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Is XLD good for gapless FLAC to MP3?
John 31415926
post May 19 2012, 20:32
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I gave up on MP3 a bunch of years ago because at the time, iTunes didn't handle gapless playback well and I got myself frustrated as hell trying to convert CDs to gapless MP3 folders. I read that it's been resolved for some time, so I'd now like to convert a large bunch of newly acquired FLACs to MP3. I've never used anything other than CDs.

I just got XLD and want to convert my FLACs . (haven't learned how to use it yet) . and I wonder if XLD automatically knows when I'm putting in a FLAC that requires a gapless encode versus a gapped "song by song" encode. I've got a mix of live albums and song-oriented albums and I don't want to have to change settings every time I do an encode.

Can I just set XLD to my desired MP3 setting and start encoding one FLAC after another? Or do live albums versus gapped song albums need to be adjusted each time I do an encode?

Ultimately, my outcome is to have album folders of MP3's that iTunes will automatically recognize as either gapless or gapped - without me having to change any settings each time I encode or play back.

Easy? Tricky?
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Nessuno
post May 19 2012, 20:58
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I don't know how exactly iTunes manages gapless on mp3, not using this format myself, but if you have no other reasons for your choice, you could go AAC, which I'm sure iTunes handle perfectly gapless when needed. Just be sure to flag "add gapless information for iTunes" in XLD AAC settings. You can even batch convert all of your files and add them automatically to iTunes library from within XLD.


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John 31415926
post May 19 2012, 21:18
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QUOTE (Nessuno @ May 19 2012, 11:58) *
If you have no other reasons for your choice, you could go AAC, which I'm sure iTunes handle perfectly gapless when needed.


Thanks for the reply Nessuno. Nope, I'm stuck on MP3 for the sake of file size. I'd like to have my entire collection on my laptop and eventually get myself an iTouch ... so smaller files are important.

Otherwise you would be right. AAC would be the way to go.

I've done my homework on this much and I plan on using 256 or 320 MP3 ... probably mostly 256 ... so I have a hunch even my crazy big FLAC and CD collection would all fit nicely on one medium sized hard drive.

But you might still be able to answer the question. You wrote to check off "add gapless info for iTunes" in XLD. Okay, I'm happy to do that once. But I don't want to check it and uncheck it for each album. Heck, I have many new classical albums in FLAC that I don't know if they're gapless or not. Do I need to know if an album is gapless? I don't want to listen to them all before encoding.

What happens if I check "add gapless info" in XLD for a song-oriented album that's has the usual gaps? Do I suddenly get much longer gaps? Too short of gaps between songs?

What I really want to check off is the box that says, "just encode this FLAC to 256 MP3 exactly the way the CD plays it". But I find no such box.
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Ouroboros
post May 19 2012, 21:35
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Your reasoning makes no sense.

In general, AAC is smaller than MP3 for similar quality, so your reason for not using MP3 isn't a valid one.

Also, you can save loads of space for no noticeable degradation in quality by using VBR instead of CBR.
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Ouroboros
post May 19 2012, 22:53
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Edit: Sorry, I meant to say "In general, AAC is smaller than MP3 for similar quality, so your reason for using MP3 isn't a valid one."

Serves me right for typing while watching the Champion's League Final!
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John 31415926
post May 19 2012, 22:55
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QUOTE (Ouroboros @ May 19 2012, 12:35) *
In general, AAC is smaller than MP3 for similar quality, so your reason for not using MP3 isn't a valid one.

Also, you can save loads of space for no noticeable degradation in quality by using VBR instead of CBR.


Yeah, you're right. The AAC thing wasn't about space, it was about universal acceptance in some future media player I might buy. That was the reason I opted against AAC in favor of MP3. AACs don't play on many MP3 car CD players, some portable media players, etc.

I was under the impression that VBR saves space, but not "loads" of space ... but regardless, I'll read up on it again. (I'm still new to a lot of this stuff.)

But the big question remains ... dropping FLACs, gapless or gapped albums, into XLD and getting identical MP3s out (identical as in: gapless or gapped) without having to click boxes for each album I convert.

Is there a universal setting to this thing? Or do I have to let XLD know in advance whether I want an album gapless or gapped. That would be for the birds because, again, I don't if some of these albums are gapless or gapped and I don't want to have to listen to each one before converting.
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Nessuno
post May 19 2012, 22:55
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Ouroboros is right about file size and VBR: use AAC, set the "gapless" flag once and forever, and quality slider to 110 (about 255 Kbps VBR) and you're done. No problem with separated track albums and you'll also get perfect iDevice compatibility.

By the way: may I ask you where do you acquired those FLAC files, which you don't even know how they sound like?


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Nessuno
post May 19 2012, 23:01
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QUOTE (Ouroboros @ May 19 2012, 23:53) *
Serves me right for typing while watching the Champion's League Final!

