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View Full Version : Before i buy, i need a couple of important questions answering please :)



autopilot
2005-10-07, 11:04
I really like the look of the Squeezebox2, but have a couple of important questions;

1) Gapless Playback.

This is a very important feature for me, as i have many mixed danced music CD's, live gigs and Audio books. Why oh why do manufactures overlook this essential feature so often? Even the almighty iPod can't do it.
So, does the SB2 support it and how does it handle it? I understand certian formats support it and MP3 does not really support it properly, but i do have some gapless ablums that are split up into MP3's. I know it's not ideal, but can the SB2 play them without a gap in the way foobar2000 does? Can i make playlists that have no gaps?
Also, say in future i rip CD's to i long file with a cue sheet, does the SB2 support the reading of cue file?

I need as much info as i can on this please. If the SB2 does do gapless playback, which different options do it have for it?

2) Networking.

I would rather not have to buy a WiFi router, so can i set the SB2 up as a simple Peer-2-Peer network using just a dongle?

Thanks!

Jacob Potter
2005-10-07, 11:25
On 10/7/05, dangerous_dom
<dangerous_dom.1wjnab (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
> This is a very important feature for me, as i have many mixed danced
> music CD's, live gigs and Audio books. Why oh why do manufactures
> overlook this essential feature so often? Even the almighly iPod can't
> do it.
> So, does the SB2 support it and how does it handle it? I understand
> certian formats support it and MP3 does not really support it properly,
> but i do have some gapless ablums that are split up into MP3's. I know
> it's not ideal, but can the SB2 play them without a gap in the way
> foobar2000 does? Can i make playlists that have no gaps?
> Also, say in future i rip CD's to i long file with a cue sheet, does
> the SB2 support the reading of cue file?
>
> I need as much info as i can on this please. If the SB2 does do gapless
> playback, which different options do it have for it?

I've ripped most of my stuff to FLAC, standard one-file-per-track, and
it plays gapless perfectly.

With MP3, the hardware won't add any gaps, but it won't remove them if
they're in the file data (foobar does, though). I believe that the
"--nogap" option in LAME will produce files that play back gapless,
but you'd be better off using a single file and cue sheet or a proper
gapless codec.

> 2) Networking.
>
> I would rather not have to buy a WiFi router, so can i set the SB2 up
> as a simple Peer-2-Peer network using just a dongle?

Yep, that'll work.

- Jacob

radish
2005-10-07, 15:51
OK, from my experience with gapless:

Native formats:
WAV/PCM works fine
MP3 won't - even if you use a recent LAME version to add the gapless tags the MP3 decoder on SB2 ignores them
FLAC is basically fine, but there is a currently outstanding bug which spoils some transitions. I expect it to be fixed soon though :)

Transcoding:
I've tried transcoding FLAC & Vorbis to WAV/PCM and it works perfectly.
Transcoding Vorbis to FLAC seems to work as well.
Transcoding anything to MP3 won't work (see above).
I haven't tried transcoding MP3 to anything - it may work as it's LAME doing the decoding.


So, if you have MP3s now, you might have luck transcoding to PCM or FLAC, but I don't have any suitable files to test with - it also won't work unless your files were ripped properly with a recent LAME version. If you're going to rerip, pick a format which actually supports gapless, like FLAC or Vorbis.


Even the almighty iPod can't do it.
And heaven help you if you mention it on ipodlounge. That's why my money goes to Slim and Rio (RIP) - they make players which actually work properly.

Michaelwagner
2005-10-07, 18:32
OK, from my experience with gapless:

MP3 won't - even if you use a recent LAME version to add the gapless tags the MP3 decoder on SB2 ignores them

What are MP3 gapless tags? I've never heard of them ...

radish
2005-10-08, 07:46
There's not a massive amount of documentation I can find about them. Basically, LAME writes headers to describe how long the original audio is, so the player can ignore the trailing silence at the end of the last frame.

This forum post describes it better:
http://lists.xmms.org/pipermail/xmms2-devel/2005-September/000096.html

And this is the best page about general gapless issues, also talks about LAME:
http://www.pretentiousname.com/mp3players/

Michaelwagner
2005-10-08, 10:28
OK. Now I understand what you're talking about. Usually by MP3 tags I understand the ID3 tags and there are, to my knowledge, none of those about end gap.

This comes close to something I was going to post anyways in a day or two, so this is as good a time as any.

There is code, in the low level drivers, to set how long the decoder waits and how full the buffer has to be before it starts playing. But I can find nowhere in the user interface where this is settable, so I'm guessing it's hard wired somewhere higher up in the code.

