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Thread: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

  1. #1
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    Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    So, I wonder if you guys could help me out, here.

    I have ripped hundreds of hours of opera & classical music using iTunes. It's pretty much all continuous, as stuff like opera tends to be, & I've never once had a problem with seamless playback.

    Now I'm ripping stuff like Rush live albums using dBpa & my MP3 rips are just not playing back seamlessly. I've checked the AIFF files. They all play back perfectly. I've tried re-making MP3s, I've tried re-importing the tracks into iTunes. Some albums play back seamlessly in iTunes but not on my phone (which is where I mostly listen from). I've tried un-checking Rush as an artist, from my phone sync, re-syncing so there's no Rush on it & then re-adding it & re-syncing.

    It's just a total lottery. Sometimes it's seamless & sometimes it's not.

    I'll stick up some screenshots of my current workflow & see if there's anything that's out of place.

  2. #2
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    I rip the lossless files into a given directory, find the album info I need to name the album folder to my liking & then create an empty folder next to it for the MP3s. I then go into "batch convert", find the folder with the AIFFs in & select it & click "convert":

    Screenshot 2019-09-14 13.21.39.png

    Then I get up this window:

    Screenshot 2019-09-14 13.21.54.jpg

    Next I click on the "output to" dropdown menu & select "single folder"

    Screenshot 2019-09-14 13.22.01.jpg

    And I direct it to the empty (320) folder I've created that sits next to the (AIFF) folder:

    Screenshot 2019-09-14 13.22.14.jpg

  3. #3
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    I haven't touched any of the "advanced" setting, which look like this:

    Screenshot 2019-09-14 13.22.29.jpg

    It then goes through a process that looks like this & results in a set of MP3s

    Screenshot 2019-09-14 13.22.44.jpg

    That's it!

    Can anyone see any classic schoolboy errors in there?

  4. #4
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    For a gapless playback you have to use a player which is able to play gapless.


    Dat Ei

  5. #5
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Well, like I say. I have hundreds of hours of music that's always ripped & played gapless with no problems whatsoever.

    And I literally mean EVER. My iTunes library is currently 45,428 songs that play for 150.9 days. Of that 47.6 days is classical & opera & all of it plays gapless where it's supposed to.

    This is only an issue with tracks I've ripped & converted with dBpa.

  6. #6
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Convert to m4a (FDK AAC), you can install this codec from codec central, link on the tool bar.

    iTunes is hit and miss reading the gapless playback header from mp3, obviously they get their own encoder right 100% of the time....

    With aac I believe it is correct always.

  7. #7
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Quote Originally Posted by Spoon View Post
    obviously they get their own encoder right 100% of the time....

    With aac I believe it is correct always.
    Well, I've always ripped to MP3 not AAC or any of Apple's proprietary formats, but if iTunes deals with MP3s that it makes itself differently to those it gets from elsewhere, then that may explain it.

    Thanks, I'll give it a go.

    On a related not, do you know of any other player I could sync my library with & have on my phone that WILL play back seamlessly?

    I'm completely Mac based, so I appreciate that does limit my options somewhat.

  8. #8
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Quote Originally Posted by snowdog View Post
    Well, I've always ripped to MP3 not AAC or any of Apple's proprietary formats, but if iTunes deals with MP3s that it makes itself differently to those it gets from elsewhere, then that may explain it.

    Thanks, I'll give it a go.

    On a related not, do you know of any other player I could sync my library with & have on my phone that WILL play back seamlessly?

    I'm completely Mac based, so I appreciate that does limit my options somewhat.
    I will just add that I create mp3 files with dbpa converter from my flac files. These mp3 files always play perfectly gapless on my iPhone, ipad, and older iPod.

    One thing I will add: if you are testing gapless by manually moving playback to near the end of a song, that could create a gapless playback problem because of the buffer. Test for gapless by playing an entire track and determine if it then transitions properly into the next track.

  9. #9
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    I will just add that I create mp3 files with dbpa converter from my flac files. These mp3 files always play perfectly gapless on my iPhone, ipad, and older iPod.

    One thing I will add: if you are testing gapless by manually moving playback to near the end of a song, that could create a gapless playback problem because of the buffer. Test for gapless by playing an entire track and determine if it then transitions properly into the next track.

