Hearing "gaps" in between continuous tracks with iTunes

ThisBougieLife

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I've been noticing that when playing tracks that are meant to seamlessly play one after another with no silence in between (such as the tracks of an opera recording), I'm hearing a small gap of silence in between the tracks on iTunes, but not on other players (for example, Fidelia). In other words, there's no "gapless playback".

Clearly it's not the problem of the files if they do play gaplessly on Fidelia (they play fine on JRiver as well), but not on iTunes. What gives?
 

arkitect

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Sep 5, 2005
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This used to be an issue a decade or so ago.

iTunes would really mess up the experience by all the gaps in between tracks… But I haven't had that issue since they fixed it (I think in iTunes 7?) I haven't had that issue.
 

Zenithal

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Sep 10, 2009
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Gapless playback was removed some time ago. You can adjust the crossfade and make up for it. Sorry.
 

arkitect

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Gapless playback was removed some time ago. You can adjust the crossfade and make up for it. Sorry.
Seriously?

I haven't used iTunes in a while I admit (Spotify for me) but that is a silly thing.

That's going to mess up opera playback no end… and also some symphonies that are split into short tracks.

*sigh*
 

Zenithal

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Sep 10, 2009
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Seriously?

I haven't used iTunes in a while I admit (Spotify for me) but that is a silly thing.

That's going to mess up opera playback no end… and also some symphonies that are split into short tracks.

*sigh*
Yeah. That's why I go years without updating iTunes until it won't let me open up the software anymore. I don't use iTunes as much either due to Spotify Premium and Deezer and Amazon. Think it and some other stuff got removed in iTunes 11 which caused a massive uproar, and then 12 came along with its flashy go-getter design. And, there I am, sitting and chuntering about the stupidity of said design.

Playlists were a right ballache to figure out in iTunes. I really like Spotify and Deezer for this reason alone. I just wish the Spotify client wasn't such garbage. Much prefer their client from 2011-2013.
 
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arkitect

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Yeah. That's why I go years without updating iTunes until it won't let me open up the software anymore. I don't use iTunes as much either due to Spotify Premium and Deezer and Amazon. Think it and some other stuff got removed in iTunes 11 which caused a massive uproar, and then 12 came along with its flashy go-getter design. And, there I am, sitting and chuntering about the stupidity of said design.

Playlists were a right ballache to figure out in iTunes. I really like Spotify and Deezer for this reason alone. I just wish the Spotify client wasn't such garbage. Much prefer their client from 2011-2013.
Also says a lot about Apple Music's target audience… and their music choices.

Such a stupid thing for Apple to do — especially after the years of waiting for it to be introduced — and then taken away.

SMFH

Heh Ho. Spotify it is then…
 

tkermit

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Feb 20, 2004
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Gapless playback was removed some time ago.
Also says a lot about Apple Music's target audience… and their music choices.

Such a stupid thing for Apple to do — especially after the years of waiting for it to be introduced — and then taken away.

SMFH

Heh Ho. Spotify it is then…

That's definitely not true. The thing that was removed had to do with manually joining tracks from a CD into one gapless track, I think. Gapless playback is without a doubt possible using ALAC and AAC at the very least, and probably MP3 as well although I couldn't say for sure off the top of my head. Certainly, if it used to be possible then it still is. I have lots and lots of gapless albums (although possibly all or most of them in ALAC or AAC) and none of them have any gaps when played back in iTunes. It would annoy me to no end if that was not possible anymore.

edit: I just checked and gapless MP3 playback seems to work without issues as well
 

arkitect

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That's definitely not true. The thing that was removed had to do with manually joining tracks from a CD into one gapless track, I think. Gapless playback is without a doubt possible using ALAC and AAC at the very least, and probably MP3 as well although I couldn't say for sure off the top of my head. Certainly, if it used to be possible then it still is. I have lots and lots of gapless albums (although possibly all or most of them in ALAC or AAC) and none of them have any gaps when played back in iTunes. It would annoy me to no end if that was not possible anymore.

edit: I just checked and gapless MP3 playback seems to work without issues as well
Thank you!!

You sir, are indeed correct.

Just tested a few of the most sensitive tracks in my collection and they do run on seamlessly.

I really did think that it would be a completely bizarre thing for Apple to do.

:D
 
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ThisBougieLife

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Well I guess this is just an Adler Problem (my name's Adler). I've identified a few unique problems that only apply to me and no one else in the universe and this is apparently one of them.

I'd still like to know what albums aren't working. Name names!
It's not album specific. As I said above, it happens sometimes and other times not at all, even with the same tracks. Just right now I'm using the Philips recording of Sir Colin Davis' La Bohème. I have the entire album ripped into AIFF via iTunes. When I play the end of track 3 "Abbaso! Abbaso l'autor!" and let it run into track 4 "Si può?", I sometimes hear a slight gap in between them. They do not always run together seamlessly. Other times they do. It's inconsistent.

Here's a recording of the gap between these two tracks. PLEASE tell me you guys can hear this and that I'm not crazy (the glitch occurs at 0:04). Again, it's not always there. It was when I recorded this though:

https://soundcloud.com/user-431084402/gapproblem
 

BrianBaughn

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Feb 13, 2011
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I can hear that. There's also a noticeable high pitch "pop".

If the behavior is inconsistent I can see how it's likely a frequent opera listener would notice it.

I'm not sure how "gapless" even works in iTunes. Does it try to compensate for actual gaps that might be at the beginning or end of an audio file? I don't know.

If you load the two AIFF tracks from your example into an audio editor (such as Audacity) what do you see at the end of the first track and the beginning of the second track? Are there any gaps or glitches when you zoom in to see?
 

