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Check your MP3 Bitrates!


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As a noobie, I thought I'd share a problem I ran into today. I'm probably the only guy in the free world that didn't already know this, but I started on my seventh musical sequence, and noticed the the song length was about doubled in my sequence. The mp3 was 2:27, but the sequence length was 5:59??? After adding my beat channel, the music and beat didn't come close to matching at 1:17 (i.e.) using the visible screen mode. This blew my mind! Tried many things before finding out that this ONE MP3 file was ripped at 256kbps! All others were 128kbps. I converted the bit rate, and as if by MAGIC! All works well. It was such a revelation, I thought I'd share it. I'm sure that this has been doubtlessly discussed, and is highlighted in BOLD somewhere in the novice instructions...(read instructions??? Me???) I now realize after checking all my MP3 that are in the queue for sequencing, they are NOT all the same bit rate. Some are 128, 160 etc. I hope that this will help somebody as obtuse as I!

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I had a problem with iTunes conversion last year. I converted the files with itunes to mp3 and i could never get the tapper to work or the slow and fast motion to be in sync. Finally i figured out that wav files work better, and i am now in sync in slow and fast motion and i can use the tapper (which i am really bad at)

Greg

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OC Jerry wrote:

As a noobie, I thought I'd share a problem I ran into today. I'm probably the only guy in the free world that didn't already know this, but I started on my seventh musical sequence, and noticed the the song length was about doubled in my sequence. The mp3 was 2:27, but the sequence length was 5:59??? After adding my beat channel, the music and beat didn't come close to matching at 1:17 (i.e.) using the visible screen mode. This blew my mind! Tried many things before finding out that this ONE MP3 file was ripped at 256kbps! All others were 128kbps. I converted the bit rate, and as if by MAGIC! All works well. It was such a revelation, I thought I'd share it. I'm sure that this has been doubtlessly discussed, and is highlighted in BOLD somewhere in the novice instructions...(read instructions??? Me???) I now realize after checking all my MP3 that are in the queue for sequencing, they are NOT all the same bit rate. Some are 128, 160 etc. I hope that this will help somebody as obtuse as I!

Hey OC Jerry,

I went thru the same thing and am still trying to figure it out. My problem is after about 1:30 of time into the song, the rest of the sequence gets off time by .05 seconds and gets worse the longer the music plays. Somebody told me to change the bit rate to constant bit rate. Well I did one song and still no success. I'm waiting to see if LORII will have a fix for this. Now I didn't think to check the standard bit rate (128kbps) to see where it stands (it might be higher like in your situation). So with myself being in the same ball park as you, don't feel bad. I'm sure there are a hundred of us that ran into the same problem. I'm not much of a computer geek so I really don't have much knowledge of this bit rate thing, but I'm learning (slowly but surely). :]

Thanks again for sharing that with us.

Tom
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Well, I ran into the same little nagging problems that you experienced. I simply chocked it up to me being new to this and not real bright! Now that I looked into the bitrate of the songs, i.e. being off just a tic, the bitrate is different in those songs! I think that may be part of my problem?? (the other part is just ME!) Now I think that LOR likes 128kbps more that the other rates. To check, simply right click on the file and check properties. A free download for bitrate converter, or settings on your ripper hopefully will help. The MP3s that are 128kpbs never gave me any problem, but like a lot of things, could be all in my head. After gleaning so much information FROM this forum, I am actually quite elated to be able to contribute something....even if it's wrong! As for the Tapper, I found that the tutorial gave me the best advice. I just try to get a simple beat track, and the rest falls into place much easier. I finished seven songs with 48 channels(4 TSO), and I'd be happy to share the timing with anyone interested. In my limited experience, it's the basic timing that's so critical! The rest is just division, and a little trial and error, but I doubtlessly have an uncanny grasp of the obvious.

OC Jerry

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Well, this last year was my second with LOR and I had that same problem. I was so close to showtime that I actually went crying to Dan. He fixed it for me but I never actually had the time to ask or find out what the problems was. So, glad to find this out, I'll have to tinker with it myself.

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I save all of my mp3s at CD quality, which is 320KB CBR (constant bit rate).

I have not had any problems with LOR. Remember though, VBR (variable bit rate) may produce issues, but CBR should not, according to Dan.

