IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
VBR Player compatibility, No longer an issue these days, surely
Paul Sanders
post Oct 4 2008, 15:01
Post #1





Group: Members
Posts: 104
Joined: 19-May 08
From: UK (London-ish)
Member No.: 53626



Hi all,

Does anybody know specifically of any MP3 player (hardware or software) or any audio editor that cannot read VBR encoded MP3 files? (I know that some audio editors cannot write them.) Since VBR files are so similar in structure to CBR and ABR files, I would not expect this to be the case but I need to know for professional reasons.

TIA.


--------------------
I am an independent software developer (VinylStudio) based in UK
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
/mnt
post Oct 4 2008, 15:06
Post #2





Group: Members
Posts: 697
Joined: 22-April 06
Member No.: 29877



iTunes and WMP, still have track seeking issues with VBR Mp3s. When you skip forward on a track and WMP will report the wrong bitrate aswell.


--------------------
"I never thought I'd see this much candy in one mission!"
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
kornchild2002
post Oct 4 2008, 16:36
Post #3





Group: Members
Posts: 2073
Joined: 8-April 05
From: Cincinnati, OH
Member No.: 21277



Windows Movie Maker also has issues with VBR/ABR mp3 files where the little spectrogram (not accurate) show does not match up with the timing of the music.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
lesswire
post Oct 4 2008, 18:27
Post #4





Group: Members
Posts: 37
Joined: 4-July 08
Member No.: 55275



My DVD player (Samsung HD-860) doesn't play mp3 vbr files. It's about 2 years old and even comes with a HDMI output.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Paul Sanders
post Oct 4 2008, 18:33
Post #5





Group: Members
Posts: 104
Joined: 19-May 08
From: UK (London-ish)
Member No.: 53626



QUOTE (lesswire @ Oct 4 2008, 18:27) *
My DVD player (Samsung HD-860) doesn't play mp3 vbr files. It's about 2 years old and even comes with a HDMI output.

That is indeed odd. Is there any error message, or, like mine, does it just sulk or do weird things when it doesn't know what else to do?


--------------------
I am an independent software developer (VinylStudio) based in UK
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
AgentMil
post Oct 5 2008, 15:21
Post #6





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 584
Joined: 19-December 01
From: Australia
Member No.: 688



My Sony Ericcson mobile phone crackles and pops when I play a track with excessively high bitrates so I have to re-encodes to a lower bitrate 128kbps or less.

Regards

AgentMil


--------------------
-=MusePack... Living Audio Compression=-

Honda - The Power of Dreams
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Moon
post Oct 5 2008, 15:24
Post #7





Group: Members
Posts: 22
Joined: 2-March 04
Member No.: 12407



As I've just found out yesterday: Pioneer CDJ-200. A buddy of mine is DJ and when I went to his club yesterday I brought along a mixed CD-RW from my car which had a song I hadn't heard in quite a while of which I wasn't sure he'd bring himself.

I've ripped all songs with EAC and LAME 3.9x and VBR from my original CDs so I wasn't expecting any problems since this combo produces decent quality files with correct seek indices. At least that's what I thought. The player did read both RW and file including ID3 tag but when set to display remaining time, all I got was 'VBR' and seeking in the file didn't work either.

Now that I've read the manual it says the player doesn't support VBR, the german product overview however advertizes it as a 'full-fledged mp3 player' which it clearly isn't. I'm quite disappointed to see a company producing professional DJ equipment missing out on an important quality feature that's been around for ages.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Paul Sanders
post Oct 5 2008, 19:47
Post #8





Group: Members
Posts: 104
Joined: 19-May 08
From: UK (London-ish)
Member No.: 53626



Thanks to everyone who responded. Keep it coming. Things appear to be worse than I thought, which is a shame as VBR is so much better than CBR for the same average bitrate.


--------------------
I am an independent software developer (VinylStudio) based in UK
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Moon
post Oct 5 2008, 22:03
Post #9





Group: Members
Posts: 22
Joined: 2-March 04
Member No.: 12407



QUOTE (Paul Sanders @ Oct 5 2008, 20:47) *
VBR is so much better than CBR for the same average bitrate.

