Discussion:
Worst CD Player review: BBC music and Cambridge
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weary flake
2020-06-22 03:57:17 UTC
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BBC Music magazine has the worst review of CD players I've
seen. It praises the Cambridge Audio Topaz CD10 as an
entry level super value budget priced 200[pounds] CD player,
with real punch and authority, yet the review discloses
that it DOESN'T HAVE GAPLESS PLAYBACK. "Fine for pop CDs,
but distracting for some classical music recordings". The
only way to be a worse reviewer is to not disclose it's
failure to play gapless. Cambridge produces the worst
engineered CD player I've ever heard of, yet receives a
positive review.

The other two reviews on the page have praises for CD
players from 845[pounds] and 6,000[pounds] and are supposed
to have different sound including breadth of the soundstage
and instrument positioning. What good is a CD player that
alters soundstage, that sounds like a rip-off for
6,000[pounds].

I wish American Record Guide reviewed audio equipment.
O***@aol.com
2020-06-22 06:59:48 UTC
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Hey! I just re-subscribed to VROON World after a four-year sabbatical! Don’t start talkin’ that jive now.
Jerry
2020-06-22 13:56:52 UTC
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How insane is that ? I would have expected Cambridge Audio to have
known better.

This is another example of the gap (pardon the pun here; it’s absolutely
intentional) between the classical music realm and the much more
powerful forces in the pop music domain, where all albums have unique
titles; all tracks are songs; and all composers are artists.

Over the years I’ve encountered players that would play gapless in
normal play mode, but insert gaps when they were programmed
individually in the correct order (NAD). There was another one
that clipped a fraction of a second off the start of certain tracks on
certain CDs, presumably because it required a fractional second
longer to initiate play than other CD players.

Recall that the CD format was developed by engineers who understood
gapless playback (unlike mp3) and that early CD players and CDs
often used the index function to quickly access parts of longer works.
That index function was pretty much abandoned when, I suspect,
it was deemed useless for non-classical repertoire.

Jerry
Randy Lane
2020-06-22 15:08:34 UTC
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Post by Jerry
How insane is that ? I would have expected Cambridge Audio to have
known better.
This is another example of the gap (pardon the pun here; it’s absolutely
intentional) between the classical music realm and the much more
powerful forces in the pop music domain, where all albums have unique
titles; all tracks are songs; and all composers are artists.
Over the years I’ve encountered players that would play gapless in
normal play mode, but insert gaps when they were programmed
individually in the correct order (NAD). There was another one
that clipped a fraction of a second off the start of certain tracks on
certain CDs, presumably because it required a fractional second
longer to initiate play than other CD players.
Recall that the CD format was developed by engineers who understood
gapless playback (unlike mp3) and that early CD players and CDs
often used the index function to quickly access parts of longer works.
That index function was pretty much abandoned when, I suspect,
it was deemed useless for non-classical repertoire.
Jerry
Thank you posting this weary flake. Reading the BBC article heightens my awareness about the state of affairs with audio equipment in general, which will certainly be useful to me when I next enter the marketplace for some equipment.

Fortunately I've hardly ever shopped for CD players for decades now. I bought a Sony CDP-707 ESD in 1989 when they were half price because of overstock when the next edition was on its way from Japan. It was probably the fifth CD play then for me. I had a few people I routinely sold my older generation player to when I upgraded. and they were always asking when I planned to do so again. The pipeline of people who bought used players from me became frustrated because I never bought another player after the 707.

Since then I have opted to upgrade via external DACs and use the Sony as a solid transport. And it truly is solid as a tank in that regard.

I added SACD via a Denon DVD-5910ci (which is a audio-quality focussed DVD player that is sterling for SACDs, having 4 discrete Burr-Brown DACs internally, again a tank of a unit. I no longer play DVDs on it, but it plays SACDs very well - a big unit to keep for just that purpose, but I have the space, so who cares about size.
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-22 22:04:59 UTC
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Post by Randy Lane
Post by Jerry
How insane is that ? I would have expected Cambridge Audio to have
known better.
This is another example of the gap (pardon the pun here; it’s absolutely
intentional) between the classical music realm and the much more
powerful forces in the pop music domain, where all albums have unique
titles; all tracks are songs; and all composers are artists.
Over the years I’ve encountered players that would play gapless in
normal play mode, but insert gaps when they were programmed
individually in the correct order (NAD). There was another one
that clipped a fraction of a second off the start of certain tracks on
certain CDs, presumably because it required a fractional second
longer to initiate play than other CD players.
Recall that the CD format was developed by engineers who understood
gapless playback (unlike mp3) and that early CD players and CDs
often used the index function to quickly access parts of longer works.
That index function was pretty much abandoned when, I suspect,
it was deemed useless for non-classical repertoire.
Jerry
Thank you posting this weary flake. Reading the BBC article heightens my awareness about the state of affairs with audio equipment in general, which will certainly be useful to me when I next enter the marketplace for some equipment.
Fortunately I've hardly ever shopped for CD players for decades now. I bought a Sony CDP-707 ESD in 1989 when they were half price because of overstock when the next edition was on its way from Japan. It was probably the fifth CD play then for me. I had a few people I routinely sold my older generation player to when I upgraded. and they were always asking when I planned to do so again. The pipeline of people who bought used players from me became frustrated because I never bought another player after the 707.
Since then I have opted to upgrade via external DACs and use the Sony as a solid transport. And it truly is solid as a tank in that regard.
I added SACD via a Denon DVD-5910ci (which is a audio-quality focussed DVD player that is sterling for SACDs, having 4 discrete Burr-Brown DACs internally, again a tank of a unit. I no longer play DVDs on it, but it plays SACDs very well - a big unit to keep for just that purpose, but I have the space, so who cares about size.
In response to the OP: it sounds like an OK review of a machine that just doesn't do what classical music listeners want it to do. Everything's aimed at the pop/rock market, as you say - even the "Music" or "Culture" reviews in newspapers are much more likely to feature some pop diva's latest than Mozart or Beethoven.

