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  #1  
Old 04-01-2011, 08:42 PM
Laudanum Laudanum is offline
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Default MSC - MTP ... again

My computer is mainly reserved for movies for the TV so would like to avoid installing additional software so I have been using WMP. Im ripping CD's to the music folder with WMP (MP3's).
Ive done some searching and most seem to have issues with album art with MTP. Using WMP12 and MTP and using sync in WMP to sync the files to the J3, the album art shows up in the J3 without issue.

However, with the J3 set to MSC, if I sync within WMP, no album art.
Isnt this the reverse of what most have experienced or have I missed something?

I can grab a jpg of the album cover and save it as cover.jpg inside the album folder (on the PC). But still, going back into WMP and using sync to the J3 , no album art.

Simple drag and drop or copy/paste of the album folder (with cover.jpg inside) to the J3 works fine with J3 in MSC.
Or, I can sync with WMP then perform the additional step of opening up the folder within the J3 and pasting in the cover.jpg album art and the J3 displays it.

But bottom line is that no matter what I do, syncing from WMP with J3 in MSC, no album art.

Does this sound right? Or, am I missing something?

Thanks

Last edited by Laudanum; 04-01-2011 at 09:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:22 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laudanum View Post
Ive done some searching and most seem to have issues with album art with MTP.
Actually, I think the MTP-specific problem refers to the J3 not discovering imbedded album art (inside of tags) when the music file transfer from PC to J3 occurred while in MTP mode.

But I didn't think there was ever an issue with the "cover.jpg" method, which always worked no matter how the music files (or cover.jpg art files) got to the J3, MSC or MTP.


Quote:
Using WMP12 and MTP and using sync in WMP to sync the files to the J3, the album art shows up in the J3 without issue.
If you're not experimenting with imbedded album art in music files, then as long as the cover.jpg file gets to the album folder on the J3, then it should appear on the J3's player.

So your results here suggest that sync with WMP in MTP mode IS copying the cover.jpg file as well as the album folder and subordinate music files.


Quote:
However, with the J3 set to MSC, if I sync within WMP, no album art.
Sounds like a bug in WMP.

Does the cover.jpg file end up on the J3 or not? If not, then it is a bug in WMP. If yes, but it's not being displayed by the J3, then I'm baffled.

Assuming the cover.jpg file did not get copied by WMP when the sync is done while in MSC mode, but does get copied by WMP when the sync is done while in MTP mode, then this is a WMP problem... not a J3 problem.


Quote:
Isnt this the reverse of what most have experienced or have I missed something?
I personally don't use WMP to keep my J3 current (and sync'd with my PC collection of music and album art). I use a program named Beyond Compare. Many others use Media Monkey, or other products.

But if there are others who do use WMP perhaps they could comment on your results.


Quote:
I can grab a jpg of the album cover and save it as cover.jpg inside the album folder (on the PC). But still, going back into WMP and using sync to the J3 , no album art.
The real question is does the cover.jpg file get copied over to the J3 or not? If not, and it should, then it's a WMP bug... seemingly associated with MSC mode.


Quote:
Simple drag and drop or copy/paste of the album folder (with cover.jpg inside) to the J3 works fine with J3 in MSC.
Sure.


Quote:
Or, I can sync with WMP then perform the additional step of opening up the folder within the J3 and pasting in the cover.jpg album art and the J3 displays it.
Sure, again.


Quote:
But bottom line is that no matter what I do, syncing from WMP with J3 in MSC, no album art.
Does cover.jpg get copied to the J3? If not, and if it should, then it's a bug in WMP.

Maybe investigate other sync products. I use Beyond Compare because it's got millions of other assorted uses for me every day (for folder and file compares), but also does a terrific job of keeping my J3 in sync with my PC.

Actually, many outside products (including Beyond Compare) can't run in MTP mode but must run in MSC mode, because they depend on Windows drive letters... which are only assigned to the J3 when in MSC mode.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:58 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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First, I do not have a Cowon J3 so I have absolutely NO idea if this relates directly you what you are encountering. I have however noticed that many of the issues I've encountered on the Sansa Fuze I own seem to translate at least roughly to the J3. The failure of AA tagged by WMP then transferred via MSC seems to be one of those times.

