Gapless Playback ::: The Campaign!

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shadowritten

Guest
Ladies and gentlemen of the digital music community, the time has come.

Today, I finally reached the very end of my tether with DAP makers who are too lazy to ensure their products play back audio formats gaplessly. I even found myself investigating the only player known to be able to provide the holy grail of playback: the Rio Karma. And I HATE how this thing looks, so you can imagine how desperate and thoroughly cheesed off I must now feel as regards this irritating issue! :(

So I say we consumers should take action. I propose that we send the email below to the support/customer service addresses of EVERY KNOWN DAP MANUFACTURER - so, not just the popular ones - and then keep hounding them until something is done about standardising gapless playback. Because, as much as I like Sony products, I'm getting pretty sick and tired of being tied to the only format (ATRAC) that actually gives we discerning listeners what we want.

Here, then, is the email. I urge you ALL to copy, paste and send at the earliest opportunity. And I thank you in advance for doing so. Those who are with me on this can post any responses from manufacturers in this thread:




Dear [insert name/manufacturer]

As a consumer who cares about the quality of the products I buy, I write to you to ask you why your otherwise excellent products fall short of being the best they can be. Certainly, your digital audio players have many admirable features, but they lack an essential one which has also been ignored by almost all of your competitors: the ability to play back audio files WITHOUT GAPS BETWEEN TRACKS WHICH ARE NOT PRESENT ON THE SOURCE CDs.

Now I imagine that, as an audio product manufacturer, you care about sound reproduction - and, too, about your customers' satifaction with your products. The general sound quality of your players seems to confirm this; yet your products are badly let down by not being able to play back CDs such as Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon', or any number of live or classical performances, without the insertion of artificial gaps between tracks - gaps that the artist did not intend to be there.

To date, only two manufacturers have succeeded in giving consumers what they deserve in terms of 'gapless playback'. Sony, through their ATRAC system, provide the listener with the opportunity to enjoy digital music on the move in exactly the way it reproduces from CDs. They were also able to release a firmware upgrade for their Vaio Pocket player to make MP3 playback gapless; proving that a special codec is not required to achieve this. Also, the now defunct Rio made a player called the 'Karma', which was able to play back ANY format gaplessly.

Surely, if a company that has not proved so successful in this market as yours can produce a product that is arguably superior to any of your products in respect of gapless playback, then I see no reason, technical or otherwise, why your firm cannot investigate and rectify this matter for the benefit of millions of listeners (and performers/artists) worldwide. Such an improvement, coupled with the high standards your products are already known for, might eventually lead to your gaining a none-too-insignificant proportion of the global digital audio player market share.

As a consumer who cares as much about this market as you do, I urge you please to take decisive action on this issue and end the misery that people like myself have had to endure since the dawn of the MP3 revolution. We all know it's possible to achieve perfectly gapless playback. We're puzzled why this hasn't been done. And we're all waiting for a company - yours, perhaps? - to show courage and foresight in delivering portable digital audio players that play back music as it was intended to be heard.

I sincerely hope you'll give serious consideration to this matter, and I very much look forward to hearing what steps your company intends to take.

Yours ...





Good luck everyone! :thumbsup:
 

mcfarfs

Banned
Don't suppose you want to make it really easy for us and provide us with the email addresses do you?!
 
R

Ryzir

Guest
I have owned the Rio Karma and while it sometimes playedback gapless it was never 100%. I could never get through a whole album galpless with it, no matter what the format. Sometimes it would chop the ends of mp3 to try to enable gapless playback. All in all I consider the Rio Karma not to be a gapless player.

That being said it would be fairly easy for manufacturers to support gapless playback of mp3. The simplest way would to support cue files. You would have to rip the whole album as one mp3 track but you would still be able to skip through the tracks using the cue file.

LAME has developed a way to playback mp3's gapless but at the moment no portable player supports it. I have read some information on it but have not found anything conclusive.

Another way which I'm not 100% certain of but it seems that it would be possible would be to strip the information out of the mp3 file and put it into a TOC like cd's and minidisc's have. It is similar to the cue file method but this process would be done on the player automatically without have to re-rip all of your cd's into one mp3 file + cue.

Or a new codec could be developed to support gapless playback. Atrac would be fine if Sony opened it up to everyone but knowing Sony they would charge way too much and no other company would want to support it.

Anyway for now I have all my music ripped into Atrac and am moderately happy with it. SonicStage is a pain but since I have already struggled thoguh the hassles of ripping all my music and transferring it I don't have to use SonicStage all that much. Any with the outstanding battery life of Sony portables I am happy with them (more so if I could get a HD5H) So far I haven't had any luck getting one in the US for any reasonable price.
 
