1. #1

    MP3 Corruption for years

    Has anyone ever heard of someone having mp3s frequently develop glitches? This has been happening to me for over 10 years now. I back up my mp3s once every couple of years so I can often go to a backup and replace the corrupted mp3 but if its an mp3 I've downloaded in the past year or so I have to replace it. The mp3s still play but they develop loud blips or sometimes develop skips where a second or so of sound will repeat and replace the second that was supposed to follow. This problem has followed me across many hard drives and operating systems. I've never had any data loss or corruption of executables or other media types, only mp3s.

    Usually the glitches are very small, most people wouldn't even notice, but I know they weren't always there because when I go back to a backup of the same file the glitch is not there.

    I've always had up to date antivirus. I don't understand how this problem could follow me across so many systems.

  2. #2
    Doesn't happen to me.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by draticus View Post
    Has anyone ever heard of someone having mp3s frequently develop glitches? This has been happening to me for over 10 years now. I back up my mp3s once every couple of years so I can often go to a backup and replace the corrupted mp3 but if its an mp3 I've downloaded in the past year or so I have to replace it. The mp3s still play but they develop loud blips or sometimes develop skips where a second or so of sound will repeat and replace the second that was supposed to follow. This problem has followed me across many hard drives and operating systems. I've never had any data loss or corruption of executables or other media types, only mp3s.

    Usually the glitches are very small, most people wouldn't even notice, but I know they weren't always there because when I go back to a backup of the same file the glitch is not there.

    I've always had up to date antivirus. I don't understand how this problem could follow me across so many systems.
    Maybe you're just crazy...

  4. #4
    Sounds like an error in your perception, to be honest. Glitches in MP3s can happen if your storage device is faulty and develops corrupted sectors. MP3 is designed in a way, that partially erroneous content may be skipped over (audibly though), but doesn't render the entire file useless. So, unless it's a hardware error, these glitches are either the result of faulty transfers between devices (less than rare, even lesser undetected/-noticed/-corrected), or of your imagination. MP3s don't decay on their own. It's either the medium, or nothing.

    Or you run extremely old hardware, that can't handle the amount of data to be processed, which increases with the better qualities of today's MP3s - but I'm talking late 90s here

  5. #5
    If it's an error in my perception then I'm completely bat shit crazy and so are two of my roommates. They suddenly develop blips as if they're being played off of a scratched record. These are mp3s I've had for years and listened to thousands of times. The blips are not decoding errors, once they appear they remain in the same place no matter how many times you play the same section over. When I go to a disk backup the older version of the same file does not have the error.

    Obviously I do not think there is some of sort of "decay" going on. Something is corrupting the files. If its the drives then why do I keep having the problem on new machines? And why wouldn't any executables stop working? If it were just data corruption when I copy my mp3s to new drives then I wouldn't suddenly notice commonly listened to mp3s going bad on a machine I've had for a year. I considered the player - I've always used winamp. If winamp were corrupting data I think I would have heard about it. The only other thing I can think of would be a virus but I've always had virus protection so it couldn't be anything mainstream. Its possible that it could be a non proliferating virus thats been tagging along with me in an old game or something since college but isn't in any virus database. Doesn't seem likely though.

    Anyway, I'm throwing this out there in the off chance that someone has heard of this problem before.

  6. #6
    Frequently copying your files will lead to degradation, no matter what the file type. Eventually this can lead to corruption or total loss of data (although that's a very extreme case). This is sometimes more obvious in mp3 files because of the way encoders remove data from the file when converted. When you copy these mp3s (or even worse, transcode them), there's a possibility for compression artifacts in the file to become more noticeable as pops or hissing or some other kind of imperfection.
    Quote Originally Posted by Karragon View Post
    I'd like WoW to be a single player game

  7. #7
    That is highly untrue. The degradation by copying is a property of analogue recordings, and is attributed to the fact, that every means on transmission at least adds noise caused by quantum effects, and a whole lot more from imperfections in the electric components of the devices, as well as shortcomings of the media used, that accumulate every copy. All this ONLY applies to analogues!

