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MP3s generated with dbpoweramp not gapless
dancrocker
post Jan 15 2010, 23:58
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I hope this is the right forum and that this topic hasn't been beaten to death. I apologize if I'm wrong on either of these. I searched but didn't find the answer I was looking for. Of course, the amount of info here is a bit overwhelming smile.gif

I used dbpoweramp to rip to FLAC, then generate 320kbit CBR MP3s. ITunes plays them gaplessly as does foobar2000. However, my iPod (5th generation) does not. There's a teeny "gap" (more like a glitch). My iPhone 3G doesn't play them gaplessly either although the "gap" is more like a click. Meanwhile, MP3s generated by iTunes play on the iPod perfectly.

I know, years ago, there was a lot of noise about apple not supporting gapless. But, I thought this was all resolved. Certainly, it appears to work fine if the MP3s are encoded with iTunes.

Is this a well-known problem? I found some other posts that seemed to say that LAME encoded MP3s (which is what dbpoweramp uses) play gaplessly on iPods. So, I'm puzzled as to while I'm having this trouble. I'd appreciate any help or suggestions.
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kornchild2002
post Jan 16 2010, 00:08
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I have thousands of Lame mp3 files on my 120GB iPod and they playback gaplessly (they work fine on my 5G 60GB iPod too). Have you modified these mp3 files with another application? Did iTunes scan the files for gapless playback when you added them to your library?
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dancrocker
post Jan 16 2010, 00:16
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jan 15 2010, 18:08) *
I have thousands of Lame mp3 files on my 120GB iPod and they playback gaplessly (they work fine on my 5G 60GB iPod too). Have you modified these mp3 files with another application? Did iTunes scan the files for gapless playback when you added them to your library?


I didn't modify them at all; they're straight from dbpoweramp. I didn't pay close attention to iTunes when I added them but I don't remember seeing any messages indicating scanning for gapless. I can remove them and re-add them to check. Is there a way to disable this function just in case?

Is it possible that some LAME settings used by dbpoweramp aren't proper to allow gapless?

Also, if you wouldn't mind, could you listen again to some music that needs to be played gaplessly and make sure it sounds right? A co-worker of mine also told me that his music played gaplessly on his iPod but when he listened again, he heard the same thing I'm hearing. It's very subtle so it's easy to miss unless you're listening closely with headphones. In case it helps, his test case was the second side of Abbey Road and mind is Dark Side of the Moon.
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Teknojnky
post Jan 16 2010, 00:35
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its the 'force iso compatibility' option.

right click some file, choose batch converter, click convert, convert to mp3 (lame), click advance, uncheck force iso compatibility.

any files you converted you will probably want to reconvert.


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dancrocker
post Jan 16 2010, 00:38
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QUOTE (Teknojnky @ Jan 15 2010, 18:35) *
its the 'force iso compatibility' option.

right click some file, choose batch converter, click convert, convert to mp3 (lame), click advance, uncheck force iso compatibility.

any files you converted you will probably want to reconvert.


Interesting. I will give this a try tonight and report back. Thanks!
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kornchild2002
post Jan 16 2010, 03:21
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QUOTE (dancrocker @ Jan 15 2010, 16:16) *
I didn't modify them at all; they're straight from dbpoweramp. I didn't pay close attention to iTunes when I added them but I don't remember seeing any messages indicating scanning for gapless. I can remove them and re-add them to check. Is there a way to disable this function just in case?


Yes, you can try removing them from your library and adding them back in. You will see the "Determining gapless playback..." message at the top of iTunes where you normally see the Apple logo. You can click out of this option and some people do it as they don't want iTunes to scan their files. The process takes (about) less than one second per track so you might see it flash for a few seconds when adding an album. You can add multiple albums to iTunes just to make sure iTunes scans them.

QUOTE (dancrocker @ Jan 15 2010, 16:16) *
Is it possible that some LAME settings used by dbpoweramp aren't proper to allow gapless?


Other than what is mentioned, not that I know of. Most of the Lame files I have (either Lame 3.97 or Lame 3.98.2) were made with dBpowerAMP so I don't think that is an issue. Just for kicks and giggles, I went back and encoded Dark Side Of The Moon with dBpowerAMP and Lame 3.98.2 at -V 2 (from my source Apple lossless files). It played back alright in iTunes, on my 120GB iPod classic, and my 5G 60GB iPod. I then tried Tool's 10,000 Days and received the same results.

What version of Lame is dBpowerAMP using and what version of dBpowerAMP are you using?

This post has been edited by kornchild2002: Jan 16 2010, 03:21
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maggior
post Jan 16 2010, 03:37
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Are you using a paid for version of dbPowerAmp or the free version? The free version uses BLADE, which is a very old mp3 encoder that does not support gapless playback.

