iTunes and LAME VBR

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alpharuin

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I noticed that with really long tracks, iTunes seems to crap out with LAME encoded VBR MP3s.

For example I have an album-long song by Fant
 

kornchild2002

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Some people have had problems like this, you can scan a little ways down the audio forums to see a person that had the same problem when encoding their own podcasts, iTunes would cut them short.

I have not had any problems with iTunes nor Lame encoded VBR mp3's. I have a lot of songs that run about 30 minutes or even up to 45 minutes, all of them are fine. For example, I have Tool's Undertow album encoded at -V 2 --vbr-new with Lame 3.97b2 and there is some bonus content about 20 minutes after some silence. All this bonus content plays fine without any problems both on my iPod and through iTunes.

Here are some things you can check:
1. Make sure you are using the latest versions of iTunes and QuickTime.
2. Make sure you are using the latest version of Lame (version 3.97b2).
3. Make sure that the program you are using to encode to the Lame mp3 format is running properly. If it is EAC or foobar2000 then they will pop-up with errors if any exist.


To my knowledge, no one has come up with a solution yet.
 

alpharuin

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It seems to be a problem with VBR files in general.

I did a test: Ripped the song using various settings. I played each and seeked to about the last minute and see which reached the end correctly. Here are my results:

LAME 3.97 (-V 2 --vbr-new) using the iTunes-LAME frontend: Song cuts off too soon, never reaches end.

LAME 3.97 (-V 2 --vbr-new) using command line: Same as above, so not a problem with the frontend.

LAME 3.97 (-b 192) using command line: Reaches end correctly.

iTunes MP3 (192kbps): Reaches end correctly.

iTunes MP3 (192kbps VBR): Reaches end about 30 seconds too soon. :confused:

So as you can see, this is not a problem with LAME files, it's a problem with MP3 VBR in general.

I played my long LAME 3.97 MP3s in Quicktime, Realplayer and VLC and they played just fine there. So this is obviously a problem with iTunes. I'm going to write feedback to Apple and I suggest to others who are having this problem to do so as well. Maybe they'll fix this in later versions of iTunes.

Also I tested my LAME files on the iPod and it's almost perfect, it cuts off about half a second.

ALSO

What is wrong with the forums? Pages are really picky about when they load and it keeps logging me out. :mad:
 

kornchild2002

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Keep us updated on what happens. I haven't had any problems with my VBR mp3's so I haven't had a need to write to Apple. Still, some users are having problems. At least you have shown that it is VBR mp3's in general as you used the iTunes mp3 encoder.

Not sure about the pages, they are loading fine over here.
 

Code Monkey

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I'm not sure how you can have the scenario you describe, i.e. plays fine in QuickTime but not iTunes as QuickTime is the engine used by iTunes. I don't know what your problem is as I've got 150 GB of audio media, of which about 75% are LAME VBR files from many versions, front-ends, etc. and I've never had the first problem with any of it.

I would suspect that if they play normally in QT by itself but not iTunes that either your iTunes install is corrupt or you've got a computer configuration issue that is hamstringing iTunes' performance (memory? hard drive fragmentation? older version of iTunes?)
 

Scott549

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I'm the one who had the same problem with the podcasts.

I think it is a general problem with the time code and VBR mp3's. It is not just iTunes. Windows Media Player cut off the end of my files too.

One interesting thing is that sometimes iTunes will play the whole file, but for several seconds before the end, the "time remaining" reads zero.
 

alpharuin

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I think I read somewhere that if you let long files play from the beginning, they'll play just fine. That would make it an issue with iTunes implementation of track seeking on VBR files. I'll try this myself later and post results.
 

alpharuin

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Okay, playing from the beginning without seeking forward results in playing of the entire file. However it played for three seconds over the timer. The song I played is 1:14:17 in length, but iTunes continued playing up to 1:14:21, but hey at least it played it all. I think the problem is that iTunes is counting too fast or something.
 

Teqnilogik

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I can confirm this problem with my recently encoded LAME 3.97b2 -V 2 MP3s.

The problem only occurrs with long (20+ min) songs. I have a 23:08 and a 24:00 minute song (both from Dream Theater of course, :p ) and iTunes does not reach the end of these songs correctly. It does seem as if iTunes is calculating the times wrong because it is reaching the end sooner than it should. I haven't yet tested these songs on my iPod to see if they play the whole way through but I do know that QuickTime 7 plays these songs without an issue so it is an issue with iTunes itself.

To make sure that my assumption is not flawed I am encoding the same track with LAME 3.98 alpha 4 and LAME 3.90.3 to see if the problem persists. If the problem persists there is a good chance it is iTunes' fault but if the problem is relieved then it could be an issue with some builds of LAME. I will note that the Windows Media Player 11 beta reaches the end of its timer counter on the songs but will continue to play the song until it reaches the end although the timer has technically reached the end a couple seconds before. I'll post the results when I have them.

