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  1. #1
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    DJ Mix CD's ripped to mp3 - what's the gap like in playback?

    Hi
    I'm thinking of getting a squeezebox3 and have a question about the gap between tracks during playback.

    When I rip a DJ Mixed dance CD to mp3 and play it back, on some playback devices there is a noticeable gap between tracks which is quite annoying and on others it is barely noticeable.

    For example, Window Media Player is almost seamless between the mp3 tracks, so the DJ's work isn't messed up. Similarly on my in car cdmp3 player. On my friend's Roku Soundbridge it's also very good. But on my Benq portable mp3 player, there is a noticeable pause while it loads up and starts playing the next track (perhaps 1/3rd of a second).

    What's the gap between tracks like on the squeezebox3?

    When I've asked this question about other devices before, i've had responses talking about removing gaps between gaps while ripping, so just to be clear - there are no gaps between tracks -it's a seamless DJ mix and the length of the audible gap during playback of the ripped mp3s is a function of the media player/device, not the ripping software.

    Many thanks!
    Charlesr

  2. #2
    Senior Member radish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesr
    When I've asked this question about other devices before, i've had responses talking about removing gaps between gaps while ripping, so just to be clear - there are no gaps between tracks -it's a seamless DJ mix and the length of the audible gap during playback of the ripped mp3s is a function of the media player/device, not the ripping software.
    No, the gap is primarily a function of the format. MP3 (well, standard MP3 anyway*) cannot do proper gapless playback. If you want gapless, use a gapless format like WAV, FLAC or Vorbis. Squeezebox will play all those back gapless just fine.

    (*) There are hacks to make MP3 gapless. One approach is for the player to try and guess the true length of the track by looking for silence, this is error prone. Another is for the encoder (LAME is the only one to support this IIRC) to write special comments with the correct file length in. This requires player support as well, I think there's an open request for this to be added to Squeezebox. Regardless, if you didn't rip it in the correct version of LAME in the first place that won't help you. Finally, LAME will also allow you to rip and entire album gaplessly by moving the track start/end points to fit into exact frames. If you do it that way then it should be gapless on most players, Squeezebox included (but I haven't tested it).

  3. #3
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    Thanks - useful stuff.

    Ok, so let's say I'm completely happy with the tiny almost imperceptable gap between my mp3 tracks that windows media player and the Roku soundbridge do, and there's no way I'd consider re-ripping my 400+ albums again any time soon, will I be happy with the gap between tracks on the Squeezebox? Will it be similarly small? That is all I need to know before slapping my credit card down. I intend to convert it all to FLAC at a later date when I have replacement HDs with enough space, so later it's not going to be a problem.

  4. #4
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    INo gap at all.....crossfade

    If I understand your question correctly, there need be no gap at all...in fact squeezebox allows a seamless crossfade from 1-10 seconds when there is a period when both current and next track plays simulatanously. The only bug in the ointment (literally!) is that this feature will not currently work when multiple squeezeboxes are synched together...although a fix is promised.

  5. #5
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    Cross fade would screw up the DJ mix (the DJ does the cross fading on dance CDs in the studio during recording!).
    Is anyone able to tell me how big the gap would be without crossfade on my amateurly encoded mp3s?

  6. #6
    Senior Member radish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesr
    Cross fade would screw up the DJ mix (the DJ does the cross fading on dance CDs in the studio during recording!).
    Is anyone able to tell me how big the gap would be without crossfade on my amateurly encoded mp3s?
    You're right - crossfade is the last thing you want!

    I just loaded up one of my own mixes (which I keep in a number of formats for ease of distribution to potential clients) and took a listen on my SB2. The gap is pretty tiny, the SB prebuffers so there's no transmission delay, just the frame space at the end. No pop or anything, just a momentary silence. Enough to annoy me (I'm a perfectionist!) but I'm sure fine for most people.

  7. #7
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    Sold! You star! Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this thread. I'll probably be back with some "I've just bought one and can't do this and that" type questions soon

  8. #8
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    Tiny gap

    Quote Originally Posted by radish
    You're right - crossfade is the last thing you want!

    I just loaded up one of my own mixes (which I keep in a number of formats for ease of distribution to potential clients) and took a listen on my SB2. The gap is pretty tiny, the SB prebuffers so there's no transmission delay, just the frame space at the end. No pop or anything, just a momentary silence. Enough to annoy me (I'm a perfectionist!) but I'm sure fine for most people.
    How to remove or reduce these silences ?
    Somewhere on the technical documentation I have seen there are "silent frames" added at the beginning of files.

  9. #9
    Senior Member radish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by francis_lhert
    How to remove or reduce these silences ?
    Somewhere on the technical documentation I have seen there are "silent frames" added at the beginning of files.
    Take a look at my first response on this thread. The best advice is to not use mp3 if you want gapless.

  10. #10
    Senior Member autopilot's Avatar
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    Hello mate.

    I asked the exact same question before i wanted to buy an SB3, as 1/3 of my CD collection requires gapless playback. I can tell you that you wont be disapointed. But i would HIGHLY recommend you use a different format, as people here have already said. Use either FLAC or Vorbis, which are designed for gapless.

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesr
    I intend to convert it all to FLAC at a later date when I have replacement HDs with enough space, so later it's not going to be a problem.
    Do you mean you intend to convert all your MP3's to FLAC? Don't bother - a) you wont get any improvement in sound quality, what was lost when comressing to MP3 is lost forever. b) The gap is actually in the MP3 files (padding frames added by the encoder) and converting to FLAC wont solve the problem. Re-rip your CD's to FLAC or Vorbis.

    One other option in to rip to one long file and use a CUE sheet for track names and times (tracks still appear as single tracks in slimserver because it reads the cue sheet). This is the best way to get true faultless gapless playback (works with MP3 too).

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