Windows Media Player does not embed album art. It instead creates a set of hidden system folders that carries the AA information. When it syncs in MTP mode those hidden folders are also sent and the AA shows on your player. When it syncs those same files in MSC mode the hidden system folders are left behind so no AA.

This seems to be a limitation of WMP. When I drag and drop the entire folder containing those songs to my Sansa player using either MTP or MSC all the metadata including the AA shows without a problem. I got tired of playing peek-a-boo and decided to embed the Artwork and be done with it. I used Mp3tag for that job. After that all the files I transfer in whatever mode using WMP show their artwork reliably.

I believe I can understand your reluctance to install more software than needed on your machine. I have had one programs installation interfere with the operation of another. My solution to that has been to use programs that keep all their setting inside the installation folder. I've found that portable installations of this type won't interact with any other programs and can be uninstalled by simply deleting the folder where they reside.

My "installation" of Mp3tag is a folder that uses all of 5 MB of space. It does everything my older full install did but writes nothing to the registry. Now that I use it to actually embed the AA it shows reliably everywhere. You can find the directions on how to create a portable installation of Mp3tag here.

Once again, I don't have the J3 and just don't know how much of this may be of use to you. It's entirely possible the use of "cover" or "folder".jpeg is better for you than embedding. Just thought I'd point out a way to be sure WMP really transfers your artwork.
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Old 04-02-2011, 02:37 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
My "installation" of Mp3tag is a folder that uses all of 5 MB of space. It does everything my older full install did but writes nothing to the registry. Now that I use it to actually embed the AA it shows reliably everywhere. You can find the directions on how to create a portable installation of Mp3tag here.
I can understand the desire to create portable installations... of anything, really. It certainly makes it much more intuitive for example when migrating to a newly re-installed Windows. You can just pre-restore the program files directory and then install the program anew, and the old INI and CFG files are already there and will be discovered and used for the newly installed program. It's like you never installed a new OS.

Of course, \Program Files is not a recommended place for programs to store their data in Win7. In fact, you often have UAC problems when updating things in \Program Files, as that location is really supposed to be conceptually "read-only" or at least "protected to some degree" by the operating system itself, for system integrity. If your UAC settings are not compatible, you'll be harassed to death over ever-changing user data stored in the program files directory.

Better these user settings and data should be located in the \Users folder somewhere, either in Appdata or Documents or similar. That's why \Users has a different management policy and UAC approach than \Program Files.

Even \ProgramData (aka "All Users") is preferred for settings and data over \Program Files as it used to be done in older editions of Windows.

But to be technically accurate for MP3Tag in particular, it doesn't write any of its own settings in the "Registry" proper. Its settings are actually stored in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Mp3tag... not the Registry.

This really is no more difficult to "save" and "pre-restore before a new install" than having the same INI and CFG files right there in the program directory itself, as long as you know where it is and how to save it and how to restore it. Really, there are essentially no UAC considerations for data files stored in \Users.

But I do understand the convenience and simplicity of "portable" software installs, all self-contained in the program's own program files directory. That's how it generally was with Win3.1, Win95, Win98, etc., and there's certainly something to be said for it as far as user convenience.
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  #5  
Old 04-02-2011, 06:05 AM
Laudanum Laudanum is offline
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Thanks for the replies gents. And Skip is exactly right. WMP doesnt create any visible files, all is hidden. And in MTP the album art transfers, in MSC it does not, but track and time info does. Just the art that seems to be the problem. But I think I did try a simple drag and drop of a WMP tagged file and it still didnt show album art. I'll have to try that again. But it indeed does sound like a WMP problem.
I'll probably try MP3Tag, it sounds safe.

I assume you can still use WMP for CD rip and then use MP3Tag for tagging album art and song name and track info?

One more question. Is there an all in one freebie that rips cd's to both ogg and flac among others. Not a trialware but a freebie ... and also does tagging?

Thanks for the input, both of you. You've been great.
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:39 AM
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lestatar lestatar is offline
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http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/en/

Widely considered by many to be the best, most secure/accurate audio CD ripper around. Setup can be a wee bit technical, but search the forums here for EAC and you should find some excellent step by step tutorials to achieve perfect rips.

Oh and yes...100% free.

EAC does ID3 tagging as well, but like skip252, I prefer mp3tag exclusively for this.

