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Software Review of:
CD Trustee
Cataloging your Audio CDs

 

Vade Forrester has been a member of Alamo PC Organization since 1988, and even endured three terms on the Board of Directors, including a year as president. Since then, he has continued to support Alamo PC as a class leader and author for PC Alamode.

From the September, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

As an avid collector of recorded music, I frequently vow to bring some order to my large assortment of LPs and CDs by creating a catalog of all the different recordings I have acquired over 40 years. But after several well-meaning starts, I have never carried out my vow. . .it’s too hard! Most of my efforts have involved self-developed databases or spreadsheets, all of which require lots of typing to enter data about a recording. Why should I bother. . .don’t I have a brain to remember what CDs and LPs I have? Although some might question my claim, I do have a brain, but with about 10,000 LPs and 1,400 CDs in my collection, I sometimes forget what titles I have, and have even bought duplicate copies of several recordings.

CD Trustee to the rescue, at least for CDs. Capitalizing on the fact that each audio CD has a unique identifier embedded in its header, CD Trustee provides a nearly effortless procedure for creating a catalog of your CDs. Here it is:

  1. Start CD Trustee.
  2. Click on the “Add CDs automatically”  button.
  3. Click on “Start inserting CDs for lookup” button.
  4. Insert a CD into the computer CD drive (fast drives speed up the process).
  5. CD Trustee reads the identifier into a buffer and ejects the CD.
  6. Repeat this process until all your CD identifiers have been read into the computer.
  7. Click on the “Look up CDs on the Internet” button.
  8. CD Trustee then connects to the Gracenote CD Database online and reads the information about the CD identifiers into a database on your computer.
All this happens pretty rapidly.

I tried inserting a variety of CDs into CD Trustee to challenge its ability to recognize CDs. I have some pretty weird CDs, so I expected CD Trustee to fail on several recognition attempts. It did, but not nearly as often as I expected. I picked a dozen CDs, some very popular, some rather esoteric. CD Trustee only failed to recognize one CD, titled Shakespeare, the Greatest Hits. Since this is a surround sound multichannel recording, you could even make the case that this is not even a CD, since the Red Book CD specifications do not provide for multichannel recordings. I was amazed at some of the weird stuff in the Gracenote database, including DiDJeridoo Meditations by Inlakesh. It also recognized a CD that is provided by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) to subscribers of its BBC Music Magazine.

CD’s track list can be used to select songs to play, if you insert a CD into your computer. CD Trustee compiles and formats labels to print and apply to a CD if you run one off on your computer’s CD-burner. Further, it even prints jewel case inserts to use in the clear plastic boxes where you store your CDs.

CD Trustee lets you search your database for information, like artist or song. Although my quickly created test database is no challenge, I did a search for the song Dancing in the Dark. CD Trustee quickly found that song in the Diana Krall album The Look of Love.

You can also compile and print reports which can tell you about your collection. For me, that is a real boon, since I should take lists of my CDs with me when I go shopping, either online or at brick-and-mortar stores like Wherehouse Music or Half-Price Books and Records. I won’t tell you how often I have found a treasured CD there, only to come home and find that, oops, I already have a copy. I could even save reports in PDF format. Wonder if that would fit in a PDA? 

Download CD Trustee from the Sane Soft, LLC’s Web site. The downloaded copy is a trial version which limits the number of CDs you can add to your database to 30. Registering the program for $39.95 (I used PayPal to send them money) provides you a registration code you can enter to remove the 30-CD limit. You must also register with the Gracenote CD database service, which is free.

Although I haven’t had much time with it, CD Trustee appears to be well-designed, easy-to-use software. While its appeal will be limited to those who want to create catalogs of audio CDs and MP3 files, for us, it is spectacularly useful. Maybe I’ll finally complete my cataloging efforts this time! My only regret is that it doesn’t catalog LPs, but I have yet to find a turntable accessory for my computer.


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