Field Report: Primera Technology Bravo SE

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Have you ever seen a piece of equipment and thought it might be useful to someone sometime, but certainly most people would not have enough need to buy it? Wouldn't it be great if you could rent the equipment just long enough to use it, and then return it?

The Bravo SE automated CD ripper from Primera Technology can be rented from the company's website. Primera is best known for its CD duplicators and printers, and the Bravo CD ripper is based on one of its automated duplicators.

The unit arrives with software, hardware, cables and simple instructions. You will need a PC running Windows 2000, XP or Vista (sorry but the software does not run on a Mac), a USB port and an Internet connection. You will also need either Itunes or Windows Media Player software installed on your computer. It even comes with pre-paid return shipping.

Setup is quick and simple: Install the PTRip software, connect the unit to your computer, and install the appropriate drivers.

You can put up to 20 CDs in the unit. Once you have your Itunes or Windows Media software options set, the unit will take the top CD from the stack, read the disc information and access the online CD database (CDDB in the case of Itunes) for information. If no disc information can be found (i.e. you made the disc yourself), the unit will not rip the CD. If the data is found, it will rip the CD, and save the tracks to the location and in the format selected by your program. An on-screen log keeps you informed of the current status and what has happened with the previous discs. This makes it easy to identify those that did not rip. If the software finds a CD in the stack that has already been ripped (the files are in the destination folder on the hard drive) it will not rip it again.

Performance at a glance
  • Identifies CDs with CDDB
  • Works with Itunes and Windows Media Player
  • Rips multiple CDs automatically
  • 20-disc capacity
  • Weekly rental program
  • After setting up the unit, I grabbed a stack of CDs and tried to rip them. The computer I was using was running Windows XP Pro, and had both Itunes and Windows Media Player installed. When you start the PTRip software it asks you to select either Itunes or Windows Media Player. After you select the software a screen pops up telling you to change some options in the software and then click OK to start. I tried the same set of CDs with both programs to see how it worked.

    With Itunes everything worked smoothly. It took approximately five minutes to rip a complete CD, including retrieving the data from the Internet. All the CDs I tried ripped just fine, except one that was not found in the database.

    When I tried Windows Media Player, things did not work as smoothly. First of all, when the disc was put in the drive, it began to play. If it ripped the CD, it did so in real time. Also, several more discs were not found in the database. After experimenting, I contacted Primera's tech support. They were pleasant, but unable to provide much help. They explained that Itunes and Windows Media Player do not use the same database, so there will be differences in what they find, especially for newer CDs. Most of the CDs I was using for testing were new arrivals. We were not able to resolve the issue with the CD playing. We tried turning off autoplay for the CD (it was already off, but we did it again), and several options within Windows Media Player itself. Nothing seemed to work. Since everything worked so well with Itunes, I suspect these issues are strictly within Windows Media Player.

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