computer + MP3 experts - I need some help

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ThomasL, Aug 17, 2002.

  1. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    I've ripped a number of my CDs using EAC + Lame (using the recommended defaults for LAME encoding) and the quality of the MP3s when played off the hard drive is excellent. I burned some of them onto a CD-RW and that went fine with all data verified as being burned correctly. Here comes the but - when I play them directly off the CD-RW, there are small pop/clicks every 20-30 seconds. They seem random and as best I can tell, has something to do with the speed of reading the data off of the disc. For example, if it makes a click sound and I immediately "rewind" it, it works fine with no clicks. This would make sense since the data has been cached and no disc access is required. I get this behavior with both Winamp and Windows Media Player. Finally, if I copy then off of the CD-RW into a temp directory and play them, they play fine with no clicks/pop sounds.

    So, does anyone know the exact reason for this and is there a workaround or fix for it? It seems a pain to recopy everything off of the CD-RW whenever you want to play it. I'm making these so I can listen to my CDs at work.

    thanks,


    --tom
     
  2. Mike_G

    Mike_G Screenwriter

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    What speed is your CD-RW's read speed?

    Did you try a CD-R?

    Mike
     
  3. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the reply Mike. I have a Yamaha CRW3200 cd read/writer drive which says it reads discs at 40x, writes CD-RW discs at 10x. I'm using Memorex High Speed CD-RW discs that are "rated" for 10x write speeds. I haven't tried a CD-R disc yet but the Yamaha drive came with one so perhaps I will try that and see if it makes a difference.

    thanks,


    --tom
     
  4. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Buzz. Actually, I have the CDROM drive and a Zip drive on the secondary IDE channel and my one hard drive on the Primary IDE channel. Given the amount of work I do with SCSI systems, I know all about problems that arise with mixing and matching devices [​IMG]
    The system doesn't actually hang when this occurs. It is simply a slight pop/click in the speakers and when it occurs I usually see the CD-RW drive light blink. I just verified that it does the same thing with CD-Rs. One fact I left out of the earlier messages is that I'm using Nero's burn software - it came with the Yamaha drive. The clicking/popping is not horrible (and not often enough to make it unlistenable) and perhaps through computer speakers, you wouldn't even notice it but I definitely notice them through my bookshelf speakers hooked up to an old Pioneer stereo receiver.
    thanks,
    --tom
     
  5. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    Since the files play fine otherwise, next step is to eliminate the software before turning attention to the hardware itself. I'd grab EZ CD Creator or whatever else you can get free to try out to burn a disc. Nero is the hands-down best for just about everything, IMO, but maybe yours doesn't like your drive or the install happens to have a glitch somewhere. Could try reinstalling Nero first, too.

    If different burning software doesn't work, then you know it's probably something with the drive itself.
     
  6. Mike_G

    Mike_G Screenwriter

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    CD-RW disks are funny. They work in some drives, not others. My one DVD player likes, them, another doesn't. I haven't had more odd incompatabilities than with CD-RW.

    I'm an Apple developer, so I get the opportunities to download beta version of their OS all the time. Rather than wasting money on CD-R's, I use CD-RW's instead so that I can overwrite them when a new version comes out. No matter what, the same Superdrive on my Mac doesn't read the CD-RW as well as a CD-R.

    You could also try another brand of CD-RW.

    Mike
     
  7. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the reply Brad. I don't think it is the burning software itself since I copied the contents of the CD-R back onto the hard drive, then copied samples of the originals and the copies over to my Linux box and ran a 'diff'. The "bits" are identical so the actual data being burned onto the cd is correct. The next test I really have to do is to play some of the MP3s on the CD-R in another CD-ROM drive. Unfortunately my Linux box has no sound card since it is just a server machine. The problem really seems to be that since WinAmp is grabbing the data fairly slowly off the drive that whenever the drive "hiccups" back to life to grab a few bits, there seems to be a possibility of a little click/pop sound at that very moment. As if the MP3 software is waiting for data and for a millisecond, it got nothing so I hear a little click/pop sound. Strange which is why I was hoping someone else may have experienced something similar. Usually no computer problem is unique on this planet. [​IMG]
    Mike, I agree that CD-RW discs can work one place and not another. I've had this problem at work with copies of stuff. It's sort of like that movie with Michael Keaton [​IMG]. The original is always best.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  8. Michael Borbridge

