How do I get rid of distortion (Napster again)?

Well, I think I’ve figured out the problem with recording the music onto a CD. Now I’ve got a different problem with distortion in the high ranges.

The distortion is distinct enough to be annoying and to ruin the listening experience (not to mention being a waste of 99 cents for the download).

Is there a cure for this, or is it a normal by-product of downloading music on the net?

One idea would be to turn down the volume on the computer side, and turn it up on the speaker side. Less clipping, but more hum.

I may have been unclear. When I play the CD on my home system, I’m getting some sort of audible chirping (for lack of a better descriptive) on the higher notes (such as trumpet or alto sax). It’s not a factor of the equipment the music is being played on, as my equipment is fairly good.

Do you get this distortion when you play your MP3’s over your home system? That’s the case, then welcome to the wide world of compressed music - you’re hearing the result of the compression that happens when you try to make a 10 MB file out of what wants to be a 100 MB wav. Putting it back on CD doesn’t add the lost data back, just as if you shrink a 1024 x 780 JPG to 102 x 78 pixels, and then blow it back up you don’t get back the lost pixels and the picture looks like hell.

The only recourse is to try to use lighter compression settings when ripping your MP3s (which will result in bigger files) or perhaps to try different Codecs for compressing them.

What I mean by lighter compression settings: use the highest bit rate setting your software will allow, and use a constant bitrate (not average or variable). Record to Stereo, with 44100 Hz sampling. Better yet, if you’re just trying to make a compilation CD of your own music, just rip those songs to wav files and make your CD using those. You can always make an MP3 copy to save to your iPod or whatever. If you don’t have control over how those MP3s are ripped ( :dubious: )then you’re stuck with what you get. Learn to enjoy the “chirping” :smiley: .

If when you play your MP3s through your home stereo, you /don’t/ hear the “chirping”, then it might be a problem with your burner/burner software - Contrary to popular belief, standard home burning software is not designed to make pro-quality music CDs. Try using a slower burn-speed (depending on the age of your burner: as slow as 2x), and better quality blank CDs.

I converted the MP3 downloads to .wav files (Roxio has this feature under ‘file’) before burning to CD (I don’t use MP3). I burned them at 12X to a 48X disc. I have no idea how to set the bitrate, as you suggested, but can take a look at the instruction book for Roxio. I’ll try burning at a slower speed and see what happens. Thanks.

Which is exactly analogous to taking a 102x76 pixel image and turning it back into a 1024x760 image, as Misery described. The way to fix this problem is for the music to never be in MP3 format to begin with. Which you have absolutely no control over, if you’re downloading it from the Net.

The bizarre thing about all this is that I…ummm…a ‘friend’ used to download music from shared sites and had no distortion issues whatsoever. So what is different about Napster files that this should happen?

The new Napster actually has files in the MP3 format? Is there some kind of DMRC wrapped around it or something? I wouldn’t expect that to degrade the quality though. Maybe convert the files with another prog, in case the Roxio method is introducing the distortion. I recommend dbpoweramp at . I mainly recommend it for ease of use, but I have had no problem with conversion qualities that I’ve noticed.

Nice thread title, BTW. :wink: How did you solve your previous problem?

Thanks, I’ll look into it. Can’t answer your question about Napster. All that time I spent overseas in the 3rd world put me somewhat behind the technology curve, I guess.

Turns out the imation discs I have must be some sort of bargain basement quality. When I burned to the 48X disc, the copy problem went away (except for the annoying noise in high ranges).

Another odd thing is that I can’t burn directly from Napster to the disc. I have to download first, then burn.

Damn Imation discs!!! I just went through hell getting my Mom’s computer working, because I put a bunch of stuff I needed on an Imation disc that apparently was unreadable by her drive.

I just bought a 50-pack of the friggin’ things, too…

I just talked to one of our IS guys about this problem. He thinks it may be the Roxio conversion that’s the problem. He says Roxio doesn’t do well with Windows Media format conversion and to try different software. And I just spent $70 for the new version…dang!

Are the downloaded files in Windows Media Format or MP3? What’s the extension of the file?

I wonder if maybe the problem is introduced because you are not using Napster to burn. They likely don’t want you to burn unlimited amounts of audio CDs from the download, which you could do once they converted in WAV format. Perhaps there is something that is compensated for when Napster does the burning, which Roxio and likely all other converters won’t handle properly.

Is there supposed to be a limit to the amount of audio CDs you can burn with downloaded tracks?

I’m pretty sure they are .wma files.

Do they say there’s a limit to how many audio CDs you can burn from downloaded tunes?

I found from the Terms section

It’s quite possible that your method (and any method) of burning tracks not directly from Napster are going to result in inferior sound quality, as part of the design of the system to prevent unlimited copies.

With Rhapsody, your downloads are only burns onto a CD with CD quality sound. From there, you can rip them into any format you want (for legal uses).


Imation discs suck. I had a similar problem not too long ago. I was doing a bit of freelance network support for an associate and the disc full of utilities I’d planned to use was completely unreadable in any of his drives. I’m just nearing the end of my 50 disc spindle and I won’t be buying Imation again.

I suppose that means we won’t be hearing the excuse “But you can use those tracks in your MP3 player, you just have to burn them to a CD and rip them first” any more.