We migrated this Community to a Facebook Group to provide you a better overall experience. Click here and join now!

Gravatar
Chad (MIK Mod)

There are two things that affect the quality of an audio file, the file encoding formats, which is what this post intends to describe, and then the actual audio recording itself. It is the latter that PN works on, so the processing that PN does is entirely irrelevant of file type. However, an understanding of the available file formats will help you choose which file format is best for your collection.

There are two main types of audio files, lossless and lossy.

Lossy file formats (MP3, AAC) use algorithms to make the audio files smaller, without a noticeable loss in quality (or so they claim). The simplest way to achieve this is to remove audio frequencies that are beyond the range of human hearing, which is around 20 - 20,000 hz. In theory we can remove all of the frequencies that fall outside of this range without noticing any difference. However, especially on high quality sound systems it is claimed that the loss of lower frequencies can be noticed. Lossy file formats will have a bit rate that represents the quality. 320kbps (kilobytes per second) MP3 files are very high quality, and are debatably comparable to lossless files (although I'm sure there will be posts to the contrary). 128kbps is the lowest that you will usually see music at, although things like audio books that only have a single person talking and little or no music can go much lower, like 64 or even 32kbps. I have heard of some advanced audio encoders which allow fine tuning of the compression that is performed on MP3 files, so that you can choose to have no frequencies removed at all, which would be much closer to the lossless compressed files described later.

Lossless file formats come in two flavors, uncompressed and compressed. Uncompressed formats (AIFF, WAV) are as close to an exact copy of the audio that digital can get, but we pay a price for this level of quality in that they require a lot of storage space. These files also come in varying degrees of quality, 16 bit/44.1kHz files are the quality that the music industry adopted long ago for Cds. There are also 24 and 32 bit versions, and sample rates that go all the way up to 192kHz but these ultra high quality files are usually only used in music studios for sample content or other special use cases in the music production process. Again, I'm sure that there will be posts to the contrary but there is no reason for the average DJ to use files that are higher than the industry standard 16/44.1 format. WAV files use a poorly supported format for metadata, so should be avoided in favor of AIFF whenever they are available.

Compressed lossless formats (ALAC, FLAC) use compression algorithms to make the file size smaller without any actual loss in quality. Lossless compressed files offer an excellent choice for good quality and moderate file size, but generally speaking are not as widely supported. ALAC files share the same file extension as AAC (.m4a) and are probably a little bit more widely supported than FLAC files but I don't have any empirical data to support that. If you're wanting to use one of these formats you should make sure that whatever software and devices that you want to play them on supports the format that you choose.

So which output is best in PN? It depends mostly on personal preference, but if you are exporting to MP3 you should be aware that there's a tiny bit of data loss every time that you encode a file to MP3. You won't be able to notice it until a file has been encoded multiple times though, and one MP3 to MP3 conversion won't be noticeable. My opinion is that if you are worried about the data loss from a second MP3 encoding you shouldn't be using lossy files at all. Unless you have massive amounts of hard drive space it's not worth turning a lossy file into lossless, unless either you want to perform further editing on the file in the future, or if you don't want to keep the originals (we do recommend backing up the original files) it's better to have a lossless version of the file as opposed to an MP3 copy as the only version of the song in your collection. Creating a lossless version from a lossy source file does not improve the quality of the underlying audio, it just creates an exact copy of the lossy audio, without any further data loss. Just remember that best practice is not to make copies of MP3 files.

Gravatar
abijahmaniaco

when i read this book: http://www.amazon.com/How-DJ-Right-Science-ebook/dp/B003F8S75O
it talked about frequency filtering that is common in mp3 encoding. they said that even though some of those low frequencies are not audible they are still needed to drive sub-woofers. this is why mp3s show their weaknesses on large systems.

i've used easy-cd-da-extractor for years now to encode from wav to 320 and within this software you can personalize your encoding preferences, removing any frequency filtering, among other options. djs should be aware of this.

Gravatar
vHELLFUKK666v

I have also been using easy-cd-da-extractor for a long time its my one of my favorite Audio Converter App.

