Extracting Hidden CD Tracks

iTunes Tips
I love hidden tracks on CDs. With the advent of ripping tracks, I thought it would be a good idea to extract them so that they could stand as tracks in their own right.

1. Take your track (MP3, AAC, whatever) and open it in QuickTime Player (You'll need QuickTime Pro).

2. Scrub up to the point that the hidden track starts. You can do this by listening and also watching the level graph display. Note the time.

3. Move the end position marker to the end.

4. Set the first position marker at the time noted, which is the beginning of the hidden track.

5. Select Cut from the Edit menu.

6. Export the open file in whatever format you want. This becomes the new version of that track. Note that I've preserved the dead space between the two tracks. I like to do this to remain true to the album's structure.

7. Open a new document and paste the cut segment into it.

8. Export it. You can then drag it to iTunes and if you've set your Advanced preferences to copy files to iTunes music folder on adding, it will copy it into the appropriate folder.

9. You'll need to edit the tags for the new file. Don't forget to select all the tracks from that album, get info and increase the total tracks by one.

And there you have it: the hidden track becomes visible, can be selected, jumped to, independently rated and play-count-monitored. And if you didn't like it in the first place, you can chop it off the final track of the album.

by japester on Dec 06 | 7:15 pm


There's an easier way:

In iTunes, scrub to the beginning of the hidden track you want to capture. Note the time elapsed. In the song's info, under the Options tab, enter the noted time as the start time. Only change the end time if the end of the song is not the end of the hidden track.

With the song selected in the list, use Convert Selection to. . . in the Advanced menu to capture only the part of the song you selected via the start/end times. Most likely, you'll convert to the same format as the original song.

Change tags for the extracted track as appropriate. Repeat the process for the original song by changing the end time to the song's true end (some time before the hidden track).

by Ben Rosenthal on Dec 08 | 8:20 pm

If the song is presently a standard (non-DRM) AAC format, is there any loss when resaving to the same bitrate? I'd rather not have to pull my CDs out again.

by thenightfly42 on Dec 09 | 10:26 am

Correct, thenightfly42. There is no loss; you are simply extracting the selected portion of the file. There is only loss when converting from uncompressed to compressed or between different compressed formats.

by Ben Rosenthal on Dec 09 | 11:01 am

But is there any way to rip tracks that appear before the first track (i.e., those on Blur's Think Tank, UNKLE's Psyence Fiction, or Autechre's EP7)? I've been driving myself mad trying to rip "My White Noise" from Think Tank, and I can't find copies online either...

by Ryan Hupp on Dec 10 | 9:46 pm

Is the file containing the audio visible on the mounted CD?, even if not in iTunes. If you can play it, mustn't you be able to see it?

by Ben Rosenthal on Dec 10 | 10:16 pm

That's the problem...the tracks aren't visible in CD player applications, includin iTunes. The only way I've been able to hear them at all is rewinding past the first track on a standard stereo.

by Ryan Hupp on Dec 10 | 10:24 pm

What about when you open the mounted CD in the Finder? Can you find the visible (or invisible) track hiding there?

by Ben Rosenthal on Dec 10 | 10:33 pm

With Blur's Think Tank, when I open the track in Windows Explorer (I'm using a PC), I can't even see any .cda files to speak of...just the CD-Extra content (some tepid Quicktime movies of a live performance).

by Ryan Hupp on Dec 22 | 3:48 am

My further ideas include:

- if Windows is hiding the CD Audio files, can you search for *.cda on the CD?
- if you still can't find them, can you hook up your stereo to your PC and record the songs while playing? (I don't know the appropriate Windows application for this procedure)
- finally, since it seems no one has other ideas, if you're on a broadband Internet connection, I would be willing to spend a few minutes troubleshooting over VNC

by Ben Rosenthal on Dec 22 | 9:43 am

Ryan - please contact me off list. I have another solution.

by Ben Rosenthal on Dec 22 | 10:44 am

"There is no loss; you are simply extracting the selected portion of the file."

Ben, are you sure of this? Converting a whole track from AAC to AAC certainly does create a loss of quality. I don't see why it would be different for a portion of a track.

Try this. Select a song and repeatedly convert the selection to the same format. After five times there is a noticeable loss of quality.

I am pretty sure that both methods suggested will result in a generational loss of info. No different then opening and editing a JPEG.

The best way would drag the track off the CD and edit that with QT or iTunes then converting.

by sfn on Jan 19 | 7:14 pm

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