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Flac - > iPod - Best practices, Replaygain, gapless, codec?
gerwen
post Nov 25 2008, 19:49
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I've talked the wife into getting me an iPod Touch for Christmas. Currently i'm using a Rockbox'd Sansa E280. I've never owned an ipod.

Right now, i use EAC to rip and encode to flac, then Foobar to transcode (lame 3.98.2) to mp3. I've waffled around a bit on what bitrate to use, but i've settled on v5, as it is transparent (or close enough) for me.

I'm not a big fan of itunes, based on playing with it a little since deciding to go apple.


I'd be hard to live without replaygained, and gapless albums. Itunes Soundcheck is not a promising option for me, based on the fact it doesn't have an album gain scan.


I'm looking for opinions on the best workflow and tools used to go from my flac archives to gapless replaygained (album) files of a quality similar to or better than lame -v5, at similar file sizes.

I'm not afraid to transcode my entire collection to aac if it is a superior choice for the task.

How do you do it?
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Neasden
post Nov 25 2008, 20:13
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AAC will be superior to MP3 in the lower bitrate field, because it's much more of a modern codec, different than MP3 specs and written in another language... But if you're using high bitrates you can go with MP3 or AAC because I doubt you will hear a difference.

As for ReplayGain, Rockbox comes to mind, but I have heard compatibility is getting tougher than ever with the new models.
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Jebus
post Nov 25 2008, 20:54
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QUOTE (gerwen @ Nov 25 2008, 11:49) *
I've talked the wife into getting me an iPod Touch for Christmas. Currently i'm using a Rockbox'd Sansa E280. I've never owned an ipod.

Right now, i use EAC to rip and encode to flac, then Foobar to transcode (lame 3.98.2) to mp3. I've waffled around a bit on what bitrate to use, but i've settled on v5, as it is transparent (or close enough) for me.

I'm not a big fan of itunes, based on playing with it a little since deciding to go apple.


I'd be hard to live without replaygained, and gapless albums. Itunes Soundcheck is not a promising option for me, based on the fact it doesn't have an album gain scan.


I'm looking for opinions on the best workflow and tools used to go from my flac archives to gapless replaygained (album) files of a quality similar to or better than lame -v5, at similar file sizes.

I'm not afraid to transcode my entire collection to aac if it is a superior choice for the task.

How do you do it?




I wrote OmniEncoder (www.omniencoder.com) specifically for what you're describing. It will batch-convert a library of FLAC files to MP3 WITH replaygain (album or track-based), and with tags preserved.
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Bodhi
post Nov 25 2008, 20:56
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QUOTE (Neasden @ Nov 25 2008, 20:13) *
AAC will be superior to MP3 in the lower bitrate field, because it's much more of a modern codec, different than MP3 specs and written in another language... But if you're using high bitrates you can go with MP3 or AAC because I doubt you will hear a difference.


Not that different!
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Soap
post Nov 25 2008, 21:22
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QUOTE (Neasden @ Nov 25 2008, 14:13) *
AAC will be superior to MP3 in the lower bitrate field, because it's much more of a modern codec, different than MP3 specs and written in another language...

So does that mean that the official FLAC encoder in C sounds superior to my COBOL port?

This post has been edited by Soap: Nov 25 2008, 21:23


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gerwen
post Nov 25 2008, 21:30
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QUOTE (Jebus @ Nov 25 2008, 14:54) *
I wrote OmniEncoder (www.omniencoder.com) specifically for what you're describing. It will batch-convert a library of FLAC files to MP3 WITH replaygain (album or track-based), and with tags preserved.


Interesting. Is it capable of writing soundcheck tags for ipods? If not, consider it a feature request. wink.gif I can point you to the info i found on doing it.
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Neasden
post Nov 25 2008, 21:50
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QUOTE
Not that different!

Not sure what you mean.

QUOTE
So does that mean that the official FLAC encoder in C sounds superior to my COBOL port?

I don't mean C, C++ or Delphi... I meant language as being written complex / varying from another structure.
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joeshrubbery
post Nov 25 2008, 21:53
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If you convert via Foobar2000 you can set it to hard-adjust the audio levels based on the replaygain tags before piping it into the encoder. It's a tick-box in the file conversion options somewhere.
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Bodhi
post Nov 25 2008, 22:41
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QUOTE (Neasden @ Nov 25 2008, 21:50) *
QUOTE
Not that different!

Not sure what you mean.

I mean that the difference between AAC and MP3 isn't that important than it used to be (if you consider last listening test I linked above).
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Soap
post Nov 25 2008, 22:46
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QUOTE (Bodhi @ Nov 25 2008, 16:41) *
I mean that the difference between AAC and MP3 isn't that important than it used to be (if you consider last listening test I linked above).

The test you linked was MP3 vs MP3.


