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#110053 03/30/11 07:06 AM
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dmrodes Offline OP
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I render my BIAB songs to WAV files, then export them to MP3s via Audacity at 224 bps...
I play them back thru Windows Media Player and they sound really good..
Burn the MP3s to a cd and use a SONY DVD player connected via audio out to a Mackie mixer/BBE/JBL eons...
But the tracks don't sound any where near as good as they do thru WMP...
Am I missing something here, or just doing it wrong?

dmrodes #110054 03/30/11 07:35 AM
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Well, you can't "burn MP3s to a CD", only WAVE files, so your CD burning software must be doing some additional conversion that is affecting the quality. Unless you can get control of that, just burn your WAVE files to the CD.


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Also check to see if you have any audio effects on in WMP such as eq, bass boost, etc.


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Keebo #110056 03/30/11 10:42 AM
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There are some CD players that will play MP3s. I don’t know what process they use because as far as I’m concerned why not use wavs! MP3s use less space but do not sound as good as wavs IMO. Plus I burn wavs so they can play on anyone’s CD player.

Back to the initial discussion, another factor is what is the difference between your computer sound system (amp/speakers/settings etc) and your stereo system. I see you have listed your stereo system but not your computers. Listening an a good computer system (pro amps and near field monitors) can sound different when listened through a home stereo, even a good home stereo.

Plus as Matt has indicated are you burning a data CD containing MP3’s or are your converting a MP3 to a CD wav file? Check and see what the file type is on the burned CD. IF it’s a CD wav file then some kind of conversion is being done to your files.


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MarioD #110057 03/30/11 07:23 PM
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I concur, some burning programs can accept MP3s but it is not recommended for both quality and compatibility reasons.

The OP said the first step is to render BIAB to .WAV files. If so, just use those to burn the CD. MP3 is not needed.


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I've read there's a difference in the actual cd you burn to - some specifically made for burning music others for data. Some people even prefer a specific brand. Does that matter as well? Or not....

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It used to matter. The CDs marketed as "Audio" CDs were more expensive because the manufacturers paid a fee to the record companies, supposedly to offset losses of sales due to illegal copying and sharing. The audio CDs held 80 minutes of music, as opposed to those marketed for data, which are typically 74 minutes.

I don't think there is any practical difference anymore. Once people realized they could use data CD blanks for music, the scheme fell apart and all you could find in most stores were the cheaper data CDs.

All this happened many years ago, so I may have scrambled a detail here or there.

As to color of the recordable surface, there are some who have found a particular type of blank works better (fewer errors) in certain brands of burners. I think it also has to do with the precise color of the laser used for burning, and for reading. Some brands of burners will make recommendations, but I always though that had just as much to do with marketing agreements as technical requirements.



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Also a few years ago some CD players would not play color CDs. In fact I had one that didn’t. So I’ve been using non-colored CDs since. I do not know if that is still the case or not but why take a chance?

I have also lost data on those ultra cheap off brand CDs. If you stick with brand names (Verbatim, Memorex, TDK etc) you should be fine.

Lastly to insure a good burn burn at a slower rate. Although my CD burner and CDs are rated at 52x I burn my music at 24x. I know there is a lot of pros and cons about this however I have never lost any data when burning at 24x.

A very important fact is never burn faster than the CD media’s fastest recommended speed. Personally I always burn slower than the recommended speed but as you may have guessed by now I am a little paranoid! Once bitten twice shy


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First of all, yes you can burn MP3s to a CD - I've been doing exactly that for a few years now...
The files on my 'gig' CD are ALL MP3s...

I convert them to MP3s (224bps - high quality) from WAV files so that I can fit all of my 60 songs on one CD, and have read in numerous places that the audio quality difference between a WAV and an MP3 is minimal and not detectable to the average person....

I burn the CD at 4x - the slowest and highest quality.

As I said above, I have a very good PA setup...

The SONY DVD (audio out - NOT headphone jack) should output the MP3s at a high quality as well.

