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struts
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iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Okay, so I have had it with iTunes.

After deleting significant portions of my library on two occasions (see other thread about the 8-bit character 'Keep iTunes Music folder organized' bug), iTunes has decided to mess with me again.

Since getting my new amp I have been listening to the bigrig a fair bit, playing old favourites and new stuff and getting used to the new sound. Mostly I have really liked what I heard, well up to my expectations, but some tracks have seemed strangely flat and uninvolving. Mentally conditioned to expect the best from my megabux upgrade I put it down to tiredness or listening fatigue. Isn't it amazing how one can ignore that little inner voice? Anyway, not expecting a problem I didn't look for any pattern and therefore completely failed to notice that it was only my latest purchases that were sounding flat and that the older stuff was fine.

So last night, with the family out in the country but too late to crank the bigrig (even though all my neighbours are probably out in the country too - it's that time of year here) I sat down for a nefarious little headphone orgy with my K 701s. On teeing up Bobo Stenson Trio's War Orphans on the playlist in foobar I noticed something absolutely horrifying. 128kbps!!!!

Somehow, and I strongly suspect in conjunction with some recent automatic upgrade, iTunes had reset itself to the importing default of 128-bit AAC and everything I had ripped in the last month-or-so (some thirty-odd discs) turned out to have been ripped at that rate. Not being able to think of a quick way of saving the tags and album art but deleting the horribly mutilated audio I just deleted everything in disgust. A good two-or-three hours' work down the drain. I am in the process of reripping and straightening out the tags (gotta love some of the garbage in Gracenote: Ludwig van Beethoven as 'Artist', e.s.t. listed as 'S.E.T.'...) as we speak.

Well you can call me cloth-eared for not immediately noticing this screaming deficiency and I could come up with a thousand excuses but there it is. Mea culpa!

I used to really love iTunes, before it started deleting portions of my library that is, but this latest prank just drove me crazy! I have also noticed that iTunes sporadically resets the iTunes folder location to the default (I have changed mine to point to a network drive) although this is much easier to fix. So I strongly advise any of you using iTunes for ripping and library management (no idea if my problem is PC- or Vista-specific) to regularly check that all your preferences are what you think they are.

A timely reminder that computer audio is still not for the faint-hearted!

Elk
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Incredibly frustrating.

If you are on a PC, perhaps you could use EAC to rip. It won't change settings on you and it is not used for playback. This isolation of tasks might help. (I assume there is a Mac equivalent).

I despise tagging also - especially for classical music. the databases are often a mess and are inconsistent.

I really want to like computer audio, but . . .

jazzfan
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Struts,

I didn't realize that it needed repeating so I'll say it once again: iTunes is NOT the proper application to use for computer audio if one is even the slightest bit interested in audio quality. To put it somewhat more bluntly: iTunes sucks and sucks big time.

The reasons for this being the case are many:

1) The default settings in iTunes are terrible but so are the default settings in many other music management programs, what sets iTunes apart are the facts that it is not that easy to change iTunes' default settings and because of all the frequent updates to the the program, one has to remember to verify one's settings after each and every update.

2) iTunes' library management features are not set up for managing large music libraries, say over 50,000 tracks.

3) iTune's does not support FLAC. This fact alone should make it a deal breaker for anyone interested in high quality computer based audio since FLAC is quickly becoming the standard audio codec for red book and high resolution digital audio files.

So when are you finally going to bite the bullet and get either a SqueezeBox, a Duet or, better still, a Transporter?

While Squeeze Center, the software used to operate the various Slim Devices music streaming devices, is still far from perfect, at least it has never deleted any of my files nor does it "forget" it's settings after an update (which are never automatic - if you like the version that you're using you do not have to update and there are no annoying pop-ups every ten minutes). And the location of my music folder has never changed. Handles cover art too.

