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Subject: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Date: 9/21/2011 10:35:18 AM

I would like to convert many albums of .m4a to .mp3. Batch Converter doesn't "see" them, but using the main program, I can open the files one by one and save them as .mp3. I realize that I could use other utilities or a script to do the job, but Batch Conversion should work for me and it doesn't.

Does anyone know of a modification I can make that will add .m4a files to the list of types that Batch Converter recognizes?

Thanks,

Don

Message last edited on 9/21/2011 11:15:56 AM by Courtesy of Spidey.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: rraud
Date: 9/21/2011 4:07:29 PM

I'm not familiar with .m4a files, but I think it may be like a .m3u file which contains no actual audio information but just contains data to point to the actual file and initiate playback.

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: roblesinge
Date: 9/21/2011 4:14:04 PM

.m4a files are typically used on Macs in iTunes. It's an audio version of the mp4 format. What version of SF are you using?

Rob.

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Date: 9/22/2011 11:42:12 AM

Pro 10.0c Build 491

BTW, tried associating .m4a with SF - no joy - did not effect Batch Converter behavior.

Tried forcing Batch Converter selection by specifying *.m4a. The files show, but cannot be successfully selected.

Oh, and tried asking Sony, but so far, only deafening silence (Incident: 110919-000006).

Message last edited on 9/22/2011 5:35:42 PM by Courtesy of Spidey.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: roblesinge
Date: 9/23/2011 7:54:23 AM

Have you tried changing the extension to .mp4? It's worth a try. Otherwise, you may have to do a pre-conversion with some other tool, which I know isn't the point.

Perhaps someone else has an answer for you. I've never had to deal with converting .m4a files.

Rob.

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: rraud
Date: 9/23/2011 8:35:23 AM

Thanks for the info roblesinge,
Another format to deal with.
Indeed, sometimes just changing the extension is all one needs to do to open problematic files. If BC supports the .raw file option, that may be worth a try.

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Date: 9/24/2011 1:08:33 PM

Yes, I did forget to mention, changing the extension was the first thing I tried and it did work. However, I was sort of on a learning quest to see if there was a way to modify SF Batch Converter to have it work in this respect.

In olden days, a forum on a vendor site was occasionally moderated by vendor techs who would chime in when needed, or at least folks who had connections to vendor expertise. Now it looks like we're pretty much on our own. Even my problem ticket hasn't gotten any attention. $ign of the times, I suppose.

Also got a kick out of the "What version are you running?" question. Really now, did that enter into your suggestion in any way? ;o) To be fair, I tend to do that myself - it's an automatic question it seems.

Looks like this is going to remain a 2-step process for me (no big deal) and that maybe someday SF Batch Converter will just magically recognize this file type.

Thanks for the input,

Don

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: roblesinge
Date: 9/24/2011 10:55:32 PM

This forum is monitored by a few Sony or ex-Sony people. However, they may not have an answer for your question.

Also, I don't want to get testy, but you brought it up. It's my main pet peeve with people who post on forums--They don't bother to read any of the stickies that explain the proper etiquette for posting. If you provide complete system information, like the sticky at the top of this forum asks, you'll get quicker, more concise answers, instead of having people waste a post getting you to tell us what you're working with. Yes, it does matter what version of SF you're using. They've added support for file formats along the way. There might have also been a known issue with your version, but nobody would know that since you left absolutely no specs on anything. It's a bit like calling your local auto-mechanic and saying you're having a problem with your car, but failing to tell them what kind of car it is. We have people ask questions about SF going back to version 4.5, so it's hard to know what you're working with. Like I said, I'm not trying to flame you, but you brought it up, and it just happens to be one of my buttons.

.m4a is still a very new audio format (I know it's not that new, but it's only recently becoming commonly used). Perhaps full support will be forthcoming. Adding a renaming step is not that big of a deal if it saves you from individual saving.

Rob.

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Date: 9/26/2011 6:52:54 PM

Not buying it.

The only legitimate reason for asking a question is if the reply would effect your answer.

In this case, it didn't matter what I replied, therefore the question was knee-jerk and superfluous.

Chill out a bit - I wasn't criticizing - just observing.

Jeez.

