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fre:ac development status update 10/2014 Print
Written by Robert   
Friday, 31 October 2014 13:27

Here's what happened in fre:ac development in October. Progress was a little slow this month, but I still have some interesting bits and pieces.

Four weeks ago, I released a new snapshot version that fixed several problems found in the September release. The 20141005 snapshot appears to be quite stable and reliable and I suggest everybody to test it! I'm especially interested in your results if you are running fre:ac on a dual or quad core Power Mac. Please email me if you tried fre:ac 20141005 on such a machine.

fre:ac x64 version using the Core Audio encoder.After the October snapshot release, I made plans on what to include in the next one. I already developed an adapter to make the Core Audio encoder available in the 64 bit Windows version. The underlying issue was that iTunes and the Apple Application Support libaries are available in 32 bit only and cannot be used directly by 64 bit applications. The adapter starts a 32 bit helper process and delegates the actual encoding work to it. This removes one of the last reasons for using the 32 bit version of fre:ac on modern 64 bit Windows systems.

Besides working on that, I have incorporated the Lancer patches into the Ogg Vorbis encoder. The patches rewrite certain algorithms in SSE/SSE2 to speed up conversions by approximately 40%. Some other encoders are now compiled using further optimized compiler options to speed them up a little compared to the October snapshot as well. For example, compiling LAME with -mfpmath=sse speeds up the 32 bit version by 6% on my system. The 64 bit version uses SSE by default, so there's no further speedup for that one.

Another thing I would like to have in the next snapshot is support for verification of conversions. This will allow validating lossless encodes and possibly pave the way for CD rip verification in fre:ac. I'll probably have more news on this in November or December.

While analyzing and comparing conversion speed of different fre:ac releases, I discovered an issue with the MP3 decoder component of fre:ac 1.0.22. The bug can make fre:ac crash when converting MP3 files to other formats and I think it's responsible for most of the crashes people still experienced with fre:ac 1.0.22 and earlier versions. I have a fix for this and will probably release fre:ac 1.0.23 in November. Recent snapshot versions are not affected by that problem.

This closes this months issue. I'll probably give an estimate on the next snapshot's release date next month.