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MP3 recommendations

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I just started playing with MP3-encoding this weekend in an effort to be able to carry around a large amount of music without carrying lots of CDs around. I'm using AudioGrabber with the LAME 3.88 encoder, with playback on WinAmp, and I listen to mainly classical music. I'm thinking about encoding a bunch of music, and using a PJB-100 to carry it around with me (travelling, office, etc.). So I ran into some problems and have some observations, and hope that you guys can help me out:

1. MP3 seems to have an easier time on classical music than pop music, because perhaps pop music uses wider bandwith due to all the percussion and synthetic sounds. It was easy to hear artifacts on pop music, and quite difficult on classical music. I'm encoding at VBR 0, highest quality, joint-stereo, and am getting about 100 MB per 70 minutes of music. Just an observation.

2. Ironically, at the same time, MP3 IDs seem to be quite biased towards pop music rather than classical music. There's some space in ID3v2 to store composer and performer separately, but no space really for soloists, symphony orchestra, choral forces, etc. Ordering is definitely pop-oriented, as the software seems to assume that tracks are interchangeable, whereas many classical pieces must have the tracks in a particular order as they are sometimes continuous, which leads to the next problem.

3. Is there an MP3 player (software or hardware) that can play tracks continuously with no pause? Many classical pieces are continuous between tracks, and the little pause that WinAmp has is very annoying.

4. Freedb seems be worse than CDDB in knowing about the CDs I have, and seems to have lower quality information on the individual tracks. I really like AudioGrabber's grabbing capabilities, but don't like its use of Freedb. I've heard MusicMatch is also a good utility. Any ideas?

5. I often have to edit the ID3 tags because the information is wrong or missing. Is there any kind of utility to quickly apply the same information across a bunch of MP3 files?

I think that's all the questions I have for now --- it's certainly a bunch of work to get it all organized and easy to use!

post #2 of 4
LAME is the best encoder IMNSHO

Get EAC to rip tracks off of CDs. You will be impressed. It is a bit slow, but it dosen't mess up much, if at all.

If you listen to primarly classical music, and you don't want to have the little gaps in music, you could burn the tracks onto one .wav. I think EAC will do this. That way you get the entire piece, and not a small part of it in each track. Skipping to different parts will be more difficult though. Have fun manually labeling the tracks though.

Id3 is heavily biased towards pop music, and not much will solve that, but there are utilites that label mp3s quite nicely. I haven't used one myself, though. Just do a search on Google for something like "MP3 tag editor"
post #3 of 4
To answer Questions 4 & 5, MusicMatch will solve both those problems - tracks are displayed BY THEIR ID3 tags, and MMJB uses CDDB.
post #4 of 4
To answer question 3: Apollo has a feature that crossfades the incoming track to the one playing. The amount of fade-in can be changed, or set to zero, or adjusted to just fade-out. I find it to be a very useful tool.

An added bonus: Apollo is a very good sounding mp3 player, prefered by most over winamp + MAD (based on a discussion a while back in Headwize); and can be used with the CD Reader plugin for higher quality CD playback.

The only drawback I have found is that it does not use CDDB to display the track info, it shows only the info available on the ID3 tag.
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