when the CD changes to the next track. If your CD player generates track breaks automatically on the MiniDisc recorder, try deselecting this option to avoid duplicate track breaks. In this case the CD player will be responsible for marking each track, and MiniDisc manager will just control the playlist and title each track.

2. If the first CD in the playlist isn't currently loaded in the play slot of the CD player, a blank track will be recorded while the CD is being loaded and cued. To avoid this, pre-cue the first CD in the player before recording.

This only happens with the first track in the playlist. If the playlist contains multiple CDs, the MiniDisc recording will be automatically paused while the CDs are loaded in the player.

3. When recording non-sequential tracks from a CD, a 2-3 second blank track may be recorded. This is due to CDJ reporting the incorrect track is being played.

Revision History

V1.01 - 01/04/28

V0.97 - 00/02/10

V0.96 - 99/12/10

Contact

For bug reports, success stories comments, questions, suggestions, job offers etc.: will@airmail.net

MiniDisc Manager is available at:
http://web2.airmail.net/will

Find out more about the Nirvis Slink-e controller at:
http://www.nirvis.com/

Legal

By using the MiniDisc Manager software, you agree to the following terms:

1. MiniDisc Manager software is available free of charge and must not be resold or included with other software packages without prior authorization from William Hollingworth.

2. This software must not be distributed or copied without prior authorization from William Hollingworth.

3. No warrantees are given or implied. If it works, great! If it doesn't I'll try to help, but I'm not responsible for any damage to your system or MiniDiscs.

4. Copyrights, brand names and trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

5. The MiniDisc Manager software is Copyright (C) 1999-2001 William Hollingworth.