Fortunately there is a simple remedy for the gapless problem, and what's more it's free. It's called Audacity.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
weary flake
2020-06-23 03:14:09 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
In response to the OP: it sounds like an OK review of a machine that
just doesn't do what classical music listeners want it to do.
Everything's aimed at the pop/rock market, as you say - even the
"Music" or "Culture" reviews in newspapers are much more likely to
feature some pop diva's latest than Mozart or Beethoven.
"Fine for pop CDs, but distracting for some classical music recordings"

That's BBC Magazine's judgement of the only CD player, the
only player that adds gaps between tracks on CDs, the
Cambridge's Audio Topaz CD player CD10. A ripoff because
it purports to be a CD player and especially bad at 200
pounds. BBC Magazine and Cambridge deserve every return of
ill-will generated by their product and insulting review.
Post by Andrew Clarke
Fortunately there is a simple remedy for the gapless problem, and
what's more it's free. It's called Audacity.
Audacity is an editor not a CD player.
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-23 07:36:25 UTC
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Post by weary flake
Post by Andrew Clarke
In response to the OP: it sounds like an OK review of a machine that
just doesn't do what classical music listeners want it to do.
Everything's aimed at the pop/rock market, as you say - even the
"Music" or "Culture" reviews in newspapers are much more likely to
feature some pop diva's latest than Mozart or Beethoven.
"Fine for pop CDs, but distracting for some classical music recordings"
That's BBC Magazine's judgement of the only CD player, the
only player that adds gaps between tracks on CDs, the
Cambridge's Audio Topaz CD player CD10. A ripoff because
it purports to be a CD player and especially bad at 200
pounds. BBC Magazine and Cambridge deserve every return of
ill-will generated by their product and insulting review.
Post by Andrew Clarke
Fortunately there is a simple remedy for the gapless problem, and
what's more it's free. It's called Audacity.
Audacity is an editor not a CD player.
That I know, Weary. I use it to get rid of unwanted gaps between movements, e.g. the last three movements of the Pastoral.

The point I'm making is that if the manufacturers of disc players are going to concentrate on the pop/rock market, using a disc player is going to be increasingly problematic for CM lovers unless they want to pay a lot of money for the privilege. So buying files (or ripping discs) and editing with (e.g.) Audacity will become increasingly much better value for money. The money spent on a CD player can be more profitably spent, perhaps on DACs, amps and speakers?

Incidentally, the more that CM listeners turn to streaming, the less demand there will be, presumably, for disc players, and the more expensive they are likely to become.

I play my CM files through a Sanyo BluRay player, and have done so for years. It has a Digital Concert Hall app built in. The only discs I play on it are BluRays.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-23 02:43:11 UTC
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Post by weary flake
BBC Music magazine has the worst review of CD players I've
seen. It praises the Cambridge Audio Topaz CD10 as an
entry level super value budget priced 200[pounds] CD player,
with real punch and authority, yet the review discloses
that it DOESN'T HAVE GAPLESS PLAYBACK. "Fine for pop CDs,
but distracting for some classical music recordings". The
only way to be a worse reviewer is to not disclose it's
failure to play gapless. Cambridge produces the worst
engineered CD player I've ever heard of, yet receives a
positive review.
The other two reviews on the page have praises for CD
players from 845[pounds] and 6,000[pounds] and are supposed
to have different sound including breadth of the soundstage
and instrument positioning. What good is a CD player that
alters soundstage, that sounds like a rip-off for
6,000[pounds].
I wish American Record Guide reviewed audio equipment.
How does gapless work for works like Beethoven's Pastoral, where some breaks should be there and others skipped? Is there a button on the remote or something?

