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Gapless play not working for MP3s


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Hi Max

I'm in the process of moving my music library from an Apple Ipod Classic to a Samsung S20 FE with a Sandisk Extreme 1TB card (android 11). My MP3s have been collected over two decades from various sources (mostly bittorrent) and i've never had problems with gaps while using either Itunes or my iPod.

Now that i'm moving to android i'm trying to find a good music player and Poweramp is the one with the best reviews, so i'm currently using the trial version. The problem is i'm still finding very small gaps between my songs (they're DJ mixes). I have tried changing Preload setting to "more" but it hasn't fixed the issue. 

Is there anything else i can tweak in the settings? I'm happy to email you the MP3s in question if you want to see how they're put together. I should emphasis that the gaps are very small, but still noticeable. What is apple doing differently to smooth out these gaps? literally every android player i've tried so far hasn't been able to match what Apple is doing. 

Thanks
B

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Gapless is something that should have been encoded within the MP3 file in the first place, and PA should play them that way. See https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Gapless_playback#:~:text=the author intended.-,How to add or repair gap metadata in MP3s,lame v3.81 and 3.87 beta mp3 decoding quality test results.,-Alternative solutions

If not, the files need to have absolutely no period of silence at the beginning or the end of the file, which may not be true at a data packet level. Try loading into something like Audacity and see if there is any null data at the start or end of the files. The current release of PA does not remove leading or trailing silence (even digital zero silence).

If you have a pair of files which you think should play gaplessly but don't, please could you share them for checking?

Andre

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Hi Andrew

Thanks for the speedy reply. I have a pair of files that would be perfect for a test, what would be the best way to get them to you? Email?

With regards to the other points you've made:

1. Gapless meta data. I can't speak much to the encoding process of the MP3s in my possession, and i'd want to avoid a solution that requires re-encoding the files (I have too many for that). 
2. Periods of silence. i don't believe there's any silence at the start or end of the songs. The songs are continuous mix DJ set which has been cut into segments. It's a "ministry of sound - the annual" album. 

My technical understanding of encoding and music software is limited, but what i can say for certain is that I don't have this problem on my Ipod (or in Itunes on Windows) using the same files so I'm keen to recreate that listening experience.

Every android music app i've tried on my phone so far has always had a small gap. It's a short gap,  but definitely long enough that if you were pacing the beat with a metronome, the metronome would be out of sync after swapping from one song to another. I don't believe it's a SD card lag issue as i've tried loading music onto both the SD card and the internal memory with the same results. 

I'd be keen to send you my test songs. If you guys can transition flawlessly then at least i'll know it's something specific to my phone or android version.

Thanks

Bryce

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1 hour ago, Bryce Nichol said:

My technical understanding of encoding and music software is limited, but what i can say for certain is that I don't have this problem on my Ipod (or in Itunes on Windows) using the same files so I'm keen to recreate that listening experience.

Every android music app i've tried on my phone so far has always had a small gap. It's a short gap,  but definitely long enough that if you were pacing the beat with a metronome, the metronome would be out of sync after swapping from one song to another. I don't believe it's a SD card lag issue as i've tried loading music onto both the SD card and the internal memory with the same results.

This is not a SD card issue.

Depending on the software used to rip the original mp3 files, most did NOT account for gapless playback. As part of the compression process, there are some blocks that get dropped on the ends of the tracks that end up breaking the complete “gapless” connection between album tracks. Apple had some mechanism in place for iTunes and iPods that sort of fixed this (there was a checkbox in the info box for this) that forced album tracks together. A few later mp3 encoders did something similar without the need for this flag. Without an Apple device in the former case, or files encoded with the later, there will be these small gaps.

Note that by nature, lossless formats do not drop these blocks and will always maintain proper gapless playback.

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Thanks MotleyG

That is interesting, do you know more about those Apple mechanisms? is it something that can be recreated with Poweramp through the settings? I remember the gapless playback checkbox that you're talking about in Itunes. Does Poweramp have the same feature? 


https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=47033.msg322589#msg322589

I found this link attached to the one that Andrew sent through earlier. Talking about "Gapless voodoo" that Apple seems to be using. I'd love if an android app could recreate that. 

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I had this problem with some old MP3's that I rip'd using Nero back in the early 2000's. They worked fine in Logitech Media Server on my home system and WMP, but the gaps were as you say, noticeable. I've now been a happy DBPoweramp user for the last few years and it works perfectly for gapless MP3 or any other format rips. I do have all my CD's so when I came across a "gapless" problem I just pulled out the CD and re-rip'd it with DBPoweramp, FLAWLESS.

