Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Gapless MP3 Playback

Alright, my beloved PJB (Personal JukeBox) mp3 player is on the fritz and I am deeply saddened. It gave me 3 years of great service. So, you say why not just go get a new one? Well, I did! But, it shocked me to know that in 3 years that my old rugged mp3 player (which by the way was the first one with 20GB hard drive....3 YEARS AGO) is still more advanced that a lot of the newer players. One of the "advanced" features is one called "gapless" playback. What this means is that if I play two songs back to back, then I don't get silence between the songs. This is crucial for those beatles, slayer, and live albums that have no silence between tracks. It seems most mass storage mp3 players do not support this feature! Now, why is that? I hear a lot of people say, "Well, mp3 doesn't support it" Why does mp3 have to support it? I think it's a case of lazy designers who forget to put in double buffering (load one segment in a space that is not being played). It's how anti-skip works on your CD player. It amazes me that my old mp3 player does this and the newer ones don't. Is having a double buffer strategy more costly (I don't think so, you still have to load stuff from somewhere!)? I am just baffled. Double-buffering was one of the first things I learned to doing clean audio streaming (and clean graphic animations too). Oh well, I'll get off my soap box now...=)

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