That's what I gathered from reading the material hear, and so I've switched to VBR several years ago. However, someone over at the Pioneer ProDJ community seems to think VBR sucks qualitywise when compared to CBR, see here and here.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Paul Sanders
post Oct 5 2008, 23:20
Post #10





Group: Members
Posts: 104
Joined: 19-May 08
From: UK (London-ish)
Member No.: 53626



QUOTE (Moon @ Oct 5 2008, 22:03) *
QUOTE (Paul Sanders @ Oct 5 2008, 20:47) *

VBR is so much better than CBR for the same average bitrate.

That's what I gathered from reading the material hear, and so I've switched to VBR several years ago. However, someone over at the Pioneer ProDJ community seems to think VBR sucks qualitywise when compared to CBR, see here and here.

Hmmm. Well I can't say I agree with pretty much anything of what they have to say over there. There is no processing overhead decoding VBR for example - the decoder just decodes the data frame by frame, CBR, VBR, ABR, whatever. As for encoding, there may even be a speed advantage to VBR as the encoder has more choice of frame sizes at its disposal, but it's not an area I'm well versed in. I'm sure the LAME developers could tell you, and probably would, if asked. I think one or two of them might hang around HA. It wouldn't be hard to benchmark, of course.

Anyway, it's definitely VBR for me, unless some delinquent player somewhere won't play them (in which case, buy another one!).


--------------------
I am an independent software developer (VinylStudio) based in UK
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
kornchild2002
post Oct 5 2008, 23:25
Post #11





Group: Members
Posts: 2073
Joined: 8-April 05
From: Cincinnati, OH
Member No.: 21277



I just ran into poorly designed hardware. My friend purchased a new 2008 Pontiac G5 (this is basically the Grand Am but they have since renamed it to G5) and it came with a factory installed mp3-CD compatible deck. The unit will play VBR files just fine but we have discovered that all frames in the mp3 must be encoded at 128kbps or higher. He normally encodes his music at -V 5 where many frames can be below 128kbps. None of his files worked. I tried everything before reading that it is a non-standard mp3 player in which files must be encoded at 128kbps or higher. I even tried some -V 0 files purchased from Amazon's mp3 store (with an overall average bitrate of around 300kbps) and they didn't work. None of his audiobook mp3 files work either.

It took us all day but now his -V 5 files will work if he adds the -b 128 option. The only issue now is that foobar2000 isn't using the -b option with Lame 3.98 or 3.98.2. He has his CDs ripped to FLAC so all he will need to do is setup foobar2000 to encode overnight. EAC appears to be using -b 128 when ripping an audio CD but foobar2000 isn't using the option.

Still, this is something strange that I have never encountered. I don't know who makes the CD deck in the Pontiac but I know that they previously used a company called Cool Technology (or something like that) for their Sunfire and Grand Am cars.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
weaker
post Oct 5 2008, 23:36
Post #12





Group: Members
Posts: 116
Joined: 28-September 04
From: Germany
Member No.: 17360



That Pioneer manual http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pio/pe/i...-200_Manual.pdf says that they've licensed MP3 from Thomson and Fraunhofer IIS. That's in 2004 and not VBR capable. Incredible. What a shame.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
robert
post Oct 6 2008, 00:16
Post #13


LAME developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 788
Joined: 22-September 01
Member No.: 5



My Pioneer 444 DVD player (RIP) could play VBR mp3 files, but at 44.1 or 48 kHz samplerates only.

@kornchild2002:
What do they hope to gain from restricting CBR bitrate range to 128-320 only? This doesn't make any sense to me. With my DVD player, they could reduce some table sizes, but in your case I don't get it.

This post has been edited by robert: Oct 6 2008, 00:51
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Dynamic
post Oct 6 2008, 01:58
Post #14





Group: Members
Posts: 808
Joined: 17-September 06
Member No.: 35307



Big shame. At least most of these so far can be worked around without re-encoding or loss of quality by passing the VBR files through mp3packer to enforce a minimum bitrate or enforce CBR. The only exception is the phone that crackles when faced with high bitrate frames, which is so seriously flawed that re-encoding or trancoding is necessary. Maybe using MP2 would be possible for that one as there's less processor demand on decoding, and the majority of layer 3 decoders will decode layer 2 also.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
kornchild2002
post Oct 6 2008, 03:33
Post #15





Group: Members
Posts: 2073
Joined: 8-April 05
From: Cincinnati, OH
Member No.: 21277



QUOTE (robert @ Oct 5 2008, 17:16) *
@kornchild2002:
What do they hope to gain from restricting CBR bitrate range to 128-320 only? This doesn't make any sense to me. With my DVD player, they could reduce some table sizes, but in your case I don't get it.


