by Kev Beardsworth
I think I'm right in saying that the first thing people do when connecting a CD-ROM drive to their Atari is play an Audio CD, even if there's a perfectly good Hi Fi designed specifically for the purpose not three feet away.
With this in mind software to handle Audio CDs have become quite popular. This review covers one of the best, written by a programmer who has produced some outstanding apps, CAB and OCR are among his creations. Called simply CD-Player it's currently up to version 1.3f. The first thing to say about CD-Player is that it's Freeware but I'd encourage anybody using it regularly to make a donation to InterActive [Address at the bottom of the page - FFF]. By doing this we can be sure of continued development, not only for CD-Player but for the other great software Alexander Clauss produces.
Anyway enough of my waffling back to the review.
CD player plays CDs! No surprises there I'm sure, but it also carries out many extra operations that soon keep you away from your Hi Fi's player as it is not so useful.
It can carry out all the usual functions associated with a typical CD Player: skip track, shuffle, scan, pause and program. It has a time display that can be toggled through total time of disc or track and time remaining of disc or track. Nothing unusual so far, in fact a pretty standard player. Let's get to the extras as everybody knows what your average CD player can do.
Included in the play-mode functions you'll find a play block operation. This is great for playing sections of your favourite tracks over and over again. Using the mark block keys you select the section of the track you wish to listen to, or dare I say, record [tut, tut, tut - FFF]. When the player starts to play the section in question left click on the 'A' button, at the end of the section you're marking as a block left click on the 'B' button. CD-Player will then keep the block details in memory for you to manipulate as you see fit. The block, once selected can be played back as we've already mentioned or, more usefully, using a built in export track function recorded to your hard drive (Your CD-ROM has to support this function, most up to date CD-ROM drives do).
The export track function allows you to pick the file type used - DVS, AVR, WAVE, SND or AU - when the track is saved as well as selecting between Stereo/Mono, 16/8 bit or whether you want the saved file compressed or not and its frequency. The frequency can be picked from a pre-defined list or you can enter your own value. CD-Player will then calculate the file size from the track picked or the block marked so that you can see what hard disk space you require. It's a very simple procedure and is completely idiot proof. This will prove to be just a toy to some but musicians will find it very useful indeed. Now you can get all the samples you want.
The average everyday user will find CD-Player's database facility and its cassette calculator far more useful.
Put a CD in the drive and CD-Player allows you to enter Artist and track titles. The next time this CD is used it will display the CD and track titles in its window. There is also a popup which allows you to pick tracks by name.
The cassette calculator is a real handy little feature. CD-Player will calculate for you how many tracks from the current CD will fit onto one side of a C60, C90, C120 or a custom size that you can enter. No more running out of tape before you get to the end of the track. [Not that Kev would record the above CD - FFF]
CD-Player can be run as an accessory under normal TOS and works well as a program under Geneva and MagiC 4. I haven't tested it under MultiTOS but I'd assume it would work well there too. It can be used in conjunction with MetaDOS or ExtenDOS without problems. In fact in many months of use it hasn't crashed once. CD-Player is a truly excellent piece of software, you won't go far wrong with this.