Key2audio finally defeated

No more analog copies or dangerous methods involving adhesive tape or markers. It is really easy to bypass the new key2lock protection and enjoy your digital copy on a PC (or MAC) or rip it to mp3’s, providing you have the right tools. And the “right tools” in our case is CloneCD (not an earlier version).
Just follow these instructions:

  1. First of all, before inserting the protected cd, deactivate the autorun feature for your CD player (or just open your CloneCD, it does this automatically). If you don’t, the CD will spin endlessly in your CD player.
  2. If you have not done that already, open CloneCD. Choose “Read to image file”.
  3. Choose the CD player the CD is in. In the next screen, you can see the contents of the CD and you are presented with some choices (Audio CD, Data CD etc). Viewing the contents, you can see 2 sessions, one with the tracks and a second containing data. Since the CD does not work on a PC (or a MAC), these data are the copy protection. Here is where the new CloneCD makes the difference. On the choises menu, choose “Audio CD”. This choise makes CloneCD to copy ONLY the first session, which contains the tracks, eliminating the protection.
  4. Proceed in making an image of the CD, as usual.
  5. When the image is ready, choose “write from image file”.
  6. Look at the image’s contents. Now you can see ONLY 1 session, containing just the tracks!
  7. Burn as usual.
  8. Now, load your new CD in your computer’s CD player. Voila! A digital copy, equal to the original, except for the protection!

The whole proceedure took place on:

Dual Pentium II 400 MHz
Windows XP
Reader: DVD NEC DV-5500A
Writer: CDRW RICOH MP7200A

The protected CD I used was the soundtrack of “STAR WARS Episode II: Attack of the Clones”

(I believe the whole thing can be done “on the fly”, without images, but I just haven’t tried it yet…)

Good Luck to everybody :smiley:


wow…Thanks for the good news thruba…

I have a minor question… I thought the audio protections are :
CDS “Cactus Data shield” 100 & 200 and “key2audio”… now your are talking about “key2lock”… is this a new one? or is the same as “key2audio”?



OK, here are my findings:

I have 2 copy-protected CDs to hand:

Kelly Family - La Patata (Cactus Data Shield, unknown version)
DJ Bobo - Celebration (not sure, suspect Key2Audio)

(please, no comments on the “quality” of these artists, as I run an online CD store so they are stock copies!) :slight_smile:

I can rip the Kelly Family CD with either the post-it note method or the Clone CD method but NOT with the latest Feurio.

I can rip DJ Bobo with the latest Feurio (didn’t try post-it yet) but NOT with Clone CD


Pioneer DVD-116 DVD-ROM drive firmware 1.09
Lite-On LTR-24102B CD-RW drive firmware 5S59

Both the above work exactly the same in either of these drives.

I also have some CDs (specifically the new Blank & Jones album “Substance” and Scooter “Push The Beat For This Jam”) that say that they are copy-protected but play and rip fine on my drives.

Hope the info might be of use to some people…?

Cheers, Tony

SWEP2 Special Edition (14 audio tracks), european version has key2AUDIO protection on it… I think that this is the only protection Sony Music is using…
My LiteOn has sometimes a little problem, and with daemon tools a clonecd image works perfectly (with BOTH sessions…). And the option needed for image and backup :slight_smile: is “only first session”, maybe changed manually, AudioCD profile has it as default I think. Pioneer 106S reads it any time, without ANY problem.

TonyH, try ClonyXXL for finding out which protection is there…

Thanks, Fangorn. Just got ClonyXXL and found out that Kelly Family is CDS200. DJ Bobo was unknown, so I’m none the wiser with that one.

I have literally thousands of CDs here, so I’m going to look through and see what other protected CDs I have to test now I have ClonyXXL. :wink:

Cheers, Tony

Originally posted by Fangorn

TonyH, try ClonyXXL for finding out which protection is there… [/B]

So does the American version of the Star Wars Episode 2 soundtrack have Key2audio?

“May the Force be with you” :slight_smile:

You are right rhytmos, the name of the protection is Key2Audio, not Key2lock. My mistake. But apart from the name of the protection, everything else in my post is accurate.

Thanks for your correction


Because these protections are hardware dependant (dependant on the reader you have, all writers can write a protected audio cd), Clony XXL is not always able to correctly detect the used audio protection.

