Plextools v2.21 STILL not using OGG v1.1.0?! WTF?!

vbimport

#1

Plextools has apparently NOT been using the updated version of Ogg all this time!! WFT!!! I get a Plextor for its DAE capabilities and they don’t even update the few encoders they include?! It’s a FREE encoder–it’s open source with no patents–all you need to do is stick in the code!! Even worse, Plextor doesn’t let us update the encoders ourselves (all except for LAME, which should be the example for how they do it with Ogg/libVorbis).

Here’s how to tell: look at the id3 tag comments. Use a program like dBPowerAmp Music Converter or something like that (it’s free, and dBPowerAmp.com has the latest Ogg codec for its converter, so it can discern between newer and older Ogg versions). Using Windows Explorer, right-click and choose “Edit Tag” (or you can probably use your favorite Ogg player to view them–look under file “properties” or “track info” or whatever’s appropriate). Look for this:

Encoded By: Xiph.org libVorbis I 20030909

“20030909” means an OUTDATED ENCODER: year=2003 month=9 day=9. libVorbis I 20030909 is essentially the code for OGG V1.0.1 – WHICH IS AN OUTDATED CODEC, AND HAS BEEN OUTDATED FOR A LONG TIME!

The “new” version, if you want to call it that, because it by its own right is 1 year old already, is OGG v1.1.0. That would correspond to, and SHOULD LOOK LIKE:

Encoded By: Xiph.org libVorbis I 20040629

– ALMOST A YEAR NEWER, and still a year old! Xiph.org doesn’t release new updates very often, so it is important that they be updated when they do.

There have been 14 updates to Plextools since Ogg v1.0.1 came out. However, PlexTools didn’t even begin supporting Ogg until v1.19 on 31 Jan 2003.

Now, I noticed that in the PlexTools History,
http://plextools.com/info/versions.asp
in v2.18, on 1 Nov 2004, there is a comment, “updated Ogg Vorbis libraries”.

This comment was one of the factors which led me to buy a PX-716A in the first place. I figured that if they are updating the libraries in November 2004, that was only several months after libVorbis I 20040629 was released–it must be version 1.1.0. I thought to myself, “Good, they’re staying on top of it”. I wanted to convert my personal CD collection to Ogg so I could have a backup and listen from one location, so Plex updating the Ogg encoder was a big factor for me. Ogg users are serious about music, and don’t want to be paying extra on a drive/software combo for the ‘privelege’ of using a 2-year-old version of of (free) libVorbis!!

But the information embedded in the files says that they are still using libVorbis I 20030909/Ogg v1.0.1!!! WTF is going on?! I don’t want my entire CD collection encoded in v1.0.1–I wanted it in v1.1.0–and I don’t want to do it all over again!

  1. Note that Plextor stated that when they said they “updated” the Vorbis libraries, they didn’t say to which version. PLEXTOR, PLEASE TELL US WHICH VERSION IT REALLY IS. THE FILES PLEXTOOLS SPITS OUT SAYS 20030909. Is this some kind of “mistake” in your “coding”?

  2. PLEXTOR, LIBVORBIS USERS ARE ADVANCED USERS. PLEXTOOLS DAE RELIES HEAVILY ON THE (FREE) LIBVORBIS ENCODER LIBRARIES: DELIVERING OGG, MONKEY’S, AND FLAC, LITERALLY HALF THE ENCODING OPTIONS FOR PLEXTOOLS DAE. LET US BE ABLE TO INSERT OUR OWN UPDATED DLL’S AND/OR EXE’S INTO THE HOME DIRECTORY, OR SPECIFY A DIRECTORY, SIMILAR TO HOW PLEXTOOLS HANDLES L.A.M.E. (P.S. I tried doing this myself–every vorbis/ogg dll I could think of I placed into the /Plextor/ directory, and encoded a song–no luck.

  3. UPDATE PLEXTOOLS TO LIBVORBIS 20040629/ OGG V1.1.0 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!! YOU ARE USING OUT-OF-DATE FREE ENCODERS WHICH COST YOU NOTHING!

  4. Plextor is welcome to send me a private message or ask publicly if they need helpy-welpy finding the links online to the now-1-year-old LibVorbis 20040629 dll’s. Plextor, I love your DAE section, but you NEED to update the encoders, and the TAGS within them need to reflect that!


#2

Im not a fan of OGG but i suggest that you mail them…I think that they’ll respond :slight_smile:


#3

How about the group emails them in their respective locations to put pressure on Plextor to release competent products. If they drop the ball on this, or if the consumers let this go unnoticed, they will drop the ball on other things. Overall, letting this go would not be good for Plextor. DAE is the closest thing they have to a crown jewel.


#4

There are a lot of other programs you can use to convert .wav files to OGG.

Second of all, why would anybody want to ruin a high quality DAE rip by converting it to OGG?