Greg

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Greg;

I'm such an IDIOT! That's exactly the problem. The file was indeed a VBR. When I converted it to a different bitrate, I also made it CBR . I thought that I'd discovered something profound. So, Ladies and Gentelmen.....I would like to introduce my latest ASTOUNDING invention..........the WHEEL!

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Jerry:

If we didn't overlook things and make mistakes from time to time, we wouldn't be human!

Also, life would be very dull!;)

Greg

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I had the same problem, and someone suggested to convert the mp3 to a wav file. i have all my lor songs converted to wav files and have not had a problem since.



bob :]

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I too am a newbie and having some trouble learning the ins and outs of how to handle some music issues.

So could someone PLEASE HELP!

If I just copy a song from DVD to my hard drive (using Music Jukebox) I have no problems. However if I try to combine several songs or shorten one, I have problems.

Also if I try to extract audio from a video, I have some of the same problems.

I’ve tried several programs including Audacity with a fixed bit rate of 128. I have checked the timing of original song and the converted file and they are the same.

The two big problems that I having are:

If I have several events that I highlight, right click the mouse and choose “resize events to…” the programs crashes and I get the message

The Light-O-Rama Sequence Editor has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

(If I choose resize events to equal times, it works O.K.)



Secondly, the sequences hang at the end unless I add a few silent events.

(I’ve also tried converting some to wav files but have the same problems_



Ralph

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richmondchristmas wrote:

Also if I try to extract audio from a video, I have some of the same problems.

I’ve tried several programs including Audacity with a fixed bit rate of 128. I have checked the timing of original song and the converted file and they are the same.

If I have several events that I highlight, right click the mouse and choose “resize events to…” the programs crashes and I get the message

The Light-O-Rama Sequence Editor has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

(If I choose resize events to equal times, it works O.K.)


Secondly, the sequences hang at the end unless I add a few silent events.

(I’ve also tried converting some to wav files but have the same problems_


I tried to re-create such an issue (resizing) but was unable to do so. I know that I had a problem when I tried to delete the first cell in a sequence. I thought that the two might be related. Dan might be best able to answer that problem.

I would still recommend you use .WAV files with LOR. They are more consistent. Dan has said LORII will be better able to detect the end of a song. Until then, you are going to have to either add a small event to the end, or simply resize the final cell, making it a bit longer each time.
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I have used both wav and mp3 files and have not had any issues. (read as dumb luck) ...

I will interject that if you plan on sharing your sequences and don't want the liability of passing the music with them that you choose a known standard. I do not profess to know everything (or anything) about what goes on when ripping a CD and coverting to MP3 or WAV, but I will say that YES..I did download Carsons sequence to Wizards In Winter, and I used the software he suggested to rip the song from my CD, and it synced back up perfectly.

I have no idea when ripping to a wav file if speed, or rate, or the sound card have any bearing on the final product (not sure where the clock comes from), but I've been very successful in always being able to stabilize an MP3 ripped at 128 which I believe is CD quality anyway.

This of course is a moot point if you have no intention of sharing or publishing your sequences.

One other thing. At the Texas Mini-Plus Jeff T showed us a preview of the LOR, on board, MP3 player. I will guess from the presentation that it is an MP3 player and not a WAV player ( I stand to be corrected? ) If that is the case and you have plans of moving to a music sequenced, stand alone (No PC) system then MP3 would be the way to go.

Was supposed to be two cents .. but ya got the nickel tour...

-- Bob

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Hey,

Everybody makes mistakes, and as long as you learn from them, getting beat up a bit makes it stick a little better in the brain.:)

My first new sequence I did for last year, I forgot to check the bitrate, and it defaults to VBR. Got a few minutes into programming and playback/sync was all wrong. Duh!! And that was my 3rd year of using LOR!

Re-ripped it and no problem at all. Just enough time wasted that I hopefully don't forget this year!

Just remember the tapper wizard will get easier with each song you do, so don't be too critical. If on playback you see something off, just use the "resize event" to correct it and check it again. Many people like to use the 10th second grid, but I prefer the "tapper" only. Keeps the grid much less cluttered and less blocks to program and easier to identify actual beats. If you need additional beats (say drumming) within a grid line, insert # multiple events in that point.