Before I get to crazy with "Squeeze" love, let me add that Squeeze Center is not a complete computer based music program, it is only a music library cataloging tool and the front end which allows one's computer to act as a server for the Slim Devices' music streaming devices. How one chooses to get the music into one's library is completely up to them, as is the organization of one's music library. In other words, one will still need other software to rip CD's (EAC coupled with FLAC (both are free) or dbPowerAmp (a well liked commercial program)), obtain cover art (have you ever tried Album Art Aggregator? It's an excellent little free program Album Art Aggregator, well worth trying) and organize one's library (Window's Explorer works for me) but as you are finally starting to realize, the all-in-one music management programs leave a lot to be desired. Basically in the world of personal computers ease of use usually equals brain dead.

Edit: I forgot to mention tagging - I use Mp3tag, another wonderful, little and free program, despite it's name, the program handles tags from just about every audio codec that supports tags. Mp3tag

Elk
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

I use Foobar for playback, along with a ASIO plug-in to get direct bit-by-bit playback. Works great.

Jazzfan, why the use of a separate tagger? I just tag as I rip. Am I missing a better way?

struts
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Jazzfan,

Although I feel as stupid as a grandmother in an egg-sucking lesson I have to concede most of your points.

Thinking back, my initial reason for selecting iTunes for ripping was that wayback when it was the only program for PC that ripped to ALAC and ALAC was the only lossless codec that would work on my iPod. That was before I discovered things like the foobar ALAC plugin (or maybe that didn't exist then), the dbpoweramp format converter etc. Also, when I acquired the Sonos my iPod was an equally important target environment and ALAC was the only full-rez (highest?) common denominator. That is still the case (although I am sure there is some way to get an iPod to play FLAC files if you try hard enough) so I see no reason to change. I am acquiring more and more FLAC from other sources now, I just haven't used it as my default ripping format. Thus far.

The attraction of iTunes is that it does a reasonably good job of everything (ripping, management, tags, ...) and has that really superslick UI, but its foibles have just become too much for me. I am resigned to having to follow the path of using one program to rip, another to manage, another to fix tags and yet another to fetch album art.

Thanks for the heads-up on Album Art Aggregator, I'll check it out. I have both dbpoweramp and mp3tag and think they're great. I have to confess I really don't understand why people still recommend EAC (feel free to enlighten me!), seems like a relic to me. dbpoweramp is a far nicer, faster, and more flexible FLAC ripper for my money.

I have nearly pulled the trigger on a Transporter so many times but just not done it for some reason. I still might do but I have also been following developments at Weiss with some interest; I suspect they will be coming out with something along these lines sometime soon. As far as the bigrig is concerned the Sonos is just an interim solution, although it has done me well thus far. I have yet to organize my comparison between the Sonos and a top-flight transport like the Weiss driving the Boulder DAC in order to hear how much, if anything, I am really missing. Another project on my long list.

However right now I am in turntable mode, my new baby should be arriving next week!

mrlowry
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

The only major problem that I've ever had with iTunes was when I encoded some stuff as WAV to an external drive then used the drive with another computer and another copy of iTunes. Those files got "lost" on the second computer, then when I hooked the external HD back up to the first computer the songs titles for the WAV files were there but album art, artist name, and album were all gone. The songs were playable. The reason was because the meta data isn't part of the WAV file, like it is in MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless, Flac (I think), and AIFF. So it was really my fault.

I've been using iTunes for about 4 years and every time that I update it remembers my preferences. But with computers who know. There a lot times I think that they are possessed.

linden518
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!


Quote:
Although I feel as stupid as a grandmother in an egg-sucking lesson...


LOLOLOL... this is one bizarre idiom! Origin please? Is this some Scandinavian phrase? Too funny!

I've been using dbpoweramp to rip music to ALAC, and I love using it. The AccurateRip feature is pretty nifty... there's no way I'm going back to iTunes again, especially after reading this thread! Sorry about the trouble, Struts.

struts
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!