#5

To play it on a portable player maybe? :wink:

ET


#6

LOL … obviously you don’t know anything about OGG Vorbis …

But seriously … rip to *.wav and get yourself a decent OGG frontend like OggDropXPd from www.rarewares.org


#7

mail plextor europe. I think they are more customer friendly. And second why use OGG? there are plenty or other excellent formats. And third you can always extract to wav and then encode to whatever you need (thats what i employ)


#8

OGG Vorbis offers a decent quality/filesize ratio … Vorbis comments in tags, native replaygain support, gapless playback … perhaps his portable supports Vorbis, too … or it is just a matter of personal preference …

Besides that, MP3 support in PTP isn’t that good either … the LAME presets aren’t natively supported, tag support is poor etc.


#9

Frankly i think your priorities concerning long term music encoding/archiving are a bit mixed up.

I mean let’s look at it: You don’t want do encode in Ogg 1.0.1 because you want to benefit from the additional quality offered in Ogg 1.1.0. Now tell me: What will you do when Ogg 1.2.0 comes out (or 1.3.0 after that, or 1.4.0 after that, or …)?

As long as you insist on using an encoder that is not lossless, any future version is bound to bring a further improvement in sound quality. That alone kind of makes your ‘demand’ for Ogg 1.1.0 a bit pointless.

If you really want to encode your music without having to doubt any future osolescence concerning the quality you’d better use a encoding method that leaves the data alone (i.e. lossless) and where futher improvements are in compression method/ratio only. I’d suggest you look at .APE or .FLAC for your needs.

Aside from that: PlextoolsPro 2.21 and Ogg 1.0.1 do produce different filesizes for me. So Plextools might well be up to version 1.1.0 despite the string still saying 1.0.1. (but that is just a wild guess on my part).


#10

That is what I am hoping for. But circumstance leads me away from this hope. Plextor has so far ignored me in even answering this question, whether publicly or privately. Thank you for checking that out.

Perhaps someone can do a comparison encoding of Ogg v1.1.0 and v1.0.1 and compare the filesize output with the Plextor Ogg output to make a final determination of what Plextor’s really using?

If you really want to encode your music without having to doubt any future osolescence concerning the quality you’d better use a encoding method that leaves the data alone (i.e. lossless) and where futher improvements are in compression method/ratio only. I’d suggest you look at .APE or .FLAC for your needs.

This is unreasonable at this time for a multitude of reasons: lossless file sizes are currently too high for me (and probably always will be), portable players not supporting, my preferred software not playing those files, etc. Eventually, music players will not just store music, but stream it from your home PC or a private online “locker”, and as file size and bandwidth will be gadflies for a long time to come, lossless gets a bonk from me too, on that. I went with Ogg for a reason, after much deliberation.

Even with the encoders like APE and FLAC, these too are TTBOMK part of the Vorbis Libraries, so if there is, has been, or will be an update to either of these, it will only be in Plextor’s updating of the Vorbis Libraries this will be reflected.

I mean let’s look at it: You don’t want do encode in Ogg 1.0.1 because you want to benefit from the additional quality offered in Ogg 1.1.0. Now tell me: What will you do when Ogg 1.2.0 comes out (or 1.3.0 after that, or 1.4.0 after that, or …)?

As long as you insist on using an encoder that is not lossless, any future version is bound to bring a further improvement in sound quality. That alone kind of makes your ‘demand’ for Ogg 1.1.0 a bit pointless.

The first assertion in the above quote is intended to sound ridiculous and you succeed, but I can see how you might come to that conclusion from what I wrote. Let’s put it this way: First, Ogg is a relatively new format at the beginning of its lifespan. It is not like MP3, a well-developed format at the end of its lifespan. The only MP3 encoder still being developed is LAME–even Fraunhofer itself has moved on. So if I had chosen MP3, would I re-encode every time mp3dev.org comes out with a new LAME release? No. But considering PlexTools is using a version of OGG which is TWO YEARS OLD, AND it is a new format, yes, THAT is of concern. Mp3dev.org also seems to make releases quite a bit more frequently than Xiph.org (Ogg Vorbis). So updating to the current libVorbis is a big deal, whether I re-encode or not.

I’m not making this post entirely for me. And I will doubtlessly purchase more CD’s in the future and encode them, hopefully with a current encoder. As I’ve said, if Plextor does not bother to keep current those few choices of DAE encoding it offers, and if the Plextools program and DAE in particular is the only thing Plextor offers which is truly unique enough to justify the extra cost, it will reflect very poorly on Plextor, especially if they are going out of their way on their Plextools Update page to state that they “updated” the Vorbis libraries, when they are, according to the included tags, are in fact not up-to-date.

