Bugs & Fixes: Spin Doctor, Heal thyself

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I am of a certain age—the age where I have a collection of vinyl LPs acquired years ago. Every so often, I get the urge to transfer some of my favorite LPs to my Mac. To do so, I connect a turntable to a USB port on my Mac, using ADS Tech’s Instant Music. To make recordings, I have used Roxio’s CD Spin Doctor (acquired as part of Toast 10 Titanium).

The main appeal of Spin Doctor for me, over other audio recording software that I own, is that it automatically divides a recording into tracks, so that each individual song on an album is easily ready to be labelled and transferred to iTunes.

Truncated files and failed exports

Unfortunately, Spin Doctor’s appeal has been limited by numerous bugs that have plagued the software over the years. The most frustrating ones involve saving files. In older versions, the program would more than occasionally crash the first time I attempted to save a file. When I re-opened Spin Doctor, all the recorded data was, of course, gone, as it had never been saved. Still, with a bit of luck, and remembering to save early and often, I was usually able to make it through a session successfully.

Things have taken a turn for the worse with the latest version of Spin Doctor, especially when running under Snow Leopard. Almost every time I now try to save a file, it is “truncated.” In one instance, all but the first 5 minutes of a 30-minute recording vanished. In another case, all but 2 seconds of a 12-minute recording disappeared! These errors happened even before an attempt at defining tracks.

A search of the Web revealed others complaining of the same issue—such as in this thread at the Roxio Community Forums. The most commonly suggested work-around is to use the Save a Copy As command, rather than Save or Save As. This does usually work for me, at least to prevent the truncating of the file. But I still have problems when I attempt to export the data to iTunes (again, as confirmed by others). A user review on Amazon.com similarly summarizes these complaints. Contacting Roxio for help has not led to a solution, according to these online postings. I too have been unable to get the matter resolved.

Audio Capture errors

If you are running Snow Leopard, and have CD Spin Doctor installed, an error message may periodically pop up claiming that the CDSDAudioCaptureSupport.kext “file was installed improperly and cannot be used.” This message will appear at various times, whether or not Spin Doctor is running. To put an end to it, update to the latest version of Spin Doctor. Then launch Spin Doctor and select “Install Audio Capture Support” from the CD Spin Doctor menu. This updates the kext file (located in the /System/Library/Extensions folder) to a version that is compatible with Snow Leopard.

The kext file itself is required if you want to use CD Spin Doctor’s “Audio Music Capture” option. This allows you to “instantly” start recording whatever audio is currently playing on your Mac. Unfortunately, even with everything updated and even after successfully using the option to do an audio capture, I could not get Spin Doctor to export the audio to iTunes—via the iTunes button in Spin Doctor’s toolbar. Everything seemed to work as intended, but no file ever showed up in iTunes.

Maybe there is a solution for this. I’ve stopped caring. For me, there are just too many obstacles to overcome with CD Spin Doctor. I have moved on and I now record music with other audio software.

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