Panasonic RP91 DVD player has problems with MP3 playback

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Max Leung, Jun 10, 2001.

  1. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Well, I decided to rip some of my music collection into high quality 256kbit (constant bit rate, stereo encoding) MP3s, and burn them onto a CD. I used LAME 3.88 (latest official beta release) as the encoder. Plays back fine with Sonique 1.90 and Windows Media Player on my PC. I used EAC as my CD ripper to eliminate CD errors.
    Now, playback on the Panny RP91 is horrible...playback exhibits skips and distortion, like a broken record! The CD-RW plays fine on my PC, and works on the Panny because I tested previous burns with it. Playing 192Kbit mp3s encoded by Blade seem to work fine, so I suspect it has the same problem that other primitive mp3 players have with high bitrates (take a look at http://www.r3mix.net ).
    Can anyone with an RP91 confirm that this is a problem? I have a bad feeling that its mp3 decoder is horribly buggy.
    I certainly hope there is an easy fix for this...otherwise I'll just send the player back and build a (reliable) HTPC instead!
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Ok, here are some examples:
    1) "Star Wars - Main Theme", from the "John Williams Conducts John Williams, Star Wars Trilogy"
    Exhibits horrible clicks (almost like clipping noises) right from the start of the track.
    2) "Wisdom" - from Delerium's "Karma"
    30 seconds into the track, major distortion occurs when the percussion kicks in over the (beautiful) vocals...and continues through the whole song.
    Other songs have the same problem, as long as they're encoded at 256kbit, and all other settings set to default using LAME...I think that once the sound levels rise, the RP91 starts clipping and distorting the soundtrack. Quiet passages seem to behave better. It is at its worst with heavy percussion and other "busy" sounds, such as John William's orchestra...
    This kind of performance is inexcusable...256Kbit is well within "spec" for MP3 playback! And I'm willing to bet that an el'cheapo Apex can do better than this! (no offense to those wonderful Apex owners out there! [​IMG] )
    It is possible that LAME 3.88 isn't compatible with it...but I don't have any trouble playing them with Sonique, WMP, or WinAMP.
     
  3. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Damn, it's getting late...
    Anyhow, it looks like the RP91 doesn't like LAME 3.88 encoded mp3s...I just tried 192kbit (stereo..NOT joint stereo) and it exhibited the same popping/stuttering symptoms as before.
    As a control, I also burned a VBR encoded mp3 (Delerium's Inner Sanctum off the Poem Bonus CD) onto the same CD-RW to eliminate the possibility of a bad CDRW disc, but it seemed to play fine. I think I may have detected some "flutter" during the playback, but maybe I'm super paranoid now.
    To remove all doubt, I then made 3 different mp3 encodings, using Peter Gabriel's "Red Rain" track from his "So" album.
    1st rip: VBR encoding, using the "--r3mix -b 128" flags for LAME. This will make a variable bit-rate mp3 that does not using anything less than 128 kbits/s. Also, joint-stereo encoding is also used.
    2nd rip: CBR encoding (constant bit rate), 192kbit/s, stereo.
    3rd rip: CBR encoding, 256kbit/s, stereo.
    The 1st rip played fine...the 2nd and 3rd had progressively worse skipping effects, odd echoes, and other weird anomalies.
    Red Rain is an interesting track: Very large dynamic range (not mixed for radio! Yay!), use of low bass and high frequencies simultaneous, especially at the beginning. I could very easily pick out the VBR encoding over the original CD track. VBR is very good, but Red Rain is too much for it, I'm afraid.
    Theory: Only joint stereo encoding with LAME 3.88 will work with the RP91? I was surprised that the 192kbit CBR mp3 didn't work properly...I figured that the rp91 couldn't handle high bit rate, but it seems this is not the case, as approximately 15% of Red Rain is encoded at 320kbit in the VBR mp3! However, it is possible that the higher bit rate portions have been "rolled off" by the RP91, and may be introducing artifacts. I will have to hook up my PC to my DSP-A1 and listen for differences in playback.
    Hopefully I'll find time to try a 256kbit/s joint-stereo rip...
    anyhow, bedtime! [​IMG]
     
  4. ScottH

    ScottH Producer

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    Max, I haven't experienced any problems with MP3 playback on my RP91. I use MusicMatch (version 6.10.0162) for encoding. It only allows me to go up to 160 bitrate.
     
  5. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    I use AudioCatalyst (Xing encoder) and have not found any problems with MP3 at rates up to 192 kb/s.
     
  6. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    This sounds like a very odd incompatibility. The Kenwood head unit in my car plays MP3 tracks right off a CD-ROM. My second DVD player (budget Scan SC-2000) does the same. Neither has any difficulty with my LAME encoded MP3s. And everything I encode is either using the R3mix 112-320 rate or 256-320 with no filters.
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  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    What version of LAME did you use Rob?
    Obi, any chance you can get a hold of LAME and verify the problem on your player? Or, I can arrange for you to download the offending mp3s from my ftp server tonight (6 PM MST or whenever).
    Max
     
  8. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Max:
    Tell me where to get LAME and I'll give it a go.
     
  9. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    I'm using 3.88beta, the latest version.
    The usual download site seems to be offline at the moment, but I've put just the Lame and RazorLame .exe files on my own site so you can get them:
    http://www.robgillespie.clara.net/lame.exe
    "One does not simply walk into Mordor."
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  10. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    The version of LAME i'm using is 3.88 beta 1 (march 27 2001).
    I'm going to try joint stereo encoding at 256kbit and see what happens!
     
  11. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Ok, here's the scoop:
    (Using LAME 3.88beta1)
    Based on my tests, the RP91 cannot handle MP3s encoded as stereo...you MUST encode with joint-stereo (option -mj) otherwise you will hear strange artifacts and "stuttering".
    Encoding the "Red Rain" song with "-mj -h" at 256kbit sounds ok. (-h is the same as -q2..."higer quality", with 0 being the best but slowest, 9 the worst but fastest)
    Encoding with the --r3mix option should be fine too, as it uses joint-stereo.
    For kicks, you might also try the sweep mp3 I found from http://www.r3mix.net
    Arrrgh, I'm gonna have to redo my music collection again. [​IMG]
     
  12. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Hmm, according to the LAME documentation:
     
  13. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    *bump*
    hehe [​IMG]
    I decided to use variable-bit-rate mp3s in my RP91...the player seems to handle them well (I thought I heard it skip on one song, but I couldn't duplicate it). As long as I use LAME's --r3mix option they sound fine, and they slightly better than the 256kbit/s-joint-stereo recordings I've tried.
    I'm amazed at how my Star Wars Trilogy (The Skywalker Ranch Recordings) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...190930-5749668 disc sounds when encoded as VBR mp3s...
    Max
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  14. Will

    Will Guest

    bump
     
  15. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    I haven't done a lot of testing, but I record everything as joint stereo. VBR high up to 320 with Xing works fine, as does Fraunhofer at 256.
    All I can say is though I'm probably not going to use the Panny much for MP3. The lack of navigation abilities of the thing make it pretty much useless as an MP3 player, except for background party music IMO.
    I get better use out of my portable MP3/CD player. No wireless remote and the sound quality isn't quite as nice, but I can at least navigate the thing. Plus it supports ID3 tags.
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