So I remain confused and frustrated....

dmrodes #110062 04/03/11 08:43 AM
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Although it still has not been determined, with the volume of songs you have on a CD, it sounds like you are creating a data CD rather than an audio CD. Your CD player on the gig is able to play those data files as audio (not all CD players can).

For an audio CD, the MP3 files would first have to be de-compressed by the software. In your case, though, I don't know what is happening.

The rest of your description of hardware connections, burning speed etc. sounds fine. What CD burning software are you using? Also, could you elaborate on "does not sound any where near as good"? Are we talking EQ, hiss, stereo image, clarity of the sound, or what? That might give more clues.


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Using Windows Explorer to burn my CDs...should I be using a more 'sophisticated' burner?

The 1st question asked in the burn is "is this an audio or data CD?"

As far as the quality of the gig mp3s - they just aren't 'clean' sounding... I guess muddy would describe them... I plug the SONY DVD into a regular channel of the Mackie mixer, so I can adust the hi/low for each song if needed...but that only results in too much treble/bass... Do I need some sort of 'interface' going from the audio out of the SONY into my mixer? The vocals and piano sound really clean/clear coming out of the JBLs, with the BBE doing its thing... so it is not the PA....

I use MP3Gain to level out the volumes on my gig CD - could that program be 'affecting' the final product?
Even with that, I find I'm always scrambling to adjust the volume knob on the mixer once the song clicks off... I don't understand this volume discrepancy from song to song... is there a 'volume' setting that controls how loud the song gets rendered to a WAV? When I load in the songs into Audacity (to make MP3s) the wave form varies widely from song to song?? And when I bring them into MP3Gain - the listed volume dbs also differ greatly - some at 90.x, and others at 79.x - so SOMETHING is affecting the rendered volume...

Hope that answers some of the questions... appreciate any/all feedback here...

dmrodes #110064 04/09/11 07:43 AM
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This is an interesting thread, so I wanted to get back to it and see if anyone knows how to help dmrodes. This last post gives more good clues.

Dmrodes, how do you answer that 1st question about whether you want to burn an audio or a data CD?

Could you tell us more about "MP3Gain" and what that is? I'm not familiar with it. Also, I can't really help with the other software you are using, since I don't use any of those to make my MP3s, but it all is commonly used and someone here must have experience.

The "volume discrepancy" is one area where I think a problem could be occurring. Your CD burning software could be trying to normalize each song before burning (just a guess) and in general, I do not let software do anything for me like that - I make sure it cannot make major changes to my songs. In other words, in Audacity, you could use normalize and perhaps limiting to make sure the average gain (if it has that spec; otherwise use your ears) is closer to equal for all songs before you burn them.

You mentioned BBE. I have used that but do not any longer. It has an interesting effect that sounds pleasant at first, but to my ears leads to fatigue after awhile. Still, it makes songs more clear, not less, so I doubt that is the problem here, especially since it sounds like you are only using it correctly at the end - at the PA - instead of somewhere in the process of making your MP3s.


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dmrodes #110065 04/15/11 07:39 AM
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Hey, dmrodes and everybody else:

I don't know about older versions of BIAB, but for the last two versions you can create MP3's directly from within the program. It's a little strange, because BIAB first creates a WAV file, then renders the WAV to MP3. I do my entire solo (well, except for the tracks of course) guitar act from an Ipad, using only MP3's. While there is some degradation in quality from WAV's to MP3's, I think it's minimal, especially playing them back over a PA system instead of a great stereo system. Plenty good enough for live performance, IMO. If you're short on disk space you should go back and either delete or move the WAV's that are created, since they're huge compared to the MP3's.

The only problem I have with the MP3's created by BIAB is that they're volume levels are quite "hot" compared to the fully produced tracks I create in Sonar. I always render everything a -1 DB, just to make sure that I don't get any clipping when the tracks are mastered. For the BIAB MP3's I always end up running them through WavePad and using either the Soft or Very Soft presets to normalize them so they don't blast out of the PA compared to the Sonar tracks.

