Question on using VLC

Can you put your MP 3’s you list in VLC to “shuffle” when you play them? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Ptfitzy

The simple answer is yes.
There are buttons in the lower left of the VLC window.
One is a loop button & the other a Random button.
You need to use both.
The Loop button works on the amount of clicks.
It starts out gray which is no loop.
One click is loop all.
Two clicks is loop the song.
It will work with just random.
So depends if you want to loop.

Can be done as playlist or just Open Multiple files & Play.

VLC is primarily a video playback program. for audio I suggest Foobar2000.

taking a quick look on Foobar2000, it appears it has a ‘shuffle’ option to under ‘Playback’ section.

I think I have it.
Thanks a lot.
ptfitzy

Thanks a lot for the info. I had a bit of trouble getting used to Foobar.
ptfitzy

Foobar2000 does not have a fancy interface but it’s simple/practical to use (it’s also what I use for all of my audio conversion, like from FLAC to MP3/AAC/Opus etc).

you can simply drag and drop your music you want to listen to into it. if you want to create another tab, right click any of the tabs (‘Default’ is the one your probably seeing initially) and select ‘Add new playlist’. this way you can create multiple tabs for specific music you want etc.

p.s. I am using Foobar2000 on Linux through Wine.

NBR is correct that VLC is more for video.
If you go to Tools/Effects & Filters there is an equalizer & other audio settings you can use.
VLC can also convert audio files.

My preferred converter in dbPowerAmp.
I also have & have used foobar2000 for this.
I even use ffmpeg.

I still like WinAmp as a player.
I have used foobar to play also.

A quick question. I am noticing that the songs volume go up and down some. I have Normalize on VLC. However, I don’t know if that corrects it. Any suggestions?
Thanks, ptfitzy

I had never tried the Normalize functions in VLC.
I did play with them but couldn’t tell they did much.

If you got your ,mp3s from various sources they can vary a lot in volume.
I have several ripped from YouTube videos.
Not the best source but are a good example of how much the volume can vary between different songs.

If you want good .mp3s convert them from .wav or FLAC ripped from an Audio CD.
Use LAME.exe from a command prompt.
A code something like this:
lame -m s -V 0 -q 0 --vbr-mtrh -b 192 s %s %d
or
lame -m j -V 0 -q 0 --vbr-mtrh -b 192 s %s %d

I would just use Foobar2000’s ‘convert’ function. basically install Foobar2000 along with the Encoders Pack (i.e. https://www.foobar2000.org/encoderpack ) and it’s nice and simple to go from FLAC to MP3/Opus etc. but if one wants Apple AAC (which is the best AAC) you need to do additional stuff but I won’t mention that for now.

It had been awhile since I used foobar2000 for a conversion.
The first conversion set to Highest Quality V0 was a CBR.
So I set it one step down still V0 but a VBR.
The results are close to identical when checked with EncSpot.
The one I did with LAME from a command prompt has an ABR of 192.
The foobar2000 has an ABR of 32.
MediaInfo doesn’t provide as much information when usinf LAME 3.10 as it does with LAME 399.5 .

LAME from Command prompt.

Bitrates:

32 0.1%
192 0.3%
224 ||||||||||||||||||||||||| 25.8%
256 |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 39.9%
320 |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 34.0%

Type : mpeg 1 layer III
Bitrate : 268
Mode : joint stereo
Frequency : 44100 Hz
Frames : 10699
ID3v2 Size : 0
First Frame Pos : 0
Length : 00:04:39
Max. Reservoir : 511
Av. Reservoir : 356
Emphasis : none
Scalefac : 0.1%
Bad Last Frame : no
Encoder : Lame 3.10

Lame Header:

Quality : 100
Version String : Lame 3.10
Tag Revision : 0
VBR Method : vbr-mtrh
Lowpass Filter : 22100
Psycho-acoustic Model : nspsytune
Safe Joint Stereo : yes
nogap (continued) : no
nogap (continuation) : no
ATH Type : 5
ABR Bitrate : 192
Noise Shaping : 1
Stereo Mode : Joint Stereo
Unwise Settings Used : no
Input Frequency : 44.1kHz

–[ EncSpot 2.2 ]–[ http://www.guerillasoft.com ]–

foobar2000 conversion.

