UNB/ CS/ David Bremner/ tags/ audio

This feed contains pages with tag "audio".

So, a few weeks ago I wanted to play play some music. Amarok2 was only playing one track at time. Hmm, rather than fight with it, maybe it is time to investigate alternatives. So here is my story. Mac using friends will probably find this amusing.

  • minirok segfaults as soon I try to do something #544230

  • bluemingo seems to only understand mp3's

  • exaile didn't play m4a (these are ripped with faac, so no DRM) files out of the box. A small amount of googling didn't explain it.

  • mpd looks cool, but I didn't really want to bother with that amount of setup right now.

  • Quod Libet also seems to have some configuration issues preventing it from playing m4a's

  • I hate the interface of Audacious

  • mocp looks cool, like mpd but easier to set up, but crashes trying to play an m4a file. This looks a lot like #530373

  • qmmp + xmonad = user interface fail.

  • juk also seems not to play (or catalog) my m4a's

In the end I went back and had a second look at mpd, and I'm pretty happy with it, just using the command line client mpc right now. I intend to investigate the mingus emacs client for mpd at some point.

An emerging theme is that m4a on Linux is pain.

UPDATED It turns out that one problem was I needed gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad and gstreamer0.10-plugins-really-bad. The latter comes from debian-multimedia.org, and had a file conflict with the former in Debian unstable (bug #544667 apparently just fixed). Grabbing the version from testing made it work. This fixed at least rhythmbox, exhaile and quodlibet. Thanks to Tim-Philipp Müller for the solution.

I guess the point I missed at first was that so many of the players use gstreamer as a back end, so what looked like many bugs/configuration-problems was really one. Presumably I'd have to go through a similar process to get phonon working for juk.

Posted Sat 29 Aug 2009 12:32:00 PM Tags: /tags/audio

So last night I did something I didn't think I would do, I bought an downloadable album in MP3 format. Usually I prefer to buy lossless FLAC, but after a good show I tend to be in an acquisitive mood. The band was using isongcard.com. The gimick is you give your money to the band at the show and the give you a card with a code on it that allows you to download the album. I can see the attraction from the band's point of view: you actually make the sales, rather than a vague possibility that someone might go to your site later, and you don't have to carry crates of CDs around with you. From a consumer point of view, it is not quite as satisfying as carting off a CD, but maybe I am in the last generation that feels that way.

At first I thought this might have something to do with itunes, which discouraged me because I have to borrow a computer (ok, borrow it from my wife, downstairs, but still) in order to run Windows, to run itunes. But when I saw the self printed cards with hand-printed 16 digit pin numbers, I thought there might be hope. And indeed, it turns out to be quite any-browser/any-OS-friendly. I downloaded the songs using arora, and they are ready to go. I have only two complaints (aside from the FLAC thing).

  • I had to download each song individually. Some kind of archive (say zip) would have been preferable.

  • The songs didn't have any tags.

So overall, kudos to isongcard (and good luck fending off Apple's lawyers about your name).

Posted Sat 08 Aug 2009 09:16:00 AM Tags: /tags/audio

The Copyright Board of Canada, in their wisdom, recently acceded to a request from SOCAN to allow a retroactive tax on all music downloads.

According to the learned members of the Copyright Board

   [100] Fourth, SOCAN members are not double dipping. The
   communication and reproduction rights are separate rights,
   often owned by separate persons, administered through separate 
   channels and subject to separate regimes. 

So to summarize. If I buy a homemade CD for $10 from a band, I give ten dollars to the band. If I download the exact same bits from a web site (which is certainly possible with e.g. FLAC encodings), burn it to a CD-R (which by the way I also payed a %$&^%$ levy on) myself and get something completely indistinguishable, I now owe SOCAN whatever percent they and the copyright board dream up?

Charles Dickens, in Chapter LI of Oliver Twist, wrote

   'If the law supposes that,' said Mr. Bumble, squeezing 
    his hat emphatically in both hands, 'the law is a ass--a idiot.'


Maybe it is not just me. Howard Knopf's blog reports there will be a judicial review of this CCB decision.

Posted Sun 21 Oct 2007 09:14:00 AM Tags: /tags/audio

OK, this is just lame, and I don't mean the software. Following a post by /merrikson/ on amarok forums, I had to edit the mp3 profile in


so that it read

[Amarok TTMD - mp3]
switches=-q 100

Now amarok thinks its transcoding files to mp3 for my ipod (why do people want this?) but is really using m4a. I've submitted a feature request to make this less lame.

Posted Sat 08 Sep 2007 09:09:00 AM Tags: /tags/audio

I recently downloaded (and paid for!) some audio files in flac format. These files had malformed metadata: it turns out that the flac standard requires the STREAMINFO block to be first, but these files had album cover art as the first metadata block. This causes difficulties for many programs; in particular it makes it difficult to fix the metadata because /metaflac/ does not want to delete the first block. I finally worked around the problem by recompressing the files. Since /flac/ is lossless, this is not such a tragedy as it is with e.g. mp3 or most video codecs. Here is the script.


temp=`mktemp reflacXXXXXX`
cp "$1" "$bak"

metaflac --no-utf8-convert --export-tags-to=$temp.tags  "$bak"
metaflac --export-picture-to=$temp.pic "$bak"
flac --silent -d -o - "$bak" | flac -o $temp.flac -
metaflac --no-utf8-convert --import-tags-from`$temp.tags --import-picture-from`$temp.pic $temp.flac
mv $temp.flac "$1"
rm $temp.tags $temp.pic
rm $temp


: added --no-utf8-convert

Posted Thu 06 Sep 2007 10:14:00 PM Tags: /tags/audio