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Topic: FLAC > MP3 integration? (Read 7376 times) previous topic - next topic
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FLAC > MP3 integration?

Hi everyone. I wanted your opinion on a couple of things regarding the integration of FLAC and MP3. First, let me outline what I want to do. I'd like to transition mainly to a PC-based audio set-up, even for serious listening. This of course means FLAC.


The infrastructure is in place. I have two Squeezeboxes in the bedroom/kitchen respectively, the "living room" rig consisting of an HTPC + RME HDSP9632 linked to a newly acquired dCS DAC and high-end 2-channel amplification which is arriving shortly, and my work room computer with an RME Fireface, which is awaiting a pair of Sennheiser Orpheus headphones  to complete the "gaming / casual PC listening" rig.


Now if it was just that, having an all-FLAC library wouldn't be a problem.


The problem is the portable component. As of this moment I have an iAudio X5, two Sony HDD players, an iPod Photo 60Gb, and multiple flash players. The only format in common between these is of course MP3. The Sony and Apple players require their respective separate, non-auto-updating managers, and the X5 is loaded out of j.River Media Center (the iPods are compatible with jRMC, but I don't like using it with the software). The portables are also not fixed. They change on average at a rate of two a month. Once again, for the foreseeable future the only common codec between them will be MP3.


So I am trying to come up with a way to reconcile a FLAC library and an MP3 library. I have enough nightmares using multiple software to load portables (I'm still recovering from the havoc that the POS iRiver H10 software wreaked) and do not want to add the pain of managing two separate codec libraries as well. As far as I can see, there are only two ways I can solve this problem:

1. Generate MP3's dynamically on demand from the FLAC library. Have some sort of middleware that masquerades FLAC files as MP3, and transcodes on the fly on demand.

2. Have software which keeps a perfect MP3 copy of the main FLAC library in near real time. This includes changes, additions, deletions and tag changes to the main FLAC library.


Could any of you see how I can achieve either of the above, and if so what sort of infrastructure I'll need? Do you have a better idea for doing what I need? Thanks.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #1
Have a look at ACDIR. Running this automatically with Windows Scheduler at regular intervals should achieve your objective.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #2
Quote
Have a look at ACDIR. Running this automatically with Windows Scheduler at regular intervals should achieve your objective.
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Not sure how that fits into what I need to do beyond rip/convert the initial library.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #3
Something like dBpowerAMP's Sveta might do the job for your first option - transcodes on the fly.

Depends on support for your players, and it's probably similar to what jRMC does (does it transcode on the fly?), so you'd have to check out the interface etc given you don't like jRMC for your iPod.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #4
Yeah... the Sony players certain don't work with any other piece of software but their own. So while jRMC does seem like a good idea since it transcodes on the fly, it doesn't actually support all the players I need. And who knows what players unsupported by jRMC I'll have in the near future. The same goes for Sveta. This is why the only real solution seems to be an OS-level masquerade of FLAC > MP3, or dual libraries in perfect sync.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #5
How do you create and maintain your FLAC library?

i.e.: what rippers, encoders, taggers, etc. are you using?
I'm on a horse.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #6
Quote
How do you create and maintain your FLAC library?

i.e.: what rippers, encoders, taggers, etc. are you using?
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I'm just starting thinking about it and have not ripped any FLACs yet. I'll probably use jRMC, but basically I'm looking to create this infrastructure from scratch. So I need software and hardware recommendations. For example, if it's feasible to have an OS-level 'middleware' to transcode FLACs to MP3 on the fly, then I'll need to know how fast a machine to buy to enable the transcodes to happen in near-real-time as well as what software to use. Similarly, to keep two libraries in constant sync I'll need to know what sort of hardware would be required to allow that to happen (since transcoding will be going on as well). Any PC used for this purpose will replace the current music server, which will be dedicated to storing and distributing audio data. Obviously the lower the better, but I'd like to keep the total of the hard/software to definitely below $10K.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #7
for near real time encoding, some distributed network may be usefull, putting the load of two or three encodings onto different systems, at the same time. Possibly a dual processor or dual core system would also substitute this and would be easier but possibly more costly.

On a other note, KDE (one of MANY DE's for LINUX) supports on the fly transcoding of CD's. It may be adapatable to your requirements though??!!!


Kristian

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #8
Quote
for near real time encoding, some distributed network may be usefull, putting the load of two or three encodings onto different systems, at the same time. Possibly a dual processor or dual core system would also substitute this and would be easier but possibly more costly.

On a other note, KDE (one of MANY DE's for LINUX) supports on the fly transcoding of CD's. It may be adapatable to your requirements though??!!!


Kristian
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=331490"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



Encoding is not the real problem... all I have to do is to throw more horsepower at that. The really big issue is the integration.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #9
Anyone? 


It's either that or generating the MP3 library from the master FLAC library every day... Which is obviously not ideal... 

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #10
Actually, you can pretty much do what you described with J. River Media Center  v.11.0.

