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scratches in my mp3s

Posted on 2005-03-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I have a file server and over time random MP3s get these annoying scratches in them.  No idea how this is happen but conintues to happen, I have had different hard drives and computers over the course of 4 years.   For an example of what this sounds like you can download an example from http://24.233.136.52/dog.mp3 you can hear it in random areas throughout the mp3, for example 2:14 into the song.  What is causing these scratches in the mp3? I assume they are not fixable.
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Question by:cellophanecore
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17 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Barthax
ID: 13583360
It appears to be more of a skip (a gap in the playing) than a scratch (noise).  It's most likely that at some point you have had a hard drive problem affecting the section of HD that the file is sitting on.  Whatever the problem was had been recovered, just not 100%.  Best course of action would be to re-dump the track from the original CD.

BTW: the link above *could* be construed as illegal distribution. :(  (I have deleted the version I downloaded.)
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 13583753
I would suggest trying the MP3s on another computer.  I've seen hardware issues cause this on one machine.
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

by:nffvrxqgrcfqvvc
ID: 13583859
I downloaded that song and I don't hear any scratches it sounds fine to me, I listened to the whole thing. I hear a slight skip but its very faint and only for a split second.
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Expert Comment

by:nffvrxqgrcfqvvc
ID: 13583863
Have you tried Windows Media Encoder?

You can try to encode the sound file to see if it will fix it.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/encoder/default.aspx
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

by:
Watzman earned 672 total points
ID: 13584179

If it was not originally present (and that's a very big if), then the only way that this can happen is if the file has somehow gotten altered.  If files are getting altered, you've got much bigger problems than skips or scratches in your MP3's, because an MP3 file is no different than any other file.  But the real question is whether or not it was, in fact, originally present but you were not aware of that fact at the time.
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Expert Comment

by:sciwriter
ID: 13584910
make MP3s at NO compression.  If the problem goes away, or there is NO skip with WAV, ou have bad video and audio codecs.  Download the latest audio codecs for that particular CD./DVD burner and software.
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LVL 29

Assisted Solution

by:nffvrxqgrcfqvvc
nffvrxqgrcfqvvc earned 664 total points
ID: 13585645
Well I have encoded the mp3 file, I come to the conclusion that it was skipping when he ripped it from the cd. Because nothing seems to get the skip out I tried encoding various ways.  I have to agree with Watzman on this one. If this came from a CD you ripped or if it came from an internet site, then you burned it to a cd, then your ripped it back off the cd, then the cd might have the tiniest bit of dust on the cd, so clean the cd and close all open programs and rip the song again and hope it doesn't skip.
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Assisted Solution

by:bobsanders653
bobsanders653 earned 664 total points
ID: 13586227
I would not blame the problem on the CD if correct originally as was stated.  The skip sounds to me like a opying problem.  After the original rip I would suppose the sound was perfect.  But I have seen this problem myself in the past - but related to video more so than music.  If you use Windows Media Player 6.4 to listen - you can open the properties page and look at the statistics while playing.  When it skips - Media Player reports that it is going out of sync.  When one moves a file from one point on your hard drive to another - it seems like it is a seemless process.  But if you have other activity going on that is Processor intensive, you may experience slight "bumps" as the processor switches from one task to another.  That would be my guess.  The correction would be to recode the original as suggested.
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Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13586345
"Make MP3's at NO compression" -- THERE IS NO SUCH THING.  An MP3, by definition, IS compressed.  You can save a wave file if you don't want compression.  [There is a format called "Monkey's Audio" (the filetype is *.ape -- no kidding!) that is "lossless" compression of a wave file.  However, you only get about 50% compression, vs. 90% for MP3's.]

There are only two possibilities here, either he had a problem when he first made the MP3 (although he might not have been aware of it), or the file has become corrupted at some point since it was made, and if that's the case, the corruption itself has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it's an MP3.

It's very common to "rip" an album and not listen -- carefully and attentively -- to the entire rip of every song (which would only take an hour per album ....).  The risk in doing that, however, is that if the rip has a defect, you won't know about it.  Then days, months or years later you discover it and post "over time random MP3s get these annoying scratches in them" on Experts-exchange, when in fact the "scratch" was there the moment that the song was first ripped.

Or, somehow, the file has gotten corrupted in the time since it was first created.