M

marooned

Guest
There's something wrong with your mp3's there mate. My karma IS gapless. Everything I've thrown at it (encoded with lame 3.90.3 and up) is completely gapless.
 
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Ryzir

Guest
marooned said:
There's something wrong with your mp3's there mate. My karma IS gapless. Everything I've thrown at it (encoded with lame 3.90.3 and up) is completely gapless.
Perhaps they have fixed it since I have owned mine (2003). Good to hear.
 
H

haroldpark

Guest
Ryzir said:
Perhaps they have fixed it since I have owned mine (2003). Good to hear.
Later firmware versions used different strategies to achieve gapless playback to earlier versions. Finally got to play with a Karma this weekend at my friends place (they never made it to Australia) and the first thing I tried out was the "gaplessness". Worked beautifully on the first two tracks from "Absolution" by MUSE. Several times. Am also now seriously considering getting one 2nd hand.
hh
 

L11

Active Member
I've only ever heard people on this forum talk about gapless playback. And i work in currys.
 
L

lukey

Guest
I really think the issue on 'gapless' playback is over hyped. So there are gaps between tracks on a lot of dap's!!...no big deal really, the advantage of having thousands of tracks at your finger tips surely outweighs this issue, and it only effects certain genres of music. Its more of a concern to me when buying a dap that im not restricted to the format of music i either download or copy with manufacturers own proprietry software...thats why i'll never use anything other than mp3
 

IanPM

Active Member
lukey said:
I really think the issue on 'gapless' playback is over hyped. So there are gaps between tracks on a lot of dap's!!...no big deal really, the advantage of having thousands of tracks at your finger tips surely outweighs this issue, and it only effects certain genres of music. Its more of a concern to me when buying a dap that im not restricted to the format of music i either download or copy with manufacturers own proprietry software...thats why i'll never use anything other than mp3
No, its not over-hyped. For many of us, a need for gapless is very real. If you don't feel you need it, then good. You sound like the sort of person that would enjoy owning an iPod.

There are plenty of different genres that need Gapless, both Dance/House/Trance and Classical. As well as quite a lot of other genres are getting in on the act too.

My HD5 actually does an okay job of gapless on some MP3s. And of course in ATRAC, its perfect.
 
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lukey

Guest
Yes, I do own an Ipod and yes, 90% of the music I listen to is trance/dance orientated, and yet the gapless issue is not an issue to me :rolleyes:
 

Cloysterpeteuk

Well-known Member
Do you guys ever stop going on about gapless playback?, why do we have to have endless threads about it?. I also don't see the point in sending daft emails, don't you realise how easy it is to delete them, you really think they would ever reach someone important in significant numbers?. Pen and paper has a million times more impact, but how many are bothered enough about gapless playback to mess about composing a letter, printing it out and forking out the pennies for a stamp?.

If the masses were really bothered about it then you would see it on more players, the vast majority of people won't even have heard of the term, let alone use it. I'm sure if Apple thought they were losing a significant amount of sales due to not supporting it then it would be in their players quick smart, it's not as if they couldn't add it easily.

L11 - I was just going to mention that I bet you could ask an Apple store employee if he had ever been asked if the ipod supported gapless and nine time out of ten they would say no, joe public doesn't give a rats ass!.

Don't get me wrong though I would love to see gapless on all players, only because it will stop you lot moaning about it all the time.
 

mrtbag

Well-known Member
I've worked for quite a few electronic manufacturers in the past 10 years, and sending a 'standard' e-mail like the above will not get a response. How may times to we hear consumers complaining about getting 'Standard' responses from companies? We'll it's the same the other way round. Why should a company spend money to employ staff to respond to e-mails that the customer (or non-customer, as most won't own one of their products in the above case) could not be bothered to write themselves. Just think how that money could be better spent in their design/product quality department.

For the best response, pick up the phone abd stay on the line until they agree to feedback you inquiry to the design/manufacture departments.
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
A few points.

1 - I think the lack of gapless playback is a pain in the arse and, worse still, an unnecessary one. Manufacturers could provide players with gapless playback at very little extra cost to themselves.

2 - I can't understand why anyone believes this isn't the place to havea moan about it. For crying out loud, we're in the mp3/DAP section of an AV Forum, what else are we supposed to do here, discuss the weather?

3 - I think it's great that shadowritten has had the gumption to at least do something about it.

4 - Sadly, the comments about emails being ineffective are largely correct. Phone calls work better, and letters even better still.

