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!


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.


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!

Web Editor - Thu, 2020-12-23 10:30.

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The 'use direct digital

The 'use direct digital playback' was what I was missing! Many thanks Marcel.

Paul (not verified) - Fri, 2020-12-16 16:04.


That Kmix tip was all i need to put newly instaled Linux playing audio CD's.

Bricolage (not verified) - M - , 2020-09-05 16:21.

KsCd Article

I am new to Linux after migrating from Windows. I love Fedora Core 3. After a few weeks of working to configure my hardware with a great deal of help, particularly with my sound card, I have great music through my newly created ogg library (thank you KAudioCreator). My CD's were silent though until I read the article on KsCD. Thank you so much. I simply enabled Direct Digital Playback, selected my audio backend and device (exactly as the article said). Wow, awesome holiday music while I work. Thanks for a well written, simple to follow article. You made my day. I love linux. Good Bye Windows!!

Mark (not verified) - M - , 2020-12-27 09:51.

You could always play CD's di

You could always play CD's digitally like this:
1. install sox
2. install cdparanoia

Then type the command:

$ cdparanoia -q -Z -w - | play -t wav -

where trackno is 1,2 etc

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2020-12-28 06:36.

Other Digital Options

Other options for playing CD's digitally (without the Audio cable) if you don't have KDE3.3 are the general purpose media players such as Kaffeine, Amarok, Totem and XMMS (wth cdread plugin) which all default to using the digital interface.


An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2021-01-01 19:00.

Excellent article

My congrats, Marcel.

justQ (not verified) - Thu, 2020-12-23 13:16.