1. Is this right? Or did I just miss it?
2. Is there any good reason not to make it accessable at (at least) the CLI interface?

moobaa
2005-10-08, 17:14
FWIW, I used to use BladeEnc as my MP3 encoder; it had a --nogap option that *sometimes* resulted in gapless playback from my old SliMP3. If a particular transition didn't sound gapless, then often shifting the track-break by one or two samples *would* result in a nice, seamless transition.

IIRC, it achieved this without any additional tags; BladeEnc would prepend the track after the break with samples from the track before. This often made clean track-breaks difficult :}

Am I the only one who thought that WinAMP was completely incapable of gapless playback? I had to (gladly!) change to Foobar for that...

radish
2005-10-08, 17:27
Winamp will do gapless just fine (and I'm not talking about crossfading) - it just needs a little config, as will foobar and most other decent software players (e.g. JRiver). Note I didn't mention iTunes ;)


IIRC, it achieved this without any additional tags; BladeEnc would prepend the track after the break with samples from the track before. This often made clean track-breaks difficult :}
LAME had (or still has, not sure) a similar option. The problem with it is that you have to encode the whole album at one time, so it knows which order the tracks should go in and can work out the splits. With some rippers (e.g. EAC) this isn't possible. Of course you can rip to wav and then do the compression as a second step, but that's not ideal for most people. The second problem, as you mention, is that the breaks end up in the wrong place. Not usually a problem for DJ mixes as the break point is pretty arbitrary anyway, but more significant for other genres.



2. Is there any good reason not to make it accessable at (at least) the CLI interface?

Why would you want to change it?

Michaelwagner
2005-10-08, 18:05
Why would you want to change it?
Because it's too long a pause.

I actually went and read the code some more. If the buffer isn't full to an arbitrary level (which is different in different releases), it sets a timer and checks back again in 1 second. 1 second is a long time when you're waiting for a song to start.

The way this came up, I tried out a new configuration with the music on a slug. Well, the slug isn't the fastest I/O beast on the planet, and at the start of each new song, there is a point where it just wails at the interface for a while. When you stop the player and then start it on a new song, there's at least a 1 second gap, which wasn't there when I used local I/O. So I'm guessing that, with local I/O, it gets to the initial buffer fullness soon enough, and doesn't go down the code path that says wait a second. But with the slower I/O, it does.

autopilot
2005-10-09, 03:35
/enter the newbie...

I have downloaded Slimsever to have a look before i get a Sqeezebox2 but i am a little confused at to how the gappless playback works.

I know that FLAC and OGG support it, but how does the player know it's a gappless album or not? I plan to rip gapless and non-gapples ablums in the same way - single OGG or FLAC files. Is there a setting in the encoder/ripper that needs to be set? Or do i just rip my albums and it's done automatically? I take it that the FLAC/OGG files all end right at the end of the music in the track, i just don't get how the Slimserver/Sqeezebox knows how next track should be played striaght after the last file or if there should be a gapp inserted. Or am i worrying about nothing and it's all handled at the time of ripping?

Sorry for the newbie questions, i have very little experience with FLAC and OGG and need to get things striaght before i fork out the money. If i can't achieve gapless playback with ease i will have to stick to burning CD's with Feurio and using my CD player!

And is there anyway at all i can instruct it to play my MP3 tracks gapless?

radish
2005-10-09, 07:30
I know that FLAC and OGG support it, but how does the player know it's a gappless album or not?

It doesn't, it plays them all the same. Non-gapless albums have encoded silence at the end of tracks.


I plan to rip gapless and non-gapples ablums in the same way - single OGG or FLAC files. Is there a setting in the encoder/ripper that needs to be set? Or do i just rip my albums and it's done automatically?

No settings, just do them all the same.


And is there anyway at all i can instruct it to play my MP3 tracks gapless?
See the above discussion.

autopilot
2005-10-09, 08:06
Would trans-coding from mp3 to OGG help?

radish
2005-10-09, 08:27
If you use something that is gapless-aware to do the transcode (like foobar2000) then maybe. Give it a shot with one album and see what happens. You'll get a quality drop though, as you're doing a lossy-lossy transcode. Personally, I'd just rerip into something lossless.

moobaa
2005-10-09, 15:53
LAME had (or still has, not sure) a similar option. The problem with it is that you have to encode the whole album at one time, so it knows which order the tracks should go in and can work out the splits.

Ah, OK. I was under the impression that LAME could only insert a tag with the number of samples in the final frame :}



Of course you can rip to wav and then do the compression as a second step, but that's not ideal for most people.

You're talking to someone who rips entire albums to one WAV, then manually creates "tracks" using a home-spun splitter. Nothing's toomuch hassle for me ;)