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MPR.EXE - MP3 Jukebox Player for MSDOS
The DOS decoder is designed to run on low-end systems. 64Kbps files can be played on a 486DX-50 and 80Kbps files on a 486DX2-66. Higher bit rates require more computer. 4/586's in the 100 MHz range and Pentium 60's may or may not play the highest bit rate files. The limits of each marginal computer must be determined empirically. A 586-133 should play any MP3 with power to spare. This program was created to put old Pentium-class computers back to work as dedicated MP3 players. Click here for instructions on building the best DOS-based MP3-playing computer possible.

MPR will play all MP3 files on your computer (up to 10,000 songs) in random order, with no repeated songs. Playback may be interrupted and resumed at any time. Play history is updated after each song has finished playing and is loaded each time the program is started. No song will ever be repeated. Playlists are neither required nor supported. Target applications are background music generators, automotive embedded players and automated radio stations.

At this time only Soundblaster 16 and compatible sound cards are supported.

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ID3 tags are supported if they reside at the head of the file. Artist (TPE2), Album (TALB) and Title (TIT2) will be displayed if found.

Invocation and options:
Default Soundblaster parameters: Port 220, DMA 5, IRQ 5.
It would be a real good idea to have a viable "BLASTER=" environment string defined, as these defaults will only work about half the time.

Once operating, <ESC> exits, <N> plays the next song and <P> pauses (Any key to resume).

The MP3 search path can be specified on the command line (MPR d:\clas\mp3\;e:\rock\mp3\;etc), or defined with an environment string (MP3PATH=...). In either case, the syntax is exactly like the normal DOS SET PATH=... If the path is specified on the command line, no file history is maintained.

Command line options (not case sensitive):

  -1 Play one song (that is the number: one).
  -D Delay during startup.
  -H Print these options.
  -L Abort with LPT1 ACK.
  -T Test decode only.
  -V Set mixer master volume.
  -W Write decoded stream as a .WAV.

Play one song (-1) will play the song or songs (*wildcard) specified on the command line and exit. This option also selects linear playback. Random playback is disabled and no file history is maintained.

Delay during startup (-D) will beep and delay 5 seconds before playing the first song. This is handy for stand-alone or embedded machines that start up from AUTOEXEC.BAT. The 5-second delay gives the user a chance to stop playback for maintenance or whatever without wasting a song. The beep is also a good indicator that the thing booted and is running when there is no monitor. If this option is selected, there will also be a beep when the program is terminated.

Help (-H) prints a single line containing the command-line options and exits.

Abort with LPT1 ACK (-L) allows for orderly shutdown in a system without a keyboard. A simple push button switch from ACK (pin 10) to ground (pins 18-25) on printer port 1 can be used to emulate the function of the ESC key.

Test decode only (-T) decodes the file or files specified on the command line (*wildcard) and ignores the decoded data. This option also selects linear playback. Random playback is disabled and no songs-played history file is maintained.

Set mixer master volume (-Vx) sets the volume to the value specified by a single hex character (0-F) following the command. To set the volume to 12, the command line option would be -VC.

Write out .WAV file (-W) decodes the file and writes the decoded data to a .WAV file, with the same DOS filename as the .MP3 file. Wildcards may be specified on the command line. For example, MPR -w * would convert all files in a directory to .WAV. This option also selects linear playback. Random playback is disabled and no songs-played history is maintained.

File play history is stored in the directory archive bits of the files that have been played. The assumption is that copying files to the MP3 computer sets the archive bit for each file. When a file has finished playing, its archive bit is cleared. When all files have been played, the archive bits for all files in the MP3 path are set and playback resumes from the full set of files. Any other program on the MP3 computer that fiddles around with the archive bits of the MP3 files will scramble the play history.

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