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Topic: Definitive Explanation of "Part of A Gapless Album" Checkbox

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Old 09-14-2006, 12:33 AM
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Thumbs up Definitive Explanation of "Part of A Gapless Album" Checkbox

This is for everyone who, like myself, came to the forums for an explanation as to how the gapless thing works rather than typing "gapless" into the iTunes help browser. This answer comes straight from the help file lol. I think I'm so conditioned to think documentation is lousy that I just assume it's useless. In this case, it's very clear:

Quote:
Gapless Playback in iTunes

Gapless playback is always on in iTunes 7 or later unless the Crossfade feature is turned on. If Crossfade is on, only audio files that have the "Part of a gapless album" option checked and are capable of being played gaplessly will play with no gaps:
so there ya go. hope it clears up the confusion.



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Old 06-02-2011, 02:35 PM
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Question

Sorry to necro-post, but...

I found this thread while searching for an answer to a question to which I've found no answer, so I figured that I could help this thread live up to its name by (hopefully) getting my answers and making it a little more definitive...er.


Essentially, I'd like to know how the "Part of A Gapless Album" setting works if it is used on a single file/track within an album or playlist.
Does it cause a crossfade with the track that precedes it, or the track that follows it? Or does it do both?


To give a real world example, let's say I have the album Welcome to my Nightmare. There should be no gap between Track 2, Devil's Food, and Track 3, The Black Widow (Vincent's monologue should segue seamlessly into the next track). However, AFAIK, no other tracks on the LP were gapless.

Do I use the "Part of A Gapless Album" setting on Track 2 & 3, or just on Track 3? If I use it on Track 3, will it cause Track 4 to crossfade as well?




-----------------------------------------------

Those are the important (to me) questions above, but in the interest of making this thread the definitivist it can possibly be:

1. If Crossfade is not checked in iTunes' preferences, what is the default crossfade for tracks marked "Part of A Gapless Album"?

2. What are the optimal Crossfade settings if you want to seemingness of gaplessness, but don't want the noticeable overlap many people associate with Crossfade ?

3. Does "Part of A Gapless Album" effect how a track is played in playlists or random/shuffled play?
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Old 06-02-2011, 05:04 PM
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The crossfade setting only disables gapless playback, it doesn't force iTunes to use gapless playback as that functionality is built into iTunes and cannot be turned off. Turning on crossfade will force iTunes to crossfade between every single song that is played. Having one song in a playlist that is labeled as being gapless means that iTunes will not crossfade into the next song, it will play it back gaplessly as normal. You should use the "Part of Gapless Album" option only if you have crossfade enabled in iTunes and don't want those tracks to be played back using crossfade.

Here are your other questions:

1. There is no crossfade if that setting isn't enable in iTunes. It will playback the tracks normally which means they will be gapless.

2. Turn the crossfade setting off and don't check the "Part of Gapless Album" option. iTunes will automatically playback each track gaplessly. There might be a millisecond of silence in there but that is just the nature of gapless playback and software.

3. Yes as I described above.



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Old 06-02-2011, 05:19 PM
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The conditions for two tracks to play gaplessly are as follows:

- The tracks must come from a gapless CD or iTunes Store album.
- The tracks must be played sequentially (ie, in their original order)
- Crossfade must either be disabled OR the tracks must be set as "Part of a Gapless Album."

Unless all of the conditions above are met, the tracks will not be played gaplessly.

A few points, in no particular order...

1. Only tracks that have come from a gapless CD or iTunes Store album will be played gaplessly. This is determined automatically by iTunes and has nothing to do with the "Part of a Gapless Album" setting. You can't simply force any two tracks to be gapless -- they must have come from a gapless source to begin with.

2. Gapless playback only affects tracks that are played sequentially. Playing tracks in a different order within a playlist or from an album with "Shuffle" enabled cancels gapless playback (except of course where the two tracks just happen to occur in the proper order).

3. The "Part of a Gapless Album" setting exists solely to disable crossfade. It has no other impact on whether a track will be played gaplessly or not.

4. If Crossfade is disabled, the "Part of a Gapless Album" setting has no effect at all, since no tracks will be crossfaded anyway. All tracks that meet the other conditions for gapless playback will be played gaplessly, and all others will have a standard gap between them.

5. If Crossfade is enabled, all tracks will be cross-faded except those that are marked "Part of a Gapless Album" AND otherwise qualify for gapless playback

6. The "Part of a Gapless Album" setting will override crossfade on both ends of a track, provided the tracks are played in the proper sequence and followed by another gapless track that is also marked as "Part of a Gapless Album" and otherwise qualifies for gapless playback.

It's also worth noting that Crossfade is only an option on recent iPod nano models and in iTunes itself. Other iPod models and iOS devices do not support crossfade at all. In this case, only the first two requirements listed above have any effect on whether gapless playback occurs.



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Old 06-02-2011, 05:24 PM
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Now, to answer your specific questions with the above notes in mind...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exitao View Post
Essentially, I'd like to know how the "Part of A Gapless Album" setting works if it is used on a single file/track within an album or playlist. Does it cause a crossfade with the track that precedes it, or the track that follows it? Or does it do both?
The part of a gapless albums setting does not cause a crossfade at all. It is used to turn OFF crossfade if (and only if) the tracks are otherwise eligible to be played gaplessly.

If crossfade is turned off globally, the setting has no effect at all. If crossfade is enabled, simply setting a single track to be "Part of a Gapless Album" will have no effect. The sequential tracks also need to have this setting.

