Old 3rd January 2004, 16:53   #1
rat3
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Native FLAC support

I have Winamp 5 and, I believe, the FLAC plug-in. I thought winamp 5 had native support for FLAC, but I can't remember whether I installed teh plug-in or not and believe it may have been the winamp 3 plug-in.

Anyway, I'd like to see a FLAC decoder included in the Winamp5 engine. To be frank I'm not sure why it was left out, and the absence of it really mars the product and leaves it without a KEY argument against the other players out there.

Lets face it, Winamp's engine isn't as smooth as some competitors when it comes to large media libraries. It doesn't scale really well, and both iTunes and RealOne play large libraries faster and better than Winamp.

What Winamp DOES have is technical breadth in its support for more codecs and features. SO LEVERAGE THAT. Support ALL codecs evenly, especially the ones used by the techies who drive usage anyway. Incorporate native support for both popular and technically superior codecs and market yourself as the most advanced and versatile player on the market.

-rt
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Old 3rd January 2004, 17:14   #2
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I whole heartedly agree, built in support for FLAC and MP4/AAC without the use of plug ins would be a great feature.
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Old 3rd January 2004, 17:38   #3
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a short list...

Well since we're getting specific

I think Winamp 5 should support all the following evenly:

- MP3
- MP4
- Windows Media Audio 8 and 9
- Ogg Vorbis
- M4A
- AAC
- FLAC
- VQF
- WAV
- AIFF
- Monkey's Audio

Essentially this is just a listing of the codecs supported by my favorite CD Ripping utility, Easy CD-DA Extractor (http://www.poikosoft.com). However, ECDDA IS the best tool of its kind on the market, and they have followed the aforementioned approach (be the most technically advanced and versatile on the market) to great success.

I think this kind of support could be a real boon for Winamp if they market it right.

Thanks,
rt
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Old 3rd January 2004, 23:43   #4
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yeah, so we'll add all those 3rd-party plugins to the installer, then we'll add the MPC, SHN, APE, LPAC, VQF, UMX, WavPack, AC3, GYM, SID, MT2, NSF, PSG, Tara, SHNamp, MP3Pro plugins as well, and we'll end up with a 20MB plus installer. Lovely.

No.
Those formats are supported by 3rd-party plugins, because that's the way that it is.

The default installation of Winamp already supports over 50 file extensions.

If you want more, then use the extra plugins.
Here, we even made a list of them all for you here, and a few more here.

If one day, any particular rarer format becomes hugely popular,
that's when it'll be taken into consideration to include native support,
and that's assuming the format isn't patented or covered by some proprietry license which makes it impossible to include in Winamp for free, if at all.

Note: All the formats you've mentioned above are either already supported by default, or via extra/3rd-party plugins.

ps. Native WMA9 (full) and MP4/M4A support are already planned.
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Old 5th January 2004, 03:40   #5
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Re: a short list...

- MP3 --already there
- MP4 -- comes with next version
- Windows Media Audio 8 and 9 --use direct show filter
- Ogg Vorbis -- already there
- M4A --same as MP4, see above
- AAC -- already there
- FLAC -- not there, 3rd party plugin available
- VQF --old and outdated, no need to be there
- WAV --already there
- AIFF --already there
- Monkey's Audio -- not there, 3rd party plugin available


EDIT: oh my god. amano remembers the poikosoft winamp3 plugin. amano shudders... will never touch poikosoft stuff again.

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Old 9th January 2004, 17:04   #6
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So it looks like we are just waiting on MP4 and M4A (same file format, 2 different common extensions) native support then? Can't wait for that! That is my #1 feature request so the M4A/MP4 file formats take off...
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Old 14th January 2004, 02:06   #7
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well that sucks...

Okay, so instead of just supporting the best standards on the market natively (FLAC, OGG, etc.) we'll rely on plug0ins to do the work. Great idea... Now, let's see I have this Winamp 3 plug-in for Flac, but unfortunately its buggy and doesn't work properly at all in Winamp 5. I don't even see artists listed in the jukebox screen when I load Flac files.

But its all good, cuz at some point in the distant future someone might decide to get off their butt and actually update the plug-in so it works properly. Yeah, good plan, why bother just bundling a working codec when you can have an unstable, malfunctioning, buggy plug-in to do the job.

Flac is THE standard going forward for audio archiving. Its is easily the best lossless codec out there, and that fact coupled with its open identity probably means it won't be replaced anytime in the near future. Winamp should just bundle it in and use it to lever in for all those home network jukebox applications.

