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WSLam
2006-09-22, 11:28
I have been trying to diagnose a few WMA related problems and I am wondering if this may be machine/installation related or is this a general issue with SlimServer/SB3 playing WMA Lossless.

Here are the issues:

1) end of songs gets cut off. this is usually difficult to detect except with some classical recordings where they breakup a piece into multiple tracks. I am not talking about gapless playback, I am talking about a small piece at the end actually got chopped off.

2) an ocassional burst of pink noise while playing

3) music just stops. SB3 spectrum analyzer has no activity. no more music. hit play again and the piece will played from the beginning... but it stops. This usually happens only after more then 30 mins of playing.

Why I think these are WMA related? Because if I convert them to FLAC, then none of these issues exists anymore. Everything becomes ok.

Please help fellow WMA Lossless users...

ws

PS: I should point out that I have the same issue on both my SB3.
PPS: I am using Coax out from SB3 to external DAC. I have also tried *two* DAC (EMM Labs DCC2 SE and TacT RCS 2.0s), swap cables etc.
PPPS: Does not seem to be a network related issue as the signal strength is over 80% at all times.

abergdc
2006-09-23, 07:06
I had a few similar sorts of problems, basically static and drop-outs, when I tried to play WMA lossless over a wireless network (also at about 80% strength). I had a mix of network elements, but the wireless router was 11g. MP3s didn't have this problem. When i went ahead and ran the wire, the problems went away. i condluded that it was a bandwidth problem with lossless files. Turns out maybe I could have switched to a different lossless file format, from what you say. I have no idea if in geneal WMA lossless is less efficient than FLAC; of course it could be something about how they are handled in this implementation.

arturo
2006-09-23, 09:55
1) end of songs gets cut off. this is usually difficult to detect except with some classical recordings where they breakup a piece into multiple tracks. I am not talking about gapless playback, I am talking about a small piece at the end actually got chopped off.

I am experiencing the same problem with WMA lossless tracks. The last second or two is truncated when listening with SlimServer/SqueezeBox, but is present when I listen using Windows Media Player. I don't have a solution, just sympathy.

WSLam
2006-09-23, 21:23
I had a few similar sorts of problems, basically static and drop-outs, when I tried to play WMA lossless over a wireless network (also at about 80% strength). I had a mix of network elements, but the wireless router was 11g. MP3s didn't have this problem. When i went ahead and ran the wire, the problems went away. i condluded that it was a bandwidth problem with lossless files. Turns out maybe I could have switched to a different lossless file format, from what you say. I have no idea if in geneal WMA lossless is less efficient than FLAC; of course it could be something about how they are handled in this implementation.

Hi abergdc,
Actually, your suspicion may not be the reason... I do not think it is network related. Why? Because WMA does not get directly streamed to your SB3. All WMA Lossless gets converted to FLAC or WAV (depending on your SS config) since SB3 itself does not support WMA Lossless. So whether you are playing WMA Lossless or FLAC, really SS is streaming FLAC to your SB3.

WSLam
2006-09-23, 21:23
I am experiencing the same problem with WMA lossless tracks. The last second or two is truncated when listening with SlimServer/SqueezeBox, but is present when I listen using Windows Media Player. I don't have a solution, just sympathy.

=( Ok, so I am not the only one out there...will hang in here and wait for a solution.

kklemme
2006-09-23, 21:34
It was my impression that WMA lossless is directly supported on SB3...not transcoded.

What are your experiences with volume leveling behavior with WMA lossless....

Also, If I converted all of my WMA lossless to FLAC, would there be some quality loss in the process??

Thanks, Kirk Klemme

WSLam
2006-09-23, 21:38
It was my impression that WMA lossless is directly supported on SB3...not transcoded.

What are your experiences with volume leveling behavior with WMA lossless....

Also, If I converted all of my WMA lossless to FLAC, would there be some quality loss in the process??

Thanks, Kirk Klemme

Hi Kirk,
WMA Lossless is not supported by SB3 or even the Transporter. Apparently Microsoft charges a licesning fee for WMA Lossless decoder (in hardware)... I think that is why you do not see many WMAL decoder in hw.
If you look under your SS's Server settings\File Types, you will see there are several way to decode WMA... WMA (non Lossless) will get streamed, but lossless usually gets converted to FLAC.
If you convert all your WMAL into FLAC, I believe the quality should be identical. I think it will be like unzipping, and then instead of zipping, you use another compression, say RAR, but the data bits should remain identical.

mkozlows
2006-09-23, 22:56
=( Ok, so I am not the only one out there...will hang in here and wait for a solution.