Steve W
 

mrtbag

Well-known Member
Pecker said:
2 - I can't understand why anyone believes this isn't the place to havea moan about it. For crying out loud, we're in the mp3/DAP section of an AV Forum, what else are we supposed to do here, discuss the weather?

3 - I think it's great that shadowritten has had the gumption to at least do something about it.

4 - Sadly, the comments about emails being ineffective are largely correct. Phone calls work better, and letters even better still.

Steve W
I agree with the above. Don't get me wrong, the e-mail shadowritten has done is great, and as a one off e-mail to the company who make the player you own, is well worth sending. But the manufacturers will soon cotton on at receiving the same e-mail from different people (virtually Spam).

I have no problem with people discussing gapless, I can undertsnad why it is important to some you.

Unfortunately, campaigns like this don't work.
 
S

shadowritten

Guest
Wow, you guys have been busy in the past 24 hours! Let me try to respond to some of the points you've raised regarding this issue:

Ryzir said:
Anyway for now I have all my music ripped into Atrac and am moderately happy with it. SonicStage is a pain but since I have already struggled thoguh the hassles of ripping all my music and transferring it I don't have to use SonicStage all that much.
I share your sentiments here, Ryzir, though my beef isn't with SS. After all, this aspect of Sony's software isn't at fault for the lack of gapless playback with formats OTHER than ATRAC. If I'm annoyed at SS at all (and even then, in part only) it's because of DRM ... another serious bugbear for me right now! Particularly as I've discovered that even your ingenious DRM removal method won't shift rights management info from tracks purchased from Sony Connect!


L11 said:
I've only ever heard people on this forum talk about gapless playback. And i work in currys.
L11, at the risk of sounding rude and patronising (neither of which I intend this next comment to be), people who work in Curry's, Dixons, PC World and similar have been about as much use to me in the past - particularly on technical matters - as tits on an avocado! One member of Dixons staff actually asked ME to explain to him how USB pen drives work, only to then give this same explanation to a potential customer! I've never encountered any member of staff within this type of high street store who has been able to answer even the most basic questions with any degree of competence; and while I'm sure this is just my experience and certainly doesn't apply to your good self, it therefore surprises me not in the least that working where you do, you've not heard anyone talk of gapless playback as being an issue. I have colleagues at work who ask me why their dance mixes don't play 'properly' on their iPods - and they always seem to feel cheated (for want of a better word) when I explain the gapless issue. Invariably, I'm asked: 'Why didn't the bloke in Curry's (or wherever) tell me this before I bought it?' Why indeed? Perhaps, because he didn't know? Or because there's some kind of conspiracy to keep the gapless issue OUT of any talk of DAPs? Who knows ...


lukey said:
I really think the issue on 'gapless' playback is over hyped. So there are gaps between tracks on a lot of dap's!!...no big deal really ...
And of course, Lukey, you're entitled to your opinion ... as am I to mine. But to say that it isn't a big deal, as though your view is shared by everyone, is to do a disservice to those of us who care about this issue. I trust that if I can respect your viewpoint, you can respect mine?


Cloysterpeteuk said:
Do you guys ever stop going on about gapless playback?, why do we have to have endless threads about it?. I also don't see the point in sending daft emails, don't you realise how easy it is to delete them, you really think they would ever reach someone important in significant numbers?. Pen and paper has a million times more impact, but how many are bothered enough about gapless playback to mess about composing a letter, printing it out and forking out the pennies for a stamp?.

If the masses were really bothered about it then you would see it on more players, the vast majority of people won't even have heard of the term, let alone use it. I'm sure if Apple thought they were losing a significant amount of sales due to not supporting it then it would be in their players quick smart, it's not as if they couldn't add it easily.

L11 - I was just going to mention that I bet you could ask an Apple store employee if he had ever been asked if the ipod supported gapless and nine time out of ten they would say no, joe public doesn't give a rats ass!.

Don't get me wrong though I would love to see gapless on all players, only because it will stop you lot moaning about it all the time.
So much to respond to in your post, Closterpeteuk! Let's see:

1) If you do a search for threads on gapless playback, and threads on, say, the iPod, which do you think will reveal the largest number? I choose to ignore almost ALL threads on the iPod - and any other issues that don't affect or interest me - so I guess you could do the same. No need to read or reply to a thread's postings if you don't feel the same way about the issues it discusses, right? Certainly, this is how I see things ...

2) About my email ... see the reply I shall give below to mrtbag ...

3) I care not a jot what the masses think or know about, nor do I care what Apple chooses to do or not do with the iPod. If their technical laziness means they won't include gapless playback, then that's their prerogative. All I can say is that it will continue to mean that I'll avoid buying their products ...