This is a discouraging problem for me because I want all my tracks to play fine in iTunes because I love using iTunes and my iPod. This has made me consider just going with AAC 192 kbps VBR so ensure full iTunes/iPod compatibility with no headaches.
 

Teqnilogik

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Yeah, no doubt it's firmware or a software issue to me. Whatever decoder they are using must be doing something wrong in both iTunes and the firmware. Funny how QuickTime 7 works without an issue since iTunes uses QuickTime to playback files.
 

Teqnilogik

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Well, the problem is that other decoders play the files fine and I created files with different versions of the LAME encoder so I know it isn't just one version of LAME writing headers wrong.
 

ShowsOn

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Teqnilogik said:
Well, the problem is that other decoders play the files fine and I created files with different versions of the LAME encoder so I know it isn't just one version of LAME writing headers wrong.
Sure, it was just a suggestion to rule things out. Making very large MP3 files can sometimes cause problems with the creation of the header.
 

Teqnilogik

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I think I have discovered the problem.

I ripped a track using LAME 3.97 to test to see if iTunes played that file back without stopping. iTunes showed the file as 23:08, however, played the file through to the end at 23:25.

I used MP3Gain on the file and tried playing it with iTunes and iTunes stopped playing the file at 23:08.

Seems the problem is caused by adding APEv2 tags to the files using MP3Gain, or whatever MP3Gain does to the file to increase the volume. This is causing iTunes to end the file early.
 

Mirage2k

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I have no problems playing LAME-encoded MP3 files in iTunes 6.0.4 on Mac OS X. I encode them from Apple Lossless files using Blacktree's iTunes-LAME plug-in and LAME v.3.97b1/b2, V2 --vbr-new. I just re-tested with Rush's "2112" (20:33), and no problems whatsoever. You will run into problems if you scrub back and forth in VBR files, but that is even true of the VBR files that iTunes encodes itself.

I used to have problems with LAME 3.96.1 in iTunes 4.x. What would happen there is that, in very long songs (10:00+), I would get several seconds of silence (sometimes 10-15) past the running time of the song. I never figured out how to fix it. But so far I've had no problems in iTunes 5.x and 6.x when using LAME 3.97b1 or b2.
 

Teqnilogik

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I was thinking about my results and they may be flawed. The MP3s I created I did not add any ID3v2 tags too during creation. I decided to rip that song while adding ID3v2 + ID3v1 tags with EAC and see if the problem still occurs without using MP3Gain.

So I ran a couple more tests. MP3s I ripped with EAC using LAME and did not tag with any tags played fine in iTunes. However, when I added ID3v2 and ID3v1 tags with EAC during ripping the problem occurred again in iTunes. I also tried adding the tags to the MP3s with LAME and the problem still occurred in iTunes. I even tried just adding an ID3v1 tag to the MP3 with EAC and iTunes still stopped play early. Finally I tried adding an ID3v2.4 tag to the MP3 with EAC and iTunes stopped playback of that file as well. Seems like iTunes is having a problem with tags of some sort.
 

Mirage2k

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Teqnilogik said:
I was thinking about my results and they may be flawed. The MP3s I created I did not add any ID3v2 tags too during creation. I decided to rip that song while adding ID3v2 + ID3v1 tags with EAC and see if the problem still occurs without using MP3Gain.

So I ran a couple more tests. MP3s I ripped with EAC using LAME and did not tag with any tags played fine in iTunes. However, when I added ID3v2 and ID3v1 tags with EAC during ripping the problem occurred again in iTunes. I also tried adding the tags to the MP3s with LAME and the problem still occurred in iTunes. I even tried just adding an ID3v1 tag to the MP3 with EAC and iTunes still stopped play early. Finally I tried adding an ID3v2.4 tag to the MP3 with EAC and iTunes stopped playback of that file as well. Seems like iTunes is having a problem with tags of some sort.
Interesting. I had once found that iTunes for whatever reason had been updating the "date modified" field on my LAME-encoded files after playing them (which was causing some problems for my back-up strategy). I ended up fixing the behavior by converting the ID3 tags in iTunes (in my case, to v2.3). Maybe it's related? It seems like iTunes has problems with tags written by LAME, anyway. Maybe converting the tags in iTunes will solve your problem?
 

Almahadeus

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Teqnilogik said:
I think I have discovered the problem.

I ripped a track using LAME 3.97 to test to see if iTunes played that file back without stopping. iTunes showed the file as 23:08, however, played the file through to the end at 23:25.

I used MP3Gain on the file and tried playing it with iTunes and iTunes stopped playing the file at 23:08.

Seems the problem is caused by adding APEv2 tags to the files using MP3Gain, or whatever MP3Gain does to the file to increase the volume. This is causing iTunes to end the file early.
Just out of interest, what happens if you increase the song's duration to 23:25 in the (Get info) table? or would it be already set at that value.
 
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