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
weary flake
2020-06-23 03:18:34 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by weary flake
BBC Music magazine has the worst review of CD players I've
seen. It praises the Cambridge Audio Topaz CD10 as an
entry level super value budget priced 200[pounds] CD player,
with real punch and authority, yet the review discloses
that it DOESN'T HAVE GAPLESS PLAYBACK. "Fine for pop CDs,
but distracting for some classical music recordings". The
only way to be a worse reviewer is to not disclose it's
failure to play gapless. Cambridge produces the worst
engineered CD player I've ever heard of, yet receives a
positive review.
The other two reviews on the page have praises for CD
players from 845[pounds] and 6,000[pounds] and are supposed
to have different sound including breadth of the soundstage
and instrument positioning. What good is a CD player that
alters soundstage, that sounds like a rip-off for
6,000[pounds].
I wish American Record Guide reviewed audio equipment.
How does gapless work for works like Beethoven's Pastoral, where some
breaks should be there and others skipped? Is there a button on the
remote or something?
All CD players play CDs without adding gaps between tracks,
or as far as I knew, until I read the stupid BBC Music Magazine
review of the Cambridge player.
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-24 00:41:07 UTC
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Post by weary flake
All CD players play CDs without adding gaps between tracks,
or as far as I knew, until I read the stupid BBC Music Magazine
review of the Cambridge player.
I think we're at cross purposes here. I'm referring to necessary gaps between movements, assuming that one movement = one track.

The problem of "attacca" movements has already been discussed on another thread.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Oscar
2020-06-24 19:00:23 UTC
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Post by weary flake
All CD players play CDs without adding gaps between tracks,
or as far as I knew, until I read the stupid BBC Music Magazine
review of the Cambridge player.
Ha, succinctly put! I concur.
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-24 23:37:56 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Post by weary flake
All CD players play CDs without adding gaps between tracks,
or as far as I knew, until I read the stupid BBC Music Magazine
review of the Cambridge player.
Ha, succinctly put! I concur.
Judging by online reviews of this particular Cambridge player, there appear to be build quality problems as well. Jamming trays appears to be a major issue, and not just with this machine either. The "gapless" issue doesn't seem to be a major issue for most people, which suggests that it's more likely to be playing the Grateful Dead than Geminiani.

I'd still suggest that with the prevalence of streaming and digital downloading, the market for CD players must be shrinking.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
weary flake
2020-06-25 18:48:04 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
Post by weary flake
All CD players play CDs without adding gaps between tracks,
or as far as I knew, until I read the stupid BBC Music Magazine
review of the Cambridge player.
Ha, succinctly put! I concur.
Judging by online reviews of this particular Cambridge player, there
appear to be build quality problems as well. Jamming trays appears to
be a major issue, and not just with this machine either. The "gapless"
issue doesn't seem to be a major issue for most people, which suggests
that it's more likely to be playing the Grateful Dead than Geminiani.
Most Grateful Dead CDs are live, meaning they require
gapless playback. There are countless pop CDs that
require gapless playback, not "just" classical. It's
very odd to maintain that pop CDs and classical CDs
have fundamentaly different playback requirements.
Post by Andrew Clarke
I'd still suggest that with the prevalence of streaming and digital
downloading, the market for CD players must be shrinking.
So? is that an excuse for design defects? Cambridge
must have made extraorinary efforts to make their
Topaz player unable to play CDs properly.
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-25 20:43:52 UTC
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Post by weary flake
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
Post by weary flake
All CD players play CDs without adding gaps between tracks,
or as far as I knew, until I read the stupid BBC Music Magazine
review of the Cambridge player.
Ha, succinctly put! I concur.
Judging by online reviews of this particular Cambridge player, there
appear to be build quality problems as well. Jamming trays appears to
be a major issue, and not just with this machine either. The "gapless"
issue doesn't seem to be a major issue for most people, which suggests
that it's more likely to be playing the Grateful Dead than Geminiani.
Most Grateful Dead CDs are live, meaning they require
gapless playback. There are countless pop CDs that
require gapless playback, not "just" classical. It's
very odd to maintain that pop CDs and classical CDs
have fundamentaly different playback requirements.
I'd suggest that listening to gaps in a Grateful Dead recording is less troublesome for the listener than listening to gaps just *before* the end of a movement in a baroque concerto grosso.
Post by weary flake
Post by Andrew Clarke
I'd still suggest that with the prevalence of streaming and digital
downloading, the market for CD players must be shrinking.
So? is that an excuse for design defects? Cambridge
must have made extraorinary efforts to make their
Topaz player unable to play CDs properly.
It's an excuse for reducing manufacturing costs at the cheaper end of the market and raising prices at the the "hi-fi" end.

As for me, I'm laughing all the way to the bank, having abandoned physical discs (and CD players) years ago.

