A blog by Jonas Finnemann Jensen

August 30, 2007
Volume normalization with Amarok
Filed under: English,Linux,TheLastRipper by jonasfj at 10:08 pm

Some users of TheLastRipper has requested integrated volume nomalization (Issue 61). While I admit that I’ve noticed the volume changes between tracks, I’ve never really bordered to find a solution. But since others had similar issues, I decided to take a look at it. I ended up looking at ReplayGain, a project that aims to add a tag, containing volume information, to all songs. Then read the tag at playback and determine the volume. Though the value of the tag must be calculated first.

As this seams like a big feature, and as argued by Andreas in the issue tread, it’s probably not a feature for TheLastRipper. Nevertheless it doesn’t mean that the problem should be fixed, just that it should be done elsewhere. This is also good, since you entire music collection doesn’t necessarily origin from TheLastRipper. The solution is to implement this feature at playback level, meaning in your audio player.

For those of us running Ubuntu and using Amarok, this can be done easily. First open Amarok, choose “script-management”, Click download new scripts. This will open a dialog showing the newest, most popular and most downloaded script for Amarok. Just install the script called ReplayGain. Once this is installed you’ll have to install some dependencies with Synaptic. I’ll try to list those I think is needed: python-kde3, mp3gain, vorbisgain, flac, python-xml

If you enter the script-management in Amarok again, you can enable the ReplayGain script. Enable it, select it and click “Settings”, you can tweak the ReplayGain script a little here. Once your done with that leave the settings, and ReplayGain will print a small popup, telling you which optional dependencies you are missing. I’ve probably forgot to list some of them, you may find them in Synaptic if you think you need them. Though I haven’t found “aacgain” or “replaygain” in the Ubuntu repositories.

Well, you don’t need “replaygain” or “AACGain”, unless you, like me, have AAC music. Actually I’ve just bought my first AAC music from iTunes. I haven’t used iTunes before, but I thought I’d give it a try since they started releasing DRM-free content. So I installed iTunes in my virtual machine, and copied the AAC files back to my Ubuntu system after they were downloaded. First I must say, the quality of iTunes plus files are very good, and the files has ID3v2 tags (other mp3’s I’ve bought online did!). It’s sad that iTunes doesn’t run on Linux, Apple could at least offer a web interface for iTunes plus.

Well, if you have AAC encoded music, you’ll need AACGain, it’s not in Ubuntu or Debian repositories. Actually I couldn’t find any .deb packages for it anywhere. So I decided to make my own. You may download my ACCGain package here. Feel free to contact me if you want the source package.

Once you’re done installing dependencies, and have enabled the ReplayGain Amarok script, you can right click in your playlist and choose “Apply Replaygain tags”, I selected “To entire collection using album tags” it took a while but the volume was automatically determined by Amarok afterwards.

August 19, 2007
Release of TheLastRipper 1.1.0 for Windows and Linux
Filed under: English,TheLastRipper by jonasfj at 4:35 pm

Like I wrote yesterday, a release of TheLastRipper have been in the workings for a while. Now the final details have finally been solved and I’ve released TheLastRipper for both Linux and Windows. Among some of the most interesting changes are:

  • ID3v2 support (Issue 5)
  • International characters (Issue 4)
  • Perfect clipping of songs (Issue 6)
  • Fix tab-index and improve UI (Issue 41)
  • Handle exceptions when launching browser on windows (Issue 45)
  • General exception handling dialog (Issue 46)
  • Support for http proxies (Issue 44)
  • Better overall stability

You may download the new release of TheLastRipper from our project page now!

August 18, 2007
TheLastRipper 0.9 Beta for Mac OS X, with Cocoa interface!
Filed under: Computer,English,TheLastRipper by jonasfj at 12:26 pm

A new release of TheLastRipper have been in the workings for a while and now it just about to be done. Among some of the new features are:

  • Perfect clipping of songs
  • ID3v2 tag
  • Support for proxy settings
  • Better threading
  • International character support
  • Many minor bugfixes

These features have been under development for a while and the Windows and Linux clients in SVN already have these features, they will be release as 1.1 very soon too. But last weekend me (Jonas) and Rene of TheLastRipper developer team, decided that it was time to get a beautiful port for OS X. So we started out with the 1.1 codebase from SVN and installed XCode, Mono and CSharpXcodePlugin on a Mac. Then we wrote one of those simple “hallo world” applications in Cocoa#, after becoming a little familiar with Interface Builder and Cocoa#, we started the development of a client using Cocoa#.

And even though the Cocoa# bindings aren’t complete, the weird behaviour of Interface Builder, minor bugs in Xcode and the fact that we wrote most of it during a hangover, the result compiles (sometimes), and works fine too. This version is now being released as TheLastRipper for Mac version 0.9 Beta, once it’s been tested a little more and the last details have been fixed it will be released as stable too.

Now a bit about Mac and Mono based development. First of I’d like to say that I’m not a Mac user and never have been, I’m a Linux user with years of Windows experience, now practiced in a virtual machine for legacy applications. Now getting CSharpXcodePlugin installed and doing the LetterCounter video tutorial is definitively a good start. But it’s difficult to find documentation for Cocoa#, I had to go with what I could get from the assembly cocoa-sharp.dll using Monodocer. The result was that we copied the cocoa-sharp.dll to Windows and added it as reference to a SharpDevelop project to enable intelliSense, since that was basicly all the documentation we could find. But once that was done, developing the actual code on Windows and the interface on OS X was actually pretty easy. Especially with TheLastRipper since all the logic is in a platform independent .dll, which means we only had to write a little clue code. Of course you need to get hang of how Cocoa and Interface Builder works, but once you’ve got that, it’s certainly possible to work with… Even though Mono on Mac isn’t as easy as it is on Windows or Linux.