    In the digital world, the same degradation does happen, but it has close to no impact on the actual data itself, since it consists only of high and low states, where this little noise contributes extremely little error, which additionally is cleaned up easily, since it's easy to tell if a signal is a peak, compared to restoring an actual waveform, where no information about it's original shape is available (=the actual original).

    IF this degradation does impact digital data, the cause needs to be so severe, that at least one of the devices involved can rightfully be called broken, since it caused a full peak to appear as none, or vice versa. This is understanding "no", when you hear "yes", wheres in the analogue world there are infinitely many levels in between, so close together, that these misunderstandings go unnoticed and have a chance to accumulate.

    Thus, in a sense, your logic does apply, but only so far, as it gives the same answer that was given already: It's either a broken/faulty device, or not there.
    The gradual degradation you get from copying tapes over and over again has no role at all in this though!

    Recompression is a whole different matter of course, and every recomp can only ever lead to less quality, if not done with the very exact same codec and settings as the source, in which case recomp would simply do nothing. But I doubt that backing up songs involves this. At least if you're moderately sane

  8. #8
    I don't hear this but when I first read the title, I thought this would be about songs that have hidden messages in it trying to corrupt the listeners (like playing songs backwards).

  9. #9
    OMG It's the new world order!

    Quote Originally Posted by halpfultroll
    I don't hear this but when I first read the title, I thought this would be about songs that have hidden messages in it trying to corrupt the listeners (like playing songs backwards).
    Thats what came into my head too.
    Proud member of the Sylvanas fanclub.

  10. #10
    The assumption that it has to either be drive failure or my imagination is very wrong.

    Option 3: A virus.
    Option 4: When winamp is writing to the file to change its ID3 tag it could be messing up and corrupting another part of the file.

    I was hoping for a 5th option that I hadn't thought of. There are so many programs on any given computer that read and write to the hard drive and some of them are even interacting and changing things like the ID3 tag on the mp3s in question. It is not unthinkable that something is not working as intended and is damaging these mp3s.

    Keep the ideas coming please.

  11. #11
    3: In the realm of the possible, but not really likely. Viruses today, almost exclusively want to establish one of the following functions:
    - Remote access to your machine
    - Spy personal data that is of or can be turned into monetary value
    - Gather mail addresses for spamming, and possibly spam using your mail client and identity
    - Establish a client/node for a botnet
    - Throw ads at you, for sites where you can get more viruses
    Data-destructive viruses were more a phenomenon of the late 80s to early 90s, and mostly made by bored geeks with too much time. Viruses today usually serve a use other than "be there and destroy". And none of these uses would specifically target MP3s, since they are entirely worthless for an attacker.
    But still not impossible, I don't want to rule it out. To make sure, just take better care of your computers/devices

    4: Drive access is entirely managed by the operating system (since WinNT/Win2k), which means that unless there's a huge error in the OS routines, files need to be accessed intentionally. This leaves applications that do intentionally access your MP3s, which should condense to a mere hand full - at most. Winamp, Windows MediaPlayer, iTunes are those that come into my mind. If any of these would cause random glitches and errors in their data, I'd be very surprised that it wasn't discovered before - to say the least. That is, because that would be a VERY severe error, and all these had revisions enough to be mostly free of such blatant things. So, unless you utilize something rather exotic, the probability for that is hardly there, too.
    On my computer, the only programs that access my music are AntiVir, Winamp, and Windows Explorer when I copy/move them around. And none of them ever tried to change my ID3 Tags, unless I consciously edited them.

    tl;dr: Both can't be ruled out entirely, but their likelihood is darn close to zero. At least if the effect is limited to only MP3s.
    It's got to be some strange program, or ... well ... there really isn't much. If you at least had the same issue with any files, that would be a lot easier to explain.

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