ThisBougieLife

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When I load them into Audacity, I don't see any kind of glitches on the files. And I guess that makes sense since they transition just fine with JRiver. The problem seems to be iTunes, not the files.

The end of Track 3:



The beginning of Track 4:



The transition between the two on JRiver, how it should sound (recording through the on-board speakers just like before):

https://soundcloud.com/user-431084402/jriver
 

BrianBaughn

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Those files look right to me.

I assume you don't have anything checked at iTunes>Preferences>Playback Preferences.

If it were possible to set "Crossfade Songs" to something like .01 seconds...who knows?

If you rip the CD into another format...Apple Lossless...does it still happen?
 

ThisBougieLife

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ALAC/AIFF doesn't seem to make a difference, but I've been doing more experimenting and I think I've figured out what causes it.

It has to do with the amount of time remaining in the track before it transitions to the next track. For example, if I play all of a track and let it go to the next one, I don't hear the gap. But if I fast forward to the end of the track so that there's only a few seconds remaining, there's the gap and pop. The cut-off seems to be 10 seconds remaining.

In the La bohème example, Track 3 is 3:51 minutes long. If I fast forward to 3:41 or less, no gap when transitioning from Track 3 to 4. But if I fast forward to 3:42 to the end, there's a gap.

I've tried this like 20 times in a row with various examples and the results are consistent. It took me a while to figure out that's what was causing it. It seemed random because I would always fast forward a track to a different spot near the end each time and sometimes it was with more than 10 seconds remaining and sometimes less, but I didn't notice the difference and how it corresponded with the presence of absence of the gap.

Try it on your computer and see if it happens. Take a track that leads directly into the next track, but skip to the end of the track so that you're only about 5 seconds from the end. You may hear the pop/gap when the next track starts.
 

BrianBaughn

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I tried it and hear the same thing...gap possibly heard when playback started near end of track.

Something regarding buffering, possibly. Not enough lead time to get the next track positioned properly.
 

tkermit

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Feb 20, 2004
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It has to do with the amount of time remaining in the track before it transitions to the next track.
iTunes behaves really weirdly in general when you dare to disturb it in any way at the ending of a song . A good way to mess up your Up Next list is by queuing up songs a few seconds before the current one ends. They will get skipped and added to the history instantly as if they had been played, but iTunes will return to them later instead. If you queue up other songs before iTunes gets to the ones it decided to skip, everything becomes even more unpredictable. Bugs galore.
 

TheSkywalker77

Contributor
Sep 9, 2017
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I'm pretty sure it's a setting.

iTunes>Preferences>Playback
Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 12.46.25 AM.png

I don't notice an issue with it and I've had it like this for so long.
 

johnnysky

macrumors newbie
Dec 31, 2018
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This is definitley a bug. I've also noticed this mini-gap in playback between songs in iTunes. I use iTunes extensively (I have over 9,000 albums in my iTunes) and I recently noticed this gap. I'm positive that this playback gap bug didn't always exist exist in iTunes or I would have noticed it earlier. I assume it was introduced in a recent upgrade, but I don't know exactly which upgrade. I'm running the current iTunes (12.9) on Mojave (10.14.1).

The gap is a split second, barely perceptible, but enough to be disconcerting. And, yes, it doesn't happen all the time. For example, if you let a song play all the way through you may not hear the gap before the next song, but if you start playback several seconds before the end of a song you will probably hear the gap before the next song. At first I thought I was crazy, because of the inconsistency of the bug, but this is definitely a bug. Somewhat crazy-making.

it's very obvious in an album which has many songs that flow directly into the next, such as Dark Side of the Moon.

Does anyone know if Apple has acknowledged this bug, and has plans to fix it?
 

Mothy5000

macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2019
1
0
There used to be a setting that asked if the selection or album was a live compilation. When you select that option the entire album was gapless. All of my live albums now have gaps since they removed this. FYI "compilation" is not the same as "live compilation."
 

Mallegro

macrumors newbie
Oct 13, 2019
1
0
I have also notice this same issue during the past few years. I listen to a lot of classical music that requires seamless transitions between tracks during playback. After iTunes first introduced gap-less playback way back when, I thought with great relief that the matter was solved once and for all. Now it has re-emerged and it's very frustrating - to put it mildly. In my experience, the problem has nothing to do with whether or not I pause and restart the track at some point, as mentioned by ThisBougieLife and some of the other commentators. For me it can happen randomly during continuous playback of a long track list, or a short one. For what it is worth, I rip my CDs to iTunes in an AIFF format so I can play from iTunes on my computer to my speakers via my home WIFI. After years of playback working just fine, I now notice a very slight gap in the music right before a transition between tracks. When listening to opera, for instance, where a note might be sustained by a singer through the track transition, the sudden gap in sound is very disruptive to the listening experience. I hope there is a solution because this is unacceptable. If anyone has an update on this issue, or can suggest an alternative program to iTunes that has similar features to iTunes I would appreciate it. Spotify sounds to me like it's more suited to listeners of pop music, so I don't think that would work for me.
 

stephenx89

macrumors newbie
Oct 21, 2019
2
0
I have just experienced this. It is happening with 2 tracks, both of which are only about 5 seconds long. If I start the track from the beginning, it plays without skipping, but if I let it run through from the previous track, it skips heading into the next track. Plays fine in a CD player. I also noticed if I start a track with less than 10 seconds to go, it also skips heading into the next track. Very annoying issue. Has anyone found a solution yet, other than using another program or combining tracks into longer tracks?
 

stephenx89

macrumors newbie
Oct 21, 2019
2
0
So, I decided to just combine the tracks that I needed to play seamlessly in Garage Band and put them into the album. Definitely a pain but at least it works now. Hopefully iTunes figures out how to properly play tracks of less than 10 seconds seamlessly.
 
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