Quote:
To give a real world example, let's say I have the album Welcome to my Nightmare. There should be no gap between Track 2, Devil's Food, and Track 3, The Black Widow (Vincent's monologue should segue seamlessly into the next track). However, AFAIK, no other tracks on the LP were gapless.
If no other tracks on the original LP or CD were gapless, only tracks 2 and 3 would play gaplessly anyway, regardless of the cross-fade setting. Again, this is determined automatically by iTunes, and you may not get any gapless playback at all unless the tracks came from an original, gapless source. Many tracks downloaded from less reputable sources have been re-encoded, reconverted, and generally munged beyond any hope of iTunes' gapless analysis picking up the fact that they're supposed to be gapless.

Quote:
Do I use the "Part of A Gapless Album" setting on Track 2 & 3, or just on Track 3? If I use it on Track 3, will it cause Track 4 to crossfade as well?
You would not use the "Part of a Gapless Album" setting at all unless the tracks actually are part of a gapless album and you do NOT want a crossfade to occur between them.

Regardless of this setting, if the tracks are not actually part of a gapless album (as determined by iTunes), you will still get a crossfade regardless of this setting.

Quote:
1. If Crossfade is not checked in iTunes' preferences, what is the default crossfade for tracks marked "Part of A Gapless Album"?
None. The setting has no effect unless crossfade is enabled.

Quote:
2. What are the optimal Crossfade settings if you want to seemingness of gaplessness, but don't want the noticeable overlap many people associate with Crossfade ?
That's going to depend largely on the type of music you're listening to. You'd have to play with it and decide what works best.

Quote:
3. Does "Part of A Gapless Album" effect how a track is played in playlists or random/shuffled play?
No, it has no effect, regardless of whether crossfade is enabled or not. When tracks are not played in sequence, they are not eligible to be played gaplessly, and therefore crossfade is enabled in the same manner as it would be for any other track.



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Old 06-02-2011, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhollington View Post
2. Gapless playback only affects tracks that are played sequentially. Playing tracks in a different order within a playlist or from an album with "Shuffle" enabled cancels gapless playback (except of course where the two tracks just happen to occur in the proper order).
I don't think this is true. iTunes and my iPod touch (haven't tried my iPad 2 yet) are able to playback content without any gaps whether I am in a playlist or not. For example, I have a randomized playlist housing tracks from many different releases. I do not hear a gap when I am going from one track to another despite them not being related in any way, shape, or form. One song ends and the other one begins right away as if it were part of the same album (though it isn't). Of course the tracks themselves have to be gapless but that isn't an issue most of the time.

Additionally, in regards to making a playlist and marking one track as being part of a gapless album and enabling crossfade playback, my past experience differs from what you are saying. I am not sure if Apple has changed something in iTunes over the past few years (I think the last time I used it was in 2007) but it used to work as I described: tracks would crossfade into one another unless they were marked as being part of a gapless album. Then iTunes would just play the next track like normal (gapless) and not crossfade into the next track after that. Then again, Apple may have changed iTunes since then but I specifically remember instructing iTunes that some songs were part of a gapless album, putting them in a random playlist, turning crossfade on, and then hearing the performance that I described.



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Old 06-02-2011, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kornchild2002 View Post
I don't think this is true. iTunes and my iPod touch (haven't tried my iPad 2 yet) are able to playback content without any gaps whether I am in a playlist or not. For example, I have a randomized playlist housing tracks from many different releases. I do not hear a gap when I am going from one track to another despite them not being related in any way, shape, or form. One song ends and the other one begins right away as if it were part of the same album (though it isn't). Of course the tracks themselves have to be gapless but that isn't an issue most of the time.
This has actually varied across different versions of iTunes and iOS. I just checked it in iTunes 10.2 and on my iPhone 4 and you're actually partly correct -- it seems to work with some tracks and not with others. Obviously both tracks have to be part of a gapless album (as determined by iTunes' gapless analysis -- the manual setting is irrelevant), but I suspect the differences are caused by whatever algorithm iTunes is using to identify gapless tracks that should go together. It seems that the likelihood of randomly-ordered tracks being played gaplessly is directly proportional to how similar the tracks are.

Regardless, however, crossfade definitely is applied, if enabled, when the tracks aren't played in sequence, regardless of the "part of a gapless" setting. I actually did test that specifically before I made my prior post.

Quote:
Additionally, in regards to making a playlist and marking one track as being part of a gapless album and enabling crossfade playback, my past experience differs from what you are saying. I am not sure if Apple has changed something in iTunes over the past few years (I think the last time I used it was in 2007) but it used to work as I described...
That actually has been a change in behaviour that I think kicked in around iTunes 9. In fact, the "Part of a Gapless" setting used to disable crossfade entirely, regardless of whether a track was actually gapless or not. Non-gapless tracks would play without crossfade if marked as "Part of a Gapless Album." This changed in more recent versions of iTunes such that crossfade would override all but a true gapless play sequence.



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Old 06-03-2011, 04:44 AM
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Well, that shows you how long ago I used crossfade playback. I pretty much stopped once I discovered the joys of listening to a Tool album the way it was released on CD (ie gapless). That and the whole crossfade playback thing was really more of a 90's era setting when playing back music as many tracks released on CD would do that. Artists have pretty much stopped as I don't think I have listened to an actual CD that had songs crossfade between one another (of course it is not true crossfading but it still sounds the same).



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Old 06-05-2011, 03:48 PM
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Yeah, I haven't used crossfade in actual listening in ages either, especially since most Apple devices don't support it anyway. That said, however, as somebody who writes books and articles about iTunes, I have to test it every now and then just to see what it's doing in the latest version



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Topic: Definitive Explanation of "Part of A Gapless Album" Checkbox

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