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singaiya
post Nov 25 2008, 22:47
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But AAC wasn't tested in that last one (the one you linked), so it wasn't clear what you meant. Besides, I don't consider 128 kbps low bitrate anyway. And I think it's fair to say AAC has the edge at bitrates below 128 kbps.
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greynol
post Nov 25 2008, 22:52
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I have a batch file that will scale flac files according to rg album gain when encoding to lame while preserving tag information:
CODE
@ECHO OFF

IF "%~1" == "" lame --help && GOTO end

SET PARAMS=-V3 --noreplaygain --silent

:encode
TITLE Encoding "%~nx1"
IF EXIST "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag" GOTO encode_shift
IF EXIST "%~dpn1.mp3" GOTO encode_shift
SET /p nul=Encoding "%~nx1" <nul
IF /i "%~x1" == ".flac" (
CALL :encode_flac %1
) ELSE ECHO ... Invalid file && GOTO encode_shift
ECHO Done
:encode_shift
SHIFT
IF "%~1" EQU "" ECHO. && TITLE Finished && GOTO end
GOTO encode

:encode_flac
CALL :taginfo %1
SET /p nul=... <nul
flac -dcs %1 | Lame %PARAMS% %TAGINFO% - "%~dpn1.mp3"
GOTO :eof

:taginfo
tag %1 2> "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"
SET gain=
FOR /F "usebackq tokens=1*" %%X IN (`findstr "Title:" "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"`) DO (
SET title=%%Y
)
FOR /F "usebackq tokens=1*" %%X IN (`findstr "Artist:" "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"`) DO (
SET artist=%%Y
)
FOR /F "usebackq tokens=1*" %%X IN (`findstr "Album:" "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"`) DO (
SET album=%%Y
)
FOR /F "usebackq tokens=1*" %%X IN (`findstr "Year:" "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"`) DO (
SET year=%%Y
)
FOR /F "usebackq tokens=1*" %%X IN (`findstr "Track:" "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"`) DO (
SET track=%%Y
)
FOR /F "usebackq tokens=1*" %%X IN (`findstr "Genre:" "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"`) DO (
SET genre=%%Y
)
FOR /F "usebackq tokens=1*" %%X IN (`findstr "Comment:" "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"`) DO (
SET comment=%%Y
)
SET TAGINFO=--add-id3v2 --tt "%title%" --ta "%artist%" --tl "%album%" --ty "%year%" --tn "%track%" --tg "%genre%" --tc "%comment%"
FOR /F "usebackq tokens=1,2* delims== " %%X IN (`FINDSTR /I "replaygain_album_gain" "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"`) DO (
SET gain=%%Y
)
IF DEFINED gain FOR /F %%X IN ('EVAL 10^^^^^(^(%gain%+3^)/20^)') DO SET TAGINFO=--scale %%X %TAGINFO%
DEL "%TEMP%\%~n1.tag"
GOTO :eof

:end
pause

Refer to this similar post for neroaacenc for links to supporting programs:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=580029

Because the line out on my ipod is anemic, I've bumped the RG reference by3 dB.

If you want to convert RG values to Sound Check values, look into mp3tag. If you're going to scale your files, Sound Check won't be necessary.

If you scale your files with album gain like above, you have the option to use Sound Check to give you track gain. I hope my edit has made this more clear.

This post has been edited by greynol: Nov 26 2008, 07:10


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Jebus
post Nov 25 2008, 23:40
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QUOTE (gerwen @ Nov 25 2008, 13:30) *
QUOTE (Jebus @ Nov 25 2008, 14:54) *


I wrote OmniEncoder (www.omniencoder.com) specifically for what you're describing. It will batch-convert a library of FLAC files to MP3 WITH replaygain (album or track-based), and with tags preserved.


Interesting. Is it capable of writing soundcheck tags for ipods? If not, consider it a feature request. wink.gif I can point you to the info i found on doing it.




I'm interested in doing that for the next version, but I should let you know: The Omniencoder 1.x code got lost in a HD malfunction, and version 2.0 is taking forever. Still though, the app as it stands will apply replaygain DIRECTLY to the audio, actually attenuating it during encoding (via lame's --scale parameter). This means you'll have full album replaygain support on an ipod as-is. A side-benefit of this method is that overloud files come out smaller, too smile.gif
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fracai
post Nov 26 2008, 15:07
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The iPod Touch supports gapless tracks and I use aacgain on my tracks.
My workflow is based on custom scripts though. Probably not ready for prime time.
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Bodhi
post Nov 26 2008, 22:31
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QUOTE (Soap @ Nov 25 2008, 22:46) *
QUOTE (Bodhi @ Nov 25 2008, 16:41) *

I mean that the difference between AAC and MP3 isn't that important than it used to be (if you consider last listening test I linked above).

The test you linked was MP3 vs MP3.

Oops that's right...
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gerwen
post Nov 27 2008, 13:59
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QUOTE (joeshrubbery @ Nov 25 2008, 15:53) *
If you convert via Foobar2000 you can set it to hard-adjust the audio levels based on the replaygain tags before piping it into the encoder. It's a tick-box in the file conversion options somewhere.


I wasn't really aware of that option. It sounds like the simplest and best option for me. It leaves my .flacs unaltered, and will adjust the volume as I wish. No futzing with soundcheck or another program outside my normal workflow.

So it's going to be EAC to rip cd's and encode flacs. Then foobar to convert to .mp3 (or aac) and apply replaygain directly, rather than tags.


Now i need to figure out how to use itunes to manage my device. That's likely going to have to wait until Christmas.


I'm off to find out if AAC is transparent to me at bitrates below 128k.

Thanks for the advice everyone.
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