And as for the comments on ECDDA, I'm kinda suprised at that one. I've used EAC, ECDDA, dbPowerAmp, etc. and ECDDA works better than any of them. Not only does it offer WAY more options than any other ripping or conversion tool on I've come across, but the interface and general architecture of the program are much better than anything else available. I would suggest you check it out before you make any further comments on their stuff, its a very well done program.

Best,
rat3
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Old 14th January 2004, 04:38   #8
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Re: well that sucks...

Quote:
Originally posted by rat3
Okay, so instead of just supporting the best standards on the market natively (FLAC, OGG, etc.)...
Calm down. OGG vorbis is supported already.
Quote:
Originally posted by rat3 Great idea... Now, let's see I have this Winamp 3 plug-in for Flac, but unfortunately its buggy and doesn't work properly at all in Winamp 5.[/B]
Well, Winamp 5 doesn't support winamp3 stuff, only Winamp 2/5 plugins. Use this one, if you can't find it yourself: http://rarewares.hydrogenaudio.org/files/in_flac.zip

Quote:
Originally posted by rat3
I've used EAC, ECDDA, dbPowerAmp, etc. and ECDDA works better than any of them. Not only does it offer WAY more options than any other ripping or conversion tool on I've come across, but the interface and general architecture of the program are much better than anything else available. [/B]
Eh, What specific features make it superior? I am only interested in ripping quality. What shall I do with all the options and the interface stuff if it makes bad rips with scratchy CDs?

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Old 14th January 2004, 06:31   #9
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I'm totally calm dude. It just seems kind of pointless to me to push codec support for main stream codecs off on plug-ins. I see plug-ins as add-on functionality that isn't core to the player itself. I see mainstream codecs like Ogg, Flac, etc. as core components that should be incoporated into the engine (yes, I realize Ogg is supported).

The link is to a Flac plug-in for Winamp? I'm not sure how I could be expected to find it since it doesn't come up in a google search for "Winamp Flac Plug-in" and isn't even listed on the "lossless" or "other" file pages for http://rarewares.hydrogenaudio.org (the url the file is hosted off).

[AFTER-POSTING NOTE: I downloaded that .dll and copied it over my existing in_flac.dll. It still doesn't work properly with Winamp 5, and I have no entries for any of my Artist entries. I should also note that Genre, Track number, year, etc. don't show up. The only values I can ever see are Album and Song names.]

As for ECDDA, maybe you tried an old version or something. Version 6.2 came out not too long ago and it works fairly flawlessly. It sometimes has a problem when it hits a really bad area of a CD, but I think thats a result of my combo drive and firmware rather than the program (it happens with EAC 0.95 and other programs as well).

Yes, I could rip from the command line, but why would I bother? ECDDA has a comprehensive ripper with built-in freedb.org support, the ability to rip tracks into like 10 formats at various compressions, an audio file converter, an audio cd burner, etc. It basically offers a GUI with access to EVERYTHING I could want to manage in terms of ripping. I personally prefer a GUI over the command line for both ease of use (learning curve is demonstrably shorter with a GUI) and aesthetics.

To each his own I guess.

-rt

Last edited by rat3; 14th January 2004 at 07:25.
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Old 14th January 2004, 07:56   #10
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There is actually a link on rarewares

http://rarewares.hydrogenaudio.org/lossless.html

FLAC V. 1.1.0 bundle 2003-02-01
complete - ICL6 compile - by John33 (include X-Fixer's Winamp plugin)

Download (997Kb)


I've been trying to contact X-Fixer for a few months now,
because he also maintains the default in_mod plugin
(or at least he's supposed to...)

Yes, it would be nice for him to update in_flac to be fully Winamp 5 compatible (ie. correctly parses metadata to the wa5 library, supports Advanced Title Formatting strings, etc)


btw, why do you keep referring to Ogg?

And what do you mean by this?
I see plug-ins as add-on functionality that isn't core to the player itself

All formats are supported by input plugins (mp3, wav, midi, mod, ogg, wma, cda, etc), not by the core . . . whether 1st-party or 3rd-party.

Admittedly, I use FLAC myself...

But FLAC is no more popular than Monkeys Audio, SHN, WavPack, or Lossless WMA... so which 3rd-party lossless plugin do we support by default? One of them, or all of them? Or would you like to see Nullsoft make decoders for every single format, including all the ones I listed above?

:/
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Old 14th January 2004, 15:28   #11
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hmm. DJEgg, I think the problem is the missing input plugin SDK. I think, that I can remember X-Fixer and Case discussing this situation on HA. (although I think, that Case recently got around that with his latest MPC plugin).