Are you using the latest version of SlimServer? I used to have that same problem, but it definitely doesn't happen now. I stream WMA Lossless transcoded as FLAC to an SB2, and it works perfectly.

I seem to recall that there was an explicit fix for this at some point, either in 6.3 or 6.5.

WSLam
2006-09-23, 23:23
Are you using the latest version of SlimServer? I used to have that same problem, but it definitely doesn't happen now. I stream WMA Lossless transcoded as FLAC to an SB2, and it works perfectly.

I seem to recall that there was an explicit fix for this at some point, either in 6.3 or 6.5.

Yes I am running the latest version.
The bug (chop off one) is actually being tracked as Bug 2985.
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2985

It is not easy to detect. I cannot imagine how anyone could detect it unless they have more some odd classical recordings that breakup a piece into multiple tracks.

kklemme
2006-09-24, 08:02
You know, I've been beating my head against the wall about this for the last couple weeks, and perhaps this is the ticket. I have a moderate size library of WMA Lossless and many more files yet to rip.

I've been concerned that Slimserver doesn't directly support WMAL and also support the volume leveling of these files.

Perhaps that is a good thing.

As mkozlows put in his post, the transcoding to FLAC works well. That also implies that the volume leveling is working properly. Perhaps it doesn't matter if Slimserver can't read the WMAL volume leveling tags, perhaps the volume leveling is taken care of after the file is transcoded....

Does this make sense?

Thanks...

mkozlows
2006-09-24, 09:25
It is not easy to detect. I cannot imagine how anyone could detect it unless they have more some odd classical recordings that breakup a piece into multiple tracks.

I listen almost exclusively to classical music, and it flowed from track to track without missing a single note when listening to John Adams' Nixon in China. It would have sounded weird had anything been missing, so I'm fairly certain it's not happening here.

Josh Coalson
2006-09-24, 10:36
--- kklemme <kklemme.2en9mb1159110301 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
> As mkozlows put in his post, the transcoding to FLAC works well. That
> also implies that the volume leveling is working properly. Perhaps it
> doesn't matter if Slimserver can't read the WMAL volume leveling
> tags,
> perhaps the volume leveling is taken care of after the file is
> transcoded....

FLAC supports ReplayGain which is a similar feature. make sure
to enable that when transcoding, or if not available, there are
tools to add it later by just scanning the FLAC files.

Josh

WSLam
2006-09-24, 10:54
I listen almost exclusively to classical music, and it flowed from track to track without missing a single note when listening to John Adams' Nixon in China. It would have sounded weird had anything been missing, so I'm fairly certain it's not happening here.

hmmm then you must have a 'cure' that no one is aware of. The SS team is working on this bug as documented here:
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2985

U sure your files are WMAL not just WMA? What WMA Encoder did you use? Thanks.

mkozlows
2006-09-24, 13:43
hmmm then you must have a 'cure' that no one is aware of. The SS team is working on this bug as documented here:
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2985

U sure your files are WMAL not just WMA? What WMA Encoder did you use? Thanks.

They're definitely WMA Lossless, ripped with WMP 10. I'm not sure why it would be happening for you and not me. I am running WMP 11 Beta on an MCE 2005 box, though I'm not sure that'd make a difference.

kklemme
2006-09-24, 20:34
I'm a little confused by Josh's reply above.

Bear in mind, I don't have a system or any hardware running; just checking things out for the future.

Josh said that FLAC supports Replay Gain. If I start with WMA Lossless, I'm assuming that the transcoding happens on the fly along with volume leveling, and the output is then streamed. Is this correct? When transcoding to FLAC, I'm assuming that no new file is saved to disk (correct?). So his comment about adding replay gain later is confusing.

By the way, how does SlimServer accomplish this in real time? Is it transcoding and leveling the next file when the current one is playing....Thanks

radish
2006-09-24, 20:46
I'm a little confused by Josh's reply above.

Bear in mind, I don't have a system or any hardware running; just checking things out for the future.

Josh said that FLAC supports Replay Gain. If I start with WMA Lossless, I'm assuming that the transcoding happens on the fly along with volume leveling, and the output is then streamed. Is this correct? When transcoding to FLAC, I'm assuming that no new file is saved to disk (correct?). So his comment about adding replay gain later is confusing.

By the way, how does SlimServer accomplish this in real time? Is it transcoding and leveling the next file when the current one is playing....Thanks

Transcoding can mean two things - converting all your WMA files to FLAC in one shot or using slimserver to play them by converting the audio data on the fly. I think the two of you are talking about different things.

