View Full Version : .m4a Playback Issue?

2008-01-02, 07:42
I bought three albums from the iTunes Plus store (i.e higher quality and no DRM). Two of them play back fine on the SB, one wont, it just jitters and starts and stops on every song. Their all the same 256Kb bit rate etc.

It plays fine in iTunes and on my iPod, just wont stream from Slim to the SB. I dont have softsqueeze installed so I cant say if it will stream that way or not....

Any ideas on how to trouble shoot this?

2008-01-02, 08:06
m4a files have toe transcoded on the server before they play - so if there are problem, it is most likely a server issue.

What is your server system spec, the OS and SS version ?

If it is Windows based - what version of Quicktime is installed and what security s/w are you using.

2008-01-02, 10:20
I think this is what you were asking for ?:

MS Vista, Dual Core 3800+ 2.- GHz, 32Bit OS.
2GB ram.

SqueezeCenter Version: 7.0 - 15720 - Windows Vista - EN - cp1252
Server IP address:
Perl Version: 5.8.8 MSWin32-x86-multi-thread
MySQL Version: 5.0.22-community-nt
Platform Architecture: 586
Hostname: XXX
Server Port Number: 9000
Total Players Recognized: 1
Cache Folder: C:\ProgramData\SqueezeCenter\Cache
Plugin Folders: C:\PROGRA~1\SQUEEZ~1\server\Slim\Plugin,C:\PROGRA~ 1\SQUEEZ~1\server\Plugins

2008-01-02, 10:45
I recall some issues with Quicktime stuttering being sorted by changing it's default bit-depth from 24 to 16. There may be an upgrade with Itunes 7.2(?) which fixes this.

2008-01-02, 11:57
Back in April some Vista users had similar problems with m4a files ( see http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=34181 ).

It seemed to be related to Quicktime although you do not have problems when playing through iTunes.

The solution in April was to stop using mov123 (which uses Quicktime) and use faad or mplayer to play the m4a files. Howeve it may be worth checking the solution amcluesent suggested.

2008-01-02, 14:41
Wow...thats a thread thats a tad bit confusing. But I think I got a bit of troubleshooting info that might help. When I play the .m4a files in Quicktime they sound exactly like they do when played over the SB. Same exact glitches and drop outs.

Im not sure what the soltuion is but Im a dig in that thread and see if there is anything there.

2008-01-02, 15:12
That thread spent a lot of time trying to identify the problem. Nobody wanted to believe Quicktime was the problem.

Since you have the same glitches and dropouts with Quicktime - then you have the same problem.

Simplest way to try is
1. Stop squeezecenter
2. Install mplayer.exe - an easy way to to use the AlienBBC plugin install program ( http://www.x2systems.com/alienbbc/AlienBBC-v2.00beta2_7.0.exe ) . It installs a copy of mplayer.exe as part of RealAudio and BBC support.
3. Replace the "mov" lines in convert.conf by the lines in this file. Use Wordpad editor.http://homepage.eircom.net/~altondsl/slim/custom-convert.zip
4. Start Squeezecenter - check filetypes for "mov" and make sure it is using mplayer.
5. If OK - try an m4a file

2008-01-02, 16:07
Will give that a shot in a sec! Thx a ton BPA for the help!

Hopefully I get this fixed and can find a solution for my album art importing crashing the server and I'll be golden :)

BPA... I didnt have a mov wav * * entry in my config file? Not sure I should worry about that.

When I retsart the Slimserver, and go to advanced -> file types I dont see any listing there for mov or .m4a links to make sure its linked to mplayer?

Under Apple AAC or Movie File the seetings are:
AIFF - mov123
FLAC - mplayer
mp3 disabled

That sound right?

Once i installed mplayer thought the test they have did work in DOS so I know the player is working on the Vista box atleast!

Inital testing now doesnt play anything from Apple anymore. None of the .m4a even play now and the other apple content that I had which I had removed the protection from dont play...so something is really doinked right now with the m4a decoder!

Shouldnt there be a listing for m4a or Mpeg 4 Audio in the list to pick which decoder manages that file type?

2008-01-02, 19:18
Woops, in my haste and excitement to try editing the conf I forgot to backup the original settings! DOH! Would have been nice to flip back and see what was working with the decrypted m4a files vs the iTunes Plus files!