I seem to remember that one major manufacturer (Onkyo?) has announced that it will no longer be making disc players of any kind.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Alex Brown
2020-06-24 07:02:31 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by weary flake
BBC Music magazine has the worst review of CD players I've
seen. It praises the Cambridge Audio Topaz CD10 as an
entry level super value budget priced 200[pounds] CD player,
with real punch and authority, yet the review discloses
that it DOESN'T HAVE GAPLESS PLAYBACK. "Fine for pop CDs,
but distracting for some classical music recordings". The
only way to be a worse reviewer is to not disclose it's
failure to play gapless. Cambridge produces the worst
engineered CD player I've ever heard of, yet receives a
positive review.
The other two reviews on the page have praises for CD
players from 845[pounds] and 6,000[pounds] and are supposed
to have different sound including breadth of the soundstage
and instrument positioning. What good is a CD player that
alters soundstage, that sounds like a rip-off for
6,000[pounds].
I wish American Record Guide reviewed audio equipment.
How does gapless work for works like Beethoven's Pastoral, where some breaks should be there and others skipped? Is there a button on the remote or something?
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
There is a portion of silence (or quiet "hall noise") at the end of
tracks which have a "gap" with the following track.

There is no need to use audacity when ripping files: rip to a format
which supports proper gapless playback with appropriate media player
software (e.g. FLAC).
--
- Alex Brown
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-24 08:29:10 UTC
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Post by Alex Brown
There is a portion of silence (or quiet "hall noise") at the end of
tracks which have a "gap" with the following track.
Right. So the final three movements of the "Pastoral" do not have this "hall noise" so that if the tracks are played "gaplessly" the "attacca" is preserved. Have I got that right?

You can tell that I haven't actually owned a CD player for years ...
Post by Alex Brown
There is no need to use audacity when ripping files: rip to a format
which supports proper gapless playback with appropriate media player
software (e.g. FLAC).
That's fine if you're ripping physical CDs. I've used dbPowerAmp to do this with no problem at all. The JRiver Media Centre software I use for serious listening on my desktop computer has "gapless" options too. But the BluRay player I use for general listening in our living room does not. So it's just easier to splice attacca movements together.

I don't own a smartphone either, btw. Do their apps also support gapless playback?

These days, however, the only CDs I buy are from opportunity shops in country towns. Everything else is downloads.

There's another issue, Alex, that you might be able to explain. Whenever there are "attacca" movements, the first of them will typically end with a sustained chord, which without "gapless" playback will be clipped short. There will then be the "gap" between tracks. Then you get the missing bit of the chord from the preceding track, followed by the second movement. What causes this?

Many thanks for explaining this,

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Alex Brown
2020-06-24 15:41:09 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Right. So the final three movements of the "Pastoral" do not have this
"hall noise" so that if the tracks are played "gaplessly" the
"attacca" is preserved. Have I got that right?
Yes, it just plays the tracks one after the other with no gap, as you'd
hear "live". This has worked since the first CD players (I remember my
Philips top-loader). I'm pretty sure a player that does not do this is
in violation of the "red book" international standard IEC 60908 and so
cannot claim to be capable of playing compact discs. If it has the CD
logo, this could be a trademark infringement.
Post by Andrew Clarke
But the BluRay player I use for general listening in our living room
does not. So it's just easier to splice attacca movements together.
That's terrible, I had no idea this problem affected BluRay audio.
Post by Andrew Clarke
I don't own a smartphone either, btw. Do their apps also support gapless playback?
Some do. I use PowerAmp on Android which supports gapless FLAC playback.
Post by Andrew Clarke
There's another issue, Alex, that you might be able to explain
Whenever there are "attacca" movements, the first of them will
typically end with a sustained chord, which without "gapless" playback
will be clipped short. There will then be the "gap" between tracks.
On what system are you hearing this? I've never heard that from a
player. Of course, streaming services have historically had all kinds of
problems with gapless playback - but I haven't used a streaming service
to years. Are they still bad in this respect I wonder?
--
- Alex Brown
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-24 22:07:37 UTC
Reply
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Post by Alex Brown
Post by Andrew Clarke
There's another issue, Alex, that you might be able to explain
Whenever there are "attacca" movements, the first of them will
typically end with a sustained chord, which without "gapless" playback
will be clipped short. There will then be the "gap" between tracks.
On what system are you hearing this? I've never heard that from a
player. Of course, streaming services have historically had all kinds of
problems with gapless playback - but I haven't used a streaming service
to years. Are they still bad in this respect I wonder?
For general living-room use we have a Sony BDP65000 BluRay player, which cost me about AUD$150.00 at my local electrical goods franchise. It has a 2tb hard drive permanently plugged into its USB socket. Audio files are in AAC format. For portable and private use I have an ACER Chromebook with a 2tb hard drive permanently plugged in and indeed sticky-taped to the lid: audio output is via a Dragonfly amp to a pair of Sennhauser headphones. I'm using the Chromebook's default audio player at the moment. For big sound in a spare bedroom I use JRiver Media Centre 26 on a desktop, a Nu-Force DAC and a Denon stereo receiver plus a pair of second-hand Polk speakers.