    I tend to go to a minute of so from the end. I'm having to test for gapless playback (as well as some of the other problems that I've been on here asking for help with over the past few months) so often, that I'd be here all evening every evening if I played whole tracks, but I'll certainly give it a go.

    Probably worth adding that on my phone I'm just playing the albums through normally & hearing the glitches, so I am actually listing to whole tracks there.

  10. #10
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Quote Originally Posted by snowdog View Post
    I tend to go to a minute of so from the end. I'm having to test for gapless playback (as well as some of the other problems that I've been on here asking for help with over the past few months) so often, that I'd be here all evening every evening if I played whole tracks, but I'll certainly give it a go.

    Probably worth adding that on my phone I'm just playing the albums through normally & hearing the glitches, so I am actually listing to whole tracks there.
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by a "glitch". But if you have the iphone/itunes "soundcheck" feature turned on (i.e., equivalent to ReplayGain automatic volume adjustment), then when you play on an iphone, since the SOUNDCHECK value is typically track-based, then moving from on track to the next could have a bit of a "glitch" in terms of volume change. When I create mp3 files with dbpa, I use the replaygain DSP and set it to also create SOUNDCHECK values (in the Replaygain settings), but to use the ALBUM replaygain value to create the soundcheck value (one of the options) so that there is no volume change from track to track when playing albums.

  11. #11
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by a "glitch". But if you have the iphone/itunes "soundcheck" feature turned on (i.e., equivalent to ReplayGain automatic volume adjustment), then when you play on an iphone, since the SOUNDCHECK value is typically track-based, then moving from on track to the next could have a bit of a "glitch" in terms of volume change. When I create mp3 files with dbpa, I use the replaygain DSP and set it to also create SOUNDCHECK values (in the Replaygain settings), but to use the ALBUM replaygain value to create the soundcheck value (one of the options) so that there is no volume change from track to track when playing albums.
    Good idea, but it's not that. I never use soundcheck. This is just a slight noticeable gap, so tiny that it's almost something you notice or "feel" rather than hear.

  12. #12
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Quote Originally Posted by snowdog View Post
    Good idea, but it's not that. I never use soundcheck. This is just a slight noticeable gap, so tiny that it's almost something you notice or "feel" rather than hear.
    To me, this sounds like the normal outcome. That is, mp3 was never meant to be gapless. But different codecs made it very close. If I listen to a gapless mp3 recording (a live album for example), I don't notice any glitches as it moves from track to track. But I'm not paying hyper attention to it and looking for something very tiny. (Note that back when itunes and the iPod classic didn't handle gaps at all, I didn't have to try to hear gaps....it was VERY obvious and annoying.) Unfortunately, no way I can test what you are hearing. And one person's "tiny, almost imperceptible" is another person's "very annoying".

    This brings us back to Spoon's suggestion. Maybe itunes can handle m4a files better as lossy files that handle gapless.

  13. #13
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    So, I've been investigating this & it would seem that whatever Apple have done with their Music app in the last iOS upgrade, it's changed the way it plays MP3s. Which in turn means that all the opera & classical music I've been ripping & enjoying seamlessly until now will have to be re-ripped.

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by a "glitch".
    I mean a gap in playback. But it's a gap so small that "gap" doesn't seem to adequately describe it. You don't hear the music stop & then start again as such. It's a tiny interruption so it's just not "seamless" like it used to be.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spoon View Post
    Convert to m4a (FDK AAC), you can install this codec from codec central, link on the tool bar.
    Unfortunately, the link downloads an exe file, which is not something I can use on a Mac. Is the a Mac compatible version.

  14. #14
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Quote Originally Posted by Spoon View Post
    Convert to m4a (FDK AAC), you can install this codec from codec central, link on the tool bar.
    Oh! So hang on, these options appear to already be available to me in my batch converter.

    I'm happy to do the background reading but if anyone can clue me in on the best settings to use or point me to a handy guide, that would be great!

  15. #15
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    Re: Seamless playback seems inconsistent at best

    Quote Originally Posted by snowdog View Post
    So, I've been investigating this & it would seem that whatever Apple have done with their Music app in the last iOS upgrade, it's changed the way it plays MP3s. Which in turn means that all the opera & classical music I've been ripping & enjoying seamlessly until now will have to be re-ripped.
    Why not use a music app that supports the mp3 format and gapless playback?

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