Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

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Ginoxi
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Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by Ginoxi » Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:26 pm

Hello

I'm new here and I hope I don't go over the line with this question but I would like to know the differences between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix. Looking at it first they seem to do the same so I'm wondering if there's a difference in quality between the two.

Also, is there a difference between the various MakeMKV versions (OS X, Windows, Linux)?

Thanks!

ndjamena
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by ndjamena » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:20 pm

MakeMKV decrypts optical discs, re-encodes audio, makes sure video tracks are in sync with the audio and are fully constant frame rate with no gaps.

MKVMerge makes no attempt to sync audio, if the audio is a little shorter or longer than the video it will leave a gap in whichever is the shorter. It's incapable of re-encoding anything into anything, it just dumbly muxes tracks from one container to another wihtout alteration.

However, if you remux an MKV made by MakeMKV using MKVMerge, the resulting file will come out smaller. Basically, MakeMKV makes for neater tracks, nicely synced and neatly organised, yet MKVMerge is the superior Matroska muxer, assuming the tracks it's muxing have been pre-processed in some way.

Ripping a Blu Ray or DVD directly with MKVMerge is asking for trouble, so as far as I'm concerned the best method is to rip with MakeMKV, then remux with MKVMerge. YMMV.


To be honest, I tend to think EAC3To, DVDFab or AnyDVD are more of the competitors to MakeMKV than MKVMerge, MKVMerge and MakeMKV are more of a complement to each other. Actually, MKVMerge's competitor is MP4Box (or even worse, iTunes!)

Ginoxi
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by Ginoxi » Wed Dec 23, 2015 10:25 pm

ndjamena wrote:MKVMerge makes no attempt to sync audio, if the audio is a little shorter or longer than the video it will leave a gap in whichever is the shorter. It's incapable of re-encoding anything into anything, it just dumbly muxes tracks from one container to another wihtout alteration.
In which scenarios can the audio be longer or shorter than the video, if they come from the same source?
ndjamena wrote:However, if you remux an MKV made by MakeMKV using MKVMerge, the resulting file will come out smaller. Basically, MakeMKV makes for neater tracks, nicely synced and neatly organised, yet MKVMerge is the superior Matroska muxer, assuming the tracks it's muxing have been pre-processed in some way.
You say MKVmerge but I assume you mean MKVToolNix since MKVmerge is a part of MKVToolNix, right? Why do you say that MKVToolNix is superior? Is the quality better or is the structure or other things better? I assume that since both applications mux, which should be the same as the original, the quality is exact between both of them.
ndjamena wrote:Ripping a Blu Ray or DVD directly with MKVMerge is asking for trouble, so as far as I'm concerned the best method is to rip with MakeMKV, then remux with MKVMerge. YMMV.
So direct from a DVD or Blu-Ray disc with MakeMKV but then you get a MKV file. Why then, would you use MKVToolNix?

And if you start from a BDMV folder, how would you work then?

Woodstock
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by Woodstock » Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:24 pm

In which scenarios can the audio be longer or shorter than the video, if they come from the same source?
Quite a few, actually. Video frame rates are not an exact match for film frame rates, so it easy for small discrepancies to creep in during disk mastering. A lot of players out there do not check the time stamps between audio and video streams, so they can become further and further out of sync as playback continues.

Of course, sometimes the time stamps are wildly wrong - over on the handbrake forum, someone posted a log from a rip where the audio time stamps had 5 to 15 minute discrepancies, not just a few milliseconds here and there.

As to why you would use mkvtoolnix, there are a LOT of reasons. But not all of them are things "regular users" need to do. One common one is when you want to play back a subtitled/dubbed movie on a hardware player.... Many such players do NOT take into account track flags for "default", and simply play the first audio track and first subtitle track they find.

A series I got yesterday has Japanese audio and full subtitles as the first two tracks, so that's what I'd get if I play the raw MKV files generated by MakeMKV. The SECOND audio track and the SECOND subtitle track are the English dub with just the signs/writing (aka "forced") subtitles, which SHOULD be the default. mkvmerge is one way to re-arrange the tracks to put the correct ones "first".
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ndjamena
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by ndjamena » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:11 am