I understand your desire to install as few apps as possible on your PC, but I come from the school where I like to have lots of small, targeted apps/applets that do 1 or 2 things perfectly vs. bloated all-in-one software that claims to do it all, but does nothing very well.

For media players/media managers, IMO, MediaMonkey and Winamp and foobar2k all run rings around WMP. Free versions of the first 2 are pretty much all you need and foobar2000 is always free.

cheers and good luck!
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2011, 07:12 AM
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About cover art: WMP creates folder.jpg files which the J3 doesn't understand - they have to be named cover.jpg to work ('jpeg' instead of 'jpg' doesn't work either, AFAIK).

I'm using drag'n'drop in MTP mode with my J3 (for Last.fm scrobbling support), and cover.jpg works perfectly fine, unlike embedded album art.
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:32 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laudanum View Post
And in MTP the album art transfers, in MSC it does not
Hidden or not, if cover.jpg is not copied when in MSC mode then this is why the album art is not displaying on the J3. This is obviously a problem with WMP.

Apparently, WMP is not imbedding the album art inside the tags it creates. It is instead using the perfectly acceptable alternative cover.jpg method for album art... but is just failing to copy that cover.jpg to the J3 when in MSC mode. Hence the results you see.


Quote:
but track and time info does.
That's because this info is in the TAG data, which is inside of the music files themselves and which WMP is clearly creating. Since the music file itself is being copied, MSC or MTP mode, this tag data inside the music file is also ending up on the J3. That's why you see that other info when playing music on the J3, because it's in the tag data inside the music file... whether in MSC or MTP mode.

It's just the cover.jpg issue which is problematic for WMP, based on MSC vs. MTP. And without cover.jpg on the J3 (or, without the alternative imbedded album art inside of tags), you will not see album art on the J3.


Quote:
Just the art that seems to be the problem.
Apparently. But only if you use WMP to do your sync, trying to accomplish this automatically... with WMP obviously slightly defective.

However you can always just drag/drop the cover.jpg file yourself, or just use one of many other programs to copy files to the J3 from PC, all of which work perfectly in MSC mode.

Or, you can manually imbed the album art in the tags of those music files using a program like MP3Tag. Then when those music files get copied to the J3 the album art (in the tag of that music file) will obviously also go to the J3.


Quote:
But I think I did try a simple drag and drop of a WMP tagged file and it still didnt show album art.
Unless you've imbedded the album art inside the tag for that music file, just copying a "tagged file" doesn't do anything with respect to album art, on the J3.

To see album art on the J3, you either (a) put cover.jpg in the album folder along with the music files for that album, or (b) imbed the album art JPG for a music file inside the tag for that music file, using any of a variety of programs which can do that... most often MP3Tag which is really the best.

If you don't have cover.jpg in the album folder on the J3, and you haven't manually placed an album JPG in the tag for a given music file that you copied to the J3, then you will NOT see album art for that music file. You've got to make it happen using one of the two methods I named above.

Note that with the J3 imbedded album art in the tag for a music file takes precedence over cover.jpg in the album folder in which that music file may live, if both are present.


Quote:
I'll have to try that again. But it indeed does sound like a WMP problem.
No... it's just that you hadn't imbedded the album art in the tag for that music file, say using MP3Tag, nor had WMP copied the cover.jpg album art over into the album folder because you were playing around in MSC mode.

Ergo: no album art for the J3 to display.


Quote:
I'll probably try MP3Tag, it sounds safe.
Really really easy to use, powerful, flexible, convenient, and reliable.

Of course, if you make your own music files from CD's, you would probably want to use some kind of "all-in-one" product that rips (to intermediate WAV), then encodes (WAV to MP3 or FLAC or OGG) and deletes the intermediate WAV, then tags the music file (ID3 for MP3, OGG Vorbis Comments, aka "FLAC tags" for FLAC/OGG)... all automatically and without your involvement.

As has been stated, Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is very highly regarded, and can do all of this.

Personally, I use a simpler (but similar) program named Audiograbber, just because I prefer its user interface. I've got it configured to invoke LAME to do the MP3 encoding, if I'm producing MP3 files.

