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The Fail-Safe (but Lossy) Way to Remove DRM From Audio Files

There are programs available (such as FairUse4WM [1]) that can remove the DRM encryption from audio files without compromising the files quality. Unfortunately, DRM updates, new audio formats, and software patches quickly make this programs outdated. The other method of removing DRM is to play the audio file and record the output. This method doesn’t produce exact copies of the original audio, but it is much easier to use and much more likely to work. SO here is how you do it:

***As always, removing the DRM from files may be illegal. It is your responsibility to research whether or not your intended actions are legal.

You will need three programs to complete the steps below. These are HarddiskOgg [2], MP3Trim [3], and MP3Gain [4]. All are freeware and can be downloaded from the web. You will also need the lame_enc.dll [5]file which can be found with a Google search.

To save you time, I have assembled all the programs and files you will need in a ZIP file [6].

There are many steps here, but after following them once or twice, you will quickly see how easy the whole process is.

  1. Download this ZIP file [6] and extract the “RemoveDRM” folder contained inside to your desktop.
  2. Open the “RemoveDRM” folder and double-click on “RecordAudio.exe”. You will presented with a window similar to this:
    (Click to enlarge)
  3. Click the ellipse next to “Output file” and select a location and name for your MP3 file. I would suggest the song’s name.
  4. In the “Output format” box, select “LAME MP3”.
  5. Click the gears next to the “Output format” box which will open a window like this:
    (Click to enlarge)
  6. Here you can adjust the output MP3’s quality settings. Normally a higher bit rate would mean better sound, but because of the way we will be recording the audio, there is a point where a higher bit rate doesn’t help. You can play around with the settings yourself to find what works best but I recommend you set your options to match these:
    (Click to enlarge)
  7. Press “OK” to close the MP3 settings window.
  8. Under “Normalization”, select “None”.
  9. Under the audio bar on the right side is an icon which resembles an audio slider. Click this button and a window similar to this will open:
    (Click to enlarge)
  10. This window allows you to select where you want to record the audio from. Every computer has slightly different options, but you want to select one similar to “Wave Out Mix”. Drag the slider for the selected output all the way up and then close the window.
  11. Now it’s time to test the audio levels. Open your media player and start playing the song we want to un-DRM. Skip to find the loudest section of the song. Return to the “HarddiskOgg” window and click the microphone icon labeled “Test the record settings”.
  12. You will notice the audio volume bar on the right side of the window will move. Return to your media player and adjust it’s volume setting until the meter on the “HarddiskOgg” window floats somewhere around 2/3.
  13. Stop your media player and also click “Stop” in the “HarddiskOgg” window.
  14. You are now ready to record. Press the “Record” button in the “HarddiskOgg” window and immediately start playing the song to un-DRM. When the song finishes playing, return to the “HarddiskOgg” window and press “Stop”.

Your song has now been saved as an MP3 file without any DRM. You can use the “TrimAudio.exe” program to remove excessive silence from the start or end of the MP3 and you can use “normalizeAudio.exe” to normalize the volume.

Tips and Troubleshooting:

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