Like yourself, I don't generally use a streaming service. The exception is Amazon Music which plays the blues, plus people like Linda Ronstadt, and some jazz. In this repertoire, gapless isn't a problem.

I'd suggest that the vast majority of listeners out there are using inexpensive and versatile devices like the Sony BDP65000, which also has about a dozen video streaming apps built in, including MUBI (arthouse films) and the Berlin Phil's marvellous Digital Concert Hall as well as Netflix, You Tube etc. It's a lot more efficient than smart TVs which uses more power and which, unlike the Sony or our Telstra TV device, never get upgraded online. (Telstra TV is an Australian variant of ROKU.)

Besides, I get to pretend I'm a hi-tech kind of guy, converting attacca files to WAV, copying and pasting them together and then exporting as FLAC before converting to AAC with a combination of dbPowerAmp and Audacity. My technophobic wife can't understand the fascination, but I'm sure she finds it a more acceptable way of getting me out of her hair than giant model railways - I'm a train tragic - or lapdancers. And she certainly appreciates the very low cost of the systems we use.

Why convert FLAC to AAC? AAC uses about 66 % less disk space and in terms of sound quality I really can't tell the difference.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-24 22:12:59 UTC
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Post by Alex Brown
That's terrible, I had no idea this problem affected BluRay audio.
It doesn't when I play BluRay or DVD discs of course. But then I rarely do.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Owen
2020-06-25 02:45:22 UTC
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Post by Alex Brown
Post by Andrew Clarke
Right. So the final three movements of the "Pastoral" do not have this
"hall noise" so that if the tracks are played "gaplessly" the
"attacca" is preserved. Have I got that right?
Yes, it just plays the tracks one after the other with no gap, as you'd
hear "live". This has worked since the first CD players (I remember my
Philips top-loader). I'm pretty sure a player that does not do this is
in violation of the "red book" international standard IEC 60908 and so
cannot claim to be capable of playing compact discs. If it has the CD
logo, this could be a trademark infringement.
Post by Andrew Clarke
But the BluRay player I use for general listening in our living room
does not. So it's just easier to splice attacca movements together.
That's terrible, I had no idea this problem affected BluRay audio.
Post by Andrew Clarke
I don't own a smartphone either, btw. Do their apps also support gapless playback?
Some do. I use PowerAmp on Android which supports gapless FLAC playback.
Post by Andrew Clarke
There's another issue, Alex, that you might be able to explain
Whenever there are "attacca" movements, the first of them will
typically end with a sustained chord, which without "gapless" playback
will be clipped short. There will then be the "gap" between tracks.
On what system are you hearing this? I've never heard that from a
player. Of course, streaming services have historically had all kinds of
problems with gapless playback - but I haven't used a streaming service
to years. Are they still bad in this respect I wonder?
CD Players cannot insert gaps in playback of a normal Redbook CD.

However, some CD players also play mp3 that are burned to "data" CDs
(i.e. not a Redbook CD).

The original mp3 specification did not allow for gapless playback. The
specification was changed to allow players to properly implement it.
But, for example, my car's CD player, on inserting a disc to play, will
immediately rip it to an internal hard drive (or SSD) in mp3 format!
Thus, introducing gaps which are not there in the original CD.

So Opera with it's marker for each recitative and aria is challenging to
listen to in my car.

A recent mp3 player (generally one that is not in a car dashboard) will
do the right thing for gaps.

-Owen
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-25 13:00:32 UTC
Reply
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Post by Owen
Post by Alex Brown
Post by Andrew Clarke
Right. So the final three movements of the "Pastoral" do not have this
"hall noise" so that if the tracks are played "gaplessly" the
"attacca" is preserved. Have I got that right?
Yes, it just plays the tracks one after the other with no gap, as you'd
hear "live". This has worked since the first CD players (I remember my
Philips top-loader). I'm pretty sure a player that does not do this is
in violation of the "red book" international standard IEC 60908 and so
cannot claim to be capable of playing compact discs. If it has the CD
logo, this could be a trademark infringement.
Post by Andrew Clarke
But the BluRay player I use for general listening in our living room
does not. So it's just easier to splice attacca movements together.
That's terrible, I had no idea this problem affected BluRay audio.
Post by Andrew Clarke
I don't own a smartphone either, btw. Do their apps also support
gapless playback?
Some do. I use PowerAmp on Android which supports gapless FLAC playback.
Post by Andrew Clarke
There's another issue, Alex, that you might be able to explain
Whenever there are "attacca" movements, the first of them will
typically end with a sustained chord, which without "gapless" playback
will be clipped short. There will then be the "gap" between tracks.
On what system are you hearing this? I've never heard that from a
player. Of course, streaming services have historically had all kinds of
problems with gapless playback - but I haven't used a streaming service
to years. Are they still bad in this respect I wonder?
CD Players cannot insert gaps in playback of a normal Redbook CD.
Owen, I have no idea how this notion came into the discussion. I'm referring to downloads, rather than physical discs. These files have sometimes have strange track breaks that occur after about 90% of the final chord of one movement. After the gap, you get the last 10% of the final chord, followed by the rest of the following movement. This only occurs when the two movements are intended to be played without a break.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Owen
2020-06-25 13:29:32 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Owen
CD Players cannot insert gaps in playback of a normal Redbook CD.
Owen, I have no idea how this notion came into the discussion. I'm referring to downloads, rather than physical discs. These files have sometimes have strange track breaks that occur after about 90% of the final chord of one movement. After the gap, you get the last 10% of the final chord, followed by the rest of the following movement. This only occurs when the two movements are intended to be played without a break.
I can only guess, not knowing the actual format or circumstances of the
download, but I would guess that the downloads are in mp3 format, and
they are broken into separate tracks, and the information that tells an
mp3 player to play without a gap was missing, probably destroyed in the
ripping process.