Or, if I want to produce FLAC files (which Audiograbber can't really do properly, because it doesn't understand FLAC tags), I will just use Audiograbber to rip to WAV. Then I use a second program, "FLAC Frontend", to do the encoding from WAV to FLAC, also resulting in a "half successful FLAC tag". Then I use a third product, MP3Tag, to finish up the rest of the FLAC tag properly.

I know... if I could just get used to EAC I probably could simplify my life when making FLAC files. But honestly, I don't mind doing it the way I do it. MP3 files are all done automatically by Audiograbber, which I just prefer as a program (plus, I've been using it for about 13 years now, so I'm very used to it). And while the occasional FLAC file production is a bit more multi-step and manual, I don't feel it to be any kind of problem.


Quote:
I assume you can still use WMP for CD rip and then use MP3Tag for tagging album art and song name and track info?
Certainly.

Last edited by DSperber; 04-02-2011 at 07:37 AM.
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  #9  
Old 04-02-2011, 07:37 AM
Laudanum Laudanum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
About cover art: WMP creates folder.jpg files which the J3 doesn't understand - they have to be named cover.jpg to work ('jpeg' instead of 'jpg' doesn't work either, AFAIK).

I'm using drag'n'drop in MTP mode with my J3 (for Last.fm scrobbling support), and cover.jpg works perfectly fine, unlike embedded album art.
Are the WMP folder.jpg files hidden? Because I dont see any jpg files in the albums folder after using WMP tagging.

In terms of MTP mode, with WMP, album art shows up fine using sync from WMP to the J3. I didnt want to use MTP because, I already had read, and as Dsperger pointed out, that some of the more popular applications dont use MTP. So, while just using WMP was my first choice for the mentioned reasons, I have considered (and still am) using one of the better media managers which dont use MTP.
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:57 AM
Laudanum Laudanum is offline
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Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Hidden or not, if cover.jpg is not copied when in MSC mode then this is why the album art is not displaying on the J3. This is obviously a problem with WMP.

Apparently, WMP is not imbedding the album art inside the tags it creates. It is instead using the perfectly acceptable alternative cover.jpg method for album art... but is just failing to copy that cover.jpg to the J3 when in MSC mode. Hence the results you see.


That's because this info is in the TAG data, which is inside of the music files themselves and which WMP is clearly creating. Since the music file itself is being copied, MSC or MTP mode, this tag data inside the music file is also ending up on the J3. That's why you see that other info when playing music on the J3, because it's in the tag data inside the music file... whether in MSC or MTP mode.

It's just the cover.jpg issue which is problematic for WMP, based on MSC vs. MTP. And without cover.jpg on the J3 (or, without the alternative imbedded album art inside of tags), you will not see album art on the J3.


Apparently. But only if you use WMP to do your sync, trying to accomplish this automatically... with WMP obviously slightly defective.

However you can always just drag/drop the cover.jpg file yourself, or just use one of many other programs to copy files to the J3 from PC, all of which work perfectly in MSC mode.

Or, you can manually imbed the album art in the tags of those music files using a program like MP3Tag. Then when those music files get copied to the J3 the album art (in the tag of that music file) will obviously also go to the J3.


Unless you've imbedded the album art inside the tag for that music file, just copying a "tagged file" doesn't do anything with respect to album art, on the J3.

To see album art on the J3, you either (a) put cover.jpg in the album folder along with the music files for that album, or (b) imbed the album art JPG for a music file inside the tag for that music file, using any of a variety of programs which can do that... most often MP3Tag which is really the best.

If you don't have cover.jpg in the album folder on the J3, and you haven't manually placed an album JPG in the tag for a given music file that you copied to the J3, then you will NOT see album art for that music file. You've got to make it happen using one of the two methods I named above.

Note that with the J3 imbedded album art in the tag for a music file takes precedence over cover.jpg in the album folder in which that music file may live, if both are present.


No... it's just that you hadn't imbedded the album art in the tag for that music file, say using MP3Tag, nor had WMP copied the cover.jpg album art over into the album folder because you were playing around in MSC mode.

Ergo: no album art for the J3 to display.


Really really easy to use, powerful, flexible, convenient, and reliable.