Quote:

Quote:
Although I feel as stupid as a grandmother in an egg-sucking lesson...


LOLOLOL... this is one bizarre idiom! Origin please? Is this some Scandinavian phrase? Too funny!

Haha, glad you liked it! Here is the best explanation I have found from World Wide Words:


Quote:
It does look odd, but its meaning is clear enough: don
linden518
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

That's like the best bit of info I've learned all year. I feel like I've evolved into a higher state of consciousness. I LOVE that gastronaut post!

Elk
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Wonderful idiom!

BillB
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Since I'm about to try some basic music networking at home, and was going to use iTunes, let me ask some questions, inserted in your comments (in CAPS for clarity, not because I'm shouting):


Quote:

1) The default settings in iTunes are terrible but so are the default settings in many other music management programs, what sets iTunes apart are the facts that it is not that easy to change iTunes' default settings and because of all the frequent updates to the the program, one has to remember to verify one's settings after each and every update. I'VE NEVER EXPERIENCED MY SETTINGS BEING CHANGED BY UPDATES. COULD IT BE BECAUSE I'M ON A MAC?
OR MAYBE BECAUSE I CHANGE SETTINGS OFTEN ENOUGH ANYWAY (FOR VARIOUS VOLUNTARY REASONS)?

2) iTunes' library management features are not set up for managing large music libraries, say over 50,000 tracks.
I'VE GOT 7000 TRACKS IN iTUNES SO FAR WITH NO PROBLEM - BUT IT WILL GET BIGGER AS I IMPORT MORE. WHAT BAD HAPPENS WITH LARGER SIZE?

3) iTune's does not support FLAC. This fact alone should make it a deal breaker for anyone interested in high quality computer based audio since FLAC is quickly becoming the standard audio codec for red book and high resolution digital audio files. IT DOES SUPPORT AIFF. IS THAT PRETTY UNIVERSAL OR IS THAT "CAPTIVE"?

...Basically in the world of personal computers ease of use usually equals brain dead. DOGGONE, I DON'T WANT TO BE BRAIN DEAD BUT I FRANKLY AM LOOKING FOR EASE OF USE (THE SYSTEM WILL BE USED BY THE WHOLE FAMILY). FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS, I ENVISION STICKING WITH MAC AND iTUNES. SHOULDN'T THAT BE OK? IF NOT, I AM WILLING TO BE SWAYED...THANK YOU.

jazzfan
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.


Quote:
I'VE NEVER EXPERIENCED MY SETTINGS BEING CHANGED BY UPDATES. COULD IT BE BECAUSE I'M ON A MAC?

I don't know, maybe iTunes just doesn't like Struts.


Quote:
OR MAYBE BECAUSE I CHANGE SETTINGS OFTEN ENOUGH ANYWAY (FOR VARIOUS VOLUNTARY REASONS)?

That's good. As long you're on top of things there shouldn't be a problem.


Quote:
I'VE GOT 7000 TRACKS IN iTUNES SO FAR WITH NO PROBLEM - BUT IT WILL GET BIGGER AS I IMPORT MORE. WHAT BAD HAPPENS WITH LARGER SIZE?

Nothing "bad" happens, it just that iTunes is set up to basically manage a music library filled with tracks of pop music. I listen to a lot of jazz and classical albums and iTunes does not handle these types of music very well (can't find album art, proper track names, tags, etc.) nor does it work that well for organizing a music library based on albums as opposed to individual tracks.


Quote:
IT DOES SUPPORT AIFF. IS THAT PRETTY UNIVERSAL OR IS THAT "CAPTIVE"?