-Owen
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-25 20:28:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Owen
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Owen
CD Players cannot insert gaps in playback of a normal Redbook CD.
Owen, I have no idea how this notion came into the discussion. I'm referring to downloads, rather than physical discs. These files have sometimes have strange track breaks that occur after about 90% of the final chord of one movement. After the gap, you get the last 10% of the final chord, followed by the rest of the following movement. This only occurs when the two movements are intended to be played without a break.
I can only guess, not knowing the actual format or circumstances of the
download, but I would guess that the downloads are in mp3 format, and
they are broken into separate tracks, and the information that tells an
mp3 player to play without a gap was missing, probably destroyed in the
ripping process.
The downloads are from commercial recordings, they are in FLAC format, and they are downloaded from a reputable commercial source. Each movement of a work is a separate file, so that the 'Pastoral' comes as five FLAC files.

I do convert the FLAC files to AAC (heresy!) but that's not the cause of the problem.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Owen
2020-06-26 16:36:30 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Owen
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Owen
CD Players cannot insert gaps in playback of a normal Redbook CD.
Owen, I have no idea how this notion came into the discussion. I'm referring to downloads, rather than physical discs. These files have sometimes have strange track breaks that occur after about 90% of the final chord of one movement. After the gap, you get the last 10% of the final chord, followed by the rest of the following movement. This only occurs when the two movements are intended to be played without a break.
I can only guess, not knowing the actual format or circumstances of the
download, but I would guess that the downloads are in mp3 format, and
they are broken into separate tracks, and the information that tells an
mp3 player to play without a gap was missing, probably destroyed in the
ripping process.
The downloads are from commercial recordings, they are in FLAC format, and they are downloaded from a reputable commercial source. Each movement of a work is a separate file, so that the 'Pastoral' comes as five FLAC files.
I do convert the FLAC files to AAC (heresy!) but that's not the cause of the problem.
Andrew, can you open the downloaded files in a sound editor and view the
end of the file where the problem is?

I assume you have a Mac, and a good sound editor is Amadeus Pro, which
you can download a free demo version which allows you to view the file
from here:

https://www.hairersoft.com/pro.html#4

Inside Amadeus, you should be able to see the amplitude peaks and
valleys of the downloaded file, and spot the area which contains the
suspect problem, which would indicate if the problem is in the
downloaded file, or in your playback workflow.

You can also compare them to the original FLAC you downloaded.

-Owen
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-28 04:20:37 UTC
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Post by Owen
Andrew, can you open the downloaded files in a sound editor and view the
end of the file where the problem is?
I've checked again in Audacity - what is happening is that most of the final chord of movement 1 is at the end of the file, and the rest of it is at the beginning of the next file. I find this in both the original FLAC files and in the WAV files into which I convert them for editing.

What is happening is that my little Sony BluRay player does not have an option for gapless playback - after all, it was designed primarily to play BluRay discs and DVDs. Nor will the native audio ap on my Chromebook.

On the other hand, the JRiver Music Centre program on my desktop will allow me to select trackless playback, or if I wish to stay with gaps, specify the length of the gap. I can also switch on or off the silences at the beginning or end of each track.

So as I play my downloads on both gapless and gapped media players, I find it convenient to simply edit out unwanted "gaps" altogether. The result is a recording which I can play on my desktop, on my Chromebook or on my BluRay player.
Post by Owen
I assume you have a Mac,
Owen, you are now visiting the flophouse end of the digital economy. I have never owned an Apple product in my life.


Again, many thanks for your interest,

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Andy Evans
2020-06-28 10:44:09 UTC
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I don't know what others do, but I load all the CDs I want to listen to into my Mac external hard disc and play them in iTunes. Never had a problem. For me the list of outdated hifi equipment reads preamps, record players, CD players, FM radios etc etc. All as dead to me as 78s. All my sources are in my Mac - music, TV, online sites, and all go through my DAC straight into my amp and speakers.

