Author Topic: Some general comments on the program  (Read 306 times)

Rayco-op

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Some general comments on the program
« on: September 06, 2011, 02:01:07 pm »
INTRO
First of all, I want to apologize for this post being very long - over the years I realized I am unable to find the happy medium between complete information and elephantine posts.

I was very happy to find Mp3Checker since there are very few similar tools, in fact I do not believe there are any that only do what Mp3Checker claims to do - most just check if you have the right codecs etc. Volume normalizers etc. are another subject - and a normalizer does not necessarily find errors in files.

You may have noticed I said "what Mp3Checker claims to do". The sad truth - judging from my 2 or so years' experience with the program is that it is useless, if not in fact harmful.

Here is why:

1.
The ONLY "problem" the program has reported since I have been using it (on a considerable amount of files) is "x repeated frames out of xxx".

There is a thread with this term in its title, so I won't get into it except to say that any of the files which were reported to have "repeated frames" were in fact perfectly OK, and that a 20 second file of digital silence which I created myself (wav to mp3) is flagged as BAD, with "repeated frames", every time it happens to be run through the program. The first time it happened I sort of freaked out, even though I knew there could not be anything bad with it.

2.
In an impressive about-face, the Mp3Checker passed all the bad files I ran through it as OK. In fact, if I did not use another program (see below) as a final step before preparing to burn a CDR, I would have ended up with MANY coasters.

There are 2 main problems I have found with mp3's. Either they are corrupted (there are a variety of ways this demonstrates itself which I am not qualified to discuss) or they have spaces of digital silence. I recently DL'd a bunch of files from a Usenet group (traditionally the best source for quality rips) and about 5-10% had blank spaces - at a certain point the track would stop, the player seeing no signal, and go on to the next one.

I looked at a few of the problematic files, and sure enough, at some point, instead of the usual data, all I saw were black squares. So, the player thinks the track has ended, and moves onto the next one. Yet according to Mp3Checker, the track is "OK".

I have been using a fantastic mp3 processing program for years - it's rather expensive, but I can hardly think of money better spent. I suspect its price is one of the reasons I have only seen it mentioned a couple of times in years and years, while similar but inferior (to varying degrees) programs get all the praise - maybe because most of them are free.

This program (I'll call it "X") has caught *all* the problems in *all* the bad files I have run through it in about 8 years since I've had it, and there can be MANY different ones. It also optionally removes digital silence, "normalizes" the volume, and does several other things which may or may not be considered useful depending on the user. Since I don't want anyone to think I am promoting that program, I am not going to mention its name. I will say I have tried about 5 or 8 different "testers",  normalizers, etc., and they were all inferior.

The problem is that *none* of the errors "X" finds are reported by Mp3Checker. In fact, I am writing this because as mentioned above, I recently downloaded a post of about 20 albums by the same person and were I not in the habit of listening to **ALL** mp3 tracks before burning a CDR, it would not have been until running "X" that I would have found out about the problems.

3.

Mp3Checker also lacks some of what I would consider basic features. The main one is the inability to save the error log. On the few occasions Mp3Checker created a "BAD files" report, I had to take a screenshot of the window to know which files I would have to analyze and perhaps try to fix. Fortunately, none of them were actually BAD (but that's not the point).

In another thread, someone mentions not being to able to run more than 32 thousand mp3 files through the program in one go. Personally, I do not consider a limit of 32,000 items to process at once a design problem. Leaving out the (to me) obvious comment, I will say that I would hate to see that person try to deal with an error report from Mp3Checker - unless none of the files had any repeated frames, of course.

SUMMARY
I was very happy to find this program, and even happier to see it was free - but in this case, I am afraid it is a rather extreme example of "you get what you pay for". Which is unfortunate, since some of the best software I have used over the years was free - in fact, I believe Windows would be almost unusable if not for the many 3rd party freeware programs and utilities which eliminate or work around the many assorted problems with the MS OSs.