AIFF is not as universal as WAV but in either case since they are uncompressed formats neither one will handle file tags without having to jump through hoops. That means that one should go with a lossless compression codec and iTunes only supports it's own proprietary ALAC codec. It's not a bad codec - it does the basic job of compression and supports tags but since it is proprietary Apple owns the rights to all the necessary software used to encode and decode ALAC files. That's not something I consider advantageous to the end user particularly when FLAC, a perfectly good nonproprietary alternative, is available. Also, as I've mentioned earlier, FLAC is quickly becoming standard for CD and high resolution files available online. But perhaps the real deal breaker as far as FLAC versus ALAC is that, unlike ALAC, there is no provision within the FLAC codec for DRM and I will not support (read spend my money on) any music file with DRM.


Quote:
DOGGONE, I DON'T WANT TO BE BRAIN DEAD BUT I FRANKLY AM LOOKING FOR EASE OF USE (THE SYSTEM WILL BE USED BY THE WHOLE FAMILY). FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS, I ENVISION STICKING WITH MAC AND iTUNES. SHOULDN'T THAT BE OK? IF NOT, I AM WILLING TO BE SWAYED...THANK YOU.

Look if iTunes works for you then by all means continue to use it. Just be aware of the fact that Apple holds all the cards and can do what they like with the rights to their codec and your ability to play your music. Basically Apple is the computer world's equivalent of Linn - it's either their way or the highway. Me, I like open formats and open source software. As a matter of fact, my iPod has been "Rockboxed" so that it can play FLAC files. Rockbox is open source software that can be loaded on an iPod and replaces the iPod's operating system with one, that while nowhere as pretty as the iPod's OS, supports playback of FLAC files.

BillB
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Great response, thank you.


Quote:
... WHAT BAD HAPPENS WITH LARGER SIZE?


Nothing "bad" happens, it just that iTunes is set up to basically manage a music library filled with tracks of pop music. I listen to a lot of jazz and classical albums and iTunes does not handle these types of music very well (can't find album art, proper track names, tags, etc.) nor does it work that well for organizing a music library based on albums as opposed to individual tracks.

>>OK, got it. Yes, I do experience the track listing sometimes, in the minority of my music that is classical. I've never even thought about getting album art - I wasn't expecting to so I guess that's not a big factor for me. At least I'll have the originals from those things that I rip, anyway.


Quote:
IT DOES SUPPORT AIFF. IS THAT PRETTY UNIVERSAL OR IS THAT "CAPTIVE"?

AIFF is not as universal as WAV but in either case since they are uncompressed formats neither one will handle file tags without having to jump through hoops. That means that one should go with a lossless compression codec and iTunes only supports it's own proprietary ALAC codec. It's not a bad codec - it does the basic job of compression and supports tags but since it is proprietary Apple owns the rights to all the necessary software used to encode and decode ALAC files. That's not something I consider advantageous to the end user particularly when FLAC, a perfectly good nonproprietary alternative, is available. Also, as I've mentioned earlier, FLAC is quickly becoming standard for CD and high resolution files available online. But perhaps the real deal breaker as far as FLAC versus ALAC is that, unlike ALAC, there is no provision within the FLAC codec for DRM and I will not support (read spend my money on) any music file with DRM.


Quote:
DOGGONE, I DON'T WANT TO BE BRAIN DEAD BUT I FRANKLY AM LOOKING FOR EASE OF USE (THE SYSTEM WILL BE USED BY THE WHOLE FAMILY). FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS, I ENVISION STICKING WITH MAC AND iTUNES. SHOULDN'T THAT BE OK? IF NOT, I AM WILLING TO BE SWAYED...THANK YOU.

Look if iTunes works for you then by all means continue to use it. Just be aware of the fact that Apple holds all the cards and can do what they like with the rights to their codec and your ability to play your music. Basically Apple is the computer world's equivalent of Linn - it's either their way or the highway. Me, I like open formats and open source software. As a matter of fact, my iPod has been "Rockboxed" so that it can play FLAC files. Rockbox is open source software that can be loaded on an iPod and replaces the iPod's operating system with one, that while nowhere as pretty as the iPod's OS, supports playback of FLAC files.