Bitrates:

32 0.1%
128 0.0%
160 0.0%
192 0.3%
224 ||||||||||||||||||||||||| 25.8%
256 |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 39.9%
320 |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 34.0%

Type : mpeg 1 layer III
Bitrate : 268
Mode : joint stereo
Frequency : 44100 Hz
Frames : 10699
ID3v2 Size : 0
First Frame Pos : 0
Length : 00:04:39
Max. Reservoir : 511
Av. Reservoir : 356
Emphasis : none
Scalefac : 0.1%
Bad Last Frame : no
Encoder : Lame 3.10

Lame Header:

Quality : 100
Version String : Lame 3.10
Tag Revision : 0
VBR Method : vbr-mtrh
Lowpass Filter : 22100
Psycho-acoustic Model : nspsytune
Safe Joint Stereo : yes
nogap (continued) : no
nogap (continuation) : no
ATH Type : 5
ABR Bitrate : 32
Noise Shaping : 1
Stereo Mode : Joint Stereo
Unwise Settings Used : no
Input Frequency : 44.1kHz

–[ EncSpot 2.2 ]–[ http://www.guerillasoft.com ]–

For AAC I will need to test but the version I have of foobar2000 shows AAC(apple) (FDK) & (WinAmp FH6)

320kbps is highest for MP3 and is CBR, anything lower switches to VBR…

v0 = 245kbps
v1 = 225kbps
v2 = 190kbps
v3 = 175kbps
v4 = 165kbps
v5 = 130kbps
etc

NOTE: I would avoid anything lower than v5 with MP3 and I think 320kbps is basically a waste of space as v2 (190kbps) is probably the all around sweet spot for MP3 for bit rate/sound quality combo. like v2 is never going to be a bad choice in terms of sound quality as far as MP3 goes and still gives you some level of efficiency. although Opus/AAC(Apple) are clearly more efficient since you can keep bit rate noticeably lower and still get high quality sound. or put it this way… if you want to keep the bit rates to around 128kbps or lower then Opus/AAC(Apple) are clearly a better choice than MP3. but once the bit rate is high enough, it don’t really matter which lossy format you use be it Opus/AAC/MP3. but I think the entire point of using a lossy format is keeping the bit rate as minimal as one can while keeping sound quality high enough (that’s pretty much how I formed my general opinion on 96kbps for Opus/AAC(Apple) as sort of a default option for many people as your sound quality will be good and is still quite efficient at that bit rate where as MP3 I would not use anything less than v5 (130kbps) if you don’t want to gamble on sound quality much).

To use Apple AAC (which uses QAAC) it won’t work by default even with the ‘encoders pack’ installed. you have to use something to extract data from the iTunes installer etc. but I already made the file a while ago which you just extract to the Foobar2000 ‘encoders’ folder which creates a ‘QTfiles’ folder and inside of that is about 40MB of data uncompressed which which allow you to create Apple AAC files within Foobar2000 which is the highest quality AAC files. so if your using AAC it’s best to do that. the WinAMP option uses a different encoder which is basically worse than Apple’s AAC encoder.

here is a link to a file I made, from the iTunes v12.7.4 installer from March 2018, which you just extract to your Foobar2000 ‘encoders’ folder… https://www.mediafire.com/file/kfq40f76vym2680/Foobar2000+-+Apple+AAC+Encoding+(iTunes+v12.7.4+Mar29th2018+-+extract+to+foobar2000-encoders).7z/file ; with that you can create Apple AAC audio files with Foobar2000 with the ‘Encoders Pack’ installed. NOTE: you don’t really have to worry about using the newest Apple encoder since they have not tweaked the Apple AAC encoder from a sound quality perspective in many years now. off the top of my head I want to say at least since 2011-ish (if not before).

but basically if your device can play Opus files that’s actually the best lossy encoder right now since it’s the most efficient. MP3 is clearly the least efficient between Opus/AAC(Apple)/MP3 since it takes more bit rate to achieve a certain level of sound quality.

with Opus I generally suggest the 96kbps option but even as low as 64kbps (maybe lower for some people) is still solid enough and I figure beyond 128kbps is mostly a waste of space with Opus. even for Apple AAC I suggest 96kbps(i.e. TVBR q45 setting), maybe 128kbps (i.e. TVBR q64). but with MP3 I suggest a minimum of v5 (130kbps) if not higher.

NOTE: you can switch the TVBR to CVBR but I would just leave it at TVBR which is the default in Foobar2000 for Apple AAC encoding as it will generally give you a bit smaller files than the CVBR option at the same bit rate and sound quality is basically the same from what I have read on the Hydrogenaudio website (i.e. https://hydrogenaud.io/ ) ; but either option (TVBR or CVBR) is okay as you can’t go wrong either way.

p.s. on Opus for speech, I don’t mind as low as 13kbps as while the sound quality is noticeably worse than higher bit rates, it’s not by much and gives you a very small file size. so if you got plenty of speech audio to store and want it to take up as minimal space as possible without sound quality taking too much of a hit, then Opus @ 13kbps is a viable option.