Anyhow, that's not the issue, you're talking about volume correction. There are a few different techniques for doing this but most of them involve analysing the whole file (or sometimes whole album's worth of files) and writing the results of the analysis into tags. WMP does this itself for WMA files, ReplayGain is similar and works with a few file types including FLAC. iTunes can also do it - again using it's own tagging scheme. Slimserver will read the tags that it understands and use the data to adjust the playback volume accordingly. It certainly supports ReplayGain tags, and I think it also supports whatever scheme iTunes uses. I don't _think_ it supports the volume tags in WMA files (although I may be wrong). What this means is that if you play the WMA files as-is through slimserver you won't get any volume levelling. However, if you convert your collection to some other format (like FLAC) you can then add ReplayGain tags, and then you'll have the levelling.

kklemme
2006-09-24, 20:55
Thanks Radish...

I really am not looking to convert my WMAL files to FLAC unless necessary.

What I'm trying to clarify is whether SS will transcode my WMAL files on the fly and also do Replay Gain to boot. That way I can leave my files as is (including future ripping) and convert during playback....

Does this make sense? Kirk

radish
2006-09-24, 21:02
Thanks Radish...

I really am not looking to convert my WMAL files to FLAC unless necessary.

What I'm trying to clarify is whether SS will transcode my WMAL files on the fly and also do Replay Gain to boot. That way I can leave my files as is (including future ripping) and convert during playback....

Does this make sense? Kirk

Certainly does. My answer is that it will certainly transcode on the fly, and certainly play them with no problems, but I don't _think_ you'll get volume levelling because I don't _think_ slimserver supports the appropriate WMA tags. The easiest thing would probably be for you to either (a) call support and ask them directly or (b) download and install slimserver and find out.

kklemme
2006-09-24, 21:06
Thanks again Radish. I'm planning on calling tech support tomorrow.

This has been difficult for me to sort out. I think I've been asking the wrong question. I'm pretty clear now that SlimServer will not directly read the WMAL volume tags. But now I'm hopeful that I can transcode and add volume leveling on the fly. It seems like a lot of processing on the fly, but like I questioned above maybe it always tries to stay "one file ahead" or something like that. That would also explain why fast forwarding and rewind will not work properly with transcoded files...not a big deal in my estimation.

After I talk to tech support I'll post more info...Kirk

Dougal
2006-09-25, 00:17
To anyone who may be put off encoding to flac becouse of compatabillity with media player don't be as it is a direct show player and with the corect direct show filter installed plus a tag reading plugin it will play any popular media file.
Doug.

kklemme
2006-09-25, 04:57
After I posted that last message regarding on the fly transcoding and volume leveling, I realized perhaps I didn't make myself clear.

I understand that SS will apparently not read WMA Lossless volume leveling tags.

My hope is that during the transcoding process, the file is analyzed and appropriate volume leveling applied.

Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but am anxious to find out.

Regards

radish
2006-09-25, 07:33
But now I'm hopeful that I can transcode and add volume leveling on the fly. It seems like a lot of processing on the fly, but like I questioned above maybe it always tries to stay "one file ahead" or something like that.

No, slimserver doesn't have any support for calculating volume adjustments itself, it can only go on tags already in the files. As for adding them during transcoding, it's all done in realtime so there's not really an opportunity to prescan the file. Sorry!



That would also explain why fast forwarding and rewind will not work properly with transcoded files...not a big deal in my estimation.

FF/REW doesn't work because there's no way for slimserver to tell the external decoder to speed up or start going backwards - it's just reading a stream of data coming in and passing it to the player.

I wouldn't think the change to add support for the WMA volume tags would be particularly tough, so it's probably worth opening an enhancement request.

kklemme
2006-09-25, 07:50
Thanks Radish...

Apparently WMA and WMA lossless are different animals.

WMA is supported directly by the hardware. I don't know if the volume tags are honored or not.

WMAL is not supported by the hardware at all and is transcoded as you know. I am wondering if there could be some way to read the volume leveling information and then transcode to the correct level.....way over my head....

K

radish
2006-09-25, 08:09
Apparently WMA and WMA lossless are different animals.

Indeed they are, but the tagging scheme is the same. So if Slimserver reads tags for one of them it will for both.



WMAL is not supported by the hardware at all and is transcoded as you know. I am wondering if there could be some way to read the volume leveling information and then transcode to the correct level.....way over my head....

Yes, that's exactly what could be done (although the volume adjustment occurs on the player, it's based on reading the tags on the server). Hence my suggestion that you file an enhancement request :)

kklemme
2006-09-25, 08:17
Thanks for your help Radish and everyone...I'll put in an enhancement request...seems likely that I'm not the only one with this issue....Kirk

mkozlows
2006-09-25, 18:22
To anyone who may be put off encoding to flac becouse of compatabillity with media player don't be as it is a direct show player and with the corect direct show filter installed plus a tag reading plugin it will play any popular media file.
Doug.

