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FAQ

I didn't had any time yet to answer all the questions yet, I'm just very busy recently, sorry. Please check back later.

How can I contribute to this project?

You can either contribute code (please look at the Tasks, there is alot to do), translations or artwork. We really appreciate any input. And be it suggestions, complaints or flaming =).

What type of MiniDisc devices are compatible with this software?

Generally, all MiniDisc devices with a USB connector (either NetMD or HiMD) are supported. Older models without USB do not allow any transfer of tracks to or from the MiniDisc besides using S/PDIF (TOSLINK or co-axial) or analog inputs/outputs.

When I import an atrac3+ (.oma extention) encoded track uploaded with QHiMDTransfer into SonicStage, the track cannot be converted to wav or transferred?

A track cannot be converted or transferred using SonicStage unless the track was also imported directly from a MD/HiMD device using SonicStage. SonicStage uses DRM on all atrac files and stores the DRM information (such as playback or transfer restrictions) in a procfile. Each track has a unique content ID that is used to identify the track. Prior to conversion/transfer, SonicStage checks the procfile for any usage restrictions. Also, if SonicStage cannot find the procfile, conversion/transfer is denied. SonicStage only makes an entry in a procfile when a track is imported directly from a MD/HiMD device using SonicStage. No entry is made when a track is imported from your hard drive, e.g. a track that was first uploaded from the minidisc using QHiMDTransfer, hence you will not be able to convert or transfer a track that has been uploaded using QHiMDTransfer. However, you will still be able to play such tracks using SonicStage as the tracks are not encrypted. A procfile is preserved even if the track is deleted from the music library in SonicStage. A previously imported track may therefore be imported again (e.g. a backup stored on your hard drive) without restrictions. Example: Import a track you have made from a MD/HiMD device using SonicStage. Delete the track from the music library in SonicStage. Upload the same track from the MD/HiMD device using QHiMDTransfer. Import the track uploaded with QHiMDTransfer into SonicStage. You will now be able to transfer/convert the track even if the track was uploaded using QHiMDTransfer because the track had already been imported from the MD/HiMD device by SonicStage in the past.

Fortunately, SonicStage is no longer required to convert unencrypted atrac3+ tracks. To convert .oma files to wav you can use MarCNet´s HiMD Renderer.

At the moment a functional and open atrac3+ decoder is not available, but work on a decoder has been initiated by the ffmpeg project. There are ffmpeg decoders for atrac1 and atrac3.

It is a good idea to back up the folder (C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sony Shared\OpenMG, assuming C: is your system drive) with DRM information (where the proc files are stored). The folder also contains the keys required to decrypt any encrypted tracks within SonicStage. From a post regarding proc files on the mailing list by Thomas Arp:

The exact place is: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sony Shared\OpenMG\procfile\xx (when C: is your system drive) There are a couple of subdirectories named by the last 2 digits of the contentID (xx in the path above). The name of the procfile is the contentID with .opf extension. If Sonicstage cannot find the file when importing atrac files an error message wil be stored in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sony Shared\OpenMG\omglog.txt. It will look like this (my system drive is F:): 2010/03/16 23:07:09 [F:\Programme\Sony\SonicStage\Omgjbox.exe] 00001608:00000ae8 OMGException(0x106): <42614> - F:\Programme\Gemeinsame Dateien\Sony Shared\OpenMG/procfile/3D/0203000002000121B40E00001836E9D78AD3673D.opf

Is there an ATRAC3plus decoder available for GNU/Linux or MacOSX?

No, but work on a decoder has been initiated by the ffmpeg project. This decoder is expected to be released in mid of 2011 and will certainly also part VideoLAN's VLC. There are already ffmpeg decoders for ATRAC1 (ATRAC-SP) and ATRAC3. Both types can also be played back in VideoLAN's VLC.

Why can't ffmpeg identify all of my ATRAC1 (ATRAC-SP) tracks that I have uploaded with the netmd python script?

$ ffmpeg -i 01.aea
FFmpeg version SVN-r22323, Copyright (c) 2000-2010 the FFmpeg developers
  built on Mar  8 2010 11:34:33 with gcc 4.4.1 [gcc-4_4-branch revision 150839]
  configuration: 
  libavutil     50.11. 0 / 50.11. 0
  libavcodec    52.57. 0 / 52.57. 0
  libavformat   52.55. 0 / 52.55. 0
  libavdevice   52. 2. 0 / 52. 2. 0
  libswscale     0.10. 0 /  0.10. 0
[NULL @ 0x117d3c0]Format detected only with low score of 24, misdetection possible!
[mp3 @ 0x1186700]Header missing
   Last message repeated 1707 times
[mp3 @ 0x117d3c0]MAX_READ_SIZE:5000000 reached
[mp3 @ 0x117d3c0]Estimating duration from bitrate, this may be inaccurate
Input #0, mp3, from '02 - IR 2.aea':
 Duration: N/A, start: 0.000000, bitrate: N/A
  Stream #0.0: Audio: mp3, 0 channels, s16
At least one output file must be specified

The ffmpeg developer is working on this problem - hopefully it will soon be fixed.

