View Full Version : Doesn't seem to handle long MP3s

12-03-2009, 08:24 AM
I'm converting books from Audible.com to MP3 and so I end up with really long MP3s... like 5-8 hrs long. However, when I pull them up in Ambling, it shows them as being only 8 minutes long and I can't scroll past the 8 minute mark. The standard media player on my Sprint Hero also exhibits similar behavior (including the 8 minute limit) at times but it seems to resolve itself with a reboot or other such fiddling. Ambling seems to always come up with the 8 minute limit even after a reboot. This makes me think that there is some issue with how Android (or at least HTC's 1.5 Sense version) handles long MP3s. Is there a different format that would work better?

Also, when I was importing the MP3, I asked Ambling to read the ID3 Tags. That worked well except for the chapter description field. I ended up with unprintable characters at the beginning and a whitespace character (maybe tab because it was wider than a normal space character) between each of the letters in the chapter description. This issue is a minor annoyance but the first problem is a really show stopper.

12-03-2009, 01:04 PM
It sounds like the Android media system is having problems playing these long MP3s since you see the same issue with the built in media player. I am assuming the MP3 files you are working with are in the range of 250mb to 300mb in size. Is that correct?

The fact that the Android can handle the long MP3 file after you reboot is very interesting.

When you load the MP3 file into the Ambling BookPlayer for the first time, the player actively prepares the audio to be played through the Android media system. This allows the player to confirm that the audio file is recognized as a supported audio file format and to collect the play duration information for the audio file. The play duration of the audio file is one of several things which are stored in the database and is later used when showing this audio file as part of a larger seamless audiobook which can span many audio files.

The fact that the Android media system reported the play duration time incorrectly prior to rebooting the phone would cause the wrong duration information to be stored in the Ambling BookPlayer database. This would result in the play duration time information being shown incorrectly by the Ambling BookPlayer even though after the reboot the media system has started reporting the play duration time correctly. That is because the Ambling BookPlayer will display the information stored in the database for this audiobook.

Could you try an additional test to help verify if this is the issue?

1) Try to play the audio file through the standard Android media player.
2) When it fails to play properly, reboot the phone
3) Try to play the audio file through the standard Android media player again.
4) If it is now playing properly after the reboot, start the Ambling BookPlayer and create a new audiobook using the audio file.
5) Check if the time information which the player collects and stores in the database is now correct.

Please let me know if you are able to confirm if the player works correctly when the audio file play duration is reported correctly the first time the player checks the audio file.

12-03-2009, 01:13 PM
Could you also let me know if this is happening both when the audiobook consists of a single large mp3 file, and when the audiobook consists of several of these large mp3 files?

I am trying to understand why the file plays OK sometimes and doesn't play OK at other times. I am wondering if perhaps loading several of these large mp3 files in quick succession might be triggering some type of problem in the Android's media system.

12-03-2009, 08:57 PM
OK, I was able to get it to load correctly following the suggestions in your first reply so your insight is spot on. But the annoyance (both inside Ambling and with the standard media player) was enough for me to go looking for a way around the problem. I found another way to convert my audible.com DRM protected files to DRM-free formats. Once I did that, the resulting files do not exhibit the same issue neither in the standard media player nor in Ambling. I could send you the offending file if you want to poke into it but since it's an Android issue, I suspect you don't want to fiddle with it... and I'd much rather you work on other bug fixes and new features for this very promising player.

Speaking of new features, I have a headset with a single button. When pressed, it will pause and play in the Android media player. Can you make Ambling behave the same way?

I'm going to keep using it for a week or so and then post a rave review assuming things continue to go as smoothly as they seem to be now. Keep up the great work and thanks for providing this tool

12-03-2009, 10:35 PM
It sounds like the new conversion tool you are using must create a better or cleaner mp3 file than the older tool. I am glad you were able to find a good way to resolve the problem.

I will make a note that we need to add an option to either allow you have the player reload the audio file information to the database, or add support to automatically detect that the database is out of sync with the audio file and reload this information. As we are trying to get the Pro version finished and also get our amblingbooks.com web site up, it may be a little while before we get to this.

Another user reported to me last week that the headset button on the wired headset was not working even after we added the support for the Bluetooth media buttons. After receiving this report we got one of these headsets and found what the issue was. The support has now been added to the player and will be included when we release the next update.

12-04-2009, 12:17 PM
I do know that if you convert from iTunes, iTunes itself breaks the Audible files into chapters. It really is a PITA to get the chapters in the right order in a way that Ambling can make sense of them!

I'm going to play with it some more today and I"ll post if I have any luck.

12-04-2009, 02:35 PM
I played around a bit more and still had trouble with Ambling skipping around in longer files. What I did was create a playlist in WMP and exported it -- my files are working fine in music player now. I also put in a feature request that Ambling support playlists -- I think this will be the easiest for me!


12-04-2009, 03:02 PM
I'm now using Goldwave to convert and the result is a single big file for each .aa file (usually 1-3). The downside (over a sanctioned audible player) is that I lose the ability to skip to the next chapter. However, with robust bookmark functionality, that doesn't really matter. I generally just want to pick up where I left off and occasionally go back a few minutes. I translate a "part"/file into a chapter inside of Ambling so I really only have to import a max of three files to have a complete book.

The best solution would be for Audible to come out with a great Android app (sorry Ambling). Maybe Ambling can try to negotiate to be the dev for that?

12-04-2009, 04:19 PM
Please see my response regarding the issue you are having with audio files being in the wrong order under the thread you started to ask for a new play list feature http://amblingbookplayer.com/forums/showthread.php?21-Playlist-Import