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Welshsox
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Best way to create Itunes library

Hi

Just ordered new 80 GB ipod with airhead amp and Sennheiser 450 phones, looking forwards to using it on next long flight.

My question is what should format should I be copying my CD's into ? im very technical just not familair with all the latest formats. I thought it was lossless but apparantly there a better method in Media player 11 thats wider bandwidth.

Also is there an easy way to rip vinyl straight into an Ipod compatible format or do you have to use a soundblaster and music editing software ?

Thanks

Alan

BillB
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library

Here's my answers, but listen also to the others who are bound to respond.

iTunes has all of the below, so choose as you wish:
ALC is good (Apple Lossless). Doesn't throw away any data but does compress it to (I think) about 50% of the space.
For 80 gig you might consider no compression at all - WAV or AIFF. I don't know the difference between them but I think there's no end result difference - that is, they are both full resolution/uncompressed.
To maximize the amount of music on the iPod you may consider MP3 or AAC at 320 kbps. It definitely sounds better than the default setting of 128 kbps, but your iPod can hold quite a big music collection at that bitrate.

Ripping vinyl - for me, I bought a Teac CD Recorder, and it's in my main stereo system. Plays CD's very nicely too. Records digital or analog at full CD resolution, onto CD-R Music blanks (regular CD-R data blanks are not supported _ the Music/Digital Audio blanks cost a bit more , but that's because recording artists get bit of royalty payments out of the price).
So I record vinyl to that, resulting in CD-R's. I feed the CD-R's into iTunes and there you go.

My solution works for me but more computer-y guys will be inclined to something different.

Welshsox
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library

Bill

Thanks

One of those things that pisses u off !! I had a Marantz CD recorder that i used years ago and gave it away thinking id never use it.

Hate it when that happens

Alan

CharlyD
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library

Apple lossless will work just fine and preserve the full bandwidth on your CDs. WMA lossless in WMP also performs quite well but is not supported on an iPod. As BillB reported, you'll get about 50% compression of your original file size or about 300 - 350 MB per album. At 80GB, this works out to about 240 albums. Of course, this number gets a lot smaller if you wish to also store video on your iPod.

To get your vinyl onto your iPod, you'll need an A/D connected to your computer (e.g. a SoundBlaster card), software to manipulate the wav file (included with SoundBlaster) and a means to transcode that wav file to ALAC or MP3 (e.g. Switch). You could, of course, burn the wav file to a CD then rip the CD, but IMO that's a waste of polycarbonate. I'm sure there are many postings for how to go about this out there.

Elk
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library

WAV files and AIF files contain the same PCM data, but in a different way. They use different headers and I believe they differ in the byte ordering of the data; that is, little-endian v big-endian).

Both are completely uncompressed and contain the full wave form.

jazzfan
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library

Since it hasn't been mentioned as yet, I figured I'd take a stab at it: the biggest difference between an uncompressed audio file, i.e wav or aiff, and a losslessly compressed audio file, i.e. flac, ape, Apple lossless, Windows Media lossless (WMA), aside from the smaller file size, is that most, if not all, losslessly compressed audio files can contain tags. And digital music, whether it is stored and played on a computer or a portable digital music player, like the iPod, is all about tags. Tags are what iTunes and most other computer based media players use to compile and organize their libraries. Sure, external hard drives are becoming so inexpensive that one can rip and store all of one's audio as uncompressed wav or aiff files but then one would not get all the benefits that come from properly tagged audio files (and the headaches that come from improperly tagged audio files )

As for which format is best for an iPod, I would go with 320kbps mp3 files. And yes I know that the Apple's own ACC codec is quite good, if not even slightly better than mp3 but Apple's codecs, both the lossy ACC and it's lossless cousin, are proprietary formats and not as widely supported as the ubiquitous mp3 and flac formats. The same thing can also be said for the Windows Media formats.

If one is looking for the best possible sound from one's iPod, then by all means go with Apple's lossless format but good luck trying to figure out how to configure iTunes so that it rips one's CDs to lossless files rather than to the default setting of 128kbps ACC files

BillB
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library


Quote:
...If one is looking for the best possible sound from one's iPod, then by all means go with Apple's lossless format but good luck trying to figure out how to configure iTunes so that it rips one's CDs to lossless files rather than to the default setting of 128kbps ACC files

Good discussion and advice from everyone, and I'm glad people are filling in info I didn't have a good handle on.
Regarding configuring iTunes to rip CDs to lossless files rather than to the default setting of 128kbps AAC files - it's pretty quick and easy. Go into the iTunes menu, select Preferences, then Advanced, then Importing. Then pick accordingly from the options there. You can change back to default or any other setting at any time. Once you have done it a few times, probably takes only 15 seconds to set or re-set.

jazzfan
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library


Quote:

Quote:
...If one is looking for the best possible sound from one's iPod, then by all means go with Apple's lossless format but good luck trying to figure out how to configure iTunes so that it rips one's CDs to lossless files rather than to the default setting of 128kbps ACC files

Good discussion and advice from everyone, and I'm glad people are filling in info I didn't have a good handle on.
Regarding configuring iTunes to rip CDs to lossless files rather than to the default setting of 128kbps AAC files - it's pretty quick and easy. Go into the iTunes menu, select Preferences, then Advanced, then Importing. Then pick accordingly from the options there. You can change back to default or any other setting at any time. Once you have done it a few times, probably takes only 15 seconds to set or re-set.

Apparently I did not make the tongue-in-cheek nature of my post clear enough. Yes I know that it is possible to change the default settings in iTunes, however, based on the many, many people I've encountered who use iTunes with all of the default settings intact, (including the one that wipes out the songs on one's iPod as it tries to sync with iTunes when plugged into the computer) one would think that there is no other way to use the software. As Apple users love to say "It just works!!" and to that I add, "Why yes, and rather poorly at that."

But all of the above is just a minor complaint in the face of Apple's refusal to enable one to copy music off an iPod when using iTunes.

Perhaps if Apple changed the default settings in iTunes to rip CDs to lossless ACC files rather than low bit rate lossy ACC files the general public might begin to understand just how good an iPod can sound.

BillB
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library

doh! Sorry I missed that!

jazzfan
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Re: Best way to create Itunes library


Quote:

Quote:

But all of the above is just a minor complaint in the face of Apple's refusal to enable one to copy music off an iPod when using iTunes.

For the record, cheap 3rd party software is available to get music off an iPod and into iTunes. No big hassle but an inconvenience.

If you reread the first paragraph of my post quoted above, you'll see once again that I'm referring to the "average" user, you know the one's that like to say "Apple products just work" and having to use third party software should not be necessary. However, all of the above pales in comparison to the fact that iTunes does not recognize flac files. Since my hard drive based music library is almost entirely flac files with some mp3s thrown in for fun iTunes is not an option for me or anyone else who uses primarily flac files.

Oh, right, there's also some third party to get iTunes to play flac files but it only runs on a Mac. FLUKE

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