dBpowerAMP AACs won't load in iTunes 9

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foobaz

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I recently tried converting WMA files to AAC using the default codec, neroAacEnc.exe, in dBpowerAMP and iTunes wouldn't allow them. Files converted directly to m4A or converted from the AACs to m4A work just fine. I am easily able to convert these files directly to iTunes-acceptable MP4s with foobar2000 using the exact same NERO encoder but I can find no option or setting in dBpowerAMP to convert to MP4s. Why don't the AACs load? Does anyone know of an MP4 encoder that works in dBpowerAMP or a way to set up a custom encoding with the NERO codec?
 

Code Monkey

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Not sure from your description what the problem is, but it's neither Nero or dBpoweramp. Many of us on the boards use nothing but this for our music. In fact, I've got about 20,000 Nero AAC files converted from lossless with dBpoweramp and not one single problem.

If I'm going to take a stab at your problem from your description, it's that you're using Nero AAC, an audio only codec, to generate .mp4s, not an audio format as far as iTunes is concerned, and not, at least as far as I've ever seen, an option in dBpoweramp unless you're overriding the very simple and compatible defaults. You can generate .mp4s that will play as music, but that doesn't mean you should be sticking audio only in an mp4 container as iTunes considers that video by default.
 

foobaz

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Not sure from your description what the problem is, but it's neither Nero or dBpoweramp. Many of us on the boards use nothing but this for our music. In fact, I've got about 20,000 Nero AAC files converted from lossless with dBpoweramp and not one single problem.

If I'm going to take a stab at your problem from your description, it's that you're using Nero AAC, an audio only codec, to generate .mp4s, not an audio format as far as iTunes is concerned, and not, at least as far as I've ever seen, an option in dBpoweramp unless you're overriding the very simple and compatible defaults. You can generate .mp4s that will play as music, but that doesn't mean you should be sticking audio only in an mp4 container as iTunes considers that video by default.
The MP4s do get treated as audio files and show up as albums in Cover Flow with tags intact so that isn't an issue. The issue is I can't import the AACs created by dBpowerAMP (using 'Quality (VBR)' - .45 (est. bitrate 150), no forced profile). Like I said, the same AACs converted to M4As work fine but all that does is puts them in the M4A container. Why don't they work as is?

OK. Some new insight. I looked at the 'encoder.txt' file in the 'AAC (Advanced Audio Compression)' directory and compared it to the same file in the 'm4a Nero (AAC)' directory. The main difference is that the AAC version adds -hinttrack as a command line parameter and -of "[outfile].tmp" instead of just -of "[outfile]". Then

[afterencoderun]
toaac.bat
[outfile]

runs toaac.bat which runs mp4creator.exe on the tmp file and deletes the tmp file. The tmp file has the extension .aac.tmp. The converted file drops the .tmp. I temporarily removed the toaac.bat line and did the conversion as usual. I then removed the .tmp extension and tried to drag the .aac file into iTunes but it rejected it. I then added the .mp4 extension to this file and it loaded just fine. I deleted the file from iTunes and then changed the .mp4 extension to .m4a and the file loaded and played just fine in iTunes. I renamed it back to the .tmp extension, deleting the instance from iTunes and ran the toaac.bat file on it. The resulting .aac file would not load in iTunes no matter what extension I gave it. So (1) iTunes seems to reject files with the the .aac extension, at least in this case, but accepts them if renamed to the more common .m4a or .mp4 extension. (2) whatever mp4creator.exe is doing, iTunes doesn't like it.

An aside on the NERO encoder. At the download page (http://www.nero.com/eng/technologies-aac-codec.html) it states, "The encoder requires .WAV files in PCM wave format as input and provides .MP4 in MPEG-4/3GPP file format as output, as well as quality and bitrate values as parameters." And also, it appears that hint tracks apply only to file formats that have both audio and video such as the mp4 format. And the AAC converter is running something called 'mp4creator.exe'. All this leads me to believe that the resultant files are some audio/video format that iTunes is rejecting. Yet the unconverted .aac files are accepted with the .mp4 or .m4a extension and rejected with the .aac extension.

As an experiment I installed CLI and copied the files from the 'm4a Nero (AAC)' directory to the 'CLI Encoder' directory. I simply edited the 'encoder.txt' file and changed the .m4a extension to .mp4. I then converted the same file using the CLI codec with the same settings and the resulting .mp4 file loaded and played just fine. Of course the file really is an .m4a file named as an .mp4 file so no real surprise. The raw output from NERO works fine with the proper non-.aac extension.

So it looks like mp4creator.exe is the culprit here. What's it doing?
 

kornchild2002

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You don't want to use the mp4 file naming system when it comes to iTunes/iPod compatibility. You should be using the m4a file naming system for your songs. The mpeg-4 container is used for both mp4 and m4a files. However, Apple wants people to use m4a file names for mpeg-4 AAC audio files (hence the a at the end of the file name extension). You will run into issues when using the mp4 extension for audio.