I see you write from UK. Well: compliments to the new Champions, from Italy and... Bravo Di Matteo! smile.gif


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John 31415926
post May 20 2012, 01:45
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Awright, guys. I'm going to start noodling this thing through myself. I appreciate all the friendly replies, but I still haven't heard an authoritative answer to the question of setting the gapless thing one time only for all future FLAC to MP3 encodes, gapless or gapped. Ouroboros suggests that's how it's done with AAC ... and both gapped and gapless are equally reliably encoded ... but the only real question all along has been "is there one setting in XLD for FLAC to MP3 that will give me a folder of MP3s that playback with the same formatting I would hear on the CD."

Or do I need to click gapless or non depending on the type of album I'm encoding.

I get it ... it works that way with AAC. One click and all albums are handled, gapless or gapped. But I'm not doing AAC. I'm doing MP3.

It seems like the software should just "know" if it's gapped or gapless and encode accordingly. In a sense "all" format encodes should be gapless and the gaps are just encoded as the source file actually has them.

But what do I know? That's why I'm here asking.

If anyone wants to still help with the question, without referring me to AAC, I'm all ears.

Otherwise, thanks for the friendly conversation and I'm off to fuss and experiment through XLD the hard way.

This post has been edited by John 31415926: May 20 2012, 01:47
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db1989
post May 20 2012, 10:34
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Your tone implies people are withholding information from you deliberately. I doubt that. Chill out and wait a while.

For what it’s worth, my suggestion is just to tick any gapless option if it’s available, and leave it ticked. You stand to lose nothing, right? The worst thing I can imagine happening is that albums that aren’t gapless (i.e. the CD has physical silence between tracks) won’t have their gaps made larger, which doesn’t seem like a terrible side-effect to me. Edit: What was I trying to say there? wacko.gif I think I meant that, if an album (air-quote) isn’t (air-quote) gapless, this wouldn’t mean that having the option enabled would be harmful. But, as the posts made between then and now suggest, it probably doesn’t matter either way.

This post has been edited by db1989: May 20 2012, 22:50
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kornchild2002
post May 20 2012, 14:14
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The settings used in XLD aren't going to matter for iTunes playback. iTunes will not be able to automatically determine if a song is gapless or not. It will however take the time to scan each track after you add them to your iTunes library for gapless playback. The settings in XLD are mainly irrelevant for this purpose as iTunes dictates how the songs will be played back without gaps, not the songs themselves. I wasn't even aware that XLD offered gapless encoding settings for Lame (or anything else) yet I have been using it for a solid year now ripping to ALAC and Lame mp3 and iTunes has not had any gapless issues.
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Nessuno
post May 20 2012, 15:40
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From XLD documentation:

2006/9/15
Updated AAC output plugin (GUI)
Gapless information now includes the number of padding samples. This will make the info fully compatible with iTunes 7...

2006/9/14
Added option to add gapless playback information for AAC output plugin (GUI)
AAC output plugin adds gapless playback information that is newly added to files encoded by iTunes 7. If you decode the file with this information using iTunes 7, the number of samples of output is exactly the same as the original. This info is probably available only for iTunes 7 (not for other player). Note that the previous AAC files encoded by XLD seem to be gapless (for me) if use iTunes 7... And this option is currently experimental, so please report me if something is wrong.
ALAC and mp3(lame) are already ready for gapless playback. For mp3 iTunes 7 seems to read lame tags.

2006/9/13
Fixed problem that disabled Apple lossless encoder (GUI)
By the way, gapless playback became possible thanks to the release of iTunes 7. Now you can enjoy gapless playback of files split/encoded by XLD using iTunes 7.

---

P.S. I think "encoded using iTunes" here actually means "using CoreAudio / QT".

This post has been edited by Nessuno: May 20 2012, 15:50


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kornchild2002
post May 20 2012, 17:01
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Aside from some experimental posts almost 6 years ago (and maybe one solid update), I still don't see any concrete evidence that XLD is doing anything different than before other than adding some additional info (which iTunes can calculate on its own). There was even a line in the update saying that older encoded tracks still playback gaplessly. So why would the settings used even matter if iTunes is going to scan them for gapless playback information anyway and everything will work fine? Lastly, those news updates applied only to AAC (which appears to only apply to the CoreAudio encoder and not Nero AAC) which is why I ignored them as the OP is encoding using Lame mp3. My point is that the OP does not need to worry about encoding with gapless settings for iTunes/iDevice playback as it doesn't matter. Even if the tags contained gapless playback information that worked, iTunes would still have to scan them for said information.

This post has been edited by kornchild2002: May 20 2012, 17:03
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greynol
post May 20 2012, 17:13
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Unless XLD is doing something out of the ordinary, there is no need to configure it to do anythig about gapless playback when encoding mp3 using Lame. I can't speak to other encoders and formats, but considering the topic is about mp3 (not aac) and Lame is most likely the mp3 encoder used...

For those who don't know how iTunes handles gapless, search the forum. It was pretty well picked to death within the first couple of weeks and includes a rare visitation by someone from Apple.

Regarding tracks that contain silence at the end (or beginning) versus tracks that do not, there is no reason to entertain the idea that they should be treated differently.