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    I used musicmatch jukebox for burning audio cd's and works great try using that because it converts straight from mp3 to wave file ... I like it or try just burning at a lower speed that should help ... Michael
     
  9. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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  10. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Buzz, thanks for the help. My secondary IDE bus is not using DMA for I/O transfer. It is set to PIO mode. In fact, perhaps because of the Zip drive, Windows 2000 won't let me set it to DMA (well it will but read on to see what it does). When I do, the machine restarts and Windows 2000 doesn't see either the CDROM drive or the Iomega zip drive on the controller. [​IMG]
    But the issue definitely seems to be one of buffering/caching. I went into Winamp's options and set it's mode to "Real Time" which they do not recommend. This seemed to clear up some of the clicks/pops but not all of them. Perhaps it is relying less on caching/buffering? I didn't see any other options to control buffering. I wonder if I removed the zip drive from the controller and then set the I/O mode to DMA (which Yamaha recommends and then warns it can cause your system to become unstable. I love manuals like that [​IMG] ) and see if that would make any difference. But first, I'll try the disc in my work PC which is a faster machine and has a different cd reader/burner. My home machine is currently a Celeron 400 so it is a bit slow by today's standards. The load on the machine doesn't seem that high though according to the Task Manager - but if it is a speed issue then that would be a good excuse to upgrade [​IMG]
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  11. Michael_Scott

    Michael_Scott Auditioning

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    Well I can think of a few things. Most likely it is your MP3 player and your media not getting along.

    Case in point. I have three different stand alone MP3 Players.
    Panasonic 5 disc mp3 changer
    Panasonic RP56 DVD/MP3 player
    Rio Volt 250 CD/MP3 Walkman

    I can take the same burned disc and get different results in all three players.

    Rio Volt cannot read any Imation disks at all.
    Both Panasonic's skip and click with damn near any media at any speed.

    In general I think what you are hearing is a buffer underrun between the disk and the mp3 decoder in your unit. IE there is no anti-skip memory or anything and the data is sent straight to the mp3 decoder with a minimum of buffering. If the drive has to re-read or EC part of a song the buffer empties and you hear noise.
    My Rio buffers the entire song into memory so that is why I have never heard a click or pop on it but my two panasonics do because they play direct without a buffer.

    My suggestion is that you use media rated for a very slow speed like around 4-8x and burn at a slow speed. Why not just burn fast media slow? Because the slower rated media uses a different type of dye that is darker than high speed media. This gives the cheapo MP3 reader more of a signal (higher contrast between pits and lands) and therefore makes it easier to read. I HIGHLY reccomend Kodack Gold CD's for these players. I pulled my hair out trying to find good media and Kodack's have done the trick.

    Mike
     
  12. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I tried the experiment of unhooking the zip drive - leaving the cdrom the only device on the secondary IDE controller. Windows 2000 still wouldn't let me set the I/O mode to DMA or it did but then it didn't see the CDROM drive upon reboot. I still haven't tried a different CDROM drive for reading the disc but will, when I am in my work office next. Actually for home use, it is not that important since I plan to use the hard drives for actual playing of ripped MP3s and will simply use the CD-Rs for data backup in case the drive fails. So, it'll be interesting to see if it works in the work PC.

    cheers,


    --tom
     
  13. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Well, my MP3s on CD-R work fine at work but of course, it's a different PC, different CD-RW drive and it's even a different version of Winamp! [​IMG] Winamp 3 seems to have some buffering options so I will upgrade the home PC to Winamp tonight and see if it helps at all. I suspect it is simply a quirk of my slower older system at home - which is fine since at home, I intend to just play the ripped versions straight off the hard drive. The CD-RW copies were only meant for work and backup/recovery.
    thanks every for your help and suggestions.
    cheers,
    --tom
     

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