Thanks NBR
That worked.
I tested foobar2000 & all conversions now work.
These are the codecs in the list.Are yours the same?
Maybe all the foobar2000s are the same.
AAC (Apple)
AAC (FDK)
AAC (Winamp FhG)
AIFF
Apple Lossless
AU/SND
FLAC
MP3 (LAME)
Musepack
Ogg Vorbis
Opus
WAV
Wave64

ffmpeg says Apple audio with iTunes info on its’ .m4a converted file.
Its’ Writing application is Lavf58.29.100.
The Apple QT codec you gave me says
Writing application qaac 2.69, CoreAudioToolbox 7.10.9.0, AAC-LC Encoder, TVBR q64, Quality 96
The QT conversion is some larger but I didn’t take time to get ffmpeg code close to the same as foobar2000…

Yes, once you install Foobar2000 along with that ‘Encoders Pack’ it’s the same. you just can’t use the ‘AAC (Apple)’ option without using that file I linked to (or making it yourself which I won’t explain for now (but in short it requires a certain file which then extracts the files from the official iTunes installation EXE file(but I just saved you the trouble and made things easier))).

but using that method I just mentioned gives you THE highest sound quality AAC files you can make since it’s using Apple’s encoder which that Hydrogenaudio website says is the best and they specialize in this stuff basically.

FFMPEG is not as good as that Apple AAC encoder. using that Apple AAC encoder gives you the highest quality AAC files you can get at the given bit rate you choose.

I see yours is ‘TVBR q64’, which is a 128kbps average. you can adjust these in the Foobar2000 ‘convert’ options screen and create your own shortcuts there as it’s what I did so it’s quicker to make files from my FLAC files to MP3/Opus/AAC(Apple) in the future.

like select your FLAC file on the main Foobar2000 window… right click and select “Convert > …” and from there you can tweak stuff to your liking. like on Apple AAC for example to change from TVBR (True Variable Bit Rate) to CVBR (Contrained Variable Bit Rate) you can do this from that general menu etc. it’s not difficult as you can likely figure out the gist of it.

but once you setup your own custom stuff then conversion is as simple as… drag your FLAC files into the Foobar2000 window, select whatever files you want to convert at once, right click and select ‘Convert > your preset option’ and that’s that. NOTE: I currently have a total of 9 preset ones I made so it’s easier than having to mess around with the “Convert > …” thing. like initially it will take a little time for you to setup but once done, in the future things are nice and quick and if your doing many files at once it will use all of the cores on your CPU to speed things up (like each file you convert uses one CPU core)

like on mine I have some that say…

“Convert > MP3 (v2 190kbps)” or “Convert > Opus 96kbps” etc. it’s all custom as you can make things however you want and select your own bit rates.

also, you can view the file details in Foobar2000 itself with that info you posted by selecting the file in Foobar2000… right click > properties. then on ‘Details’ tab at bottom where it says ‘tool’ will give you the gist of it which you see on qaac 2.69 etc etc.

also, between TVBR and CVBR on the same bit rate settings basically… occasionally files will be larger on TVBR over CVBR but over a wider range of music, CVBR will be larger than TVBR. CVBR it constrains bit rate a bit more so it does not fluctuate as much as it does with TVBR in general. but TVBR generally has smaller files than CVBR. TVBR is basically more efficient.

I tried the .m4a in both my car stereos.
It played in the newer stereo but not the older one.
That is what I mostly use .mp3s for is on a flash drive to play in the car.

I sometimes have a video with a bad aac track & I believe that foobar2000 will now be useful for replacing a bad track with a better one.

Did you know that MP3Tag can tag .m4a files ?
With Album art also.

I knew that a right click on Properties could bring up information.
It doesn’t have all the information that EncSpot does but is good for a player/converter.

The way I have foobar2000 GUI setup I can just scroll in the lower right window for information.

Yeah, MP3 is the safer choice especially if one has older devices since anything that plays lossy files will almost always work if you have MP3. depending on how picky you are with sound quality you can probably get by with v5 (130kbps average) (maybe even a touch less for some people), especially if your more concerned with using less storage space and are not super picky with sound quality. if your not too concerned with storage space I would probably just opt for v2 (190kbps) and be done with it since I feel once you go higher than v2 it’s mostly a waste of storage space with MP3.

but unless a device is fairly old etc, AAC is still fairly widely supported to. so something that plays MP3 has a reasonable chance to work with standard AAC files (i.e. AAC-LC).