I also wouldn't buy a generic commercial piece of hi-fi anymore. I'd build it myself from my own design or a kit and I'd buy things like DACs off AliExpress or eBay (often the same). A hi-fi "shop" for me is just weird. It just adds a big percentage onto the price of anything.
Raymond Hall
2020-06-28 20:31:24 UTC
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-I also wouldn't buy a generic commercial piece of hi-fi anymore. I'd build it myself from -my own design or a kit and I'd buy things like DACs off AliExpress or eBay (often the
- same). A hi-fi "shop" for me is just weird. It just adds a big percentage onto the
-price of anything.

I am gradually copying all my physical CDs onto pc and then transferring (copying) the files to my phone (Oppo A9 2020). I store music files (mp3) only on my phone, any photos being regularly xferred to pc, freeing up nearly all the phone's 128G for music files. I use JBL Flip 5 speakers for around the home, in garden, using BT in the car, JBL BT headphones for outside home (walking dog) etc. I do have a Yamaha amp, player, Sennheiser phones in the lounge, but increasingly don't use a fixed position anymore. Too cold in Oz at the moment anyway (40 deg C is cold here) to be heating up rooms needlessly. Am presently thinking about installing Solar to house).

Music reception has evolved radically from the time I built my first kit amp. (Armstrong 521 from memory), to the present, where YouTube watching of performances, masterclasses, takes a chunk of listening time. BT listening takes up most of the rest.

Ray Hall, Taree
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-28 21:58:05 UTC
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Post by Raymond Hall
Too cold in Oz at the moment anyway (40 deg C is cold here) to be heating up rooms needlessly. Am presently thinking about installing Solar to house).
Ray, do you mean 40 deg. Fahrenheit or is Taree still burning?

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
we've had our first frosts up here.
Raymond Hall
2020-06-28 22:39:59 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Raymond Hall
Too cold in Oz at the moment anyway (40 deg C is cold here) to be heating up rooms needlessly. Am presently thinking about installing Solar to house).
Ray, do you mean 40 deg. Fahrenheit or is Taree still burning?
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
we've had our first frosts up here.
Mea culpa. Should have said Fahrenheit of course.

Taree wasn't affected in the fires, thankfully, but very close across the river near Tinonee which many evacuated from.

Yes, it probably gets quite cold in Canberra, which is further south and more inland than Taree. Keep safe.

Ray Hall, Taree
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-28 21:55:32 UTC
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Post by Andy Evans
I don't know what others do, but I load all the CDs I want to listen to into my Mac external hard disc and play them in iTunes. Never had a problem. For me the list of outdated hifi equipment reads preamps, record players, CD players, FM radios etc etc. All as dead to me as 78s. All my sources are in my Mac - music, TV, online sites, and all go through my DAC straight into my amp and speakers.
Googling show that there has been some past debate about whether iTunes is reliably gapless, but more importantly, how does gapless work? I found the following explanation of gapless playback very informative:

<https://darko.audio/2020/05/what-is-gapless-playback/>

I quote:

"Take Talking Heads’ Little Creatures. When we play the CD, a laser works its way across the CD’s surface, reading a single track of audio as it goes. The table of contents (ToC) file stored at the very beginning of the CD tells the CD player’s display to advance the track number at specific points; this gives us the illusion that we are listening to ten discrete tracks. The ToC’s virtual track markers also allow us to skip from one track to another – from, say, “And She Was” to “Walk It Down” or from “Road to Nowhere” to “The Lady Don’t Mind” – but in reality, we are moving forwards and backwards along a fifty-minute audio track.

This changes when we rip the Little Creatures CD to a hard drive. The ripping software reads the CD’s single track but splits its contents into separate files according to the ToC. The ripping software will also compress those tracks according to user-specified settings and inject any metadata: Lame MP3 and FLAC are two of the most popular formats. After ripping the CD, we will have ten separate audio tracks on our hard drive – one for each song.

If we then stream that album’s ten tracks across the network, the streaming protocol in play may splice tiny gaps of silence between the tracks. This is usually caused by a single-threaded process running on the streamer’s CPU that stops and starts as it finishes reading one track and starts reading the next. This is not gapless playback. It’s gapped."

Presumably, the track marker between two adjacent attacca tracks occurs during the final chord of the first movement and not at the slight pause in the music that occurs between that chord and the second movement proper? So when this CD is ripped, the end of the first of the movements will be clipped and second movement will begin with the end of that transitional chord.

So instead of getting

[andante] dah-dah-dah dah-daaaah dada daaaaaaaaaaaah (slight pause) [allegro] Ta dumdumdumdum daa daa dumdadadumdum dadadah

we get

[andante] dah-dah-dah dah-daaaah dada daaaaaaaa [GAP] aaaah (slight pause) [allegro] Ta dumdumdumdum daa daa dumdadadumdum dadadah

I wonder how gapless audio players get around this when reading ripped files? Is the TOC still embedded at the beginning of the first track so that the audio player can read it? Does it scrapp the gaps between movements and rely on the small amount of silence at the beginning and of each track to provide the breaks between movements when there *are* beaks between movements?
Post by Andy Evans
I also wouldn't buy a generic commercial piece of hi-fi anymore. I'd build it myself from my own design or a kit and I'd buy things like DACs off AliExpress or eBay (often the same). A hi-fi "shop" for me is just weird. It just adds a big percentage onto the price of anything.
If you'd ever seen me trying to use a soldering iron, you wouldn't be so optimistic ...