It doesn’t take a mind of a genius to know that if you’re putting out DAE/Encoding software, that you include current encoders with that software, or at least (or even more preferably) allow users to update the encoder themselves. I was disappointed upon purchasing my Plextor that the vorbis libraries have been embedded into Plextools, but I am VERY disappointed to find out that Plextools is using a 2-year-old encoder!

I was wary of using Ogg until they came out with version 1 out of beta. But as all new products, it is wise to wait for a few inevitable corrections. I have been waiting to encode my music for a number of years, so none of this I did lightly; I deliberately waited until the release of v1.1.0 and then went ahead with my Plextor purchase when I noticed on the Plextools website that they had “updated” the Vorbis libraries, this being several months AFTER the release of v1.1.0, so I reasonably assumed Plextools was using v1.1.0. So no, I won’t want to re-encode with release v1.2.0+, but I did want to be encoding at v1.1.0. I might not even hear the difference, but if I ever have to transcode my files into yet another format to keep it current, I want the encoding to be of the best quality possible at that bitrate, because it’s in cases of re-encoding where weaknesses in encoders really show up!

And hopefully users will continue to put pressure on Plextor to make sure they update the Vorbis libraries. It will only be to the benefit of Plextor. Many of us made our purchasing decisions based on the CDFreaks forum, and there may be some lurkers to whom DAE is important but other things (such as the ability to do more than 1 kind of error test at once) is too, who decide to go with another vendor over this thread. Plextor is supposed to be King of the Hill of DAE, but with a few bungles recently, Plextor is putting its credibility on the chopping block. Aside from this libVorbis controversy, Plextools “XL/3.x” includes a couple extra DAE features which REALLY should’ve been part of Plextools Pro 2.x, and are still missing from recent updates. Namely, 1) the ability to create playlists from the extracted audio files, and 2) “Eject Disc After Extraction.” They are not very sophisticated as features go, but they are [U]very[/U] important to include with Plextools Pro updates, yet Plextor is [U]intentionally not including these basic features in Plextools Pro[/U]. I don’t buy Plextor’s supposed claim that they had to rewrite the code from the ground up just to add that in. Maybe to add a Video DVD Maker, but not to add Playlists and “Eject After Extract”! This is a slap in the face to all users of Plextools. The existence of Plextools Premium is now a factor in keeping Plextools Pro from being properly updated. They wrote the improvements, but they don’t share them with us–you gotta purchase Plextools “again” to be able to maximize the window and such?! I already paid $40 extra for this drive, mostly for Plextools.

Plextools Pro software is considered to comprise a major chunk of the price difference one pays for a Plextor drive, and it can only be used if you have a Plextor drive installed, so I consider it “Pay” software, not “Free” software. So then they go and release an even “higher” version of an already-“Pay to Play” software, which includes updates which should have been included in Plextools Pro the whole time? I have noticed the tone of the Plextor forum grow more negative over recent months, as we have time to come to a consensus on the faux-pas of Plextor regarding the PX-716, Plextools “XL”, and whether the extra cost really does translate to extra value. And the consensus answer is increasingly, “Not really”.

Oh, and a last note on Ogg. Ogg is significantly more efficient than MP3, and considerably more sophisticated. I won’t get into the unlimited bit reservoir and other reasons why it is superior on paper, but I will relay my hearing experience. You can encode Ogg’s at 96 Kbps and they will sound very good! You can’t do that with MP3, not even LAME. My general rule is that I have found is OGG at 96 is like LAME at 128. That is very significant space savings for portables which can play them (watch out for iRiver–the ones which can play Ogg’s at all don’t support frames beneath 96kbps). Ogg is about as efficient as Windows Media, but without the baggage. It is amazing that an encoder as sophisticated as Ogg is also free–even free of patents, and is a testament to the open source community. But I don’t think the encoder even costs Plextor a dime, and the Vorbis library is updated so infrequently that it is inexcusable in my opinion if Plextools has not updated it over a year later.

I still have not received a reply from Plextor; let’s hope that I do. Others feel free to email them yourselves.


#11

anything preventing you from conducting this test yourself?


#12

I ordinarily would, but I am under a crunch and my research mental CPU time and energy is going to something of a much more serious personal importance to me. Thanks for the concern about my personal life, though. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something I couldn’t reasonably due myself in a reasonable amount of time, and nobody’s forced to do it. This is a community, and people participate because they want to. You should know this from our previous exchange in which, I will remind you, you yourself declared how busy you were, or more specifically that you may be in a location where you don’t have access to those tools.


#13

it was merely a question…no need to get worked up…

and it would take about 10 mins to conduct said test. 1 song, 2 versions of an encoder. compare file size and make a conclusion.