Why does development of the software take place at such a slow pace?

Since Sony won't give us any specifications how the USB protocol and encryption of the tracks on MiniDisc works, we have to find ourselves by means of reverse engineering. This is a very tedious job, especially since Sony has developed a highly sophisticated software for digital right management (DRM) called OpenMG. It's the heart of all Windows software that allows to communicate with your MiniDisc over USB and just everything going from and to the MiniDisc has to go through the OpenMG software layer. There are a very few parts like MP3 supportt which does not really need OpenMG and that's why we supported that first in our software. But anything beyond MP3 requires a complete understanding of the inner workings of OpenMG.

I tried formatting a HiMD in qhimdtransfer but that doesn't work, why?

This feature has not been implemented yet in libhimd. On Linux, you can use himdformat to format a HiMD. If installed qhimdtransfer, just run himdformat from a terminal. For other Linux systems, get the source from git (see compilingonlinux) and build the basictools. Formatting on MacOS and Windows is not yet supported by qhimdtransfer. You have to use SonicStage or HiMD MusicTransfer for Mac instead.

I tried renaming a track in qhimdtransfer but that doesn't work either, what's wrong?

Renaming tracks is a feature which has not been implemented yet, but we have it on the Tasks list.

I tried transfering a track to my HiMD walkman in qhimdtransfer but it won't work. Why?

This is still in development, like for many other features, please see the Tasks list.

Why can I transfer some tracks from my HiMD and some not?

Every track on a HiMD is encrypted. While MP3 tracks use a rather simple and obscure encryption (XORing the data with a constant key) which we have fully reverse-engineered, ATRAC3/3+ and PCM recordings are encrypted using 3DES. The mechanism on how the encryption key for 3DES is generated is yet to be understood. However, all recordings made with a MZ-RH1 Walkman use a constant key which we have obtained through reverse-engineering. Therefore, we can upload and decrypt tracks from the MZ-RH1 and know how to download ATRAC3/3+/PCM tracks to an MZ-RH1 (the latter is not implemented yet).

What is the difference between MP3 and LPCM/ATRAC3/3+ tracks?

Why are some of the pages in the wiki non-public? I thought all this stuff is free software.

Why is it so difficult to write a free transfer software for MiniDisc as a replacement for SonicStage?

What is essentially the difference between NetMD and HiMD devices, especially from the way my computer treats them?

Will it ever be possible to transfer tracks off NetMD device with this software?

To the current knowledge it is NOT possible to upload tracks from pure NetMD devices since the hardware simply does not have the capabilities. You can buy and use a Sony MZ-RH1 or MZ-M200 Walkman to upload tracks. However, tracks transfered with SonicStage in NetMD cannot be transferred back to your PC, while tracks transferred with Sony MD Simple Burner can be uploaded again. We assume, that SonicStage sets a certain protection bit for each which prevents the upload of these tracks while MD Simple Burner does not.

Does this software also support NetMD devices? My NetMD is not recognized by qhimdtransfer.

NetMD devices are supported by the Python scripts so far only. Please check this section for more.

I downloaded and installed both versions for MacOS but neither of them work for me, why?

Your version of MacOS is obviously older than the one we used to build qhimdtransfer for MacOS. You may try to compile the software yourself on your version of MacOS. Please see the appropriate section in this wiki: CompilingOnMac

Does this software also work on other operating systems other than Linux, Windows and MacOS?

Yes, the software generally works on all operating systems which provide the necessary libraries. *BSD and Haiku should work as well OS/2 (eComStation). We haven't tested it on other operating than Linux, MacOS and Windows yet, however. If you need assistance installing the software on other operating systems, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is the NetMDPython stuff for and what is Python at all?

I have loads of old standard MDs with recordings I want transfer to my PC, what's the best way to do that?

The most convenient method is to use Sony's MZ-RH1 or MZ-M200 Walkman. These devices allow direct upload over USB to your computer. Depending on your operating system/computer, you will either use the official software or our software for this job:

  • if you have Windows, please install and use SonicStage
  • if you have MacOS or Linux, please see this section
faq.txt · Last modified: 2010/12/05 23:43 by glaubitz