Ginoxi wrote:In which scenarios can the audio be longer or shorter than the video, if they come from the same source?
An NTSC film frame is 41.708333.. milliseconds long. An AC3 frame is 32 milliseconds long. That makes it highly unlikely any given AC3 audio track will be of exactly the same length as any particular video track, and that's not even the worst of it. It's not unusual for the video and audio track lengths in any particular segment to differ by several frames and some movies are constructed from several dozen segments. It all adds up. MKVMerge (MKVToolNix) deals with it by simply leaving the gaps in the file, which is likely to confuse any diagnostics program directed at it. Unless the last frame from each segment has been given it's own duration, technically such files are Variable Frame Rate. Otherwise they're defined as containing "Gaps" which, when encountered illicit "undefined behaviour" from any player that happens to encounter them. Some re-encoding software will simply convert the thing to CFR and alter the frame rate to match the frame count and duration, but in any case, direct muxing of DVDs or Blu Rays using MKVMerge is an imperfect solution, even appending MKVs or any other container at all using MKVMerge is problematic. Both MakeMKV and EAC3To will do their best to correct such inaccuracies.

Ginoxi wrote:You say MKVmerge but I assume you mean MKVToolNix since MKVmerge is a part of MKVToolNix, right? Why do you say that MKVToolNix is superior? Is the quality better or is the structure or other things better? I assume that since both applications mux, which should be the same as the original, the quality is exact between both of them.

So direct from a DVD or Blu-Ray disc with MakeMKV but then you get a MKV file. Why then, would you use MKVToolNix?

And if you start from a BDMV folder, how would you work then?
MKVMerge, MKVPropEdit, MKVExtract, MKVInfo, MKVToolNixGUI. They each have their uses, but between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix MKVMerge is the only program that should be considered in a direct comparison. MKVToolNixGUI uses MKVMerge in the background and all the other programs are definitely not competitors to MakeMKV and I'm pretty sure the MakeMKV developer would be happy to consider them as complements to the program. Mike has in the past actually requested the MKVInfo output for certain files, a program whose abilities are beyond the scope of MakeMKVs prerogatives.

MKVMerge makes better use of Matroska's muxing abilities. It's better in that the files it produces are smaller, an extra layer of compression as you will. That's why I always remux my files MKVMerge, even if I don't need to alter the file in any other way in the process.
Woodstock wrote:mkvmerge is one way to re-arrange the tracks to put the correct ones "first".
This can also be done using MakeMKV. MakeMKV will happily open an MKV, and there's an "order weight" field in the track properties. Just set the order weight for the tracks you'd prefer to be first lower than the other tracks and they will "float" to the top during remux. Admittedly MKVToolNix GUI is more user friendly and as far as I'm aware there's no way to change the weight from the MakeMKVCon command line like you can from MKVMerge.exe. You can also change the order of subtitles by simply swapping the track numbers in the headers using MKVPropEdit or the MKVToolNix GUI Header Editor, but if you make a mistake you could wind up losing access to a track until you can figure out which track number is missing and correct it.

Ginoxi
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by Ginoxi » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:48 am

What would you do in the following scenarios? What's your method to work?

I have several DVD rips with VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders, I want a MKV file of which I only keep the English audio tracks (no commentary tracks) and Dutch subtitles. Movie and audio tracks must be kept in the original format/quality.

I have BDMV files, here I want to keep the English DTS (HD MA) audio track (no commentary tracks) and the movie track, both in the original format/quality. Of the DTS track I need an AC3 version to play back on my hardware player. I have an external subtitle. This one can but must not be muxed in.

I'm only talking about MakeMKV and MKVToolNix since I think these are the superior programs to do this.

ndjamena
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by ndjamena » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:52 am

Conversion Profiles:

http://www.makemkv.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=4385

This is the best example of their use on display so far:

http://www.makemkv.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?p=34177

MakeMKV keeps deleting all the profiles every time it updates and I keep forgetting to save my custom profiles before it happens. Luckily I can just hunt down that thread and rescue a protoform version of my profile then adapt it back to how I need it. I've saved them in a different directory and symbolically linked them to the MakeMKV directory this time so hopefully it will never happen again.

MakeMKV uses FFMPEG to convert audio to AC3, which I think is better than whatever EAC3To uses.

Load up MakeMKV, point it at the main playlist of your rip and take what you need.

Make sure you have Preferences -> General -> Expert Mode enabled, the default selection string is in Advanced tab as is the default profile.

If the disc image has episodes combined into a single title use manual mode to split them up.

Personally, after I've checked that everything is OK, I use MKVPropEdit to set the track names and to do whatever corrections need to be done to the chapters, then I remux the files to their final positions using MKVMerge, which both cleans up whatever mess MKVPropEdit may have made of the headers (there are far too many programs who get confused after a header editor has had it's way with a file) and serves to shrink the file slightly.