I am a little confused as to what you are doing. Do you have raw AAC audio files and are trying to "convert" them for iTunes/iPod compatibility?
 

foobaz

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You don't want to use the mp4 file naming system when it comes to iTunes/iPod compatibility. You should be using the m4a file naming system for your songs. The mpeg-4 container is used for both mp4 and m4a files. However, Apple wants people to use m4a file names for mpeg-4 AAC audio files (hence the a at the end of the file name extension). You will run into issues when using the mp4 extension for audio.

I am a little confused as to what you are doing. Do you have raw AAC audio files and are trying to "convert" them for iTunes/iPod compatibility?
So far I have not had issues with the .mp4 extension that foobar2000 automatically adds to the NERO-coverted files. Nor did I see any problems with renamed .aac files. I have a bunch of albums converted to .mp4 using foobar2000 with the NERO encoder. I thought that was the default for iTunes and iPod. I've had no problems with them on either. I now have installed dbPA and want to take advantage of its more convenient interface for the conversion of .wma files to .aac files as I initially stated. Direct conversion to .m4a works fine as does the renamed raw .aac file before they are converted to the incompatible version. iTunes will not accept .aac files apparently. Is this the norm? I noticed that if I let iTunes convert using 'Import Using: AAC Encoder', it converts directly to an .m4a file, not an .aac file. foobar2000 names it as an .mp4 file but I suspect it is really an .m4a. I have no compelling reason to convert to .mp4 other than it's just what I have been used to and have many albums converted to. I just want clarification as to why dbPA is doing the post conversion that is incompatible and why iTunes does not accept .aac directly, but only if it's in the .m4a/.mp4 container.
 

Code Monkey

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I'm still not entirely sure why you've been doing what you're doing since it's so obviously not to iTunes' standards.

In iTunes, audio is .m4a, .m4p, mp3, .wav, & .aiff, and to a lesser exent, .aa & .aax (audible formats).

In iTunes, video is .mp4, .m4v, and .mov.

The file extension .aac has never been supported, which is why the files are ignored until you rename them - the program simply has no idea it's even a file it should be importing. And, regardless of what the sometimes useful, sometimes doing its own damn thing, Foobar does with Nero AAC, that doesn't make encoding pure audio files to a container using the .mp4 extension right. Yes, there is wiggle room in the standards in the general, but in the specific case of iTunes, there is no wiggle room, .mp4 != audio file, case closed.

You seem to be over analyzing what is, at its core, a PEBCAK issue. Encode your audio to the .m4a pure audio container like you're supposed to instead of heating up your neurons trying to understand why iTunes doesn't do what it was never meant to do ;)
 

foobaz

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I'm still not entirely sure why you've been doing what you're doing since it's so obviously not to iTunes' standards.

In iTunes, audio is .m4a, .m4p, mp3, .wav, & .aiff, and to a lesser exent, .aa & .aax (audible formats).

In iTunes, video is .mp4, .m4v, and .mov.

The file extension .aac has never been supported, which is why the files are ignored until you rename them - the program simply has no idea it's even a file it should be importing.
I see. I guess that's why I read at Apple's own website (http://www.apple.com/ipodclassic/specs.html) "Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps)".

And, regardless of what the sometimes useful, sometimes doing its own damn thing, Foobar does with Nero AAC, that doesn't make encoding pure audio files to a container using the .mp4 extension right.
I wasn't aware that this was a "right/wrong" issue. I thought it was a purely technical one. An unemotional one. Thanks for clarifying. As for foobar2000, anyone who uses and loves it for its incredible versatility is made painfully aware of iPod's lack of support for most file formats and its deficient substandard mp3 codec. Indeed many people, myself included, have had problems with mp3 audiobooks that abruptly end on iPod but that play perfectly well on foobar.

Yes, there is wiggle room in the standards in the general, but in the specific case of iTunes, there is no wiggle room, .mp4 != audio file, case closed.
You keep stating that rigid belief of yours with no evidence. What do you base your claim on? As I pointed out twice already, iTunes/iPod play .mp4 audio just fine. As I also pointed out, NERO outputs MP4 format. It is a standard that supports audio/video streams. Did you even bother to read my post before you started typing?

You seem to be over analyzing what is, at its core, a PEBCAK issue. Encode your audio to the .m4a pure audio container like you're supposed to instead of heating up your neurons trying to understand why iTunes doesn't do what it was never meant to do ;)
I find your rude ignorant remark insulting and absolutely uncalled for. It doesn't add anything to the discussion. It only detracts and calls into question your own motives and knowledge on the subject. I am trying to understand the technical issues here. You have not offered any technical arguments to support your assertions and now you insult my intelligence and resort to an infantile level of name-calling while adding nothing to the dialog. Of course, if you don't really possess the technical bandwidth to support your position I guess that's one way to try and hide the fact. A counterproductive tactic for sure, but it is the one that you have chosen.