Gravatar
[redacted]

delroydiggler
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 7:08 AM
Hi,
None of my album artwork is moving over to my Platinum Notes tracks. Is this normal or is there something I can tweak?
Thanks.
ReplyReply with Quote
Gravatar delroydiggler
Friday, November 18, 2011 6:42 AM
Bump>> Sorry, just really want to know if I'll lose all my album artwork if I run my music collection through platinum notes?... Anybody?
ReplyReply with Quote
Gravatar Chad (MIK Mod)
Friday, November 18, 2011 3:41 PM
Album artwork is tricky, it depends on how it is embedded in the file. Discog and iTunes can relocate album artwork for files, and I believe there are several other freeware apps that do the same.
Cheers,
Chad P
ReplyReply with Quote
Gravatar delroydiggler
Friday, November 18, 2011 6:06 PM
OK Thanks for your reply :)
ReplyReply with Quote
Gravatar [redacted]
Tuesday, January 3, 2017 5:21 AM
On Friday, November 18, 2011 3:41 PM Chad (MIK Mod) wrote:

Album artwork is tricky, it depends on how it is embedded in the file. Discog and iTunes can relocate album artwork for files, and I believe there are several other freeware apps that do the same.

Cheers,
Chad P

Tricky my ass Chad!

PN's file conversion is what's tricky not how the artwork is embedded.. It has no trouble finding and removing it and also deletes some of your basic tagging and previously embedded artwork you already found on discogs or with jaikoz,yate or mp3tag that was embedded just fine...
When you encode to a different format like for instance when processing FLAC to AIFF, artwork is....GONE what a shame I deleted those folders the tracks were in with the artwork files i really thought i'd embedded???

NOW in 2017 almost 6 years later humble me has found a FIX! to all our PN related frustrations.
It is so simple and obvious that either, you haven't even properly looked at the issue, or are beyond clueless. My bet is the former perhaps also the latter.

I have stumbled upon a simple solution, a miracle cure if you will for this problem you all have had which turned out looking like this::
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xj0mjimv84yysg5/Screenshot%202017-01-01%2019.08.40.png?dl=0

(So glad this is now somewhat functional again!, but the bug remains) and im amazed at how easy I found it it / very disappointed at devs did not spot this when examining these all pretty similar reports, as it was my first step in investigating a fix to this ID3 tag and embedded artwork removal.. Literally thousands of old fully tagged files now appear stripped of some of their most basic tagging and artwork in iTunes... :/ I would assume from this that the dev probably hasn't started looking to fix this, if they were at all. It seems they are no longer maintaining this product and are just cashing in the money from new buyers.. I hope this is not the case and devs nof will soon find a fix or even a crude implementation of an other decoder at least something, because this is feeling like abandonware for some time now even with TimMIK's replies, hope this helps everybody!!!

I just started by eliminating file type conversion from the process and all metadata and saved embedded artwork now stays put! So this has become somewhat for me again.
Here goes, my workflow as of now:
1 -First convert all wav to aiff first with a different app, such as xACT!
2 -Delete wavs, or archive
3 -Meta tag, your now AIFF, FLAC, M4A, MP3 etc with your favourite tagger: Jaikoz/Yate/mp3tag on all formats. (mp3 hasn't shown this problem, but I don't have a lot of those, but im sure you could improvise a similar work around if it is needed)
4-Save the tags and embedded artwork that is found (uncheck import to iTunes, where / if this applies (Jaikoz) then decode all tagged files to aiff or the format you have set PN to save your tracks, in an other app (freeware app xACT worked for me), you'l see all metadata and artwork remains intact after decode, like after a regular decode transcode in XLD for example.
5-Now process all lossless files with PN, you'll see it will retain all previously saved info, because it only does what you really need it for which is drag and drop batches for volume optimisation.

So... You need to encode as AIFF (or whatever your output format of choice is) before using PN, to not have this problem!
Perhaps devs could look into the file conversion part for solving this bug, a.t.m. this strips a lot of metadata and artwork, when done directly from non aiff tagged files like FLAC and then process directly in PN with output as AIFF 16-bit or whatever format you desire?
Hope this helps some of you out here (quite a few similar posts from frustrated customers) who were experiencing metadata / artwork issues too and not getting solved here on the PN community.

P.s. dev/TimMIK:
please show us you can make a functional product and add the option to choose for MP3 V0 (a lot of people are a huge fan of this V0 VBR ecoding with LAME and even prefer it over 320 will yet have to do ABX test to form my opinion, but thats not really important now is it?? ;) or 24-bit/ original bit dept AIFF? (For those who want to retain the files original bit depth)
PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE: A feature/switch in settings that will have MP3 320 processed as MP3 320 (or V0) and AIFF as AIFF 16-bit (or retain original bit-depth, if it was 24 bit perhaps (16-bit works fine for me) and any 32bit-depth file (ableton exports etc...) be either saved as 16-bit or 24-bit as 'players' people use like Traktor do not support playback of this type)

Support

If you want to re-install your software, you can click here to recover your download links and your VIP Codes.

If you have any other tech support questions, email us at contact@mixedinkey.com