LAME VMR truncates in iTunes. Bad VBR distribution.

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kiyoshi
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LAME VMR truncates in iTunes. Bad VBR distribution.

Post by kiyoshi » Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:57 pm

I have been using the latest build of Max and find that the concept of this program is extremely well thought out. For the most part, it is well implemented, too. However, there are 2 major issues that I would like to tell you about:

1) I understand that you do not choose -V2 or -V1 or any other LAME settings within Max, but that Max allows you to customize using sliders. As many, many people are wanting to use the -V2 VBR NEW setting, I have found that setting Max to do VBR and setting the slider to 192kbps produces files within the -V2 range. With any other encoder, includig iTunes, the range of mp3s encoded with -V2 or similar values is around 165-215kbps. This entirely depends on the type of music being encoded (complexity, mono frames, etc). When using Max, the VBR bit rate is ALWAYS 191kbps VBR. I understand that the average bit rate (though I'm not talking about ABR setting) is to be a RANGE when in VBR mode - as it is dynamic. For Max to encode ALL songs of ALL genres ad EXACTLY 191kbps VBR seems that it is not thinking. Seems as if it is not giving higher bit rates for songs/portions that need it and lower bit rates for songs/portions that do not. I would like to see my very simplistic song encoded @ -V2 VBR New to be about 170kbps, whilst my very complex song usually gets at least 200kbps VBR. Most encoders will encode the simple song with lower bit rate and the complex song with higher bit rates. Why is Max stuck on outputting the same VBR (exactly!) for everything? Inefficient? Wrong settings?

2) Although it is probable Lame 3.97b2's fault, none of the songs output by Lame are iTunes compatible. If you set it to VBR new/fast and encode at any average bit rate, the encoded files will be truncated. Every single one, by 1-4 seconds or so. I've heard of the iTunes compatability mode, but this does not fix the problem (what is it supposed to do?)... I've heard of VBRfix that can, well, fix the vbr files. I've not seen this implemented on Max OS X, though.

Right now, I have a CD encoded by Max. Every song is 191kbps VBR. Every song cuts out 2-3 seconds too early. I have the same CD encoded by iTunes. Every song has a different (though similar) bit rate, ranging from 174kbps-208kbps. Every song plays to the end perfectly without any truncation. iTunes would seem to be superior, except that I have no idea what error protection or skipping insurance it has - nor do I know what sort of encoder it is using (as it is OFTEN seen as completely inferior to LAME).
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sbooth
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Post by sbooth » Sun Jun 18, 2006 6:32 am

I've seen a similar problem a while back. It seemed at the time to be a problem with the Xing VBR header. However, the Xing header is written correctly now, so I'm not sure where the problem could lie. I've discovered during Max's development that iTunes has several issues that are somewhat surprising.

Can you post details of your setup for some more troubleshooting? After reading on HydrogenAudio, it seems this is not a Max-specific problem, but rather a LAME-encoded VBR MP3 problem.

kiyoshi
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Post by kiyoshi » Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:03 am

Mac OS X 10.4.6

iTunes 6.0.4 (3)

VBR New -V2, Joint Stereo, Lame 3.97b2 in Max (but you knew that, lol)

CD:
Artist: Gackt
Album: Crescent
Song: Track 12, "Orenji No Taiyou" - 9'10"
I use this as a sample because it has vocals, soft parts, complex guitar portions, parts of relative simplicity, part of complexity (dual guitars + dual vocals + ambient), and is also a very long song (9'10") - so that any errors of time will be more apparent.

I'm testing ALL other LAME encoders for the Mac OS platform currently. I will see if it is a 3.97b2 specific problem or a Max problem. I expect Lame 3.96.1 to be okay, but I'll go find out. I spend about $150-$200 a week on import vinyl & CDs and rip them to a 400 GB hard drive, so I am very much a power user who needs to be using a Lossy format due to sheer volume of music and the fact that I trade a lot of MP3s on the Internet with other users (and can't be sending lossless files, even with 4x band DSL). Thank you so much for your contribution with Max.

-- Kiyoshi.
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aim = le kiyoshi
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kiyoshi
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New Data.

Post by kiyoshi » Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:46 am

Ok, I'm back with more information.

Quesiton: Can you encode your music to MP3 using the LAME encoder and still have it work in iTunes? The answer?

Answer: NO.

At least on the Mac OS X platform, there are no encoders which will work.

CD Stack, iTunesLame, LameBrain, Max, and NMP3 Ripper do not work.
Lame versions 3.95, 3.96, and 3.97b2 have been tested. None work.
Your songs will always be truncated no matter what encoder you use, no matter what LAME version you use, and no matter what bit rate or setting you specify (as long as it is VBR). Every song will be truncated.

Conclusion: If you use iTunes and/or an iPod, you cannot use any version of LAME or any encoder utilising LAME to encode VBR mp3s properly. CBR will work fine, but ALL VBR MP3s will have truncation problem. This is a problem with iTunes (specifically header information).

Until there is a fix (either from Apple or 3rd party), that seems to be it!
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Fuga
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Post by Fuga » Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:06 pm

Every MP3 I've ever made with LAME (every app you've named except CD Stack) has played in all my iTunes. Currently I use iTunes-LAME, Tiger, and iTunes v.6.0.4.

T.D.S.
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Post by T.D.S. » Fri Jun 30, 2006 6:01 am

I have noticed this as well and it seems to be an iTunes problem. I played the same file in Cog and Audion and it played normally. I have abandoned all hope of Apple updating iTunes with something you know, useful.

RonaldPR
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Re: LAME VMR truncates in iTunes. Bad VBR distribution.

Post by RonaldPR » Fri Jun 30, 2006 8:20 am

kiyoshi wrote:As many, many people are wanting to use the -V2 VBR NEW setting, I have found that setting Max to do VBR and setting the slider to 192kbps produces files within the -V2 range.
Doesn't the predefined setting "Encoder Quality: Transparent" produce VBR files within the -V2 range?

db
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Re: LAME VMR truncates in iTunes. Bad VBR distribution.

Post by db » Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:52 pm

RonaldPR wrote: Doesn't the predefined setting "Encoder Quality: Transparent" produce VBR files within the -V2 range?
Isn't transparent supposed to be exactly -V 2/-preset standard?

I have never had any regular problems with truncated tracks when I have used lame (3.8 and up) and iTunes/iPod. What happens if you rip it to AIFF?

Btw, iTunes uses the Fraunhofer encoder.

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