4) Moaning about matters pertaining to MP3/DAPs is, in part at least, the purpose of this forum. As Pecker rightly points out, what else are we to discuss ... the weather?


mrtbag said:
I've worked for quite a few electronic manufacturers in the past 10 years, and sending a 'standard' e-mail like the above will not get a response. How may times to we hear consumers complaining about getting 'Standard' responses from companies? We'll it's the same the other way round. Why should a company spend money to employ staff to respond to e-mails that the customer (or non-customer, as most won't own one of their products in the above case) could not be bothered to write themselves. Just think how that money could be better spent in their design/product quality department.

For the best response, pick up the phone abd stay on the line until they agree to feedback you inquiry to the design/manufacture departments.
The most sound response in this whole thread so far, sir! I thank you for your invaluable input, based as it is on experience rather than conjecture. I was mad as hell when I started this thread, and have since had time to calm down and consider what people have posted here in response. Your advice - coupled with notable contributions from Closterpeteuk and Pecker - about phoning or writing a letter (and ONLY to the maker of YOUR/MY DAP) is indeed excellent advice and a far more productive route to take. So to anyone reading this, if you'd like to use my original post as the basis for approaching your DAP manfacturer either by phone or in a letter, please feel free.


Pecker said:
3 - I think it's great that shadowritten has had the gumption to at least do something about it.

Steve W
My thanks to you again, Steve, for your support of my (perhaps a little misguided) attempt to get something done about the gapless playback issue. I know you and I don't always see eye to eye on DAP-related matters, but I've said before that I appreciate your level-headedness and it's just as welcome on this occasion as on others.



Right, that's enough from me. Now, where's my really good writing paper gone? :D
 

IanPM

Active Member
lukey said:
Yes, I do own an Ipod and yes, 90% of the music I listen to is trance/dance orientated, and yet the gapless issue is not an issue to me :rolleyes:
Well, you own an iPod, so you've got no hope anyway :eek:

Fair enough though, if you don't think gapless is important, can you not understand why others might?
 
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haroldpark

Guest
Cloysterpeteuk said:
Do you guys ever stop going on about gapless playback?, why do we have to have endless threads about it?.........
If the masses were really bothered about it then you would see it on more players, the vast majority of people won't even have heard of the term, let alone use it. I'm sure if Apple thought they were losing a significant amount of sales due to not supporting it then it would be in their players quick smart, it's not as if they couldn't add it easily.

L11 - I was just going to mention that I bet you could ask an Apple store employee if he had ever been asked if the ipod supported gapless and nine time out of ten they would say no, joe public doesn't give a rats ass!.
Noone here really gives a **** what joe public thinks about the issue apart from the fact that if he did care, companies like Apple probably would too. Its not like anyones trying to organise a "public awareness for gapless playback day" with a fricking U2 concert. People are just trying to get a feature they want on the market. There not gonna kick your door in and make sure you are playing your music in the appropriate fashion. So don't worry, if the gapless revolution of 2009 ever happens your life will continue on quite as before so no need for you to bother with this tiresome thread anymore.
 

sh18

Active Member
im waiting patiently for Iriver to create there Roxbox software for the H10, hopefully this will allow gapless playback.
 
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lukey

Guest
IanPM said:
Well, you own an iPod, so you've got no hope anyway :eek:

Fair enough though, if you don't think gapless is important, can you not understand why others might?
I think because the majority of time i shuffle my music there is always a gap between my tracks whether dance orientated or not. Its only noticeable therefore if your playing an album from start to finish which i assume is not something that dap owners do (much) anyway. I can imagine it being important if your on the dance floor giving it all and the 'gap' makes you lose your rythm :confused:

As for one of shadowrittens comments on cloysterpeteuk regarding not commenting on issues that dont interest or effect you. Well thats seems a little bizzare given thats what this forum is about, I didnt think we were here just to be part of a 'pat on the back' brigade and not challenge or question each others views otherwise that would be boring.
 
P

Poodle

Guest
I need gapless (classical/live/speech) and I'm happy to stick with Sony/ATRAC as long as they do gapless...
 
S

shadowritten

Guest
lukey said:
As for one of shadowrittens comments on cloysterpeteuk regarding not commenting on issues that dont interest or effect you. Well thats seems a little bizzare given thats what this forum is about, I didnt think we were here just to be part of a 'pat on the back' brigade and not challenge or question each others views otherwise that would be boring.
I agree with you, Lukey, but it was his tone which irritated me - as though:

a) There are dozens and dozens of threads about gapless on here (which there aren't)

and

b) The implication that those of us who care about gapless should basically button it! This made me a bit annoyed; hence my injunction to ignore such threads if they don't interest you, rather than try to shout down or belittle those who care about the issues being discussed.