NOTE: in Foobar2000 it will always default to AAC-LC mode if your 80kbps or higher. but if you shift to 64kbps and less it uses AAC-HE “IF” your using CVBR mode which noticeably helps with sound quality (on lower bit rates) but it’s not a standard AAC-LC file that any AAC playing device can play as not all devices that can play AAC will play if it’s in AAC-HE etc modes (like a old Sandisk Sansa e200 series player I have running Rockbox can play standard AAC files fine but there is not enough CPU power to play AAC-HE files). but if your using VBR (which is TVBR(which is the default in Foobar2000 when encoding Apple AAC files)) it seems not to use AAC-HE mode when I was playing around with it a moment ago and will stay on AAC-LC mode but you will notice quality tends to take more of a hit than Opus does at similar bit rates (but when your using AAC-HE mode at lower bit rates it’s similar to Opus sound quality at that point at lower rates). pretty much like I was saying from about 96kbps and less(especially a bit less), Opus tends to shine over standard AAC files. but both Opus/AAC are clearly ahead of MP3 when your around the 128kbps-ish bit rates and lower. but like i was saying before, once you get into the higher bit rates (say something in the ball park of 190kbps) it does not really matter which format you use as they will all be good.

p.s. playing music on ones android phone for example one can use the mobile Foobar2000 on that and play Opus files. if one is low on storage space (or trying to keep storage space use to a minimum) you could easily use 64kbps and be good enough with Opus format, maybe even 32kbps or 48kbps as Opus sounds surprisingly good at 32kbps and 48kbps considering the low bit rate, but sound does start to drop off more noticeably once you drop below around 64kbps with Opus format. but Opus is clearly ahead of AAC-LC (basically a standard AAC audio file) once bit rate reaches and falls below a certain point. to ball park it, I would say roughly 96kbps and less is where Opus pulls ahead of AAC. so if your using 96kbps or 128kbps (or higher) your pretty good either way be it Opus or AAC. I am of the general mindset with AAC, assuming one is concerned with a pretty good all around sound quality, not to drop below the 96kbps setting on AAC. but with Opus I don’t mind going down to 64kbps, especially if your a bit more storage space/efficiency conscious.

While I have heard of that software, I have not played with much else besides Foobar2000 as it does pretty much everything I need it to. even with album art, like if you just want to add the main album cover, you can easily do that… right click song > Tagging (Attach Pictures > Front Cover). or the ‘get tags from freedb’ for general album info attached to the audio files.

I see you tweaked your interface a bit more as I just use mine in pretty much the default interface.

You can convert from lossy to lossy formats but it’s best to go from lossless to lossy if possible to maintain highest quality.

p.s. there are occasions ill go from say MP3 to Opus but primarily if it’s speech to save storage space. but with music I tend to always try finding lossless files to keep for long term storage and this way if I ever need to re-rip to another format I can always quickly just re-rip from the FLAC to MP3/Opus/AAC etc. NOTE: on my Sansa e200 series device I have been using the Musepack (.mpc) format in standard mode which is q5 (170kbps average) as it’s solid and a bit better on battery on that device. but obviously, MP3/AAC are the safest choices in general since they are the most widely supported across a wider range of devices.

OK. What is an m4a file as it relates to an MP3? Also, I need help trying to change names on some MP3 songs. I’ve tried MP3 Tag as well as others, but I still don’t get it. I thought if you right clicked on the song and then click on “change” you could do it that easily, but I found you can’t always.
Thanks guys for all your help. Believe it or not, I’m pretty good with computers. Some of the music parts I’m not.
ptfitzy

The following pretty much sums it up…

MP3 (.mp3)
AAC (.m4a)

those are the two most popular lossy audio formats for music.

Just drag and drop your music into say Foobar2000 and you can change the tag data through there manually. right click on music file > properties.

NBR for some reason the quote option is no working for me today on the forum.
I tried with the .mp3 file I was using & foobar2000 & started with removing the album art in the tag.
I then tried freedb but it didn’t find the album or song.
I even had to search with MP3Tag the correct way to get the information.
On music from older CDs freedb can be picky & MP3Tag has more options to search.
Since I already had the cover art foobar2000 easily replaced it.

On videos I usually try to get a better audio track in a lossless format or less lossy format.

The car Pioneer that played the…m4a is about 2 years old & has a video screen.
It can play DVDS or CDs also but I like to use a flash drive.
Whether I should or not I usually use the V0 setting for .mp3s.
I like the variable & it sounds good to me.

The older car Pioneer doesn’t have a video screen & is about 6 years old.
It will not play .m4a .
Neither play opus.

I wanted to see if foobar2000 would do this.
I ripped the audio from a DVD .vob file so it would be in 5.1 channel.
Using TsMuxeR.
foobar2000 converted it to AAC .m4a with 5.1 channel .
I have some audio files somewhere that are 5.1 or 7.1 .
I plan to test with those if I can find them.

I already liked foobar2000 but I didn’t realize it could do this much.

Thanks a lot for the help. It is greatly appreciated.
ptfitzy