Key2audio can be recognized by the general warning ‘will not play on pc/mac’ on the front cover and back cover. At the same time there is a reference to sony (Sony music or Sony dadc) in the innerring on the data-side of the cd.

Cactus Datashield can be recognized by the copyright statement somewhere on the cover referring to Midbar, Tel Aviv, the developper of the protection. CDS200 can also be recognized by the availability of the cactus-player (=proprietary mp3-player).


Apparently your reader (Nec dvdplayer) cuts through audio-protections. Especially Plextor is well known for its drives being able to read audio-protected cds. The ‘first-session’ option of CloneCD is mainly targeted at protected audio cds because the protection is mostly in the second (or third) session and the audio is always in the first session. From what I have learned from audio-protections and my own experience you should also be able to use Feurio or Exact Audio Copy to rip the tracks if CloneCD is able to read the cd. (But you might need to tweak the advanced settings of Feurio or EAC first.) I always prefer EAC because of the secure reading method while CloneCD is using the general burst-reading method, in which case there is no way to tell if you read the audio correctly. But I agree, the easiest way is just to use CloneCD!

Another thing: when I read a CDS200 cd with my LiteOn drives (ltd-163, ltr-40125s) with CloneCD, it looks like CloneCD is reading the cd, but if I check the log I can see it can’t read any sector and CloneCD is replacing the unreadable sector with zero’s. So check your image to be sure you made a good copy. A key2audio protected cd is not even recognized by my LiteOn drives… If you check this forum or other forums (like Brennmeister, a German forum) most people state that their LiteOn is not able to read key2audio. In some cases people are lucky with CDS200, especially after a the latest release of CDS200 which is modified in order to improve compatibilities issues.


Pirate80, I think that american version of SWEP2 OST is W/O protection…

Upp3rd0G, I can’t say for other drives, but I can tell that my LTR 32132S is OK for key2audio, and when I can’t read cd with it, I take another cd, read it, and put the protected cd back to liteon… works in 95% attempts. And I don’t have any CDS :slight_smile:

Yeap Fangorn… same here…
My liteON 32x is able to read Key2audio cds without any problem…



Mixmania 2002//02 is Key2audio protected

I have scanned it with clony XXL ( i have launced clone with it )and i have 3 toasters :frowning:

And thank god we have Thruba, thanks for the info it works really fine for me…:wink:

Win '98 SE
Plex 12x firm 4.01

Originally posted by Fangorn
Upp3rd0G, I can’t say for other drives, but I can tell that my LTR 32132S is OK for key2audio

Ok, because of these contradicting stories I decided to check it again!

I have 2 Key2audio cds:

[li] Shakira - Laundry service => Key2audio v2
[/li][li] Jennifer Lopez - J to tha l-o => Key2audio v3

My ltr-40125s (zsoa) finally recognizes the Jennifer Lopez cd after 3,5 minutes with CloneCD. CloneCD is able to read the cd correctly and a good image is made! But no luck with Shakira… I waited for 10 minutes but CloneCD could not get the ltr-40125s to recognize the cd…

So that explains the contradicting stories in this thread! Apparently Sony has relaxed the protection somewhat (probably to increase the compatibility of the cd) in Key2audio version 3. (But my ltd-163 (gh5e) won’t read either version…)


Upp3rd0G, time to buy Shakira :slight_smile: I had try with SWEP2 special ed.

Hansje, what about to try Read only first session? Should be reading only the audio tracks. And trying the image in daemon first :).

Originally posted by Hansje
[B]Mixmania 2002//02 is Key2audio protected

I have scanned it with clony XXL ( i have launced clone with it )and i have 3 toasters :-([/B]

I don’t understand how you make coaster while the procedure described by Thruba does work… very strange! With the normal settings you should be able to just copy Key2audio (if your hardware is capable of reading the protected disc, but it is, because you succeeded with CCD4…) No matter what settings you make, you should be able to copy it… (unless of course you only try to read the data-part of the cd…)


newest BLANK AND JONES is key2audio protected;

i can read it with

lite-on 32123s
pioneer dvd (forgot which one)
toshiba1612 dvd


Feurio 1.65 pro
and CloneCD 4001