If there is a solution for the metadata problem in the ML, I could PM X-Fixer or jcoarlson on HA. Let me know if I should drop a message. The metadata problem exists since the release of WA 2.9x.

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Old 14th January 2004, 19:54   #12
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My comments regarding plug-ins should have specified 1st party versus 3rd party, sorry for teh oversight.

In my experience 1st party plug-ins tend to work more seamlessly with a product and are generally better supported or attended to with new revisions of said product. Third party plug-ins have a tendency to "fall off the radar" as the original developer gets busy or loses interest. Because the product dev team isn't responsible for the plug-in they also ignore it, and we then get to the point where the Flac plug-in stands now.

That is why I would like to see the Flac plug-in incorporated into the core install. I figure if it is a part of Winamp 5 by default and doesn't work the dev team will work to make sure it works; no one wants to ship a program that has bugs.

As for the questions regarding where to draw the line, you make a good point. I definitely think codecs like WMA should be supported as they offer Winamp a chance to steal MS' user share (an ongoing core target of AOL) and increases general utility. However, I think the asessment on what to include and what not to include is much easier than you make it out to be. In general I think you just look at the potential in a codec in terms of current, near future, and long term adoption, and go from there.

Monkeys Audio is a non-issue since it doesn't compress as well as Flac, doesn't decomress as well as Flac, etc. Most of the others have the same faults; they generally offer little to no benefit beyond what is already there, and their user communities are so small as to be irrelevant.

Speaking to Flac specifically, however, I think the amount of momentum building behind it, it's status as an open (read free) codec, its superiority to other lossless options, and the fact that it is easily the best archive option in sight means it's a safe bet to include in the install. Let's face it, as storage gets cheaper and users get more comfortable with technology more people are going to be moving to pure digital music environments. As that happens users will demand a quality codec for archiving and delivery, and WAV is just too damned big and wasteful. Enter Flac, and its adoption by a bunch of the players in this fast growijng field speaks to this fact.

If you know of an option with as much value as Flac that might be an alternative please feel free to let me know what it is, I'm always interested in new stuff. However, I think the facts discussed above speak pretty well to why Winamp 5 should support Flac natively.

-rt
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Old 14th January 2004, 21:20   #13
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I think that I have to clarify some things:

1st you told that flac does "better" compression than ape (monkey audio). If "better" means "smaller files" for you, you are wrong. Many lossless compression codecs are more capable than flac: "ape", "opimfrog" and the compression winner "LA".

But I admit that flac has some advantages:
- very fast decoding (with chances for hardware support)
- streaming
- open source
- cross platform

These are the advantages of flac that should be mentioned, not "better" compression/decompression.


2nd: Do you really believe that the Nullsoft team developed all the decoders? That is not the case.
The mpeg plugin uses a decoder by FhG (they just transformed it into a plugin)
the ogg decoder was written by peter pawlowski. The last time a bug was found in it, HE had to be asked to fix it.
the output plugins were written by PP as well.
The Module decoder plugin was done by Jake Stine.

So the chances that the Nullsoft guys write an own "XXX" decoder are very small. They could ask X-Fixer to use his plugin, but then the advantages would be very small because X-Fixer would still have to mantain it.

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Old 14th January 2004, 21:43   #14
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I meant "decoding" not "decompressing", my mistake again (need to reread my posts in the future).

As far as the various head to head reviews I've found Flac beats Ape fairly handily in all categories. As for the other codecs I admit I'm not familiar with either. As for all the rest about Flac, you pretty much made my point for me and reinforced items i mentioned previously. Thanks...

Per the comment about developing and fixing the plug-in, is there a reason they couldn't just ask the dev for the source if he is unwilling or unable to maintain it? Point is I would think they would have an interest in maintenance of a 1st party plug-in (versus 3rd party), and I can't think that editing and maintaining an 80k dll adds monumentally to the tasks of the development team. If X-Fixer isn't interested in letting them work on it that's his right, but if he's not interested in working on it and makes no money off it I have a hard time imagining he would say no just for spite or something.

Oh well, at least I got the topic out there and found out more about why the flac dll doesn't currently work right.

Best,
rt
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Old 15th January 2004, 13:51   #15
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Well, AFAIK it should work correctly, but doesn't deliver the metadata to the ML.

This should be done since 2.9x, but Nullsoft never released a SDK for these "extended input plugins".
I don't think that X-Fixer is unwilling to fix this, but rather waiting for a Winamp 5 input SDK for doing it.