Also, how are you testing the gapless playback on the iPod? Are you fast-forwarding through the song or pausing it in the middle? If so, this will cause gaps. You have to let the song play through from beginning to end into the next song *without interruption* for transition between tracks to be gapless. This problem was disovered back in 2007 when Apple first introduced gapless playback on the iPod. On my 80GB iPod, they've never fixed this problem.
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spoon
post Jan 16 2010, 11:35
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>dbPowerAmp or the free version? The free version uses BLADE

No it does not...

>its the 'force iso compatibility' option

If this had been checked for some reason it would stop the lame header being written.


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dancrocker
post Jan 16 2010, 18:25
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QUOTE (spoon @ Jan 16 2010, 05:35) *
>dbPowerAmp or the free version? The free version uses BLADE

No it does not...

>its the 'force iso compatibility' option

If this had been checked for some reason it would stop the lame header being written.


I just checked and the "force iso compatibility" option is not checked. Also, I've looked at the metadata with foobar2000 and the gapless stuff is there. I'm still stumped.
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dancrocker
post Jan 16 2010, 18:30
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jan 15 2010, 21:21) *
QUOTE (dancrocker @ Jan 15 2010, 16:16) *
I didn't modify them at all; they're straight from dbpoweramp. I didn't pay close attention to iTunes when I added them but I don't remember seeing any messages indicating scanning for gapless. I can remove them and re-add them to check. Is there a way to disable this function just in case?


Yes, you can try removing them from your library and adding them back in. You will see the "Determining gapless playback..." message at the top of iTunes where you normally see the Apple logo. You can click out of this option and some people do it as they don't want iTunes to scan their files. The process takes (about) less than one second per track so you might see it flash for a few seconds when adding an album. You can add multiple albums to iTunes just to make sure iTunes scans them.

QUOTE (dancrocker @ Jan 15 2010, 16:16) *
Is it possible that some LAME settings used by dbpoweramp aren't proper to allow gapless?


Other than what is mentioned, not that I know of. Most of the Lame files I have (either Lame 3.97 or Lame 3.98.2) were made with dBpowerAMP so I don't think that is an issue. Just for kicks and giggles, I went back and encoded Dark Side Of The Moon with dBpowerAMP and Lame 3.98.2 at -V 2 (from my source Apple lossless files). It played back alright in iTunes, on my 120GB iPod classic, and my 5G 60GB iPod. I then tried Tool's 10,000 Days and received the same results.

What version of Lame is dBpowerAMP using and what version of dBpowerAMP are you using?


OK, I removed and re-added the files. There was no gapless scanning; only something about "detmining song volume".
As for the versions, I'm using the free dbpoweramp (it's actually still the professional version until the trial period ends). It's release 13.3. The LAME it's using is 3.98.2.
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dancrocker
post Jan 16 2010, 18:34
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QUOTE (maggior @ Jan 15 2010, 21:37) *
Are you using a paid for version of dbPowerAmp or the free version? The free version uses BLADE, which is a very old mp3 encoder that does not support gapless playback.

Also, how are you testing the gapless playback on the iPod? Are you fast-forwarding through the song or pausing it in the middle? If so, this will cause gaps. You have to let the song play through from beginning to end into the next song *without interruption* for transition between tracks to be gapless. This problem was disovered back in 2007 when Apple first introduced gapless playback on the iPod. On my 80GB iPod, they've never fixed this problem.


As I replied to another poster, I'm using the trial version (professional for another 19 days). It's definitely using LAME though.

As for your other question, I have been scanning to the end of the track. I wondered about this. When I used MAX to rip and encode, the gapless playback was intermittent and I wondered if this behavior had to do with scanning forward. Maybe I'll try max again and not scan forward. However, the mp3s I have right now still have this funny little click even if I let the whole track play. I'm now wondering if my issue is not a gapless issue, but something else.
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garym
post Jan 16 2010, 20:07
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Do you have replaygain turned on (or SOUNDCHECK in an ipod). IF you do, you'll notice the transition from on track to another if using track gain (which is all SOUNDCHECK does). This is because each track has its own volume adjustment. This may not be your problem (this shouldn't cause a click). But I can definitely tell the transition when the volume slightly changes. Of course album gain (or turning off soundcheck) would solve this issue.
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dancrocker
post Jan 16 2010, 23:41
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QUOTE (garym @ Jan 16 2010, 14:07) *
Do you have replaygain turned on (or SOUNDCHECK in an ipod). IF you do, you'll notice the transition from on track to another if using track gain (which is all SOUNDCHECK does). This is because each track has its own volume adjustment. This may not be your problem (this shouldn't cause a click). But I can definitely tell the transition when the volume slightly changes. Of course album gain (or turning off soundcheck) would solve this issue.


