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Thread: can't get .m4b audiobooks to play, convert, or otherwise respond

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    can't get .m4b audiobooks to play, convert, or otherwise respond

    Hello! So I recently acquired a batch of audiobooks in the .m4b format, and I can't seem to do anything with them. They won't play in VLC, Banshee, or Rhythmbox, and they won't convert with Audio Converter or dbPowerAmp (running through WINE). Can anyone advise me on a way to make these things work? I don't care about preserving the chapter/bookmarking properties of the .m4b format, I just wanna get the damn things to play. I'm running Natty.

    thanks so much,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Re: can't get .m4b audiobooks to play, convert, or otherwise respond

    I don't know a great deal about m4b files, although I see they can be encumbered with drm so this might be a problem. MPlayer can play the sample I found:

    It plays from the commandline as follows:

    andrew@skamandros~/Desktop$ mplayer MAKE_2005-08-01.m4b 
    MPlayer SVN-r33883-4.5.3 (C) 2000-2011 MPlayer Team
    Playing MAKE_2005-08-01.m4b.
    libavformat file format detected.
    [mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2 @ 0x90d81d0] max_analyze_duration 5000000 reached at 5015510
    [lavf] stream 0: audio (aac), -aid 0, -alang eng
    [lavf] stream 1: subtitle (movtext), -sid 0, -slang eng
    [lavf] stream 2: video (tiff), -vid 0
    [lavf] stream 3: subtitle (movtext), -sid 1, -slang eng
    VIDEO:  [tiff]  167x166  24bpp  22050.000 fps  126.8 kbps (15.5 kbyte/s)
    Clip info:
     major_brand: M4A 
     minor_version: 0
     compatible_brands: M4A mp42isom
     creation_time: 2005-08-01 07:26:16
     title: MAKE_2005-08-01
     artist: MAKE Magazine
     composer: MAKE Magazine - Phillip Torrone
     album: Interview with Janus Wireless
     grouping: MAKE Magazine enhanced podcast
     genre: Podcast
     date: 2005
     comment: Interview with Janus wireless and their 5 Wi-Fi card packet capturing Linux box. This is a special enhanced podcast (this file plays images and links in iTunes and on iPod color devices).
    Load subtitles in ./
    Opening video decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg's libavcodec codec family
    Selected video codec: [fftiff] vfm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg TIFF)
    Opening audio decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders
    AUDIO: 22050 Hz, 1 ch, s16le, 32.0 kbit/9.08% (ratio: 4004->44100)
    Selected audio codec: [ffaac] afm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg AAC (MPEG-2/MPEG-4 Audio))
    AO: [oss] 22050Hz 1ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
    Starting playback...
    Could not find matching colorspace - retrying with -vf scale...
    Opening video filter: [scale]
    Movie-Aspect is 0.75:1 - prescaling to correct movie aspect.
    [swscaler @ 0x898e5c0]BICUBIC scaler, from rgb24 to yuv420p using MMX2
    VO: [xv] 168x166 => 168x223 Planar YV12 
    A:   0.1 V:   0.0 A-V:  0.083 ct:  0.000   0/  0 ??% ??% ??,?% 0 0 
    Movie-Aspect is undefined - no prescaling applied.
    VO: [xv] 168x166 => 221x166 Planar YV12 
    A:  11.8 V:  17.0 A-V: -5.162 ct:  0.000   0/  0  0%  0%  0.1% 0 0 
    Exiting... (Quit)
    So MPlayer might be worth a go perhaps. Can you post one of the difficult files somewhere?
    You think that's air you're breathing now?


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