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Old 18th January 2004, 02:31   #16
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Update: Just saw an alternative plugin on winamp.com:


http://www.winamp.com/plugins/detail...in_for_WA2.exe
But be careful, the installer wants to install the plugin always to a C:\Programmi\Winamp (the author seems to be Italian) folder, so you have to change that manually. But it is from march 2003, so I think, it will not support the new metadata system

You could also try X-Fixer's latest version from his own homepage, maybe this version is more up to date?:
http://x-fixer.narod*****download/in_flac.zip
It says 1.0 Beta 7 and is from June 2003.

rat3, try this out, maybe you find these ones more suitable.



Edit:
Started this thread on HA: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/index.p...T&f=19&t=17713
maybe some information will be provided there?

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Old 18th January 2004, 04:21   #17
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FLAC support will be natively included when demand & use of the format becomes strong enough. Simple as that. (Which I actually don't think is too far off.)

As for faulty FLAC plugins, it has always been up to the plugin devs to fix their errors & update methods. It shouldn't take long for a WA5 ML-compatible update to surface.



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Old 18th January 2004, 15:53   #18
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I have no problem with it not being in there, considering that it's not my lossless encoder of choice. I'll keep using Monkey's Audio, but it would still be nice if Nullsoft added support right out of the install file for major lossless audio files. They probably won't, so I'll probably keep installing directly from the MA installer, but oh well.
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Old 20th January 2004, 15:31   #19
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As Moguta just stated, not a whole lot of people use FLAC or any of these lossless audio formats. You may think that you people make up a large percentage of users, but you simply do not. Most people simply use Winamp to play their .mp3 files and that's IT. I think 3rd party support for a little known format is quite appropriate.
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Old 20th January 2004, 20:24   #20
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The comments about not including Flac until it becomes popular sound like a classic Catch-22. Flac can't become really popular until more players and applications support it. However, most players and applications won't support it until it becomes popular.

My basic point in asking for it to be supported natively (1st party) was that I anticipate it becoming the archive and jukebox standard going forward. If that happens then it might make sense and be productive for Winamp to "be there first" in support of a growing community and standard.

Flac appears, at least to me, to be the most adaptable and best rounded lossless codec available. Other standards may compress slightly better (as has been pointed out), but Flac was well architected and serves more functions and roles better than the competition. On top of that it is free and open-source, always attractive in a world where product creation and success are ruled by the bottom line.

At the same time a number of home audio options are beginning to appear in the form of media jukeboxes, digital audio receievers, and other devices that allow neophytes to easily incorporate digital audio into their existing audio systems. This indicates a rapidly growing field worthy of attention. How do we know all this? Lots of important companies (Denon, Microsoft, HP, Dell, etc.) are betting heavily on the success of digital home media and teh hardware/software to support it (billions of dollars here). You can bet they did their homework.

Anyway, this convergence between hardware and software will further the advance of large home media archiving as people see the advantages to having all their music in digital form for access throughout their homes. Since even basic music users will likely demand music in a lossless codec once they understand what's at stake (no converting out of a lossy codec, lower quality music than a normal CD) it stands to reason that there is a hole perfectly suited to Flac adoption.

Anyway to get back to Winamp, when you get first mover advantage you become default associated with a technology or service. Look at Amazon with internet sales, look at the iPod, look at iTunes, etc. You don't have to be the best to be associated with something, you just have to build an identity around it with you as the prominent sponsor. You also tend to gender good will and support from the community, developing a loyal fan base that will grow virally in the years to come (assuming you don't undermine the effort in some way).

That's my two cents. I understand why it isn't currently first party for Winamp, and that was why I posted my "wish" to have Flac incorporated into the standard codec set. I guess I'll just have to stick with Apollo for the time being untl something better comes along.

-rt
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Old 6th February 2004, 17:14   #21
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Well,
how about let in_vorbis.dll play OGG-FLAC as well (hmm it won't be in_vorbis.dll then :P).
Or is there any 3rd part replacement?
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Old 18th February 2004, 06:05   #22
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Rat, many of the initiatives you mention are also going forward with support for WMA9 Lossless. It had far wider support in players out there than FLAC has and, it's from Microsoft which to non-Microsoft haters, is viewed as a good thing as they know Microsoft puts serious effort and money behind their formats.

I personally would like to see WinAMP improve their handling of WMA9 Lossless to including tag editing. It's the only thing really missing right now for great lossless support in WinAMP.
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