UPDATE: How to rip a DVD audio commentary and convert it to MP3

Yes, it has been almost a month since I last posted here. I’m currently drowning in a sea of student marking and frantically trying to finish chapters for a book with a deadline fast approaching. Blogging has been the last thing on my mind right now. I’m back, for the moment anyway, and thought I would update a tutorial I posted last year. I continue to listen to MP3 rips of DVD audio commentaries when driving to and from work. Originally I posted a tutorial using DVD Decrypter and the audio encoder BeSweet but have since found a slightly more efficient way to produce better quality rips. Whilst BeSweet is a useful piece of software it is well known for for producing encodes with low volume. The process I will discuss here is still rather time consuming but until someone writes a program similar to iCommentary software available for the Mac this, in my opinion, is the best way.

Here is the updated post. If anyone knows of a better way to do this please let me know.
How to rip a DVD audio commentary and convert it to MP3

I wonder how many people who purchase DVDs actually make use of the special features? Some DVDs contain an extra two discs of further content that offer a complete breakdown on the film’s production or specific documentaries that attempt to contextualise the film. It is very rare for me to view the special features of a DVD unless they are of great interest. One feature that I used to never find time to listen to is the audio commentary. Yes, there are some that I have listened to while watching the film but others are often ignored. So, in an effort to make use of these audio commentaries, I decided to rip them from DVD and convert them to MP3 so that I could listen to them on my MP3 player whilst driving to work. So far I have listened to two Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine commentaries, several John Carpenter commentaries and some from the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes series. But how do you rip an audio commentary from a DVD? In this blog post I will offer a short tutorial on how this is done. But before we go any further I should add that the ripped files should be for your own personal usage, after all, you have purchased the DVD and are just finding another way to listen to an audio track.

Firstly, before you can get started you need two integral pieces of software: DVD Decrypter and Goldwave. The former is no longer readily available due to legal infringements but can be easily found via a Google search. The latter will convert the ripped DVD track from .vob to .mp3 and can be downloaded for free from here. Some users may need the Lame MP3 codec if they do not have it currently installed on there machine. This can be downloaded from here. Once you have these pieces of software you are ready to begin.

Insert the DVD in your DVD drive then start up DVD Decrypter. Make sure DVD Decrypter is in IFO mode (see picture below). Then, in the Input tab, highlight the stream that contains the main feature. It is usually in VTS_01 and can be identified easily by the running time.


Once you have done this go to the ‘Stream Processing’ tab. Now you will need to deselect all of the ticked boxes except the one that contains the desired audio track. Sometimes good DVD Authorers will indicate which one of these tracks is an audio commentary using the words ‘directors comments’ as shown in the screenshot below. If this is not included you will have to work it out for yourself. If there is more than one commentary on the disc that you would also like to rip just select the additionally required tick box.


Now you have chosen which audio track you want to rip you need to make sure that in the box underneath ‘Stream Processing’ you have selected ‘Demux‘. Then it is time to click on the DVD to hard drive icon and begin ripping the audio track. Depending on the length of the audio track it can take anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes.

Now open the ripped .vob or .ac3 file in Goldwave.


Next we need to normalize the wave to increase the volume. Click on ‘Effect’, highlight ‘volume’ and click on ‘Maximize Volume’.


A box will now open for you to select the level of volume. Click on the drop down menu and select ‘Default’. Now click on ‘OK’ and wait while the effect is processed.


You will now notice that the sound wave on screen is much higher than previously.


All we need to do now is click on ‘File’ and choose ‘Save As’. The ‘Save Sound As’ dialogue box will open. In the ‘Save As Type’ drop down menu choose ‘MPEG Audio (*.mp3)’ and then in the ‘Attributes’ drop down menu choose the required bit-rate. I find 128kbps to be more than sufficient for audio commentaries. Now click on ‘Save’ and wait for the encoding to finish.


And there you have it, an MP3 track of an audio commentary that you can listen to on your computer or MP3 player. There are some other ways to do this, and although it takes 30 minutes to complete this process I have found it to be the simplest way to rip an audio commentary unless anyone else has any other suggestions?

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3 Responses to UPDATE: How to rip a DVD audio commentary and convert it to MP3

  1. Sam says:

    Really very helpful. I was also looking for a way to get this done. Thanks for sharing.To convert the audio file you could try using this free application called mediacoder.It supports lot of formats , though it doesnt do much of editing like goldwave does.

  2. Aj Green says:

    My ac3 had no data in it, was 0kb in size, so could do nothing with it. What did I do wrong?

  3. DVD43 says:

    Thanks its working fine .

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