#14

How about you? You’re probably in the same boat I am. I know you monitor this group from work, and many of us are frequently away from home or consumed by other activities. If nobody gets around to it, and if Plextor continues to ignore me & us (I’d prefer if they gave us the respect to tell us what is going on, and save us the time), I will eventually get around to it, but I can’t say when. It’ll take a lot more than 10 minutes to find, research, download, and install the apps, find old and new codecs which exist for that or those apps, uninstall/reinstall other ones to get older/newer versions, and rip the same using Plextools for comparison. I still am not sure if the outcome will be conclusive, as Plextools seems to rip “on-the-fly”, instead of ripping to WAV first, which is part of why I believe it is so fast.

I think dBPowerAmp Music Converter still has the old Ogg codec posted for its program, but since it can’t rip (I think), one would need something like EAC to first create the reference WAV file, so that’s a hint to anyone considering doing it. Remember, Plextools can only encode as it rips (it can’t encode static WAV files on your hard drive, but EAC can). Actually, EAC can rip and/or encode, and you can manually specify the Ogg encoder, if someone can find both the old and new encoders (I’m not even sure if EAC uses the dll or the exe–probably the exe, considering how powerful EAC is). With the exe’s, we are talking about Ogg v1.0.1 and Ogg v1.1.0. So either EAC alone or dBPowerAmp Music Converter would work… I just know that dBPowerAmp keeps a good archive of its codecs right on its site, but the executables those codecs are encapsulated in usually work only with dBPowerAmp softwares, which for testing purposes would be a good thing so you know what’s being used (start with the old codec and then ‘upgrade’ it).


#15

just shot them an email…first time i’ve actually contacted them. will let you know their response.


#16

I would like announce and thank Plextor for updating the Vorbis Libraries in Plextools. Within about 2 weeks from the original post date of this thread, Plextor released a new version of Plextools, v2.23, taking 3 of my suggestions from my original post in this thread:

  1. (fulfilled): updating the Vorbis Libraries
  2. (fulfilled): disclosing which version of the Vorbis Libraries they were actually updating to this time in Plextools Version History. You will note that not only do they state that the current update, v2.23, is using libVorbis v1.1.0, but they even amended the update notes for v2.18 to note and admit they had been using v1.0.1–whereas beforehand, Plextools v2.18 had no notes as to which version of Vorbis they had “updated” to (and had indeed accidentally updated to an already-outdated library). That kind of current honesty is refreshing and bodes well for Plextor. Errors are easy to forgive when they are corrected and fully disclosed.
  3. (fulfilled): adding “Eject Disc After Extraction” option in Plextools Pro

By correcting these things, Plextor validated my findings, which is that Plextor had in fact previously “updated” their Vorbis libraries to a library which had already been outdated for one year by that time. Those who encoded just before the recent update were using a 2-year-outdated Vorbis encoder library which covers Ogg, FLAC, and APE supported in Plextools.

Unfortunately, they did not add playlist creation like Plextools XL has, nor do they yet allow users to drop-in their own Vorbis dll like they do with LAME. But they made the corrections in just 2 weeks, and they fulfilled the (by far) most important aspects.

They did not reply to my email(s) personally, nor presumably to drpino’s, which was a bit of a letdown. drpino is perhaps Plextor’s most vocal non-affiliated advocate in the world, and almost certainly on this forum, and it is sad to see no personal reply to him come down the pike (not that they would know it was him, and not that it should make a difference, which only further makes my point). Nor has Plextor yet offered thanks to me for discovering this for them, when QC should’ve found it a year ago. But the most important part was that they fixed it. I want to congratulate Plextor on having a chain of command and communication which will at least let word of a major problem get back to someone who will do something about it. This a major positive sign for Plextor.

I ripped a track to Ogg to verify that the ID3 tag is showing that it is encoded by libVorbis I 20040629; it is.

To see Plextools’ version history with relevant comments, please click here:
http://plextools.com/info/versions.asp#g2

To download the latest update of Plextools Professional, please click here:
http://plextools.com/download/download.asp

Now onto a more serious note.
I have recently discovered another major bug or fault within Plextools Digital Audio Extraction (DAE) dealing with LAME MP3 encoding which far rivals the importance of this (now fixed) libVorbis problem exposed in this thread, and affects a far greater number of people. I have been testing for some days to be sure of what I am saying. I will update this thread with a link when I have completed the text for the new thread. Seeing the responsiveness of Plextor to my previous finding, I have confidence that this new, greater problem will be fixed in a timely manner. Hopefully, things will go as smoothly as they did here.

Thanks again Plextor.


#17

Okay, I’ve got the new post up. This time it’s involving LAME. Improper channel mode no matter what–apparent bug in Plextools’ interface with lame_enc.dll. No Joint Stereo ever, which is the only default for LAME for any encoding strategy (VBR, CBR, ABR) at any bitrate. Bad, but probably an easy fix.

http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=137184


#18

they did reply to me, i just forgot about this thread and forgot to let you know. in fact, i developed a nice rapport with a Plextor tech in Europe via email.