>>Interesting. I think I will probably proceed with the iTunes route, understanding the disadvantages. At least for now, I don't want the excellent to be the enemy of the good. I'll still be playing physical media; and the itunes network will be an additional rather than primary source. Appreciate the advice.

bobedaone
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Hey, Ralph, it's good to "see" you.

This isn't an outright refutation, but I'd like to address some of the points you've made. FWIW, I run OSX 10.4.11 and iTunes 7.7 on an iMac G5.

1) I agree 100% that the default settings in iTunes are abysmal. I disagree, however, that they are particularly difficult or inconvenient to change. I will add that I've been using iTunes and updating semi-religiously since 4.6, and have never lost my settings.

2) iTunes library management is an epic failure, and the issue should be addressed. My 320GB drive (298 formatted) currently has 53GB available, despite my music collection totaling 158GB (I only keep music on the drive). It's bothersome, but it doesn't interfere with daily operation, and I'm unusually busy this summer, so it sits. "Call Apple Support" is pretty far down my list of priorities right now, and even further down that of desires (probably somewhere slightly north of "undergo urethral endoscopy without anesthesia")

3) iTunes doesn't need to support FLAC, since it supports Apple Lossless and AIFF. The Logitech network players you promote () support all three formats - and many others - so I don't see a problem. FLAC is, AFAIK, the only format supported by the new Linn boxes, which, along with the top models only supporting wired networks, I see as short-sighted. A "format war" among file formats is unnecessary.

Regarding tagging, iTunes will retain metadata and artwork from the existing files if you insert the disc and re-import, choosing to replace the current, lower quality files. YMMV, so try it on one track first, eh?

General address:

I'm sure all you fine folks will take this with a grain of salt, since I'm comparing Apples to oranges here. In spite of the library headaches, though, I still feel that iTunes is, at the very least, average. It's also the only program that works with Airport Express. (That is, unless I want to spend $25 on Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba, which I do, but I have no money. Seriously, I haven't had a drink in over a month.)

For now, iTunes is everything I need it to be: a ripper/burner, a library manager, a player, a source, and a vehicle for musical enjoyment.

I've said elsewhere around here that Apple would do well to release an iTunes Pro or iTunes Audiophile. Streamline it by removing support for dead weight like podcasts, videos, audiobooks, the visualizer, and so on. Then, do away with crossfade playback, sound "enhancer", and sound check, and include only lossless or uncompressed formats as options for importing (include decoders for other
formats that may already be present in a library). In radio, allow the user to set criteria for streams, for instance filtering anything below 128kbps. Build-in support for more advanced tagging of classical works, a la Olive. I'd like a notification if I start to play a song of which I have a higher-quality version. I want more powerful ripping and burning capability. How about a built-in analyzer tool? I want to be able to join tracks AFTER an import, as well as DISjoin them at any time. Last, but certainly not least, FIX THE LIBRARY ALREADY. Okay, I think that's most of it.

Seriously, if Apple developed a program that did all that for $100 or less, it would sell like hotcakes at an OA meeting.

jazzfan
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!


Quote:
1) I agree 100% that the default settings in iTunes are abysmal. I disagree, however, that they are particularly difficult or inconvenient to change. I will add that I've been using iTunes and updating semi-religiously since 4.6, and have never lost my settings.

Okay, so iTunes' defaults aren't very good but are easy to change and should stay changed through any the program update.


Quote:
2) iTunes library management is an epic failure, and the issue should be addressed. My 320GB drive (298 formatted) currently has 53GB available, despite my music collection totaling 158GB (I only keep music on the drive). It's bothersome, but it doesn't interfere with daily operation, and I'm unusually busy this summer, so it sits. "Call Apple Support" is pretty far down my list of priorities right now, and even further down that of desires (probably somewhere slightly north of "undergo urethral endoscopy without anesthesia")

Exactly what I've been saying all along.