It has a working option for defining any HD folder as a "handheld". After making the initial configuration you just need to click the synchronize button and MC will automatically update this virtual device. It has good conversion format options and options for making a new folder structure or it can mirror the original one.

It adds the new files and optionally removes the files that don't exist in the library anymore.

It checks for the tag changes too. I've noticed that it doesn't take into account the custom fields, but those would be useless with portables anyway. Because it has no mechanism for differentiating an audio content change from a tag change it replaces the old MP3 files with newly converted ones. However, unless you tend to constantly retag files that shouldn't be a biggie.

Also, the file quality should be fine. JR forum member scthom has recently made an excellent FLAC encoder and decoder plugin set for MC11 and it is possible to use LAME 3.97b1 with any command line string. (By default MC uses v. 3.96.1, but it accepts any LAME version.)


[span style='font-size:7pt;line-height:100%']Edit: fixed a typo[/span]

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #11
Quote
Actually, you can pretty much do what you described with J. River Media Center  v.11.0.

It has a working option for defining any HD folder as a "handheld". After making the initial configuration you just need to click the synchronize button and MC will automatically update this virtual device. It has good conversion format options and options for making a new folder structure or it can mirror the original one.

It adds the new files and optionally removes the files that don't exist in the library anymore.

It checks for the tag changes too. I've noticed that it doesn't take into account the custom fields, but those would be useless with portables anyway. Because it has no mechanism for differentiating an audio content change from a tag change it replaces the old MP3 files with newly converted ones. However, unless you tend to constantly retag files that shouldn't be a biggie.

Also, the file quality should be fine. JR forum member scthom has recently made an excellent FLAC encoder and decoder plugin set for MC11 and it is possible to use LAME 3.97b1 with any command line string. (By default MC uses v. 3.96.1, but it accepts any LAME version.)


[span style='font-size:7pt;line-height:100%']Edit: fixed a typo[/span]
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I tried this a while ago (just after I got MC11, or was it MC10, can't remember), but it's not quite workable because there's no way to keep the two folders in sync constantly and I'm not sure how to 'batch' this process in MC.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #12
If you use (or are willing to use) Linux on the server, you could perhaps try with samba and this module. The author used it to make his compressed files appear as WAVs but looking at the configuration/wrappers it looks like you could make it show all your FLACs as MP3s and they'd be encoded in real-time as the are accessed (assuming enough horsepower).

Having never used the software, I'm not sure if it'd work for you, but it seems to be very close to what you want.

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #13
Quote
I tried this a while ago (just after I got MC11, or was it MC10, can't remember), but it's not quite workable because there's no way to keep the two folders in sync constantly and I'm not sure how to 'batch' this process in MC.
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The function I mentioned keeps the folder structures synchronized. I didn't post my reply without first confirming that it works. It is a bit difficult to initially configure, but after that the synchronizing process is automatic. Actually, it can do that without user invention, but I prefer the "click the start button" option because mp3 encoding with LAME is always a heavy task.

You should give it a retry with the current MC11. The build 11.0.316 is the latest. If you need help just ask at the J. River forum.

You may want to try the new FLAC plug-ins too: [a href="http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=29211.0]http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=29211.0[/url]

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #14
Quote
Quote
I tried this a while ago (just after I got MC11, or was it MC10, can't remember), but it's not quite workable because there's no way to keep the two folders in sync constantly and I'm not sure how to 'batch' this process in MC.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The function I mentioned keeps the folder structures synchronized. I didn't post my reply without first confirming that it works. It is a bit difficult to initially configure, but after that the synchronizing process is automatic. Actually, it can do that without user invention, but I prefer the "click the start button" option because mp3 encoding with LAME is always a heavy task.

You should give it a retry with the current MC11. The build 11.0.316 is the latest. If you need help just ask at the J. River forum.

You may want to try the new FLAC plug-ins too: [a href="http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=29211.0]http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=29211.0[/url]
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=333142"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



Yeah... I'll give it another go. MC is powerful but confuses me frequently as it can be frustratingly obtuse at times.

 

FLAC > MP3 integration?

Reply #15
You should give it a retry with the current MC11. The build 11.0.316 is the latest. If you need help just ask at the J. River forum.


I am trying to do exactly this. I have a large number of FLAC files which I use for archiving my CD collection and playing on my hi-fi via a Squeezebox. What I would like is some way to automate the synchronisation FLACs with their MP3 transcodes.

I can use Max to perform a one off MP3 transcode of all my existing FLACs and then set it to output in both formats for all subsequent CD rips. I then use the MP3 transcodes for playing in iTunes, iPods and other portable devices.

However, it would be cool if you could just sync an input directory of one format with an output directory of another format so that if files were added (not just by new CD rips) or changed it would be a simple process to reflect the changes in the output directory.

I was thinking that to maintain the link between source and target files you could take a unique key from each of the input files (such as a FLAC checksum) and use this as the filename in the output directory.

The Media Center software outlined above appears to be Windows only. Does anyone know how this could be achieved on an iMac (aside from creating a script from scratch)?

Appreciate any help.

Thanks,
Kefa.