“Gapless Playback for Apple iPod” online petition | iLounge News


“Gapless Playback for Apple iPod” online petition

iPod user Michael Barca has started a “Gapless Playback for Apple iPod” online petition. Gapless playback has been heavily discussed within our own forums and Michael hopes that Apple will take notice. Gapless playback is the playback of long songs or DJ mixes in a continuous stream without audible gaps.

“We, the undersigned, are requesting that gapless playback be integrated into the iPod via a firmware upgrade in the near future.

We want to show you, Apple, that there exists a large amount of iPod owners and possible future iPod owners, who desperately want this to be supported in iPod.

Perhaps you don’t realize how important this is to iPod owners, but by this petition we hope to show you how essential this feature is to any digital audio player.”

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duke, please get your facts straight before posting. It is possible to remove this gap by detecting it. Other portable audio devices already do this, even Winamp can do it.

Posted by nobody on September 8, 2004 at 12:28 PM (CDT)


Okay, so the “gap” is a limitation of the MP3 format.

This should not stop me from being able to read the artist and title of track 4 from a joined track mix, or for that matter, being able to jump to the next track without “scrubbing”.

These are the limitations of iPod/iTunes that I think need to be seriously addressed.

Posted by Stylescraper on September 8, 2004 at 12:31 PM (CDT)


anyway, back to the real topic, good to know that you can detect the gaps in the files… would this be a firmware sort of thing or could it be done independently, such as with another piece of software?

Posted by mvague on September 8, 2004 at 12:33 PM (CDT)


I agree with you on this point, Stylescraper…
this is what I’ve said all along.

Posted by mvague on September 8, 2004 at 12:34 PM (CDT)


> anyway, back to the real topic, and glad to be rid of the insect, good to know that you can detect the gaps in the files… would this be a firmware sort of thing or could it be done independently, such as with another piece of software?


However, it may not be accurate because some songs intentionally leave space (which would get chopped).

Posted by duke on September 8, 2004 at 12:39 PM (CDT)


I have about 47 mixed albums that I had to join in iTunes.

There is no way for me to get a tracklisting or know which song is playing or start a song from a particular track in the middle of the mix without “scrubbing”.

iPOD/iTunes recognizes mixed CD’s as 1 song so the song count is grossly inaccurate!

Big problem for me! Are you listening Apple?

Posted by Stylescraper on September 8, 2004 at 12:50 PM (CDT)


Administrator comment:

BOTH SIDES of this comment thread have been heavily moderated.  All involved need to calm down, as fighting over a simple feature request is not necessary.  Maturely discuss this issue, or risk either banning or having comments disabled for this news item.

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on September 8, 2004 at 1:16 PM (CDT)


I understand.

Posted by mvague on September 8, 2004 at 1:29 PM (CDT)


If the Rio Karma can do proper gapless MP3 playback (and everything I’ve read says that it can) there’s simply no excuse for the iPod shipping without it.

Of course, I also miss the sub-track indexing that CD players used to support, so what do I know. :)

Posted by Ernie Longmire on September 8, 2004 at 1:40 PM (CDT)


Gapless playback is a great idea. Although gaps are a weakness inherent in mp3/aac file formats (though, not in ogg vorbis, as I understand…) there are a number of solutions, not all of which require much in the way of CPU horsepower.

I believe (but could be mistaken) that the Rio Karma does this by crossfading, which as mentioned would be the most CPU intensive approach.

But it would be possible to strip trailing silence from each track in the memory buffer. This is most likely much less CPU hungry, but would require some clever coding, I’m guessing. The problem with this approach, as mentioned, is that it would also remove gaps that were intentionally put there in the source material. While this might not matter to many people, some would find it objectionable.

In my opinion, support for cue sheets (or an Apple version of them, if they insist on being different) would be the best solution. It would accomplish what users want: gapless playback of an entire album, but retaining individual track position and information. It would require very little horsepower and very small changes to the firmware. Since the firmware already has excellent support for skipping to any specific time within a track, when calling on a track within a cue sheet, the firmware would only have to call the already existing time skip procedure, using the time specified in the cue sheet. Potentially they may need to add more accuracy in the time skip procedure, but this wouldn’t be a difficult change. This approach, is also consistent with the current gapless playback (join tracks) feature within iTunes, meaning that users who have been using this function would not have to re-rip their CDs. They’d just have to have the CD scanned quickly to extract the track information for building the cue sheet. Also, it would be possible for users to add their own bookmarks within tracks if they want to quickly play a particular section of a track.