On average, I would guess I'll re-tap the song 4 or 5 times until satisfied and save it. I also listen to it extensively prior to tapping, and "practice" tapping my finger in sync several times over, envisioning what emphasis I want to put into lights from the music. Songs in the 400 to 500 tap range get tough, but it's not impossible. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Happy Lighting & Programming!

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First, thanks for all the replies that I’ve received from my original post. Unfortunately I have not been able to solve my problem. Several additional items:

First,
I copied the original post to the “LOR vendor” page hoping that Dan would see it and respond. So far, no luck. Hope he’s just too busy working on the April sale.

Secondly, I found a trial program that checks bit rates and all of my songs that cause the crash and the bit rates are indeed 128.

Thirdly, Mp3 files that cause the crash still cause a crash when converted to WAV.

Last, the only command that I have found to cause the crash is “resize events to…” For songs that don’t cause a crash, LOR asks “How long should each event be?

I can resize several events to the equal times. I.e. the time of each event will be the average time of each of the selected events.

And I can resize one event to whatever time I choose.

I can work around this problem while learning the editor and playing with some music. My biggest question now is “will these sequences work once I get my controllers in and the lights attached?”
Ralph

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Hey Ralph,

Sounds like you might need to un-install and reinstall LOR. That's what I would do BUT save all your work to a seperate file first.

Just a thought (there seems to be too much crashing going on for LOR), Tom

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Ralph,

The sequences will work. The crash is caused but a bug (obviously) and I believe (if this is the problem I am thinking of) that it is triggered in sequences that are longer than 5-6 minutes. The programmer told me the exact number of seconds that cause the problem. You will have to work around it for the time being but rest assured that the sequences will run.

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LightORama wrote:

Ralph,

The sequences will work. The crash is caused but a bug (obviously) and I believe (if this is the problem I am thinking of) that it is triggered in sequences that are longer than 5-6 minutes. The programmer told me the exact number of seconds that cause the problem. You will have to work around it for the time being but rest assured that the sequences will run.


I wasn't aware of this issue, but I've never run a sequence that long ..

Don... maybe something that should be added to the LOR WIKI if there is not already something there??

-- Bob

edit: A quick check.. I didnt see anything there .. but it was a quick check .. maybe a known bugs section would be helpful in the Wiki. Did not mean to Hijack the thread.. but the suggestion seemed apprpriate.
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  • 2 weeks later...
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First, thanks for all the responses I got to my question of the why my sequence editor was crashing. All of the responses were very thoughtful and logical. I tried most of them with no success. As we should have guessed, Dan came up with the answer. Apparently, there’s a bug in the sequence editor that causes a crash in long sequences. I think that I’ve discovered the critical time to be about 5.27 minutes. I started with the shortest song that I have (1.24 minutes). No problems. The longest song I have is TSO’s “Good King Joy” at 6.36 minutes. It crashes if I try to resize several events at the same time.



On to other things…

Did I read the post correctly that the April Sale will begin May 22 ??



Now some stupid questions.



Does a 30-watt strobe draw a constant 30watts or does it vary depending on how and when it fires?



Since a 20-amp circuit will handle only 16 amps (80% of 20), how does one support a 40-amp (two 20 amp halves) controller?



P.S. I just picked-up a bunch of good quality 6-foot(for $0.89) and 9-foot($0.98) extension cords at Big Lots.


Ralph

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richmondchristmas wrote:

Did I read the post correctly that the April Sale will begin May 22 ??
Yes


Does a 30-watt strobe draw a constant 30watts or does it vary depending on how and when it fires?
No... It will be less than 30-watts.


Since a 20-amp circuit will handle only 16 amps (80% of 20), how does one support a 40-amp (two 20 amp halves) controller?
A 20-amp circuit will handle 20 amps. It is good practice to only draw 80% but you can pull more. If you push everything at 100%, everything will get warm, the breaker the wires, the controller.... That is to be expected. It is not unreasonable to put a full 20 amp load on a dedicated 20 amp circuit especially if you have things running intermittently and you only slam everything on for short periods of time. Just remember that you risk blown fuses and popped breakers when you push things to 100% ( no margin for error!).

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