Guess its full speed ahead now that all .m4a are broken! lolol

2008-01-02, 19:33
Itlan, just curious - are your hard drives setup as a RAID array and are they SATA drives?

2008-01-02, 19:39
Just a normal SATA drive, no RAID array.

Should it look like this:

mov mp3 * *
[mplayer] -really-quiet -vc null -vo null -af volume=0,resample=44100:0:1,channels=2 -ao pcm:nowaveheader:file=#PIPE# $FILE$ | [lame] --silent -r -x -q $QUALITY$ -b $BITRATE$ - -


mov mp3 * *
[mplayer] -really-quiet -vc null -vo null -af volume=0,resample=44100:0:1,channels=2 -ao pcm:nowaveheader:file=#PIPE# $FILE$ | [lame] --silent -r -x -q $QUALITY$ -b $BITRATE$ - -

$ --abr $BITRATE$ -r - -

Not that it matters at this point since it doesnt work either way, but that ($ --abr $BITRATE$ -r - -) looked like a remnant from the original file (which like a moron I didnt keep) so I dont know if it needs to be there or not.

2008-01-03, 01:29
Regardless of the mp3 line - I've just realised that there were changes in Slimserver & Squeezecenter since April which means mplayer will no longer work playing files and you will have to use faad2 instead. I don't have the changes to convert.conf for faad2 on hand.

To revert I think the link below will download a clean convert.conf from the source repository.

2008-01-03, 01:50
I don't have a Windows Slimserver running at the moment so this is what I expect but not tested.

To use faad2 instead of mplayer.

1. Download a Windows version for faad2 ( probably from here http://www.rarewares.org/aac-decoders.php ) and copy into same sub-directory of your Squeezecenter Bin directory as mplayer.exe

2. Change the mov123 lines for mp3 and flc as follows (taken from wiki AAC entry). You can add the "mov wav" lines as well. If the executable in installed in step 1 is called faad2.exe then change the faad to faad2.

# Transcoding for AAC files.
mov flc * *
[faad] -w -f 2 $FILE$ | [flac] -cs --totally-silent --compression-level-0 --endian little --sign signed --channels 2 --bps 16 --sample-rate 44100 -

mov mp3 * *
[faad] -w -f 2 $FILE$ | [lame] --resample 44100 --silent -q $QUALITY$ -b $BITRATE$ -x -r - -

mov wav * *
[faad] -w -f 2 $FILE$

2008-01-03, 07:54
SUCCESS! Thanks a ton BPA! Using the faad player got the regular m4a and the iTunes plus files all sreaming perfectly!

I have no idea where you found that wiki, the only one I could find was this (http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?AAC) which doesnt have the information you had!

Now to figure out why my rescans keep dying on album art importing! Then Im home free! Cheers!

2008-01-14, 14:04
# Transcoding for AAC files.
mov flc * *
[faad] -w -f 2 $FILE$ | [flac] -cs --totally-silent --compression-level-0 --endian little --sign signed --channels 2 --bps 16 --sample-rate 44100 -

mov mp3 * *
[faad] -w -f 2 $FILE$ | [lame] --resample 44100 --silent -q $QUALITY$ -b $BITRATE$ -x -r - -

mov wav * *
[faad] -w -f 2 $FILE$

This did not work for me on a Ubuntu Gutsy. This, however, did:

mov mp3 * *
[faad] $FILE$ -o - | [lame] --resample 44100 --silent -q $QUALITY$ --abr $BITRATE$ - -

Seems there is a bug in running faad with the -w switch. Hope this helps.

2008-03-15, 22:48
can you tell us which track from itunes is causing the issue?

2008-04-23, 20:41
Any m4a or m4a plus file. For example the entire Korn album See You On The Other Side purchased from the plus store, or tracks that I used Tunebite on such as Wyclef Carnival II. Its not some files worked and some didnt, no m4a's played until I did the changes above.,

2008-04-24, 01:18
I don't have a Windows Slimserver running at the moment so this is what I expect but not tested.

To use faad2 instead of mplayer.

Thanks BPA, as one of the originals that had this problem I suspect you have saved me a big headache when I update to SC7.