BTW, there is now a great app for both Iphone and Ipad called BackTrax. It is a dedicated MP3 player with a very large PLAY and a very large STOP button. It also STOPS after each track has played so you don't have to be constantly reaching for your playback device after a tune to keep it from going to the next tune.

You can also load Ipod playlists directly into the program, so if you've already developed a playlist for your act, all you have to do is load it up and go. It's under $10, too. I've communicated with the developer asking for a big VOLUME slider, and for a volume leveler as part of the program. The slider is definitely on the drawing board; the leveler - maybe.

So, there's my tip and/or trick.

- DR

dryan08 #110066 04/15/11 08:33 PM
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Bottom line is that when you go from WAV (uncompressed) files to MP3 (compressed) files, you lose fidelity in the translation. If what I read is right, you want to burn audio CDs (CDA files) rather than MP3s, which is essentially a data CD (just data that happens to be music files). The 128 bitrate for your basic MP3 track will sound fine with those little bud things shoved into your ears, but in a room stereo scenario, with room acoustics in the equation, the fidelity loss will likely be evident. If you must do MP3, do them at 320 bitrate.


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There are mp3's and there are mp3'. Not all are equal.

My wave editor provides me two options when converting from wave to mp3:

1) Layer 3

2) Layer 3 - ACM

As far as I know, the ACM variety is better.

Layer 3 - ACM is the proprietary software of Fraunhofer:

I have converted WAV file to Layer 3 ACM (41,000 Hz/320 kbps), and played them on my car audio system (fortunately it plays MP3 files) and home system, and frankly I can't tell them from the WAV files. Maybe I'm too old to be able to tell.

Glenn

PS - I think once males get past 20 years old or thereabouts, very few of us can tell the difference.

Last edited by Glenn Kolot; 04/25/11 12:34 PM.
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Mattt's idea of using the normalize function within Audacity ought to help with getting comparable volume levels on all tracks. This could be part of a mastering method used to take rendered files down to a common dynamic set of levels, perhaps with some eq and compression and/or limiting used to achieve similar timbre and levels for all tracks being converted for performance use. Have you tried the normalize function within Audacity?


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Quote:

Well, you can't "burn MP3s to a CD",




This thread lost me several miles back. Surely this is exactly what Windows Media Player does with the burn command?

This from microsoft.com...

"You can burn an audio CD from either Windows Media Audio (WMA), MP3, or WAV file formats."


I wasn't confused at all before, but I am now.

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Hi Marc. I hope I did not create any confusion, as the process is explained as the thread develops. My original question was, is the OP creating a data CD that contains MP3s, or an audio CD? If it is an audio CD, then the MP3 files must be decoded by the CD burning software to put them into a .WAV format before burning. The OP stated that the MP3s sounded good but the resulting burned CD did not, so I started asking for details to find out if something is happening in the decoding. Mario correctly added that only some CD players will read MP3 data CDs properly. What I should have said originally was, MP3s are not burned directly to an AUDIO CD. Does that help?


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If can avoid using mp3 at all, it should be done- period. The only time you should be using mp3 is for web purposes and, as I think you are OP, you use the highest kbs you can- certainly never less than 160kbs. Some sites will limit you to file size and you're forced to go with 128kbs- not good. And of course, it's convenient to dump mp3 to portable devices such as phones and ipods but even then, unless you're severely limited in storage capabilities, you should always go with your full res files. But anything written to CD should be 44.1/16 bit res- cd audio quality. But really folks, it's doubtful this is an mp3 issue or or wav file issue or anything like that at all. It's a mix issue.

When you say all sounds great using WMP, what speakers are you monitoring that playback from?

What audio monitors are you mixing with in the first place?

'Mackie mixer/BBE/JBL eons' -That's not a maximizer I see in there is it- that BBE? That'll change things too and imo, usually not for the better.