However, at this point, there's really almost no way to know, for sure, if the original RIP was ok (as the author is presuming) of if, in fact, the defect has been present all along.
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Author Comment

by:cellophanecore
ID: 13588118
I know its not a problem of how I ripped it since these problems occured in different mp3s through out the years.  I would of noticed it if it was right after I ripped these if it was a problem I did.  As far as there being a problem with my software/hardware, that is not correct or else when you downloaded the mp3 you wouldnt of heard the problem.  BobSanders is the only post so far that could make sense, anyone want to go off what bob has?
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by:Watzman
ID: 13588436
You say " As far as there being a problem with my software/hardware, that is not correct or else when you downloaded the mp3 you wouldnt of heard the problem.  BobSanders is the only post so far that could make sense"

But bob says "The skip sounds to me like a copying problem."

A copying problem IS a problem with your software/hardware.  If you can't copy (or even simply "keep") a file without it becoming altered, you have a problem (hardware most likely), and it goes way beyond MP3's.

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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:bobsanders653
ID: 13589029
No - with due respect.  A copying problem is neither software nor hardware related in most instances.  It is an overloaded system of running applications.  I go back to the bad old days of DOS with my first HD all of 20 megabytes and 1 megabyte of memory.  In those days - you could only run one app at a time.  Every so often the computer might decide to just lock-up.  If you moved a file from one spot to another - and it happened, you had two useless files - the partially moved file to the new location and the file that was being moved because it would move from the header first.  Copying a file solved the problem (if you had space - and space was tight) because the file was placed into a buffer and sent a few bytes at a time. The crash/lock-up meant your original was safe - and the copy was at least partial (OK for text which was the biggest files saved in those days usually).  

This scheme has carried over from Microsoft from day one.  With computers running XP and loads of memory, etc - still for a nanosecond the buffer runs empty during a copy operation because you have too many threads running and/or the application you have running has a higher priority to the processor (copying is a low-level priority) - which results in slight data loss.  You can test this out if you like by simply recording any music file you wish.  Obtain a CRC checker and keep the info.  Start up IE, DSL, Download a 200 meg file, run Notepad, and watch a movie clip - then copy your file on another partition - and in the middle of it copying start another instace of IE.  When done check the CRC of the new file.

If lucky it might have copied OK and the CRC match - but at some point especially with largescale copying - something is going to not receive the correct bits.  This I firmly believe and have experienced many times over the years.  Always best to treat copying/moving as a high priority.
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Expert Comment

by:bobsanders653
ID: 13594020
I need to add an extra point.

XP is actually a version of NT (which stood for New Technology) - the numbering of versions of NT are 3.1, 3.5, 4.0, and then 2000 (5.0) and XP (5.1).  NT 3.1 was the first 32-bit OS that Microsoft created.  But like all creations it drew from the past.  

The ride against Windows (and I mean 3.1) was that it operated on top of DOS.  - You needed to load DOS seperate before loading Windows - so Windows was not an Operating System as it was not complete.  When NT came out - Microsoft basically incorporated DOS functions into the OS - but made it load itself.  A magicians trick as DOS has always been and always willl be the basis of every version of Windows.

Windows (including NT versions) uses a system where each application has its own personal DOS box computer running in virtual memory.  Let's say you have five applications running - each running a computer on to itself - Like Virtual PC does  - Within DOS every application function has the same priority.  But you are running a bunch of tiny computers on your computer when you "multi-task" (the original term of having multiple virtual boxes run).  

Copying is being run with full attention by your Virtual Box - but other applications know how Microsoft handles priorities within its own Virtual setup, and says - "I am more hungry than the other guy - feed me first"   Your Windows OS cannot do nothing other than comply because it was a direct instruction to the Processor.  Your little Virtual Computers (all running 640k of memory) get starved for attention - and problems happen.

Again - it is a copying error due to user having to many open apps whille copying and/or move (but move would react a bit different - but close - so it could be either but would need to know habits to make an exact statement)

Hope this helps.

cya

Have a friendly day!
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13597960

When I say copying, I mean copying -- copying a file from one disc device to another.  I'm not talking about a CD-rip (ripping the audio from a CD track), I'm talking about the handling of the resulting MP3 file SUBSEQUENT to it's creation, since the subject author insists that the MP3 files in question were originally ok (which I'm not sure that I accept, but that's another matter).  However, if the CD ripping is done by DAE (digital audio extraction), then that, too, becomes a non-real time DATA copying operation.

I don't buy any part of your explanation.  Any computer that can't copy a file from one storage device to another flawlessly every single time, is 100.0% worthless and unuseable.
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