This post has been edited by greynol: May 20 2012, 17:30


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John 31415926
post May 20 2012, 18:34
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ May 20 2012, 05:14) *
The settings used in XLD aren't going to matter for iTunes playback. iTunes will not be able to automatically determine if a song is gapless or not. It will however take the time to scan each track after you add them to your iTunes library for gapless playback. The settings in XLD are mainly irrelevant for this purpose as iTunes dictates how the songs will be played back without gaps, not the songs themselves. I wasn't even aware that XLD offered gapless encoding settings for Lame (or anything else) yet I have been using it for a solid year now ripping to ALAC and Lame mp3 and iTunes has not had any gapless issues.


QUOTE (greynol @ May 20 2012, 08:13) *
Unless XLD is doing something out of the ordinary, there is no need to configure it to do anythig about gapless playback when encoding mp3 using Lame. I can't speak to other encoders and formats, but considering the topic is about mp3 (not aac) and Lame is most likely the mp3 encoder used...

Regarding tracks that contain silence at the end (or beginning) versus tracks that do not, there is no reason to entertain the idea that they should be treated differently.


Ding ding ding! We have a winnah!

Thanks, Kornchild2002 and greynol.

In this process of reading everyone's posts the last day or two and about three hours of googling, I also realized that my version of XLD was a very old version and was no longer auto-updating. I went back and downloaded the latest version. Unless I just can't find it (ie, unless it's been moved) XLD no longer has a "add gapless data" box to check off when encoding to MP3.

So I suspect that you're right.

I guess I'll never understand why there even was an option of gapped encoding. Seems like an encoder should just encode exactly what's on the CD ... but I still have plenty of learning to do, so I might figure it out eventually.

Question answered. Thank you, everyone. I appreciate the help.

biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by John 31415926: May 20 2012, 18:36
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kornchild2002
post May 20 2012, 19:19
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The lack of the gapless encoding option in modern versions of XLD is why I didn't even know it existed before. The news updates previously posted were almost from 6 years ago. Quite a bit has changed since then and you don't have to worry about enabling or disabling gapless encoding with Lame. It's still there for CoreAudio AAC encoding but from what I can tell, it doesn't do anything regarding playback. I encoded Tool's Lateralus three times: one with Lame mp3 (version 3.99.5), one with CoreAudio AAC at true VBR (quality level 80) with the gapless option ticked, and one with CoreAudio AAC at the same setting without the gapless option enabled. All three versions of the album still played back gaplessly. Hence why the settings used in XLD don't really matter for iTunes playback. It even took the same amount of time to scan the "gapless" AAC version of the album as it did for the Lame mp3 and non "gapless" AAC version.
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Nessuno
post May 20 2012, 20:12
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The "news updated" I posted before come from the official XLD documentation and is the only place in which the gapless switch is mentioned there, so of course they still apply today and are the most authoritative source.
Nowhere is mentioned a similar switch for Lame settings, neither I ever said or otherwise implied that there should be one. The OP asked for a gapless solution for mp3 using XLD and iTunes, I felt like answering and gave him a different but working solution, telling explicitly I don't use mp3 myself, and asked him if he had reasons not to use it and stick with mp3: this a discussion board, not a customer service.

The "scanning for gapless" has been an iTunes known issue in the past, some users reporting to make the whole computer unusable for long every time iTunes started. Maybe fixed past version 8.
I have always used AAC encoded with that switch, my collection counts some 14000 tracks and never seen a single "scanning" message in two years, neither when adding new tracks, so I see no reasons to uncheck it myself or not to advice people to use it.


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kornchild2002
post May 20 2012, 21:12
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I was simply pointing out the age of the news updates and that XLD has made some changes since. I wasn't trying to discredit what you posted. Additionally, I never advised anyone to uncheck the gapless option for CoreAudio AAC encoding. I simply gave an example of where it didn't seem to matter. YMMV and any personal experiences in these forums (mine or yours) should not be taken as cold, hard fact.
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Nessuno
post May 20 2012, 22:20
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ May 20 2012, 22:12) *
I was simply pointing out the age of the news updates and that XLD has made some changes since.

Ok, but if the author himself made no other mention of this switch and didn't removed it, one should assume that the intended behaviour hasn't changed since.

QUOTE
YMMV and any personal experiences in these forums (mine or yours) should not be taken as cold, hard fact.

And I was trying to put my words in this perspective: we are just discussing, reporting experiences and of course trying our best to help and not give each other false informations, that's all... smile.gif


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RobertoDomenico
post May 21 2012, 00:42
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There is no settings in XLD to enable or disable gapless. If you are using a format capable of gapless like Lame Mp3, AAC ALAC, Flac then the album will play back gapless if thats the way it was intended to be and it wont if it wasn't. SO as long as you are using a formant that is gapless then you'll have no worries.

This post has been edited by RobertoDomenico: May 21 2012, 00:42
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John 31415926
post May 21 2012, 03:27
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QUOTE (RobertoDomenico @ May 20 2012, 15:42) *
There is no settings in XLD to enable or disable gapless.








This post has been edited by John 31415926: May 21 2012, 03:27
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