Message last edited on 9/26/2011 6:53:20 PM by Courtesy of Spidey.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: musicvid10
Date: 9/26/2011 8:06:13 PM

"Not buying it.
The only legitimate reason for asking a question is if the reply would effect your answer."


One reason that your peers ask for version numbers is founded in a sincere desire to help, buffered by a self-imposed need to respond accurately and appropriately.

For instance: If I have the same Sound Forge version and OS as you, I might read your post and test the situation you describe, and report back that I (can/cannot) duplicate your results under the conditions you have provided. That confirmation alone carries a lot of weight if you then elevate it to a technical support ticket.
If, on the other hand, I have a different, but similar version as yours, but no indication from the version history that my results would necessarily differ from yours, I might still conduct the same test and report that I (can/cannot) duplicate your results, but with the added qualifier that I used version x.xx to conduct my tests. That's kinda how we choose to work around here; without prejudging others' questions.

Let me give you another example: If a Sony Vegas user had mp4 files where the video but not the audio would open, the first two questions out of my mouth would be to elicit their Vegas version and Quicktime version. "Knee-jerk and superfluous"? Well, the uninformed user might think so, but taking such a cavalier approach as yours will effectively prevent a solution from taking place, 99% of the time.

By calling out one of your peers over an honest attempt to help, I am inclined to question your motive in posting an otherwise interesting topic.
And since you already had your solution before posting your question, that goes double. Best of luck.


Message last edited on 9/27/2011 9:55:05 AM by musicvid10.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: kryten
Date: 9/26/2011 11:08:47 PM

Down and dirty way to change file extensions in Windows 7:

Left-shift and right-click the folder where the files live and select Command Prompt Here
ren *.mp4 *.raw
run batch converter
Left-shift and right-click the folder where the files live and rename as above.

Message last edited on 9/26/2011 11:15:14 PM by kryten.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: MarkWWW
Date: 9/27/2011 9:27:09 AM

It matters in this case.

In former times (up to about SF6 or SF7) the Batch Converter was a separate standalone executable. Since the introduction of scripting to SF (with SF8) the old separate executable version of the Batch Converter was discontinued and a new version was supplied, this time implemented as a SF script.

But since you still haven't told us which version of SF you are using we do not even know whether you are using the old or the new implementation of the Batch Converter. Which makes it harder to offer any sensible suggestions.

Mark

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Date: 9/27/2011 1:17:54 PM

Oops! My other (fun) pet peeve - people who chime in without really reading the thread. I did reply with my version when asked (It's the latest build). Tell you what, you reply to this with something snarky, I'll stay away, and then you can say that you got the last word in. Make you happy?

Don

P.S. Don't worry, I still love you guys.

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Date: 9/27/2011 1:19:14 PM

Kryten: Great answer! Thanks.

Don

Message last edited on 9/27/2011 1:20:10 PM by Courtesy of Spidey.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Date: 9/27/2011 1:26:24 PM

Rob: Re-read my replies. My motive was only to learn if there was a way to modify the Batch Converter so that it would recognize .m4a files. That my (pretty gentle) kidding struck you so wrong is regretable, and I accept whatever portion of blame that's appropriate.

Don

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: roblesinge
Date: 9/27/2011 3:02:52 PM

As Markwww summed up, version is critical to my response. If you're using too early a version of SF, scripting or altering the batch converter is not an option. Since you are using SF 10.0 Pro, scripting is available to you. Regardless, I think this got out of hand. Nobody needs to apologize.

Adding .m4a capabilities to Batch Converter might be quite an undertaking. The code for the batch converter is available in the SDK, but really only as an exercise in understanding how it works. I wouldn't even have a clue how to go about adding format capabilities to it. If you want to write your own, good luck to you. But, I'd just do the renames until support gets added by Sony in a future release. You could also just try writing a batch script for it (Although I know you mentioned not wanting to do that). It might be the only plausible way to get this done in one step. Heck, you could write a rename into a batch script if straight .m4a didn't work.

Rob.