Of course, if you make your own music files from CD's, you would probably want to use some kind of "all-in-one" product that rips (to intermediate WAV), then encodes (WAV to MP3 or FLAC or OGG) and deletes the intermediate WAV, then tags the music file (ID3 for MP3, OGG Vorbis Comments, aka "FLAC tags" for FLAC/OGG)... all automatically and without your involvement.

As has been stated, Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is very highly regarded, and can do all of this.

Personally, I use a simpler (but similar) program named Audiograbber, just because I prefer its user interface. I've got it configured to invoke LAME to do the MP3 encoding, if I'm producing MP3 files.

Or, if I want to produce FLAC files (which Audiograbber can't really do properly, because it doesn't understand FLAC tags), I will just use Audiograbber to rip to WAV. Then I use a second program, "FLAC Frontend", to do the encoding from WAV to FLAC, also resulting in a "half successful FLAC tag". Then I use a third product, MP3Tag, to finish up the rest of the FLAC tag properly.

I know... if I could just get used to EAC I probably could simplify my life when making FLAC files. But honestly, I don't mind doing it the way I do it. MP3 files are all done automatically by Audiograbber, which I just prefer as a program (plus, I've been using it for about 13 years now, so I'm very used to it). And while the occasional FLAC file production is a bit more multi-step and manual, I don't feel it to be any kind of problem.


Certainly.
Ok, think I got my head wrapped around most of this. I didnt realize that some programs (MP3Tag) tag each file individually for the album art to show.

Just to get it straight ... EAC will rip and decode to Ogg, Flac and MP3 and also do the tagging for all of them, right? So it's basically an all in one. Will it do VBR OGG? Or is OGG always VBR?

In terms of FLAC ... are there quality settings for amount of compression or is FLAC, FLAC so to speak? I know it's mathematically lossless but I thought I read somewhere that there were settings for amount of compression or "quality settings". Which I realize would seem counterintuitive but I thought I read that somewhere. Obviously, Ive never worked with FLAC.

I also noticed that there is a WMA Lossless rip option within WMP. Since I havent seen much about anyone using it, I assume it's inferior to FLAC . Logic tells me that lossless is lossless but im probably wrong. Is it a size thing with Flac being able to produce smaller files at same quality or is WMA lossless simply inferior to FLAC in terms of quality of the output file?

I really shouldnt be so insitint on finding a simple all in one. I looked for the same thing when getting into doing my video encoding and an all in one animal does not exist for all the different things I wanted. So I ended up using several different programs and quickly got my system down and it's not a big deal. I think it's more about me not wanting to end up with any conflicts on the PC because I had my share when settling on codecs and programs for my movie work.

Last edited by Laudanum; 04-02-2011 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:16 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Just to get it straight ... EAC will rip and decode to Ogg, Flac and MP3 and also do the tagging for all of them, right?
Well I'm not super-experienced with EAC, but based on my limited playing around with it the answer is yes.

You simply configure it with settings, to specify the type of encoding (not decoding) you want it to perform, and the various parameters which may be specified for that encoder.


Quote:
So it's basically an all in one. Will it do VBR OGG? Or is OGG always VBR?
I'm not knowledgeable in OGG, though I've experimented with it a bit just to see if I liked its sound. However I can't really answer your question other than to say that each encoder can be configured within EAC to encode to your specs, using the command-line parameters available for that encoder .

But I prefer LAME 3.98.4 (with highest quality encoding settings) for its wonderful sounding VBR results in the MP3 files it produces.


Quote:
And in terms of FLAC ... are there quality settings for amount of compression or is it just? I know it's mathematically lossless but I thought I read somewhere that there were settings for amount of compression or "quality settings". Which I realize would seem counterintuitive but I thought I read that somewhere. Obviously, Ive never worked with FLAC.
Lossless is lossless. That means you can reproduce the original WAV file from the FLAC file, and it would be bit-for-bit identical to the original WAV file from which the FLAC was produced.

The differing degrees of compression only pertain to the file size of the "lossless FLAC", and the amount of time it takes to produce that compressed lossless FLAC file.

But there is ZERO DIFFERENCE in the playback quality of a FLAC file, no matter what its compression value.

I use "FLAC Frontend" to produce FLAC from WAV (ripped by Audiograbber, as I described earlier) and I've left the compression value set at the default of 6 (with 8 being the MOST compressed). Basically it takes just a few seconds to encode say a WAV file (of say 4 minutes play time) to a FLAC file, on my 3Ghz CPU. There's no reason for me to want to make the FLAC file a bit smaller, at the possible cost of a much longer encoding time.

