Listen to the Music with KsCD!
By Marcel Gommans
If you are looking for an easy to use program to listen to your favorite CDs then you should try KsCD. KsCD comes with KDE and if you use that window environment it will most likely be installed by default. You can find it in the Kicker menu under 'Multimedia'.
Let's jump right in and see how it works now. To start KsCD, simply select the program from the menu (you can also press Alt+F2 and type "kscd" for the program name). What will appear on your screen is a window that looks a lot like the good old CD player you use in your stereo. Life does not get much easier than that!
LET THE MUSIC PLAY!
Now select a nice CD from your music collection and place it in your CD-ROM or DVD player, wait a few seconds and press the big Play-button. If you have a cable or DSL Internet connection, you might notice that the name of the artist and the album title appear magically in the player's window. Above the display at the top of the window you can see title of the track you are listening to. To change the volume you can use the little slider right above the black display. To the left you have the time line where you can change the part of the track you want to listen to.
KsCD comes with all the features your regular CD player has. If you want to shuffle your songs, select the 'Random' button. If you want to repeat a song, press Loop.
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
So you followed the instructions, but are not enjoying the music? Let's see what might be the matter and solve the problem!
Question: Did the timer start after you pressed the 'Play' button? If not, you might not have configured KsCD to use the correct CD-ROM or DVD drive. To solve this, press the 'Extras' button. A new window appears as in the image below (click the picture for a full sized version):
On my system it says that KsCD uses /dev/cdrom as the CD-ROM device. If you want to use another device, change the name here. If you are using KDE 3.3 (like me) you see an option 'Use direct digital playback'. Let me explain why this option exists. Computer mainboards usually have a connector which can be used to connect an audio cable directly from the CD-ROM device to the mainboard. (At least, it should have such a connector. Some PCs are assembled with this cable left out.) If your mainboard does not have such a connector or the cable was not used in your PC, you can use the direct digital playback option to have CD sound anyway. You will have to select an audio backend (like arts or alsa) and an audio device (like /dev/audio) if you want to use the option. Unfortunately, if you do not have KDE 3.3, you might need to get that cable installed inside your PC after all.
If you went ahead and changed the device or turned on the direct digital playback option, then try and see if KsCD works now. If it does, we are ready to listen to the music. If your problem still exists, let's continue.
If the CD player seemed to work from the start, or if changing the configuration did not solve the problem, then it might be as simple as the volume being turned down on the master volumne control. We will have to take a look at Kmix. Select the little speaker at the right side of you task bar at the bottom of your screen. It might look like this (depends on your iconset):
If the icons isn't there, Kmix may not already be running. Just start it from the Multimedia menu. Use the right mouse button and select 'show mixer window'. The following window appears:
Select the output tab. Make sure the master sound channel is selected. The green light I marked with the little red circle should be on and the the switch below should be turned on by pushing it up.
Now select the input tab. The window changes and now shows a CD image.
Make sure the green light is on and the volume is switched on for this channel too. I marked the spot with a red circle again.
Now that sound is configured correctly, we should have sound. Have another try and enjoy playing all your favorite CDs on your favorite Linux distro!