Message last edited on 9/27/2011 3:09:32 PM by roblesinge.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: Geoff_Wood
Date: 9/27/2011 3:45:20 PM

You do realise that if you do get it to work, the re-encoding to MP3 will further denegrate the audio quality ? Not a problem if your original m4a files are of the 'lossless' quality setting.


geoff

Message last edited on 9/27/2011 3:46:26 PM by Geoff_Wood.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: MarkWWW
Date: 9/28/2011 10:11:26 AM

OK, in that case it may be that you are in luck.

Unfortunately my programming skills are insufficient to the the task, but there are people hereabouts who may be able to help. A brief perusal of the source code for the Batch Converter script reveals that the acceptable file types appear to be listed in this section of the BatchEngine.cs file:

public Rules()
{
//default constructor
//use like global variables ...
//exclude video only formats
//exclude CD files (*.cda), Forge Projects (*.frg)
extExclude = "*.ini;*.bat;*.sfk;*.sfl;*.doc;*.dll;*.exe;*.jpg;*.jpeg;*.tmp";
extInclude = "*.aif;*.aiff;*.snd;*.vox;*.ivc;*.mpg;*.mpeg;*.mmv;*.m1p;*.m1a;*.mp1;*.mp2;*.mpa;*.m2p;*.m2a;*.m2t;*.mp3;*.au;*.ogg;*.mov;*.qt;*.dv;*.raw;*.wav;*.sfa;*.pca;*.w64;*.dig;*.sd;*.avi;*.wav;*.wma;*.wmv;*.asf;*.flac";
effectsIgnore = "Statistics;Crossfade Loop;Copy Other Channel;DTMF/MF Tones;Extract Regions;Simple Synthesis;FM Synthesis";
rendNoCustom = "vox;ivc;au;dig";
same = "Same as source";
}


As you can see, the.m4a extension is not on the list of included files. It might be that this is just an oversight, in which case simply adding "*.m4a" to the list in extInclude and recompiling the script might be all that is required to solve your problem.

But I'm afraid that I don't have the wherewithall to compile CScript files so I can't help you with that. And of course I may be wrong and there may be more involved in modfiying the Batch Converter than this one simple change, but again I am afraid I won't be able to help in that case either.

Best of luck with finding someone who can at least do the recompile to see if that is all there is to it - shouldn't be difficult for someone who really understnds the SF scripting process.

Mark

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: Geoff_Wood
Date: 10/3/2011 9:40:38 PM

OK, I just tried this SF10c :
1. Open xxxxx.m4a file from my iTunes library (M4A - Apple Lossless in this instance)
2. Save As xxxxx.flac
= All good.

But in Batch Converter either folders of, individual m4a, files are not processed or even recognised ! Go to add an individual file and nothing shows to be selected.

So, bug in Batch Converter !

geoff

Message last edited on 10/3/2011 9:41:33 PM by Geoff_Wood.
Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: Gene Aum
Date: 10/29/2011 2:43:02 PM

Mark, I see .aif in the list, however, the original problem may be that the files were from a Mac.

I've got the same issue: Trying to use some aif loops from a Mac product. Both SF 10c and Vegas Pro 11 wont open/play these files, never mind convert them.

So, begrudgingly, I fire up Adobe Media Encoder CS5 - drag n' drop all the files into the window - convert to mp3 in a snap.

SF should be able to perform this task just as easy.

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: MarkWWW
Date: 10/30/2011 11:31:42 AM

Vegas and SF can handle "normal" .aifs without problems.

99.9% of aif files (like .wav files) are just uncompressed (i.e. PCM) audio and these will be handled fine by almost every application, including Vegas/SF. But .aif (like .wav) can also contain audio in a variety of other codecs (ADPCM, MP3, etc) and an application will only be able to open the audio in one of these files if it has access to a suitable codec. It may be that your .aifs are of this unusual type, in which case you may not be able to deal with them in Vegas or SF.

If you would like to post an example of one of these .aifs we can have a look at it and let you know if there is any way to use it in Vegas/SF directly, or whether you will need to transcode it first, as you have found.

Mark

Subject: RE: SF Batch Conversion Doesn't Recognize .m4a Files
Reply by: rraud
Date: 10/31/2011 10:34:14 AM

I worked on a project about two years ago, (or there abouts'), that originated from FCP. The audio files were actually AIFC with an .aif ext. While these opened normally in SF-10 and VP, they would not open in SF-9.

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