I don't know what they are thinking. It can play VBR mp3 files but only if it contains bitrates between 128kbps to 320kbps. This means that any file containing silence won't work as Lame will encode those frame at 32kbps no matter what VBR/ABR setting I use (unless I am missing something). So even my solution of -V 5 -b 128 wouldn't work. It has taken us all day to figure out what to do as CBR encoding was the last option we wanted to use. It has come to that though and, through a crap load of ABX testing, he determined that 160kbps CBR would be fine for him. We tried some 128kbps CBR files but he could not fail every test with every song sampled, only 160kbps CBR did this for him.

I am surprised that Pontiac (a division of GM) would do this. I had a mp3-CD compatible deck in my 2000 Sunfire and it was compatible with VBR files. I told my friend that he should take his car back (we both purchased a car on the same day, he went with a Pontiac and I went with a Honda Civic) as it is less than a month old to get a new CD deck. He said that he isn't bothered by it that much but I don't think that is normal. My Honda's CD deck can handle mp3 files with every bitrate below 320kbps that is normally accepted. It can even play mpeg-2 mp3 files up to 224kbps and WMA files including VBR WMA files. I just wish that it played mpeg-4 AAC audio files but I would of had to upgrade to the navigation model (it would have set me back by $3000 for them to install that in my LX Civic coupe) but they didn't have any in stock and I wasn't about to pay that much when the upgrade to the navigation model was less than that.

I was just disappointed in his deck. I still think it might be a decoder issue as I just can't see a car company doing this to their customers. Either completely lock out VBR encoded files or don't, I just don't understand how a car company can use a non-standard mp3 decoder (well, the company who makes the stereo in the car) in their hardware especially now that VBR encoding has become the de facto standard.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
lesswire
post Oct 6 2008, 03:55
Post #16





Group: Members
Posts: 37
Joined: 4-July 08
Member No.: 55275



QUOTE
That is indeed odd. Is there any error message, or, like mine, does it just sulk or do weird things when it doesn't know what else to do?


I sounds like a severely damaged disc. Nevertheless, I love VBR and will not be switching to CBR at all.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Pepzhez
post Oct 6 2008, 05:04
Post #17





Group: Members
Posts: 257
Joined: 18-May 03
Member No.: 6685



It sounds like Pioneer's VBR support is all over the place. I recently bought a Pioneer Elite DV-48AV DVD player strictly for use as a CD player. (Now that the DV-48AV is being sold at rock bottom closeout prices, it's the steal of the century.) This player has a USB port, something I didn't think would be of much use. Much to my surprise, it is a very nice feature to have.

I tested it this afternoon with a USB flash drive, and discovered that it has no problems playing LAME VBR or Apple AAC VBR. Weirdly, it will not recognize Apple Lossless files, even though they do have the same .m4a extension as the AAC files. Nevertheless, the VBR support for both LAME mp3 and Apple AAC is flawless.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
kornchild2002
post Oct 6 2008, 06:14
Post #18





Group: Members
Posts: 2073
Joined: 8-April 05
From: Cincinnati, OH
Member No.: 21277



It is common for iTunes AAC compatible devices to not play Apple lossless. In fact, I cannot think of hardware outside of the Apple universe that can play Apple lossless files. dBpowerAMP has their own reverse engineered ALAC encoder/decoder and there is different reverse engineered open source one (maybe more) floating around out there but hardware support is restricted to the Apple universe. I guess one could expect much from an audio format known as Apple lossless.