Good guess, but soundcheck is off.
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kornchild2002
post Jan 17 2010, 03:37
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Would you be willing to upload a 30 second sample so that we can determine if this is truly an issue or if it normal behavior? Use a male 3.5mm to male 3.5mm cable and hook it up to your iPod's headphone output. Then plug that into your computer's line-in (or microphone) input. Play a couple of songs (without skipping) and record 30 seconds of audio (the transition between the two songs) in a lossless format (you can record in PCM WAV and then upload in FLAC) and upload it here.
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dancrocker
post Jan 17 2010, 06:43
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jan 16 2010, 21:37) *
Would you be willing to upload a 30 second sample so that we can determine if this is truly an issue or if it normal behavior? Use a male 3.5mm to male 3.5mm cable and hook it up to your iPod's headphone output. Then plug that into your computer's line-in (or microphone) input. Play a couple of songs (without skipping) and record 30 seconds of audio (the transition between the two songs) in a lossless format (you can record in PCM WAV and then upload in FLAC) and upload it here.


Well, what's happening is clearly not normal. It doesn't happen if the MP3s are generated with iTunes so I know it's possible to have these play correctly. I honestly don't see what could be determined by listening to the playback.
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kornchild2002
post Jan 17 2010, 08:33
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We could determine if the gap is really an issue or if you are being overly picky. Don't take that negatively. I have seen many people post about iPods not being truly gapless when they can hear a faint click and/or if the music pauses for a millisecond. I then listened to a sample and it turned out that the performance was completely normal.

Another option I haven't thought of (I don't know why) is that you should restore your iPod and then sync the content back on it. This will erase absolutely everything on the iPod putting it back to factory standards. Restoring iPods often fixes their problems and it helps to eliminate sources of problems.
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dancrocker
post Jan 18 2010, 05:08
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jan 17 2010, 02:33) *
We could determine if the gap is really an issue or if you are being overly picky. Don't take that negatively. I have seen many people post about iPods not being truly gapless when they can hear a faint click and/or if the music pauses for a millisecond. I then listened to a sample and it turned out that the performance was completely normal.

Another option I haven't thought of (I don't know why) is that you should restore your iPod and then sync the content back on it. This will erase absolutely everything on the iPod putting it back to factory standards. Restoring iPods often fixes their problems and it helps to eliminate sources of problems.


Finding out if others think I'm being too picky isn't really what I'm looking for. If I had to live with this, could I? Clearly I could. However, as I've stated before, this same CD ripped with iTunes is perfect. No click, no pop, no gap. Absolutely perfect. I would like to try to figure out why using LAME doesn't produce the same results.

I could try to restore iPod that you suggest. At this point, I have no other ideas.
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kornchild2002
post Jan 18 2010, 05:13
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Well, figuring out if you were being too picky would mean that there isn't anything technically wrong with your iPod. As I said, this helped with someone else. The device may not be performing as you like but at least we could determine if it was operating normally.

Try restoring it first, re-syncing the content, and then listening to it again (don't fast forward through the songs). The issue isn't with Lame. I and many others can attest to this. I even have Lame 3.90.3 files that playback gaplessly.
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2Bdecided
post Jan 18 2010, 10:39
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jan 17 2010, 07:33) *
We could determine if the gap is really an issue or if you are being overly picky. Don't take that negatively. I have seen many people post about iPods not being truly gapless when they can hear a faint click and/or if the music pauses for a millisecond. I then listened to a sample and it turned out that the performance was completely normal.
I don't have an iPod, but are you saying that gapless = not quite gapless?!

FWIW "gapless" mp3s (lame, or otherwise) aren't necessarily "glitchless" unless you use pcutmp3 to do the job properly - which gives true gapless and glitchless playback on software that reads the lame header properly (e.g. fb2k). It may not help with an iPod (unless RockBoxed) - it might even confuse it. I don't know!

(You can also make truly gapless+glitchless mp3s using the depreciated lame "nogap" switch - but this isn't recommended, and I don't know how that'll interract with an iPod either).

Cheers,
David.
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garym
post Jan 18 2010, 15:18
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can't help here but just to note that I have 1000s of mp3 files encoded with various version of LAME and they play gapless perfectly on my IPOD. Many of these were encoded with dbpoweramp, but really, LAME is LAME, so the dbpa part is not that relevant I suspect. For the last few years, ITUNES does a gapless analysis on songs added to library. It "guesses" in some cases, but with a LAME header, it uses the LAME info as expected. I use a 160GB IPOD that's about 2 years old (can't recall the "name" of this particular IPOD (classic, etc.), but it works as expected.

