How to use CD-Digital Audio files with the Philips Video CD 2.0 Toolkit


The Philips Video CD 2.0 Toolkit supports CD Digital Audio (CD-DA) formats such as .wav, .aif, and .sf.  There are many ripping programs available that can read a CD and convert the individual music tracks to one of these formats.  Some utilities, like CDex, can rip and convert music tracks to MPEG audio using the MPEG-1 Layer 2 format. 


There are advantages to using MPEG audio files over CD-DA files:


Toolkit processes MPEG audio files according to White Book standards.  When you build your project, the MPEG audio files are treated as segments and are compiled into the first track.  This greatly simplifies burning your project to a CD.


The CD-DA formats, however, are processed according to Red Book standards.  Before you build your project, you must add each of these audio files to your track list.  During the build, CD-DA files are compiled into separate tracks.  These separate CD-DA tracks must follow all of your MPEG tracks.  As you’ll see, burning CD-DA tracks is a little more complicated than burning MPEG tracks.



Creating Red Book audio files


CD-DA files must be encoded in 16-bit stereo at 44.1KHz.  My CD ripping software did not produce .wav files compatible with Toolkit, but maybe yours will.  I did find an audio utility that can process sound files so Toolkit will accept them.  It’s a command line utility called SoX.   SoX (for Sound eXchange) and can be downloaded from here:


Fixing a non-compliant audio file with SoX is easy.  Install SoX on your system; then open a command window and type:


C:\path\to\sox C:\path\to\old.wav new.wav


SoX can also convert .wav to several other audio formats, including .aif and .sf, and visa versa.  It takes only a few seconds for SoX to fix (or convert) an entire song ripped from a CD.  Afterwards, you can add the CD-DA file as you would any other asset file in Toolkit.



Adding Red Book audio tracks to your project


After adding your CD-DA files as assets, you also need to add them to the track list for your project.  While you can choose to have VCD MPEG files automatically added to the track list, CD-DA files must be manually added


Add the CD-DA files to the track list by selecting Tools -> Assets to open the Asset window.  In the Asset window, select the “cdda” button to list all of your CD-DA assets.  Then select Tools -> Tracks to open the Tracks window.  Now drag and drop the CD-DA files from the Asset window to the Tracks windows.  Save your project file when you are done.



You should do this BEFORE you attempt to build your project.  I ran into a problem where Toolkit would crash if I did a second build after adding additional CD-DA files.  The fix for this is to delete all of the existing build files and rebuild the entire project from scratch.



Splitting the .cd image file when using Red Book audio files


When you are not using CD-DA audio files in your project, you can use the TOCSPLIT utility to split your image so Gear can burn your project to a CD.  Unfortunately, TOCSPLIT will not split out CD-DA audio tracks.  Splitting out an image file with CD-DA tracks requires you to use the SPLITTER utility.  The instructions for using the SPLITTER utility and the link to download it can be found here:



Creating and modifying a track list file for Red Book audio tracks


Unlike TOCSPLIT, the SPLITTER utility does not create a track list file for you.  However, the instructions do include a link to a 99-track track list file to be used with SPLITTER.  Download and save a copy on your system.  Make a second copy and edit it so the number of tracks matches the tracks created by SPLITTER.  For an image file with five tracks you would start with something like this:


C:\Build\Data_trk XA 2352S +P:150

C:\Build\Track_2 XA 2352S +P:150

C:\Build\Track_3 XA 2352S +P:150

C:\Build\Track_4 XA 2352S +P:150

C:\Build\Track_5 XA 2352S +P:150


This track list file is for five CD-ROM XA Mode 2 tracks using scrambled, 2352 byte sectors with a 2 second pregap.  (75 sectors = 1 second)


However, this won’t work because some of these tracks are CD-DA tracks.    For our example, let’s assume there are three (3) CD-DA tracks.


CD-DA tracks use 2352 byte UNscrambled sectors, and the pregap may not always be 2 seconds.  The .toc file will tell you which of those tracks are CD-DA tracks.  Also, you need to look in at “index 00” line for each Digital Audio track and see how many sectors make up the pregap.  CD-DA tracks will always follow MPEG tracks, so the last 3 tracks, Track_3, Track_4, and Track_5 will be CD-DA tracks.  Let’s also assume the .toc file reports that Track_3 has a 3-second pregap, and Track_4 and Track_5 have 2-second pregaps.


For this configuration your track list file should look like this:


C:\Build\Data_trk XA 2352S +P:150

C:\Build\Track_2 XA 2352S +P:150

C:\Build\Track_3 DA 2352 +P:225

C:\Build\Track_4 DA 2352 +P:150

C:\Build\Track_5 DA 2352 +P:150


For the CD-DA tracks, the “XA” has been changed to “DA”.  The sector size is still 2352, but without the “S”, meaning they are unscrambled, and Track_3 has a pregap of 225 sectors, which equals 3 seconds.


Now save this track list file as a text file to your build directory and use it with the writecd command in Gear to burn your project to a CD.