AoA DVD Ripper SE

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Works, but can you call it quality?"

    January 12, 2008  |   By make_or_break

    Pros

    Interface is simple won't burn out brain cells, at least excessively (you will get frustrated if you want the ability to make adjustments). Delivers plenty of portable-friendly formats, including audio-only (.wav, which are relatively quick to rip). iPod/QT video (MP4) rips are fast as well (but Zune-friendly WMV rips are disappointingly slow and resource-intensive--with an older machine, plan on doing something else OFF the computer while AoA is doing its thing). The ease of the UI does have a 'set-and-forget' flavor. Relatively cheap, and they take PayPal.

    Cons

    Ripped video--even using a fast computer with top-end components--is at best average quality, though in general suitable for most portable-only uses; files looked reasonably good on a 5.5G Video iPod and Zune 80. Ripped PSP video wasn't quite so pleasing to watch on its screen when compared to UMD content, but still marginally acceptable to me. However if watching on a laptop with its larger LCD, I'd rather put up with the inconvenience of having to haul around DVD discs, rather than the poorer image quality of these rips (and the hassle of having to spend the time and resources to create such poor quality video files to begin with). Options for improving picture quality output is rather limited; there were plenty of artifacts in all vid formats I ripped to, even when I set the software far above the default baseline settings.

    Audio quality--including the audio-only .wav rips--is noticeably sloppy and markedly poorer than original DVD material (lesser detail resolution, low-end distortion, frequency clip-off at both low and lower high ends; in general the results are "dirtier" , bland-sounding recordings). Main reason I considered this package is for its ability to rip concert DVDs into audio files for listening on an iPod, Zune or other portable MP3 player; once the resultant .wav files were converted into compressed .m4a (AAC), the sound quality is at best barely acceptable (pays to have had a couple of beers first *sarcasm*), but by no means is it anywhere in the same neighborhood as excellent. A good set of cans will easily pick out the flaws and if you're the picky type, those audio errors will drive you nuts.

    Only would recommend this if you MUST have a cheap, easy-to-use ripper and don't care all that much about the finished quality of the rips.

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