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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:10 pm 
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My main method of getting files into ABB is to import them from the CD's. After the import, I typically go into the /files directory, and will use quicktime to edit some of the tracks(like the last one on the CD, so I don't get the "End of Disc 2" as audio in my final audiobook). After editing in quicktime, I am no longer able to do passthrough. But that is expected, since out of quicktime, the files I create are .m4a and a different bitrate (which, you are unable to change. it's just what you get)

I have been attempting to run the new .m4a files that quicktime creates, through afconvert -- and I am producing aac files that I believe are the same bitrate as the originally imported files, and the same 'mp4f' 'aac ' .mp4 format. However, I am still unable to get the passthrough to work.

I normally import the CD's at "Normal", which is 64000, constant bit rate, but when I look at the files through afinfo, the bitrate for each file is always a little different. (I don't understand why, if it is producing CBR files).

Do you have any suggestions?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Sorry our reply is coming so late...

What version of QuickTime are you using to trim the audio files? If you use QuickTime 7 you won't need to re-encode after trimming, you can just save the audio files as .mov and then the Pass Through in Audiobook Builder will be a cinch.

As for afconvert, we did some testing and even when you tell the application to produce a CBR, what you end up with is not actually a CBR file. So, that is what is happening there.

I hope this helps!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:52 am 
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Can you tel me why the files have to be "true" cbr to use passthrough?

I've gone through great pains to encode my files into he-aac@28000 using the Frauhafer encoder built into winamp to get high quality, low-bitrate input files only to have the "passthrough" checkbox greyed out, which means all my work is for nothing.

If there isn't such as thing as a truly cbr aac file, what are you supposed to do to get the passthrough mode to EVER work? :x


VERY VERY VERY frustrated.

Why can't vbr or pseudo cbr files be passed through avoiding the undoing of all my hard work?!? :x :x

You can provide a technical answer. I'll understand it. No need to sugar coat or dumb it down.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:50 pm 
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I ended up having to use chapter and verse. It isn't as nice and it won't split the book into parts, you have to do that yourself, but it left my input files alone and combined them.

After all was said and done, I prefer the Fraunhofer aac encoder to the apple encoder anyway. I may go back to using Chapter and Verse as my standard, even though it is a bit more difficult to use. I don't have to worry about the rip quality (an ABB weakness).


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:38 pm 
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So, Chapter and Verse is able to pass your pseudo-CBR, HE-AAC files through? Or, are they being re-encoded? Chapter and Verse does support the High Efficiency files, so it could be re-encoding them.

No matter the case, it's good that you've found something that works for your purposes. Once we get the HE-AAC support in Audiobook Builder, hopefully you'll then have something that does it all, rather than moving around into all of the different tools you're accessing.

Furthermore, to elaborate on the Pass Through availability: the Constant Bitrates are required in order to add multiple files to one MPEG-4 track without re-encoding. Basically, it's the ESDS atom in the file header that needs to match for all added tracks. The encoding would need to take place with files with any variation in bitrate so that the ESDS atom is correct for the resulting file.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:49 am 
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You say "your pseudo-cbr". From what I've read, there is no such animal as a true cbr aac encoded audio file of any kind. CBR is really a "target" bitrate and varies much less than a VBR encode.

I actually hate that I have had to use Chapter and Verse. I would MUCH prefer to use ABB. C&V won't split it into parts for you, which is pretty important for any of Stephen King's works which tend to be quite lengthy. :-)


So, this ESDS atom is some sort of checksum? I will get my google on!

Thanks for the info.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:52 am 
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All audio files will indeed have some degree of variation in the bitrate, but CBR files aren't supposed to go beyond certain minimums and maximums in variance. Some applications seem to use a looser definition for what constitutes a CBR, but we're pretty strict on what we let pass through to ensure resulting files are compatible with all decoders. Rather than acting as a checksum, the ESDS atom functions as a heads-up to the decoder, so inaccurate information there could crash an app during playback.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:55 am 
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Allan W. wrote:
All audio files will indeed have some degree of variation in the bitrate, but CBR files aren't supposed to go beyond certain minimums and maximums in variance. Some applications seem to use a looser definition for what constitutes a CBR, but we're pretty strict on what we let pass through to ensure resulting files are compatible with all decoders. Rather than acting as a checksum, the ESDS atom functions as a heads-up to the decoder, so inaccurate information there could crash an app during playback.