You'll note, I hope, that I also credited Cloyersterpeteuk for his wise advice about writing to DAP manufacturers personally rather than by mass email. Here, I was in the wrong and he was right - I'm not so big a man that I can't back down when my views are challenged ... which, I think, is your point :smashin:
 
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Sasso

Guest
gapless is not a feature, if a player does not have it, the player is flawed.

So as I have said once before (a while ago), if you are happy with your player then good (lack of gapless and all), but then don't bag other people out for wanting more out of a player (gapless, not much to ask for, should be expected).


The problem is not only that the public dont care about gapless, its that they dont know about it. Many have probably come across the gaps and find it annoying, but maybe not knowing that gapless exists, they put up with it and eventually get used to it. Others will notice it and not give a flying firetruck, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


The thing that pees me off about apple (or one of the), is that they dont even make an attempt at gapless, their gaps are HUGE, like by the time the next song plays you will have forgotten what you were just listening to. At least make it a tiny gap like mp3 on the sonys, and only temporarily while you are making it perfectly gapless. I would buy an iPod if it only had gapless with all codecs and had no stupid distortion. I was loading up a friends Nano yesterday and its so beautiful and easy to navigate (bar the volume) why oh why cant it just be GAPLESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!


As for the comment on people that own daps mostly use shuffle, well the companies cant ASSUME that. People listen to albums too, as mp3 players replace CDs (which are gapless) and so like on CD player you listen to the album usually linearly thus requiring gapless. AND who said shuffle doesnt need gapless either? As far as im aware the HD5 is pretty much gapless when playing on shuffle mode too. That means that there is continuous music, it doesnt have to be the next track but it would still get annyoing if there were big pauses every few minutes.
 
S

shadowritten

Guest
Sasso, try listening to classical then dance music shuffled on the HD5. If the tracks concerned are meant to play gaplessly into something else, it can create an amazing effect as they go without a break from one genre to a completely different one!
 

CLH

Active Member
IanPM said:
Fair enough though, if you don't think gapless is important, can you not understand why others might?
The issue is horses for courses though. A similar argument can be made in favour of respecting those who don't consider it important.

The choice appears threefold:

1. Do't buy player because you feel strongly about gapless.

2. Do but begrudge that aspect.

3. Buy and don't begrudge that aspect.

Isn't this just about freedom of choice and the HOPE that eventually this "feature/essential" can be added?
 
S

shadowritten

Guest
... anyone else see the irony in having to put 'pen to paper', so to speak, to get a company making DIGITAL ELECTRONICS to do something about a DIGITAL ELECTRONIC DEVICE? Surely in this day and age, correspondence by email is THE way to communicate? Nor do I much like the fact that such companies ask you for your phone numbers when you register their products with them, presumably so they could call you whenever the need arose ... yet these same companies expect we consumers to 'Push 1, push 4, push ... etc' simply to speak to them. I guess the reason is that they're too busy making a profit to be bothered by customer comments and complaints, and so don't employ enough folk to man the email ...

Probably a wrong and ignorant view, but had a bee in my bonnet and needed to get it out :mad:
 

mrtbag

Well-known Member
We should do a test:

List the names of manufacturers, i'll find their feedback forms. We each take a manufacturer each. Send them a mail. See who comes back with the fastest and reasonable reply. :D

I still think whomever sends the mail should own one of their products. It just looks better that way.
 
S

shadowritten

Guest
mrtbag said:
We should do a test:

List the names of manufacturers, i'll find their feedback forms. We each take a manufacturer each. Send them a mail. See who comes back with the fastest and reasonable reply. :D
Hey, I'm not saying you're not right. I'm simpy saying I feel the system is wrong. Email is a faster, more environmentally friendly way of communicating. Why not use this instead of bringing down yet more trees on which to write our petty quibbles?
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Look its about listening to music how it was intended to be heard

If you buy an audio CD and listen to it, you'll find incredibly, some artists make their tracks gapless!

Hate to use sarcasm, but if the artists want their tracks to be gapless, then thats how they should be heard

And yes, shuffle does defeat this somewhat
 
S

shadowritten

Guest
One thing I WILL admit to, however, is being too aggressive when complaining to large, faceless corporations ... which is probably why I get nowhere. I never take such a defensive tone when dealing with smaller organisations or individuals; so perhaps I should learn to extend the same courteous tone to my communications with big business, too? I forget that a real person has to read my words, and could quite realistically be personally offended or completely indifferent to what I say ... either way, resulting in nothing happening to solve my plight!
 

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