27th October 2000
- No site updates due to heavy workload BUT alpha test version of new Winamp decoder is free of 100Hz bug [8191 bugfix] from version alpha13 onwards. See Christophe's .plan
for information on the latest alpha test release.
27th October 2000
- 100Hz bug Winamp/lame problem explained. See here
. (Huffman coding is a lossless compression technique, used in mp3 encoding to compress the data produced by the lossy psychoacoustic processing. Lame was allowing larger values than other codecs, which were not decoded properly by the Winamp decoder.)
7th September 2000
How can I put my mp3s on a CD?
- Uploaded a new set of tests on ten more decoders, including CD writing packages. No CD writing package decodes mp3s perfectly! See list of decoders
for the individual results.
Some newer CD writing programs will decode on-the-fly, so you don't need to decode from .mp3 to .wav first - the CD writing program does it for you as it writes the CD.
- Don't need space on hard drive for large .wav files
- Don't need separate decoding program
- One step process: faster
- One step process: simpler
- slow PC can't decode and burn at same time
- error in mp3 file may abort burn: wasted CDR
- Can't edit or normalise file before burning
If the decoder is working correctly, the audio quality will be the same whether the output is going to your sound card, a .wav file, or directly to a CD. The pros and cons of various CD writing packages with "on-the-fly" decoding capabilities are discussed in the Conclusion
EXTRA NOTES: The most common problem when trying to make a CD that will play in a normal CD player (eg in the car or your hi-fi) is writing in data mode instead of audio mode. You can fit 10 CDs worth of mp3 files on 1 data CD, but no CD player will play it. You can even write 1 CDs worth of .wav files to a data CD, and again, no CD player will play it! To solve this problem, you don't need special media, but you do need to use the audio CD mode of your CD writing software. Easy CD Creator, Nero, WinOnCD etc will all do the job. DirectCD will not, as it can only make data CDs.
Can I improve the sound of mp3s by decoding them?
CD-RW discs will not play on most audio CD players - use CD-R blanks only.
I've read several messages from people who believe that by decoding an mp3 to a wav, and then playing the wav, they will hear a better sound than by playing the mp3 directly. This isn't usually true. Every mp3 player (e.g. Winamp) includes a decoder - it decodes the mp3 in real time before sending the audio data to your sound card. If it has the facility to decode to wav, then it will store exactly the same audio data in a wave file. The same numbers go to your sound card and the file.
If you use one decoder when playing, and another when decoding to wav, then there may be audible differences, especially if one of the decoders has a fault. Some soundcards offer hardware mp3 decoding. Some packages (e.g. Real Jukebox
) use a poor decoder when playing mp3 files, and a good one when decoding them to write to CD. However, this is an exception.
Decoding to .wav does not improve sound quality. Most importantly, it does not give you the same .wav that the original mp3 was created from. Mp3 encoding is a lossy process - audio information is lost that can never be put back. Mp3 decoding does not put any data back - it takes a very compressed file format, and converts it into the audio data that the file represents. However, the audio data that was thrown away during the encoding process is not magically returned. The decoded wav file is much larger than the mp3, but it holds the same information. The original wav file contained much more audio information.
If you do wish to improve the sound quality of an mp3 file, it may be possible to process the decoded .wav with a sound editor (e.g. Cool Edit
) to make it sound better, but it's just as easy to make it sound worse! I find buying CDs is a good thing.