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@maxmp Thanks Max. I've emailed through some sample MP3s. I suspect the problem is indeed the MP3s as they're very old (from 2005) but if there's anything i can tweak in the settings (rather than re-encode the MP3s) then i'd love to do that. Somehow my Ipod does some black magic and smooths out the gaps. I'd love if Poweramp can do the same.

@w3wilkes Yep i think you're onto something, the albums giving me grief are all very old (2004 to 2010ish) while newer albums that i've tried (2014 to 2018) are being handled perfectly by Poweramp. So yes seems like the problem is my MP3s, but since my Ipod classic 120GB can somehow handle the gaps (Apple gapless voodoo) it'd be great if i could tweak the settings in Poweramp to do the same. I'm really not keen to re-encode all my old albums.

Thanks everyone for the useful info. i've learned a lot

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4 hours ago, Bryce Nichol said:

@maxmp Thanks Max. I've emailed through some sample MP3s. I suspect the problem is indeed the MP3s as they're very old (from 2005) but if there's anything i can tweak in the settings (rather than re-encode the MP3s) then i'd love to do that. Somehow my Ipod does some black magic and smooths out the gaps. I'd love if Poweramp can do the same.

@w3wilkes Yep i think you're onto something, the albums giving me grief are all very old (2004 to 2010ish) while newer albums that i've tried (2014 to 2018) are being handled perfectly by Poweramp. So yes seems like the problem is my MP3s, but since my Ipod classic 120GB can somehow handle the gaps (Apple gapless voodoo) it'd be great if i could tweak the settings in Poweramp to do the same. I'm really not keen to re-encode all my old albums.

Thanks everyone for the useful info. i've learned a lot

I still use an iPod Classic in the car, and on some older rips of live albums you could hear a slight gap between sequential tracks. If your files weren’t ripped in iTunes after Apple added the gapless option, or by any other encoder that had gapless, you are probably going to have to rip those tracks again. Once the data is gone, it’s gone - that’s the nature of the beast with compression. If you do have the original CDs, maybe it’s time to go lossless?😉

in the meantime in Poweramp, you could turn on the cross fading and use a very short duration. Try something like 250ms and adjust to meet your preference. It might save you from having to re-rip a bunch of discs for now.

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Are you hearing an actual patch of audible silence between tracks, or more of a click/glitch (i.e. so short you can't identity how long it lasts)? If the latter, then a very short crossfade may indeed help.

@maxmp What happened to the old v2 "Cut Silence" option? Is that mode now permanently enabled, or is pre- and post-track digital silence now considered to be part of the track and always played out? I used to have it turned on, to handle tracks where the playout period ended with an unwanted period of complete silence.

Andre

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@maxmp is it possible to set the ID tag on an mp3 track as gapless through Poweramp? 

I think what I need is a setting to cut the silence on these particular old tracks. I suspect that's what my ipod is doing automatically somehow. 

I've sent 3x tracks to your Gmail so that might help identify if the gapless flag is set. 

For old versions of iTunes there was a setting for each file where you could flag the mp3 as gapless (and I did) , but they removed the flag and started doing it automatically after version 7 or something like that. 

 

 

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@Bryce Nichol thanks for the files - I've been able to improve gapless for them in build-921, though you may have more files with the broken gapless tags - feel free to send me couple of such if gapless is broken for them (and Poweramp shows "gapless" for the actively played track in Info/Tags dialog).

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@maxmp Thanks very much Max. Do you have a release date yet for build-921?

I'll send through any other MP3s i find where it's not gapless but the tag says gapless. So far every "gapless" tagged file i've found has been fine. It's just my old files (pre 2014 mostly) which have been causing grief. and none of them have gapless encoded. Which is a shame. 

I'm looking forward to your work around. For now i guess my iPod will keep living a bit longer to play these old files with missing ID tag data. 

Thanks very much for all the help

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@Bryce Nichol Interim updates - such as tweaks and minor bug fixes - don't auto-download from the Play Store unless you subscribe to the beta channel. New releases go through several stages of beta testing and tweaking before they are unleashed on everyone as a main stable release. However you can always manually download the very latest version from the website here, and the Play Store will later catch up and provide future stable updates as they come along.

Glad this has worked for you now anyway. There are so many variations of 'standard' file formats out there in the wild that it can be hard for Max to accommodate all of them without having some samples to test.

Andre

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