It's just not worth the extra time or trouble to me, to save some file size. The playback sound quality of any FLAC file is IDENTICAL regardless of compression... since it's lossless by definition. And when expanded internally for playback by a player program it's still bit-for-bit identical to the original WAV version (and sounds identical to that original WAV file), no matter how compressed the FLAC is.

And aside from the compression (say FLAC is maybe 40-60% the size of the original WAV file) the real reason you would want FLAC instead of the original WAV is because FLAC format supports tags (FLAC tags, aka "Ogg Vorbis comments") whereas WAV format does not support tags.

But, your needs may differ. The J3 will accept FLAC files with compression 0 (LEAST compressed) through 8 (MOST compressed).


Quote:
I also noticed that there is a WMA Lossless rip option within WMP. Since I havent seen much about anyone using it, I assume it's inferior to FLAC in some way. Logic tells me that Lossless is lossless but im probably wrong.
Can't comment. I do not use WMA, nor do I use WMP.

I'm a Winamp man for playing all my music files (with G-Force Platinum as my "visualization plug-in"). And MP3Tag for tagging, when needed. And Audiograbber for MP3 rip/encode/tag. And LAME for MP3 encoding. And "FLAC Frontend" for FLAC encoding. And Beyond Compare for syncing. And Musifind Pro for managing my 1000+ CD collection. And CD-Runner for playing audio CD's. And [MP3 Explorer] as my preferred "MP3 Organizer" for my 6800+ MP3 files (although I also use MP3 Manager every so often).

I don't mind using all of these individual products, because they each do their specific job so well.


Quote:
Is it a size thing with Flac being able to produce smaller files at same quality or is WMA lossless simply inferior to FLAC in terms of quality of the output file?
I would guess any lossless format will sound identical... to the original WAV.

Last edited by DSperber; 04-02-2011 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:00 AM
Laudanum Laudanum is offline
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Great info DSperger, than you so much ... and everyone else as well. You've all helped a whole lot. Lots of good info and things to think about in terms of the different applications to try.

Regarding FLAC ... so highest compression ends up with a file about 40% the size of the original?

MP3 ... what is the advantage to encoding with Lame over other encoders, more specifically, whatever WMP uses for encoding to MP3. Is it lower bitrate for same quaility? Or a quality difference bitrate for bitrate? Both? I use 320kbs for all MP3 because I can usually tell the difference between the lower and higher bitrate MP3's, often very clearly. But I have always only use WMP or program included by the players manufacturer.
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:26 AM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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But, your needs may differ. The J3 will accept FLAC files with compression 0 (most compressed) through 8 (least compressed).
You've got that backwards.....Level 8 is the most compressed, and Level 0 is least compressed.
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  #14  
Old 04-02-2011, 06:41 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
You've got that backwards.....Level 8 is the most compressed, and Level 0 is least compressed.
Oops... you're right. My typo.

I will correct the original post.

But 6 (of 8) is still the default on "FLAC Frontend" which I use, which is still just a few seconds to complete on a typical average 4 minute WAV file. There's no reason to spend any more time than that producing a somewhat smaller but still "lossless" result, that cannot sound any better. I'm quite willing to accept the file size that results from 6.

Thanks again. Sorry for the confusion.
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  #15  
Old 04-02-2011, 07:01 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laudanum View Post
Regarding FLAC ... so highest compression ends up with a file about 40% the size of the original?
It varies. Depends on the original WAV content, i.e. its actual sound and what the actual WAV file looks like.

For example, I have one extreme example (where the FLAC file was only about 20% of the WAV file):

original WAV - 24,000,048 bytes
FLAC (6) - 4,746,493 bytes
MP3 (VBR, highest quality) - 3,503,269 bytes

And yet another example (where the FLAC file was about 66% of the WAV file):

original WAV - 49,243,868 bytes
FLAC (6) - 32,609,920 bytes
MP3 (VBR, highest quality) - 9,706,704 bytes

So it really varies.


Quote:
MP3 ... what is the advantage to encoding with Lame over other encoders, more specifically, whatever WMP uses for encoding to MP3.
It sounds the best.

