Have gone up, down, and sideways -- a few times -- through all the program's settings I could find.
Nowhere have I seen anything like this setting that the Wiki and numerous online posts keep referring to.
Does it even really exist ? If so, where ? (I'm using ver. 2.1.6)
So, I'm stuck at the error "Exception: Audio format is not Red Book PCM" when trying to generate a cue sheet for the FLAC tracks, which are said to be 24 bit. (HD ?) Can't seem to burn these files as a music CD without the cue sheet. I've hit this same roadblock, from time to time.
I happen to have an assortment of audio apps handy, including Exact Audio Copy, EZCD converter (tried converting those files to WAV, but still got the same error from Cuetools), Foobar, Burrrn!, Media Monkey, and others. A solution exists in one of them, most likely. Some online posts said to avoid a PCM handler (?) that is natively present in Windows.
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Your attempts will always fail because you are trying to get it to do something it was designed to not do.
Red book audio CDs are 16bit, 44.1kHz, 2channels. That's it.
Certain enhancements to the spec (SuperBitmapping, HDCD, AC3-CD, DTS-CD) are just workaround cheats that are more (sbm, hdcd) or less (ac3, dts) compatible, as they are still on surface using that same structure & bitrate (176.4kB/sec).
Take your flac files and decode them to wav, then downrez them to 16bit using dithering. This will make them compatible, while also perceptually keeping them as natural and transparent as the 24bit version.
Thanks, Scott. I already converted tracks from the first CD of the set to .Wav. So, what app would you suggest I use to downrez them as you mentioned ? One of those that I listed perhaps . . . ?
A couple of related questions. If these were released on disc a few years ago, were they another type of "regular" CD ? That is, are some CDs of the 24-bit variety, or do you need special CD media to house them ? It may be that I can't record them as data files -- the way that I have done in the past with MP3 files or podcasts -- to the standard CD media I normally have on hand, using something like Imgburn. It seems to me as though 24-bit CDs would have garnered much less traction in the market if they required some special audiophile gear for playback. Alternately, I could copy the files to a portable HDD or flashdrive and see if my car's audio system can play them. It was supposedly a premium one in 2017, and can handle a few formats -- even DVD discs.
To downconvert, use Audacity or any of a number of good audio editors/DAWs or even a few of the pro NLEs that support dither. I have used ProTools and Audition most often, but there are plenty.
CD burners would most likely NOT have that feature, because for the most part they don't expect to need to downconvert (from 24bit, etc) but more likely upconvert (from compressed or lowbit files).
CD rippers are just that: rippers. They copy the streams off the optical disc and save them to files. It's a 1:1 transfer.
So, any files that came FROM a previous CD came out as 16/44.1/2. If they are anything else, they have been converted (and that is at best a lossless conversion, even when "upconverting").
Exceptions are those few that I mentioned. Sbm is 16bit but dithered from 20. HDCD is 18/20bit, but I know of no tool that can properly extract it. Ac3 & dts may be multichannel, but they are compressed, so the loss has already occurred, and the best you can do there is either leave as-is or decode & remix to stereo wav. It's still 16/44.1.
Perhaps these files were rips from a DVD-Audio or an SACD, or a Bluray Audio disc. In any case, they would need to be downconverted (and/or downsampled, downmixed) to be usable in redbook Audio cds.
If you want to leave them as files and put them on data discs (whether optical or otherwise), that's your perogative. The thing about the main Consumer disc formats (AudioCD, DVD, Bluray) is that they are universal & consistent in their playback experience. If those 2 things are not important for you, your options are wider, but YMMV.
Thanks for those suggestions. I have not tried to use Audacity in quite some time. Just took a look at it, and this seems a bit complicated and not readily apparent. (Or maybe it's just my lack of familiarity.) I won't ask you to enumerate the steps for this, but will try some general keyword searches online first. The Audacity manual displays with a very tiny font, and my searches there were not productive, so far. "Resample to 16000" was my best guess, so far tried on one track. Did not notice a tool or menu selection for the dithering.
Is there another app that handles this as a much simpler and more straightforward conversion (which I don't suppose is going to be lossless -- I mean, something must get thrown away in the process), and with batch processing capability ?
btw, that other possible workaround has now been answered: both the original FLAC and the initial conversions of them to wave (sans any downrez), when placed on a stick for the car's audio system came up as "No Music Files Found." So that idea will be out.
Last edited by Seeker47; 14th Nov 2019 at 12:41.
foobar2000 will create a cuesheet from anything you can load into a playlist. File type, sample rate and bit-depth don't matter.