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Owen
2020-06-29 04:06:38 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Owen
I assume you have a Mac,
Owen, you are now visiting the flophouse end of the digital economy. I have never owned an Apple product in my life.
Did not mean to offend, I saw AAC and immediately thought Apple.

-Owen
Andrew Clarke
2020-06-29 09:00:36 UTC
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Post by Owen
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Owen
I assume you have a Mac,
Owen, you are now visiting the flophouse end of the digital economy. I have never owned an Apple product in my life.
Did not mean to offend, I saw AAC and immediately thought Apple.
-Owen
No offence given, Owen, rest assured. I was merely being picturesque.

Best wishes,

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
weary flake
2020-06-29 20:29:37 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Owen
Andrew, can you open the downloaded files in a sound editor and view
the> end of the file where the problem is?
I've checked again in Audacity - what is happening is that most of the
final chord of movement 1 is at the end of the file, and the rest of it
is at the beginning of the next file. I find this in both the original
FLAC files and in the WAV files into which I convert them for editing.
And that should play gapless.

By the way what's called "Gap" in options on programs
are all misleading: the real name of the option is "Add Gap".
There might be an option of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 seconds but it's
function is to add gaps between tracks that were't there in
the first place. Every section of silence you hear in music
is encoded into the music file, so naturally the "Gap"
option should be 0 seconds, because you don't want to add
gaps to what is already there in the files.

The .mp3 format is not gapless so use a gapless format
for the segued files, you could keep .mp3s for others that
you want in that format.
Post by Andrew Clarke
What is happening is that my little Sony BluRay player does not have an
option for gapless playback - after all, it was designed primarily to
play BluRay discs and DVDs. Nor will the native audio ap on my
Chromebook.
There's your problem, using a system that adds gaps.
There should be no need to edit files to remove gaps.
Do not buy downloads from Amazon as they are all .mp3s.
Post by Andrew Clarke
On the other hand, the JRiver Music Centre program on my desktop will
allow me to select trackless playback, or if I wish to stay with gaps,
specify the length of the gap. I can also switch on or off the silences
at the beginning or end of each track.
So as I play my downloads on both gapless and gapped media players, I
find it convenient to simply edit out unwanted "gaps" altogether. The
result is a recording which I can play on my desktop, on my Chromebook
or on my BluRay player.
weary flake
2020-06-25 18:24:28 UTC
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Post by Owen
CD Players cannot insert gaps in playback of a normal Redbook CD.
However, some CD players also play mp3 that are burned to "data" CDs
(i.e. not a Redbook CD).
The original mp3 specification did not allow for gapless playback. The
specification was changed to allow players to properly implement it.
But, for example, my car's CD player, on inserting a disc to play, will
immediately rip it to an internal hard drive (or SSD) in mp3 format!
Thus, introducing gaps which are not there in the original CD.
Does that mean the CD cannot be immediatedly played
but has to be ripped first? Is there a way to turn off
the CD ripping in the car player? I know that ripping
a single CD without editing tags causes a mess, much
worse multiple CDs. How lousy I'd find it to combine
playing with ripping, there's only a few CDs I play
that I want to rip, not every CD.
Post by Owen
So Opera with it's marker for each recitative and aria is challenging
to listen to in my car.
A recent mp3 player (generally one that is not in a car dashboard) will
do the right thing for gaps.
Owen
2020-06-25 18:48:21 UTC
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Post by weary flake
Post by Owen
CD Players cannot insert gaps in playback of a normal Redbook CD.
However, some CD players also play mp3 that are burned to "data" CDs
(i.e. not a Redbook CD).
The original mp3 specification did not allow for gapless playback.
The specification was changed to allow players to properly implement
it. But, for example, my car's CD player, on inserting a disc to play,
will immediately rip it to an internal hard drive (or SSD) in mp3
format! Thus, introducing gaps which are not there in the original CD.
Does that mean the CD cannot be immediatedly played
but has to be ripped first?  Is there a way to turn off
the CD ripping in the car player?  I know that ripping
a single CD without editing tags causes a mess, much
worse multiple CDs.  How lousy I'd find it to combine
playing with ripping, there's only a few CDs I play
that I want to rip, not every CD.
I don't know if it can be turned off. I haven't bothered to look. I
use my iPhone connected by USB for music I'm really serious to listen
to, and only use the car CD player when I have a new disk and want to
audition it. I always have my iPhone, but rarely am I carrying CDs around.

-Owen
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