How about an option like "Allow loose definition for CBR" that would enable pass through to happen for CBR files that are not currently constrained enough to pass your current filter? That might solve the problem entirely. I've got a good system using Exact Audio copy and the Fraunhofer AAC encoder that comes with Winamp to get highly compressed HE-ACC files, but cannot use ABB to build the book currently. Allowing for a looser definition for "CBR" would help some until you guys get HE-AAC natively supported.

Thanks for all of the interaction and info you've provided. I appreciate it.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:50 pm 
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We could certainly look into offering that looser CBR definition feature. We'd just have to include a warning that playback of final files isn't guaranteed on all apps and devices, but that's probably something many users would be willing to deal with. Thanks!

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:41 am 
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Please, dear Splasm team,

Please go ahead and finally implement these changes!

I have been coming back to this forum every few months for quite some time now and it is so frustrating that there is no progress regarding the support of HE-AAC or a more relaxed treatment of the pass-through requirements.

This time I registered as a forum user just to be able to write this feedback post. Please understand that there are probably a lot of others out there just like me who are waiting and waiting for this to be finally be implemented into Audiobook Builder, not just those few but persisting voices who continue to raise this topic again and again in the forums.

Note that Audiobook Builder is such a fine app, quite possibly the nicest and best of its kind all over the place, so it really deserves continued development and evolution of its feature set!

With regard to supporting HE-AAC, I cannot really understand why anybody would not want to use this codec for spoken audio nowadays. Well, older players may not support it, but how many people will really care for legacy devices? I certainly don't. It is frustrating for us loyal users of Audiobook Builder that we are forced to pass up on this clearly superior technology.

Regarding the strictness of the "pass-through" criteria, I understand that you are/were reluctant to introduce a feature which would cause Audiobook Builder to create files which would not longer be technically perfect, but again, please give this choice to us. Nothing is perfect. The solution of forcing a lossy re-encode of otherwise perfectly optimized audio files introduces imperfection, too. If I am creating audio books for myself and my players grok it, the fact that the contents of the ESDS atom is not technically accurate doesn't bug me at all.

Please also note that us users of Audiobook Builder really appreciate the low price of the app plus your really generous upgrade philosophy. Your attitude is very laudable. But I am sure that many of us would really not mind at all to have to pay again for an upgrade which incorporates above features. I have seen this expressed in other forum posts. So go ahead and do what it takes to have this implemented!

All the best, and please keep up the good work,
A user from Germany


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:34 am 
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I registered just to add my vote to A Booker's above comments.

I've been using Audiobook Builder for years, and I've never found an encoder with settings that produce files that ABB will accept for pass-through.

It wouldn't bother me overly but for two compounding factors:

  1. ABB stores the large source files in the audiobook file, which is consequently significantly larger than it need be.
  2. ABB's recoding is really slow because it doesn't take advantage of multiple cores. On my machine, recoding takes 6 times longer in ABB than in apps that use all the available cores.

Please, allow ABB to accept typical CBR files. The ones it wants don't seem to exist.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:56 pm 
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We appreciate your feedback and will factor in your votes on our feature request list tallies.

It is unfortunate and true that few encoders create real CBR files. Often you'll see a CBR option but what you'll end up with are Averaged bitrate files. Audiobook Builder relies on QuickTime to determine whether a file has a constant bitrate, so we'd have to ignore or override Apple's definition in the QuickTime determinations to accept non-CBR files for Pass through. We're actually pretty reluctant to stray from Apple's definition in that way, though, as we're hoping to ensure playback stability on Apple devices. The best we can say, again, is that we'll look into doing things differently.

When it comes to dealing with the large Audiobook Builder Project files, if you don't like keeping those around it's usually best to save them to the Desktop. Then, when you're completely satisfied with the final build, drag the Project to Trash—no need to keep around the originals, if you're not planning on using them or building again with different settings.

As for multiple core support, that's something we're very much interested in adding to a future release. It's actually at the top of our list and so hope to get to that really soon.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:55 am 
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Congratulations to the Audiobook Builder 2 @Splasm! I am really happy and excited that you finally released a new version.

I see HE-AAC on the feature list, could you please tell us if "passing trough" AAC files which have been created by or edited with other tools is possible now, too?


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