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Guest Typhoon

Burning audio files that don't end on CDDA frame boundaries

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Guest Typhoon

Sorry that posting this took so long. I had to get help understanding the problem.

I burned (DAO) an audio CD from source files that did not end on CDDA frame boundaries (this was realized later) and by chance (while I was examining a CD-Text writing problem), I did WAV comparisons between the source files and the files extracted from burned CD's with Exact Audio Copy. Here's the result for a CD burned with CDBurnerXP:

cdburnerxp.png

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Guest Typhoon

Whoops, accidentally posted that unfinished (damn that recaptcha input field, pushed enter in it and the whole post was submitted), continuing:

Now compare that to the comparison from other burners (EAC, InfraRecorder & Burrrn):

eacinfrarecorderburrrn.png

The "6 missing samples" (and the one "6 repeated samples") is explained by the -6 write offset of my burner. The "longer lengths" are explained by the source files that did not end on CDDA frame boundaries, i.e. these burners added silence to the last frame to make them end on frame boundaries. So, no problems at all with this compare. Everything is explained.

What about the CDBurnerXP compare? The one "6 missing samples" is again explained by the -6 write offset, nothing wrong here yet. But then, the "missing samples" and longer messages are explained like this: CDBurnerXP trims the track(s) to the previous boundary and inserts the trimmed part to the beginning of the next track. This way the compare "missing samples" make sense in the original WAV side.

Somebody might say that this is actually a better way of handling the situation, especially when burning gapless (live) albums. I agree to some point but I must point out the following caveats:

1. (hypothetical case) A track where the audible sound ends right in the end of the track would produce a (small) noise in the beginning of the next track when burning with CDBurnerXP, if the next track originally opens with silence, then playing the track separately from the "album flow" would impair the listening enjoyment. E.g. the start of the track 8 in my CDBurnerXP compare has 2082 samples from the previous track, which is about 0.05 seconds and audible (tested this with listening few ~0.05 second (audible) ends from this same album.. even low sound fades are audible). And if there are more tracks, let's say 20, transferred samples might double -> ~0.1 seconds in the last tracks.

2. In this case, burning this CD, CDBurnerXP happily threw away the last ~500 samples (= ~0.011 seconds) of the song.. though it is 0.038 seconds longer than the original (like the EAC compare says), don't let that fool you. On some very rare cases this could chop off something other than silence.

And last, the "different samples" messages, I can't make head or tails of them.. for example, the extracted WAV which was burned with CDBurnerXP is 4:59.093 long according to Audacity & Wavosaur, then how come EAC compare says "different samples" in the 4:59.093 - 4:59.097 range of that file?! Weird. Maybe the EAC compare is borked, or CDBurnerXP messed the samples.. or both.. I don't know, it doesn't look good.

I did countless waveform comparisons in Audacity to verify these points I've made.

Personally, I'd rather have EAC et al. style of burning audio than CDBurnerXP. One can always try to fix the boundaries manually if such gapless album situations rise.

Best option would be to make sure that you burn source files that DO end on CDDA frame boundaries.. but since this is rather difficult for the layman, I'd ponder how a burner should handle this issue.. should it use the EAC et al. method of padding the last frame with silence instead of shifting samples and cutting the end of the last track? Would it be wise to actually check that the files end on frame boundaries before burning them and then informing the user about it? (unfortunately adds complexity for users) Something else?

If you have questions, please ask, I'm saving my test data for couple of days in case you need more information.

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Guest Typhoon

Little correction/addition: the 2 point, the "last ~500 samples thrown away" issue, I was writing about the 10th track of course.. so it doesn't happen on every track, just with the last track.

Also, here's a comparison of burned CD's TOC's:

tocz.th.png

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I must admit that I cannot actually follow you. Not because you are explaining it improperly, but because I have to clue about that stuff.

Since I won't even be able to get your point access to the StarBurn team, I suggest that you have a look at the StarBurn burning app (that's sort of a demo app for the StarBurn engine). It should do the same as CDBurnerXP. And if so, you can discuss your concerns at http://www.starburnsoftware.com/forum/starburn-f2/.

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Guest Typhoon

Oh, ok. I admit that understanding this is very hard, it took countless hours and tests for me to figure it out completely (happened in steps).. and I needed some nudges to the right direction from other people.

Can't you just forward my posts to the StarBurn team/forum? I give you my blessing if that's what you're worried about. I'm sure they understand it.. unless they're complete morons.. I mean, if somebody should know about what I wrote, it should be them. :) I've no interest to start "fighting" with them, I've spent many hours on this, and like I said earlier, I've had too many problems with CDBurnerXP, almost all of them related to the 3rd party library, and I'm moving away. Also I don't like some of the "design" choices you've made; the bugged data verification and the fact that you've kept it like it is for so long (basically the users have been given false information for a long time), and for example the non-resizable columns in the compilation frame (many people have source audio files in a "artist - album - track number - track name" format, which means that the filenames start out with the same text and the identifying text can't be seen in the compilation window). Personally I don't believe in their StarBurn product anymore, it doesn't "deliver". I bet that even you can't argue against that you have had a hell of lot problems coming from it.. quick look in to their forum reveals that you've started 24 different topics there.. and the many topics here which are about problems with the library.. and have been for a long time.

Well, thanks for the years with CDBurnerXP, I honestly wish you the best of luck in the future with it. Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not angry or anything like that, I appreciate your efforts, even though I'm leaving the ship so to speak.. that's why I wanted to report this issue even though it took many many hours to investigate it, I wanted (again) to give you something back as an user. I'll watch this topic for couple of days in case you want to say or ask something more. Take care. :)

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Please keep in mind that the "buggy" part is not StarBurn. StarBurn works fine basically, and any bugs that occur are usually fixed quickly. If someone is to blame, it rather is NumediaSoft.

I can forward your post, but I can imagine the reply I will get. They'll probably request sample files, log files or any further explanations, which is the point where I have to give up.

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