PA speakers are full range speakers. It's another speaker to judge the mix you've done. If it sounds crappy through them, your mix typically needs adjusting. In my opinion, you're just getting another listen on different speakers and they're telling you something- your mix needs adjusting. Or, your channel eq's need adjusting.

You could also check to see if your cd players bass boost is on to some extent, and that there is no eq preset going in the player. It wouldn't hurt to try a different player too. Good luck.

Btw- the issue of volume discrepencies between tracks is a mastering issue. Mixes should be uniform no doubt, but mastering is one of the processes that evens volumes between tracks. There is software out there these days to handle that. I like Sony CD Architect for the task. Just normalizing the tracks will not make all of them uniformly even in gain.

Dan

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CD Architect is what I use as well.


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Quote:

What I should have said originally was, MP3s are not burned directly to an AUDIO CD. Does that help?




OK, thanks Matt. Yes this makes more sense.

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I burn tons of mp3's as a data disk (not an audio CD)for one man gig'ers and put them in genre named files.
I never alter a mp3, I believe that waves edit better because the resolution is higher thus better for the final product. Turning it to mp3 would be the last step for me.

dmrodes #110075 06/23/11 11:38 AM
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Quote:

I render my BIAB songs to WAV files, then export them to MP3s via Audacity at 224 bps...
I play them back thru Windows Media Player and they sound really good..
Burn the MP3s to a cd and use a SONY DVD player connected via audio out to a Mackie mixer/BBE/JBL eons...
But the tracks don't sound any where near as good as they do thru WMP...
Am I missing something here, or just doing it wrong?








“... DVD player connected via audio out to a Mackie mixer/BBE/JBL eons...”


Is this your actual signal chain? Are you using an aux send on the Mackie to send the signal to the BBE? You might try running the output of the DVD player directly into the BBE, then to two input channels on the Mackie. WAV's stand up much better to BBE processing than do MP3's.

Anything you mix on home stereo amp/speakers is going to sound DRASTICALLY different through a PA. You probably already know that. Have you tried mixing through your PA?

We use three systems at a gig in case one of them goes down.. First, WAV's played on a Tascam pro CD player into a Soundcraft mixer, second; WAV's on an Ipod, third; WAV's on a laptop. The laptop and Ipod both also have the MP3's of all our stuff, but you really can hear the difference between WAV's and MP3's at 100 dB through a PA. As others have said, I would avoid using MP3's if possible.

Hope this helps.

90 dB #110076 06/24/11 01:07 PM
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Is it not true that once you convert a wav to MP3 you can not go back in the other direction? Kind of how you can not feed sausages backwards through a grinder and get pigs out of the input? If you convert the original wav, once you compress you can not uncompress. My suggestion is that when you have song.wav, you copy it to song2.wav and convert song2.wav to MP3. At the very least you then have the original wav file in uncompressed format to convert it to the MP3.


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To answer the MP3 Gain question....

This program will take a group of MP3 files an "average"them all to a certain level. IT claims to do this with an averaging type system instead of compression/limiter. Overall it works well on batches of the same style of music. It works great on a group of Country Rock, but it seems to fall apart if you have CR + Metal + Folk in the same batch conversion....I still use it because it does work well.

As for "uncompressing" an MP3, this is not possible. MP3 is a lossy format, which means it removes information from the audio, information that you ear can reconstruct easily. But it is lost, and can not be recovered, so all you'll be doing is converting the file to .wav, you would still not have the missing info (which to my ear is really noticeable in the higher mid & above range, cymbals, horns, shakers, ect.

If your player supports it I would suggest Flac or Ape format. The are loss less codecs that CAN be converted back into the.wav format with no signal loss. I have used these for years in collabs across the Internet with great results on both sides.

There is another one called WavPack, but I don't have a lot of experience with that one.

And I have used NCH Switch to convert files for years with good results....