Try this by the way: go to ARCHIVE.ORG, go to the live music section, and download a show or two from there (all live concerts, with permission of artists). The mp3 VBR versions of these files are recent LAME. Add these to itunes library and do some more testing for gapless. It is certainly easy to identify glitches on these live shows. And again, these play gapless on my IPOD and IPHONE.
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kornchild2002
post Jan 18 2010, 17:33
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jan 18 2010, 02:39) *
I don't have an iPod, but are you saying that gapless = not quite gapless?!


Not at all. However, there are some instances when the transition from one song to the next is not smooth. I have heard this on my iPod a couple of times with Nero AAC files. There is a slight (less than one second) pause or click that can be heard when going from one song to another. So iPods are gapless but there are some instances where it might not be perfect (as with any technology). With the other person that I helped, we were able to download the sample and put it in an application. The little click/gap was actually around 0.3 seconds long. It wasn't anything to get all up in arms over.

So all I am saying is that gapless playback may have some instances (in my experience, these are few and far between if I even notice them at all) where it isn't truly gapless. It would be nice to determine if the OP is experiencing behavior like this or if there is an actual problem.
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spoon
post Jan 18 2010, 17:56
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On one of the tracks which has problems:

Re-Rip to mp3 (all in dBpoweramp)
Rip to Wave

Convert (again with dBpoweramp) that mp3 track to wave (so you have 2 wave files - original CD wave and decoded mp3 >> wave), next load them into your favourite audio editor (audacity if you have none) and compare the start and end of the track, as dBpoweramp would decode the mp3 file gapless, there should be no major distinctions in the wave form (taking into account one is mp3).


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Case
post Jan 18 2010, 20:03
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Little off topic but I can't let kornchild2002's comments be the only words Nero employees see: the gapless bugs Nero AAC encoder has are the reason I switched back to LAME. I don't want to ruin my playback by having sudden glitches just because track happens to change. It is way worse than any encoding artifact produced since the days of Blade or VQF.
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dancrocker
post Jan 18 2010, 23:47
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jan 17 2010, 23:13) *
Well, figuring out if you were being too picky would mean that there isn't anything technically wrong with your iPod. As I said, this helped with someone else. The device may not be performing as you like but at least we could determine if it was operating normally.

Try restoring it first, re-syncing the content, and then listening to it again (don't fast forward through the songs). The issue isn't with Lame. I and many others can attest to this. I even have Lame 3.90.3 files that playback gaplessly.


A question for you and others:
When you say your files play gaplessly, are you saying that the transition between tracks is perfect and flawless? If it isn't, then this is what I'm encountering. If it is, then this is what I'm trying to achieve.

Anyways, I performed the following experiments with the indicated results (some I have done before but I repeated them to confirm):

1. Restore iPod
No improvement in playback

2. Rip and MP3 encode with iTunes
Perfect playback. It's impossible to tell where one track ends and the next begins just by listening. In my opinion, this is the way it should be. There's no good reason, again in my opinion, to settle for anything less.

3. Rip and MP3 encode with MAX
Glitch between tracks

4. Rip to ALAC and MP3 encode with MAX
Glitch between tracks

5. Rip to ALAC and MP3 encode with dbpoweramp
Glitch between tracks

6. Rip to FLAC and MP3 encode with dbpoweramp
Glitch between tracks

In all cases, the MP3s played flawlessly in iTunes but, in the cases indicated, weren't quite right when played with the iPod.
I haven't yet tried the WAV comparison suggestion by someone else, but I will.


Conclusions based on my observations:

-The LAME encoding is working fine and is putting the right data into the file to enable proper gapless playback. I believe this because foobar2000 plays the files perfectly
-iTunes properly interprets the header data and plays the files perfectly
-My iPod either does not properly use the header data or has some other issue with LAME encoded MP3s that prevents them from being played gaplessly
-The iTunes MP3 encoder does something different than LAME in order to allow the iPod to play the files perfectly

At this point, I'm wondering if the issue is not strictly related to gapless, but to some other characteristic of the LAME files.

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garym
post Jan 18 2010, 23:53
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QUOTE (dancrocker @ Jan 18 2010, 17:47) *
A question for you and others:
When you say your files play gaplessly, are you saying that the transition between tracks is perfect and flawless? If it isn't, then this is what I'm encountering. If it is, then this is what I'm trying to achieve.


In my case, my LAME mp3 files have a "perfect and flawless" (your words) transition between tracks 99.9% of the time. And I've actually tried hard to detect a glitch in transition, with headphones, etc. I will say that once in a while, I'll get a glitch when transitioning, usually a function of transitioning between a 30 minute song (e.g., grateful dead, dark star) and the following song. But I can go back and play song again and with the same exact songs, the transition is perfect. Then again, once in a while, I get a glitch in the middle of a song. These I chalk up to the ipod reloading its cache or something odd. It is a computer after all and is reading data from a harddrive.
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