My friend e-mailed Pontiac to see what they say. He also put up a post in some Pontiac oriented forums but the replies have been dreadful. One person didn't know what VBR was and another person said: "Just go with 320kbps as it is the best. I always use that when ripping my CD." That is a word for word quote of what they said. My friend asked them to show their ABX results to give merit to their post and they didn't know what ABX was and then insulted my friend for thinking that -V 5 was transparent. My friend even had to explain to the person what bitrate -V 5 normally produces before they understood it. I don't think he is going to get much help on those forums as they know how to tear down engines there but don't know what Lame is and insult anyone who doesn't use what they like.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
robojock
post Oct 6 2008, 07:40
Post #19





Group: Members
Posts: 33
Joined: 2-August 07
From: Namibia
Member No.: 45822



Hi im a dj and as far as i know most pioneer dj decks (cdj 200,800,1000s and the 400) that can play mp3 CAN play vbr BUT with limited functionality ie you cannot see the remaining time and you cannot forward the mp3 but otherwise it can play vbr. Same goes for denon!

Which is why most djs encode there stuff to cbr and not vbr, and it explains why IMO they "hate" vbr because of those issues.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Moon
post Oct 6 2008, 08:28
Post #20





Group: Members
Posts: 22
Joined: 2-March 04
Member No.: 12407



QUOTE (robojock @ Oct 6 2008, 08:40) *
can play mp3 CAN play vbr BUT with limited functionality ie you cannot see the remaining time and you cannot forward the mp3 but otherwise it can play vbr.

Right, that's exactly what I wrote some postings up in this topic.

QUOTE (robojock @ Oct 6 2008, 08:40) *
Which is why most djs encode there stuff to cbr and not vbr, and it explains why IMO they "hate" vbr because of those issues.

Well, they should put the blame where it belongs and hate the manufacturers who are releasing hardware with crippled MP3 support. Think of Pontiac (or their OEM), what's the point in coding support for VBR but limiting it to certain bitrates? I would expect this to be much more difficult to code than simply supporting all bitrates.

On the other hand, this really isn't the first time I've encountered stupid design in consumer electronics, it always reminds me of this Sony car radio.

This post has been edited by Moon: Oct 6 2008, 08:34
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
robojock
post Oct 6 2008, 09:12
Post #21





Group: Members
Posts: 33
Joined: 2-August 07
From: Namibia
Member No.: 45822



Yeah and the funny thing is i have a pair of denon dns5000 which cost alot of money and they cant forward or show the remaing time of my mp3s but my "cheap" portable mp3 player can show the remaining time and forward without ANY problems
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Paul Sanders
post Oct 6 2008, 09:26
Post #22





Group: Members
Posts: 104
Joined: 19-May 08
From: UK (London-ish)
Member No.: 53626



QUOTE (Moon @ Oct 6 2008, 08:28) *
Think of Pontiac (or their OEM), what's the point in coding support for VBR but limiting it to certain bitrates? I would expect this to be much more difficult to code than simply supporting all bitrates.

I doubt it's deliberate! They are probably using an old decoder implementation that doesn't know about low bitrate frames. That's cold comfort if you happen to own one though and it's certainly no excuse.

What depresses me about all this is that, speaking as a programmer, decoding VBR is no harder than decoding CBR. In fact it's easier in some ways as you have a file header to rely on which contains some useful information (such as as the total number of frames in the file, which you cannot always calculate exactly for CBR files as not all the frames are necessarily the same length - some can contain an additional 'padding' byte). And seeking in a VBR file is nowhere near as hard as people sometimes make out because there is a seek index in the file header. Hell, even Windows Media Player can do it.

I have not had any complaints from customers about this as yet (including a DJ, as it happens), but then I only have a modest number of them dry.gif. Here's a link to the software if anyone's interested: http://www.alpinesoft.co.uk. And yes, it only generates VBR files currently; I think I'd better fix that!

Thanks once again to all who have posted. I simply couldn't get this kind of information anywhere else.

This post has been edited by Paul Sanders: Oct 6 2008, 10:03


--------------------
I am an independent software developer (VinylStudio) based in UK
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
robert
post Oct 6 2008, 09:42
Post #23


LAME developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 788
Joined: 22-September 01
Member No.: 5



QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Oct 6 2008, 04:33) *
... It can play VBR mp3 files but only if it contains bitrates between 128kbps to 320kbps. This means that any file containing silence won't work as Lame will encode those frame at 32kbps no matter what VBR/ABR setting I use (unless I am missing something). So even my solution of -V 5 -b 128 wouldn't work. ...

Well, we have a switch exactly for this kind of problem. See from LAME --longhelp:

CODE
     -F              strictly enforce the -b option, for use with players that
                     do not support low bitrate mp3
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 30th August 2014 - 11:49