Chances are you'll need to convert the audio to 16 bit wave or mp3 anyway (if you player supports mp3). You can add a resampling DSP to the conversion chain if you need to resample to 44.1k (I'm not sure if your files are 44.1k). It's easy to tell fb2k to output 16 bit wave files, so then you can batch convert.
Open the converter configuration and under the Output_Format section, select the wave file preset. At the of bottom that window is a drop down list for selecting the output bit-depth. It'll only appear when a lossless encoder or wave file is selected as the output format. For "auto", lossy sources are output as 16 bit, and lossless sources keep the original bitdepth, so you'd need to select 16 as the bitdepth to convert 24 bit flac to 16 bit wave. There's also a dithering option.
Thanks very much for that suggestion. I'd heard of foobar2000 a long time ago, but don't believe I've ever had it installed on one of my computers. It may be that that EZCD Converter program can handle this also, but so far I haven't had time to get back to this task to check. Whichever program can make this a more accessible job, I'm on board with that . . . but the batch thing is important too.
I try to go with lossless music as much as possible, rather than MP3 -- although wherever you're talking about synthesizer-heavy electronic music, for example, I kind of doubt it matters that much. I remain a bit surprised that there is this much material circulating in the super-hi-res formats though, which present more problems for playback. It would be nice if some of the better car audio options (where I think the immediate need may be greatest) offered a native ability to cope with a much wider array of today's formats.
This is one time foobar2000 should be easy. I say that because it's so configurable, setting it up to your liking and getting used to it can take some time, but converting flac to wave doesn't require any additional encoders or decoders, or much configuring.
After it's installed (you can install it as a portable version of you prefer) pick one of the default layouts the first time it runs, then use the File/Open menu to load your flac files into a playlist. Right click one of the files and select the Convert menu. There will probably be an existing conversion preset or two in the list, with three dots at the bottom. Selecting the three dots opens the converter configuration, and when you're done you can save the configuration as a preset and it'll appear under the right click Convert menu.
To batch convert it's just a matter of highlighting the files in the playlist to be converted and selecting your preset from the right click Convert menu. If you have a multicore CPU, your hard drive may get a workout, especially for lossless formats, as by default fb2k converts as many files simultaneously as you have CPU cores. To limit that, under Preferences/Advanced/Tools/Converter there's an option "Thread Count", and the number there is effectively the maximum number of files that fb2k will convert simultaneously. A thread count of 1 will still batch convert, only one file at a time.
High bitdepth formats also tend to user higher sampling rates such as 96kHz. If that's the case, to convert to 16 bit 44.1kHz you also need to add a DSP under Processing in the converter configuration. I think fb2k comes with two DSPs for resampling. The one labelled "Resampler (dBpoweramp/SSRC)" is theoretically better quality. Add it as a DSP and double click on it to set the output sample rate. When you save the conversion preset, the DSPs and the way they're configured are saved as part of that configuration.
Last edited by hello_hello; 23rd Nov 2019 at 22:22.
Cuetools -- on music files that it would accept. Then I would have to manually enter the track info. I'm not even finding the Cue Sheet-making controls in Foobar. I'd also need a more detailed map to the other program controls you referred to.
In the meantime, for FLAC files that do not require conversion, I made the very welcome discovery that with Burrrn! you may not even need any Cue Sheet. For example, I had about 60 FLAC tracks from one compilation "album", comprising around 3.5 hours of material. It may have been possible -- although arguably unwieldy (?) -- to just dump all of that onto a single DVD, and still have it be playable on my car's audio system, but I decided to re-split it up into 4 CDs instead. Using Burrrn!, I just selected Starting Tracks and Ending Tracks for each CD, and it was off to the races. No Cue Sheet. The track titles & timings all appeared, anyway.
Nevertheless, I would still like to gain some familiarity with what Foobar2000 can do.
Last edited by Seeker47; 7th Feb 2020 at 11:46.
Well, considerable time has passed. Along the way, I had some trials and only errors attempting to do this with Foobar 2000. Revisited it just now, using a much later version of FB2K, during which it became clear that I also needed a version of the FLAC encoder later than v. 1.2.0, so I dumped the latest version of it into the FB2K directory. This is a rather convoluted process to follow, that is not at all readily self-evident -- with several hoops to jump through -- but I finally worked my way through various program menus and false starts, taking tracks from 24-bit FLAC to 24-bit Wav, then the latter Wav files down-converted to 16-bit FLAC, with dithering. (Still have to find out what the difference is between FLAC 0 and FLAC 5, per the menus. I figured that FLAC 0 should be good enough for purposes of this test.) The resulting files did indeed make a cue sheet. No 'Redbook PCM' error. Burned the CD, and it looks like it worked ! But how easy these steps will be to duplicate in other cases remains to be seen.