Last edited by jcspro40; 06/24/11 09:37 PM.
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You can uncompress a .MP3, but it will be the quality of the .MP3 in a .WAV file. So. speaking just about quality, you cannot go back.

EDIT: I see jcspro40 said the same.


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If I may be allowed to jump in here as a complete newcomer to the forum?

IME (and many others) not all mp3 encoders are created equal and some are even faulty.

One widely consider excellent, if not the best, is an encoder called LAME. It seems to be in a state of continuous development, much like Audacity, and gets better and better.

Unfortunately LAME is a command line driven program but can be front ended with RazorLAME which passes the necessary parameters to LAME and can batch files to be converted.

My experience of using these converters leads me to believe that sometimes a wav recorded to near 0dB can create an mp3 that goes into clipping, but not always. I make sure that wavs for conversion are a few dB down. 2 or 3 seems good.

I use a Denon DN-C615 for playback of wavs and mp3s. The mp3s seem indistinguishable, to my ear (an old one), when recorded at the LAME "extreme" setting (320kbps).

LAME can be found here: http://www.rarewares.org/mp3-lame-bundle.php
and RazorLAME here: http://www.dors.de/razorlame/index.php

But it's only my opinion.
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C-clef #110080 07/01/11 07:29 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Cclef. You make some good points, particularly about leaving some headroom in your mix. It's good to have you joining us.


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An Obvious point; but did someone mention that MP3 is a 'lossy' format, whereas Wav is not?
In other words if you burn to MP3 then as part of the algorithm some data is chucked away, whereas with Wav you get it all. Its a compromise for small file size - a good one for some functions, but becoming increasingly less relevent, as hard drives become bigger faster better. I believe you can save an MP3 at different bit rates as mentioned above.

If you try to convert MP3 back to Wav then you can only get back what was crunched down - not the discarded data.

I am sure some people on this thread realise this, but on a speed read I coud not find this point.


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I am curios if dmrodes ever got this worked out, the thread is a couple of months old. I am curious what the solution was!


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Quote:

An Obvious point; but did someone mention that MP3 is a 'lossy' format, whereas WAV is not



At least four of us have alluded to that, but it never hurts to repeat that advice.


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I frequently use a MP3 CD ripper to rip my MP3 files. But, in some cases I am not able to rip my song. I got an error message The file format is not supported. Can anyone suggest me why it is so happen?

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Lacking proper codec to read the file.


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In case anyone's interested, Sonnox who make 'high-end' plugins, have just released a pro-level tool for converting audio files to MP3 (and other codecs) in a controlled, and realtime manner, so that the very best conversions can be made. It's already getting good reviews and certainly the video (link below) is impressive, but it's very expensive at £295... But they're doing a competition on their Facebook page to win a copy, if you'd like to have a go!
Sonnox Pro-Codec Overview Video.


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Skyline #110087 07/20/11 01:26 PM
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I use Adobe Audition 3 to edit my audio files, after making a wave file in biab. I then save using their option: mp3PRO (FhG)(*.mp3) [don't ask me what the parenthesis parts means - I don't know]. The results are excellent. The free program Audacity also has a "save as .mp3" option, but not sure of the quality.

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I also use Adobe Audition to make MP3s.


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I believe the FhG in paranthesis is denoting the use of the Fraunhofer Professional codec.
May be wrong ..
I have that codec installed and seem to recall noticing that in the details during installation.


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rharv #110090 07/20/11 02:32 PM
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Adobe Audition (and Cool Edit Pro before that) does use the Fraunhofer Codec, so that's likely correct, although there are a few other menu choices for MP3 that do not have those initials.


BIAB 2024 Win Audiophile. Software: Studio One 6.5 Pro, Swam horns, Acoustica-7, Notion 6; Win 11 Home. Hardware: Intel i9, 32 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Presonus Studio 192, Presonus Faderport 8, Royer 121, Adam Sub8 & Neumann 120 monitors
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