That's what people told me before, too. And then it turns out that the only DirectShow filter for FLAC was some open source thing at version 0.3 that hadn't been updated for two years and didn't actually work, as such.

radish
2006-09-25, 19:45
That's what people told me before, too. And then it turns out that the only DirectShow filter for FLAC was some open source thing at version 0.3 that hadn't been updated for two years and didn't actually work, as such.

Don't go criticising open source around here ;) There's actually a couple of WMP plugins for FLAC - illiminable and CoreFLAC. As far as I know both are usually pretty stable, I've certainly used them in the past without problems. Drop me a PM if you need any help with them.

Of course MS could write a nice, closed source version themselves, but that would be too helpful :)

depeche
2006-09-25, 21:32
Now that the Transporter is here, I wonder how much work it will be to
conver the Date & Time Screensaver to have the Time on one side and the Date
on the other?
I wish I had a clue about programming!!

Andrew
Hmmmm...Transporter!!!

mkozlows
2006-09-25, 21:33
Don't go criticising open source around here ;) There's actually a couple of WMP plugins for FLAC - illiminable and CoreFLAC.

Open source is fine, when it's an active project. But dead open source projects, not so much. CoreFLAC is at version 0.4, hasn't been updated in two years, and has open bugs since 2004 (including little things like not being able to drag the position bar without crashing WMP). Illiminable is at 0.72, has a changelog that's full of critical issues ("fixed crash problem with x", "fixed crash problem with y", "fixed out of memory problem with z"), had a year between releases, and then hasn't had any release in the last seven months.

I know what production quality open source projects look like, and those aren't it.

kdf
2006-09-25, 21:41
Quoting depeche <d-mode (AT) pacbell (DOT) net>:

> Now that the Transporter is here, I wonder how much work it will be to
> conver the Date & Time Screensaver to have the Time on one side and the
> Date on the other?
> I wish I had a clue about programming!!


http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=3964

depeche
2006-09-25, 21:46
Great! I see that the Slim guys are already on it....



My only question remaining - Does kdf EVER sleep?!?! :)

Andrew


----- Original Message -----
From: "kdf" <slim-mail (AT) deane-freeman (DOT) com>
To: <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2006 9:41 PM
Subject: Re: [slim] Date & Time screensaver for Transporter


> Quoting depeche <d-mode (AT) pacbell (DOT) net>:
>
>> Now that the Transporter is here, I wonder how much work it will be to
>> conver the Date & Time Screensaver to have the Time on one side and the
>> Date on the other?
>> I wish I had a clue about programming!!
>
>
> http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=3964

mkozlows
2006-09-25, 23:33
I know what production quality open source projects look like, and those aren't it.

Although I'm willing to try. I followed the instructions here:

http://losslessaudio.blogspot.com/2005/12/media-center-edition-2005-with-flac.html

And FLAC stuff appears where I'd expect, has read-write metadata, and appears to play back properly in WMP 11. Promising so far; I need to think out some other details before I go any further, though.

radish
2006-09-26, 07:34
Illiminable is at 0.72, has a changelog that's full of critical issues ("fixed crash problem with x", "fixed crash problem with y", "fixed out of memory problem with z")

So you're complaining that they've fixed bugs?

Here's a thing - sometimes software doesn't _need_ updating because it's _done_. Something as simple as a FLAC decoder can only go so far. If it works, why keep changing it?

mkozlows
2006-09-26, 18:28
So you're complaining that they've fixed bugs?


No. I'm complaining that the bugs they're fixing are critical ones, and therefore (if they've done any sensible triage at all), the non-critical bugs are still there.

It's the same way that if you're looking for a web browser, you look for one where the recently fixed bugs are things like "block elements with alpha transparency clip display of absolutely positioned bidirectional text", not "invalid HTML causes browser to crash."

WSLam
2006-09-28, 12:13
Thank you Slim Devices!

They have fixed the end of the track chopped off bug:

I have been using this new wmadec.exe for the past two days. So far so good! You can download your copy here:

http://svn.slimdevices.com/?rev=10057&view=rev

This fixes this:

http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2985

ws

mkozlows
2006-09-28, 21:29
Thank you Slim Devices!

They have fixed the end of the track chopped off bug:


Out of curiosity, is there any particular trigger for it? Because, I swear, it really doesn't occur for me.

WSLam
2006-09-28, 23:55
Out of curiosity, is there any particular trigger for it? Because, I swear, it really doesn't occur for me.

The bug is well documented. It's real. If you have not noticed it, feel lucky! It's there in the current release.