Is there anyone here who has any technical understanding of the situation who can add some insight?
 

Code Monkey

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You keep stating that rigid belief of yours with no evidence. What do you base your claim on?
At this point, I've probably encoded something in the neighborhood of 200,000 individual files for iTunes when the numerous re-encodes to take advantage of encoder changes are taken into account. I've used many different mp3 and aac encoders, and different front ends over the years. I've never had one single problem, seems like that isn't the case for you. But you know what, I don't care, I pointed out the problem: you insisting you can use any encoder and encoder settings you want and when they don't work you assume there's something wrong with iTunes instead of changing your format to something that is compatible. So, hey, you're on your own. If you'd stick to the basics, you be fine, but, oh no, you're so brilliant, you're going to out think the program.
 

kornchild2002

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I see. I guess that's why I read at Apple's own website (http://www.apple.com/ipodclassic/specs.html) "Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps)".
Yes, that specifies the format and bitrate. It does not mention anything about container and file name extensions.


I wasn't aware that this was a "right/wrong" issue. I thought it was a purely technical one. An unemotional one. Thanks for clarifying. As for foobar2000, anyone who uses and loves it for its incredible versatility is made painfully aware of iPod's lack of support for most file formats and its deficient substandard mp3 codec. Indeed many people, myself included, have had problems with mp3 audiobooks that abruptly end on iPod but that play perfectly well on foobar.
You are right, iPods don't support most file formats. People just don't use mp3 or mpeg-4 AAC for audio encoding purposes. We all know that most people use OGG vorbis or MPC for encoding. Who does Apple think it is by supporting only mp3 and mpeg-4 AAC (lossy files)? Oh, that is right, Apple is supporting the majority lossy audio format with mp3 and AAC is right up there with WMA (in terms of user base). How dare Apple support only two common formats and not open up to the niche groups!


You keep stating that rigid belief of yours with no evidence. What do you base your claim on? As I pointed out twice already, iTunes/iPod play .mp4 audio just fine. As I also pointed out, NERO outputs MP4 format. It is a standard that supports audio/video streams. Did you even bother to read my post before you started typing?
It is not a rigid belief, it is a fact. iPods and iTunes really only support mpeg-4 AAC audio with file names of *.m4p (128kbps DRMed iTunes Store purchased songs), *.m4b (audio books), and *.m4a. *.mp4 is the "universal" mpeg-4 container standard but that doesn't mean that Apple has to follow it. They prefer that you keep your audio named separately from your videos. *.mp4 is recognized by iTunes and iPods but mainly for video. It doesn't matter what your past experience has been, that is the fact. What is the problem with using the *.m4a extension? Foobar2000 can easily be setup to encode with Nero and output m4a files. In fact, the m4a extension is fast becoming the standard for mpeg-4 AAC audio. Sony's Walkman players support it, the Creative Zen line use that, Sony's PSP and PS3, the Microsoft Zune line, etc. Most players only support mpeg-4 AAC files with extensions of *.m4a. So what's the big deal?


I find your rude ignorant remark insulting and absolutely uncalled for.
I find you to be thickheaded and lacking knowledge. Code Monkey did not insult you in any way, shape, or form. They told you numerous times what you needed to do yet you kept on plowing through by asking the same question in a different manner.

Is there anyone here who has any technical understanding of the situation who can add some insight?
It isn't a technical issue, plain and simple. Use the *.m4a file extension for your mpeg-4 AAC audio and you will be fine. foobar2000 can be setup to encode with the Nero AAC encoder and output files with the m4a extension. I still don't understand what you are doing. Do you have a lossless archive and want to encode it for iPod playback using Nero? Do you have raw AAC files and are trying to make them iPod compatible? Just what are you doing?
 

dirkpitt9

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Follow Up

Now that tempers have cooled a bit I have a follow up question. I have several files that have an .aac extension that won't play in iTunes. Under properties say "Type of File: MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding File (.aac)" and "Encoder AAC (LC) (Header: ADTS)"

I don't know all the technicalities but I do know that between the extension, encoding, and containers allow for a lot of mixing and matching and as far as I can tell, the root cause of the problem is that although the standards allow for some mixing an matching, iTunes is more picky. To quote slightly out of context: "Yes, there is wiggle room in the standards in the general, but in the specific case of iTunes, there is no wiggle room."

Suggestions I have found elsewhere are to wrap the file in a m4a container.

So here's the question: is there a way to do this using dBpowerAMP and specifically, is there a way to change the container without doing an actually re-encoding. (I don't want a lossy encoding of a lossy encoding.)

I tried running dBpowerAMP's file converter but given the processing time and the change in file size and bit rate I'm guessing it re-encoded. I also tried just renaming the extension from .aac to .m4a and iTunes continued to not recognize the file.
 

cjmnews

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Cooled for 7 years...reviving dead threads...

I believe that mp4box has the ability to wrap it without mucking with the audio data.
I used to use it for putting multiple tracks together.
 
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