MP3 is by definition a "lossy" codec, so whatever "mathematical and/or psychoacoustic corners you cut" to try and produce that compressed, lossy result will result in a different sound.

LAME is simply that encoder which is generally agreed to produce the "best sounding" MP3 results.


Quote:
Is it lower bitrate for same quality? Or a quality difference bitrate for bitrate? Both?
Hard to compare at a very low-level using these criteria. But I would have to say that for a given resulting MP3 file size, LAME will sound better.

But if you use VBR/highest-quality and let LAME do what it wants to, you will be hard pressed to do an A/B comparison with other encoder's MP3 results and declare any but LAME to be "the winner" in terms of "how it sounds".


Quote:
I use 320kbs for all MP3 because I can usually tell the difference between the lower and higher bitrate MP3's, often very clearly.
320 at CBR, or 320-max for VBR? I encode mine using 320-max VBR highest-quality, meaning I let LAME just produce its best possible VBR result. I don't care about file size.

If I'm producing MP3 (which is already "lossy" and theoretically inferior to "lossless" FLAC in its sound) I want the best "bang for the buck", and LAME's 320/VBR is simply superb.

If I want the "absolute best" (in my mind, anyway), I'll instead go with FLAC.

So my J3 is stocked with both... VBR MP3 from LAME for much/most of my files, and FLAC for "my absolute favorites" where size simply doesn't matter to me.


Quote:
But I have always only use WMP or program included by the players manufacturer.
I do not believe WMP uses an external encoder, like LAME.

Programs like EAC and Audiograbber allow you to specify your own external encoder (i.e. via automatic command-line interface which triggers a second DOS command-prompt window briefly, invoked internally by EAC and Audiograbber). You can specify the command-line parameters to be used in that invocation, and you have previously downloaded that external encoder somewhere and then point to it with EAC and Audiograbber.
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  #16  
Old 04-02-2011, 08:04 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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WMP uses the Fraunhofer .mp3 encoder. It is CBR only. It also does not support gapless playback. The lack of gapless playback, not any perceived difference in audio quality, is the deal breaker for me.

At a certain relatively high bitrate just about all lossy encoders will usually be transparent. There are guidelines for transparency but those are guidelines only. It's usually considered best for each person to determine what's transparent for them with ABX testing. foobar2000 with the addition of the ABX Comparator will allow you to determine which encoder and is transparent to you.

I would visit the Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase LAME reference page. There is wealth of information there that will give you more information.

One thing about foobar2000, It has a portable install option that will not interfere with any other setting or programs currently installed on your PC. I emphasize this because I went through what you described several years ago. When I first started with video conversion I loaded that one program/codec too many and made my only system unstable.

Since then I am very careful to make sure there shouldn't be a negative interaction between softwares when I add a new one. I found portable apps to be a great way to do that. A portable install of fb2k won't disturb any other program and let you try one of the best all-in-one audio programs available.
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  #17  
Old 04-02-2011, 11:49 PM
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lestatar lestatar is offline
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+1 with DSperber and skip252. Superb and accurate info as usual!

LAME is probably the most thoroughly dissected, most completely understood encoder out there, lossy or otherwise. I personally have not used any other encoder for my lossy needs other than LAME throughout my entire digital music journey.
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  #18  
Old 04-03-2011, 07:47 AM
Laudanum Laudanum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
WMP uses the Fraunhofer .mp3 encoder. It is CBR only. It also does not support gapless playback. The lack of gapless playback, not any perceived difference in audio quality, is the deal breaker for me.

At a certain relatively high bitrate just about all lossy encoders will usually be transparent. There are guidelines for transparency but those are guidelines only. It's usually considered best for each person to determine what's transparent for them with ABX testing. foobar2000 with the addition of the ABX Comparator will allow you to determine which encoder and is transparent to you.

I would visit the Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase LAME reference page. There is wealth of information there that will give you more information.

One thing about foobar2000, It has a portable install option that will not interfere with any other setting or programs currently installed on your PC. I emphasize this because I went through what you described several years ago. When I first started with video conversion I loaded that one program/codec too many and made my only system unstable.

