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Knowledge Base | General | Troubleshooting

Problems with source software reading certain MP3 files

Question:

My source software (sc_trans/ices) cannot read some of my MP3 files, and/or encounters errors at certain points in my MP3 files. My MP3 files play fine in my desktop PC's media player (eg: WinAmp, Windows Media Player, iTunes, etc.). How do I fix this?

Answer:

This is a question we receive fairly often, and we must remind our customers that just because MP3s play fine in players such as WinAmp, Windows Media Player, or iTunes, this is NOT a reliable indication of valid MP3s. Companies such as Microsoft, AOL, and Apple have invested significant amounts of development time into making their players operate as best as possible with corrupt MP3s, and they'll play just about anything you throw at them, corrupt or otherwise.

Software products that "only" conform to the MPEG layer 3 (MP3) specification will not handle corruption nearly as well, and this may include streaming source software such as ices and sc_trans, neither of which are nearly as widely-used nor fault-tolerant as the aforementioned desktop audio players. This is not a fault of the source software programs, as they have been correctly designed to meet the MP3 specifications. Their authors have not, however, invested the time required to handle corrupt MP3s, which is not a requirement of the MP3 specification. Instead, they leave it up to the stream owner to ensure that his MP3s are valid.

Thus, we strongly recommend using clean MP3s obtained from reliable sources -- preferably ripped from your own physical media. Also, while we are not inclined to enter the debate regarding the use of peer-to-peer file sharing services, please note that music obtained from these services is very often corrupt to some extent -- not because of any malicious intent, but rather due to the gross inexperience of many of the individuals propagating files on these services.

If you must obtain your MP3s via unreliable means, we recommend using an MP3 integrity checking utility of some sort to verify that the MP3s are in fact valid.

If you are in need of an integrity checking utility, you may find the following of use. Please note, however, that the following list is the result of a quick Google search, and we have not tested any of the following software products.

Note: we are not affiliated with the vendors of the above products, and we offer no guarantees regarding the suitability of these products for any particular purpose.