Sadly, if Apple takes this petition seriously, the new feature will most likely be available only for the 4g and mini, or possibly only for the 5g and 2gmini…

Posted by tinaa on September 8, 2004 at 1:59 PM (CDT)


First off. Why did iPodlunge find this to be newsworthy? Surely the Author had to realize that this would be flame bait to both sides of this very toipical thread.

That said no it’s not likely that Mp3, Mp4 (AAC) can handle Gapless. But, it would appear that Audible’s .aa format can. Or at the very least has the means to incorporate ‘Chapter Breaks’. The keyword being ‘Breaks’! You’d still have One large Track, just as if you ‘Joined Tracks’ but instead of ‘Scurbbing’ along you could press ‘Next’ & ‘Prev’ (to jump to jump tracks). But who here thinks Apple or Audible are going to OK it for general Music use.

Bottem Line Apple should add a second bank of RAM (or having loaded upto 32Mb of Music sence a cut-off and start buffering the next Track).

Posted by Ichijoe on September 8, 2004 at 2:06 PM (CDT)


Good info on the hows and whys of the topic:

Posted by anticrust on September 8, 2004 at 2:16 PM (CDT)


Even my first HD mp3 player the creative nomad had gapless payback :(

Posted by Rich on September 8, 2004 at 2:32 PM (CDT)


thanks for that, anticrust…!

unfortunately, even as a hardcore, longtime apple fanatic, I think I’ve been “had” with my 3g. I can see that apple’s already disregarded us previous customers in this case… (I had warning: I read all of the 2g owner’s woes)

so, the gapless solution will probably involve some other purchase… some other time…

Posted by mvague on September 8, 2004 at 2:34 PM (CDT)


This is a nice feature, but for me, not that big a deal.  I will not sign a petition that chactertizes the signatories as desperate about the issue.

Posted by Bob Goatse on September 8, 2004 at 2:41 PM (CDT)


Is gapless playback THAT important? Sheesh..get a life already. Stop demanding the ipod to do every little thing. Maybe buy the product that does what you want instead.

Posted by gapless on September 8, 2004 at 2:52 PM (CDT)


The iRiver has gapless playback as well. It also has a line in so you can record. I’m seriously considering it for my next purchase unless apple makes the 5g iPod a release that answers the wants of its customers.

Posted by Scot on September 8, 2004 at 2:57 PM (CDT)


-> Bob Goatse & gapless

If ‘Gapless’ is not important to YOU then why bother to respond at all?

Does ‘Gapless’ constitute a Lifer of Death situation? I doubt it. :|
But, would it be nice if Apple took a stand on this and god knowing make it a new ‘To die for Feature’ of some xG ipod or adrress some new form of AAC say .M4g (Gappless) I don’t think so since .M4b is (Bookmarkable)...

Posted by Ichijoe on September 8, 2004 at 3:02 PM (CDT)


Yes MP3s have no way to cue a following song. That’s why purists rip an entire mix CD and include a .cue file for true gapless playback.

But you can simulate gapless mp3 playback by doing read-ahead into a seperate buffer from the playback buffer then jumping directly form one to the other. This is analogous to off-screen compositiing for double-buffering animation.

Some portable audio players have seperate read-ahead buffers implemented in hardware. The Rio Karma is such a device. That’s why it’s trivially easy for programmers to add gapless playback and other tricks, such as pitch control and crossfading.

But the iPod has lots of RAM (32MB) and dual 90MHz CPUs. The hard drive spins a lot faster than a typical mp3 can be played back. It should be a simple matter to implement seperate buffers (and hence gapless and crossfading and pitch control) in software. Unless something in the iPod firmware is terribly broken or designed to be brain-damaged.

Posted by gapless on September 8, 2004 at 3:12 PM (CDT)



the karma does not do it by crossfading. there are options in the menu for both crossfading and gapless, so they are two separate things. i own a karma and i can tell you it is really gapless.

Posted by h on September 8, 2004 at 4:09 PM (CDT)

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