Since then I am very careful to make sure there shouldn't be a negative interaction between softwares when I add a new one. I found portable apps to be a great way to do that. A portable install of fb2k won't disturb any other program and let you try one of the best all-in-one audio programs available.
I was looking at the Foobar2000 site and the screenshots. So if I understand, Foobar2000, portable or install, contains all the encoders internally, correct? Well, not all but I saw MP3 Lame, Ogg and Flac among others in the screenshots. So these are all contained within the program ... I wouldnt need to add any external encoders, correct?
Also, Foobar2000 can rip an audio cd to the hard drive as wav files and then convert to other format? I know it contains a player. Can it also sync to the J3 or other player? Or is drag and drop probably the best option for adding music to the J3. WMP would be out obviously because it doesnt support OGG or FLAC (or probably VBR MP3 or gapless).

I apologize if these seem like dumb questions but I think all the audio software options that are available are more overwhelming than the video seemed to be when I first got into it.

Thanks again Skip, and everyone for the great information, and especially your patience. Im not new to MP3 (PMP) players but Ive always just done the easy WMP (or player included software) MP3 transfers. And this is the first player that I have personally owned that supported album art ... or atleast that I bothered with album art.
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  #19  
Old 04-03-2011, 08:14 AM
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lestatar lestatar is offline
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^ re: foobar2000 and encoders: Yes and no.

Some/most all encoders/decoders are already bundled with foobar2000. e.g. LAME is not included as part of foobar2k, but it does support use of LAME binaries. Simply go to rarewares.org and grab the LAME binary bundle - unzip it into a directory on your computer and you are done:

http://www.rarewares.org/index.php

This feature in foobar allows one to use the exact/latest encoder one wishes. So when you wish to encode/transcode to LAME mp3, you simply point foobar2k to where the LAME.exe lives.

Look here for some excellent optional components to augment and tailor foobar2k exactly how you want it:
http://www.foobar2000.org/components

And absolutely no need to apologize! I been doing this stuff since the dawn of mp3 players/digital music and there are still about 9million things I don't know - only one reason why I love ABi as I learn something new pretty much everyday here.

Let us know how you get on of if you have more questions. foobar2k is an awesome program. While it has not replaced either Winamp or MediaMonkey for me as my music library manager/full featured player, foobar2k is my quick and dirty player, the one i use when I want to:
- scan through new music
- transcode from FLAC./lossless to lossy LAME
- verify file integrity of my music
- do some ABX testing
- and a bunch of other stuff

Getting the interface exactly how you want it might take a tiny bit of work though - foobar2k is extremely customizable and for some, that might be a bit too complicated.

I do not think you will have an issue however.

cheers and good luck!
-les
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  #20  
Old 04-03-2011, 09:36 AM
Laudanum Laudanum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lestatar View Post
^ re: foobar2000 and encoders: Yes and no.

Some/most all encoders/decoders are already bundled with foobar2000. e.g. LAME is not included as part of foobar2k, but it does support use of LAME binaries. Simply go to rarewares.org and grab the LAME binary bundle - unzip it into a directory on your computer and you are done:

http://www.rarewares.org/index.php

This feature in foobar allows one to use the exact/latest encoder one wishes. So when you wish to encode/transcode to LAME mp3, you simply point foobar2k to where the LAME.exe lives.

Look here for some excellent optional components to augment and tailor foobar2k exactly how you want it:
http://www.foobar2000.org/components

And absolutely no need to apologize! I been doing this stuff since the dawn of mp3 players/digital music and there are still about 9million things I don't know - only one reason why I love ABi as I learn something new pretty much everyday here.

Let us know how you get on of if you have more questions. foobar2k is an awesome program. While it has not replaced either Winamp or MediaMonkey for me as my music library manager/full featured player, foobar2k is my quick and dirty player, the one i use when I want to:
- scan through new music
- transcode from FLAC./lossless to lossy LAME
- verify file integrity of my music
- do some ABX testing
- and a bunch of other stuff

Getting the interface exactly how you want it might take a tiny bit of work though - foobar2k is extremely customizable and for some, that might be a bit too complicated.

I do not think you will have an issue however.

cheers and good luck!
-les
Thanks lestatar.

Regarding the ripping ... foobar2000 will handle that, correct?

Will it also sync to the player? ... or what do you recommend for that?
Simple drag and drop? Media monkey? Winamp?
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