MKVMerge also has this neat little habit of including all the subtitle frames in the cues. That's something I wish MakeMKV would do. If you have a forced track in a MKVMerge file and would like to know where in the video to look for the things, all you'd have to do is use "MKVExtract cues file.mkv 3:CuesForTrack3.txt" and it will give you a nice little list of all their positions. Of course all my files start off as MakeMKV files so that ability is not much use to me since by the time I've remuxed them I've already labelled them all, I tend to have to extract all the subtitles to examine them properly, but I did need to hunt down the positions of the forced subtitles in Age of Extinction recently to compare them to an iTunes file and extracting the cues did turn out to be rather convenient.

Oh, and I've started remuxing all my PAL DVDs with AC-3 audio with an 8ms timescale (8000000ns), it helps shrink the files even smaller by using a measurement allowing values an eighth the size as is usually used while losing no precision at all.

Woodstock
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by Woodstock » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:32 pm

MakeMKV keeps deleting all the profiles every time it updates and I keep forgetting to save my custom profiles before it happens. Luckily I can just hunt down that thread and rescue a protoform version of my profile then adapt it back to how I need it. I've saved them in a different directory and symbolically linked them to the MakeMKV directory this time so hopefully it will never happen again.
True, but not completely true. As a test, I put my profiles into the directory set in Preferences->General as the MakeMKV data directory, and guess what? They work from there, AND the install won't delete them when it cleans out the program directory....

No, I haven't seen where Mike documented this behavior, but I thought it might be a logical thing to do, so I tried it...
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Ginoxi
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by Ginoxi » Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:21 pm

ndjamena, that's a very detailed and in-depth explanation, but for a unexperienced person like me, also very confusing. :)
What I want is to make mkv files from VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders and also from BDMV folders so that audio and video are 1:1 compared to the original disks. Then I can have the best viewing experience and can I archive them for later too.
How would you handle that?

If you first rip the disk (what I don't need to do anymore) with MakeMKV you get a mkv file. But then you edit that file with MKVPropEdit, right? After that you take the same file and open it in MKVmerge but what do you do with it? It's a bit confusing to me. Why do you want expert mode to be enabled in MakeMKV?

I've just found a third application, MKVTools but I think this is just a GUI for MKVToolNix. Correct?

NullNix
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by NullNix » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:49 pm

ndjamena wrote:MKVMerge, MKVPropEdit, MKVExtract, MKVInfo, MKVToolNixGUI. They each have their uses, but between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix MKVMerge is the only program that should be considered in a direct comparison. MKVToolNixGUI uses MKVMerge in the background and all the other programs are definitely not competitors to MakeMKV and I'm pretty sure the MakeMKV developer would be happy to consider them as complements to the program. Mike has in the past actually requested the MKVInfo output for certain files, a program whose abilities are beyond the scope of MakeMKVs prerogatives.
Quite so. More specifically, MKVToolNix is maintained by the author of the Matroska specification and can, in general, be considered an all-singing-all-dancing tool that can do anything with MKV files that it is in any way sane to do -- but cannot do anything else. If you want to get something off a disc of some sort, or re-encode something (as opposed to remuxing it, splitting it into pieces or something like that), MKVToolNix is entirely the wrong tool.

For me, it's a fundamental part of my automated transcoding chain -- not only to remux things after makemkv and handbrake have got at it, but also to demux the video and timecodes when the video needs serious mangling with something like vapoursynth, and remux it afterwards. (This is also where one of mkvtoolnix's designed-in limitations gets most annoying -- it's not designed for muxing or unmuxing in a pipeline, so rather than demux, hurl into vapoursynth and hurl straight back out for remuxing in a single pipe with no writing to disk I have to wait for ages while immense amounts of data get chucked about on the filesystem. This is particularly bad for the remuxing step because vapoursynth always produces uncompressed frames, though it can read compressed ones. I throw them through ffmpeg before writing to at least turn them into huffyuv, because that uses very little CPU time and halves the immense file sizes -- but they're still tens of gigabytes at the very least, and on spinning rust writing them out only for mkvmerge to read them straight back in and write them out again can take half an hour or more. Of course, compared to the amount of time vapoursynth takes to run something like QTGMC this is really quite an insignificant time expenditure, but it is still irksome.)

Ginoxi
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Re: Difference between MakeMKV and MKVToolNix

Post by Ginoxi » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:57 am

If I understand you correctly then it's better to use MKVToolNix when remuxing mt2s files to a MKV file? During this "transition" you can select which audio and video tracks you want in the resulting MKV file. Correct?

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