Quote:
3) iTunes doesn't need to support FLAC, since it supports Apple Lossless and AIFF. The Logitech network players you promote () support all three formats - and many others - so I don't see a problem. FLAC is, AFAIK, the only format supported by the new Linn boxes, which, along with the top models only supporting wired networks, I see as short-sighted. A "format war" among file formats is unnecessary.

If there going to be a "format war" then it will be entirely Apple's and Microsoft's fault. FLAC existed before either Apple's or Microsoft's lossless compression codecs did, the only reason Apple and Microsoft felt compelled to introduce their own codecs was DRM and now that DRM is finally on the way out there really is no need to use anything other than FLAC. As far as Logitech's network players are concerned they only support (i.e. will play back) files encoded with Apple or Microsoft codecs if there is no DRM present. Any file with DRM is most definitely NOT universally supported.


Quote:
Regarding tagging, iTunes will retain metadata and artwork from the existing files if you insert the disc and re-import, choosing to replace the current, lower quality files. YMMV, so try it on one track first, eh?

And here I was thinking people used iTunes because it was so easy.


Quote:
I've said elsewhere around here that Apple would do well to release an iTunes Pro or iTunes Audiophile. Streamline it by removing support for dead weight like podcasts, videos, audiobooks, the visualizer, and so on. Then, do away with crossfade playback, sound "enhancer", and sound check, and include only lossless or uncompressed formats as options for importing (include decoders for other formats that may already be present in a library). In radio, allow the user to set criteria for streams, for instance filtering anything below 128kbps. Build-in support for more advanced tagging of classical works, a la Olive. I'd like a notification if I start to play a song of which I have a higher-quality version. I want more powerful ripping and burning capability. How about a built-in analyzer tool? I want to be able to join tracks AFTER an import, as well as DISjoin them at any time. Last, but certainly not least, FIX THE LIBRARY ALREADY. Okay, I think that's most of it.

Seriously, if Apple developed a program that did all that for $100 or less, it would sell like hotcakes at an OA meeting.

Sounds like you need a copy of dbPoweramp.

Regarding music libraries, I find that they are becoming a lot like computer based address books, another of my personal computing pet peeves. Here's what I mean: instead of there being one simple universal address book format, every piece of software uses it's own proprietary format forcing one to rebuild one's address book for each and every program. In the case of music libraries, my music library already exists within the folder and file structure of the drives which contain my music, yet each and every music management program insists on building their own database. Why? Shouldn't one universally compatible music library database, a database that all music management programs can use, be enough?

struts
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

So, a couple of brief updates.

Firstly, I have caved and bought a Transporter. Saw a great deal (probably means it is about to be replaced) and pounced. Haven't had time to install it yet so impressions/comparisons will have to wait but I thought jazzfan and tomjtx would be pleased at least.

Secondly, I have begun my iTunes detox programme. Things didn't start off at all well. I set the batch converter in dbpoweramp to convert my whole library last weekend and kicked it off as we left for the country house. On returning I found that it had only taken six hours (under half my rough estimate of 15 based on a quick test run). However on examining my new library folder I noticed something very strange; it was virtually empty. Only about 10 artist folders had been created, only one album existed in each and in some cases only one track had been converted. Only about four albums were complete with all tracks. I should state that all these albums had been ripped in iTunes (various versions as shown by the metadata) and each album had been ripped in one sitting, with error correction enabled. I couldn't think of one good reason why some tracks should succeed and others fail. Bottom line: dbpoweramp had taken six hours to convert less than a hundred tracks!

I didn't have time to do any serious troubleshooting until today. Examining the log file showed that dbpoweramp had been unable to open most of the ALAC files, claiming they were corrupt. After satisfying myself that they weren't by playing them in iTunes my suspicions turned to dbpoweramp itself. On checking my dbpoweramp configuration I noticed my version was out-of-date, V12.2 having been replaced by V12.3 (free to V12.2 customers) and V13 (a $12 upgrade). I upgraded to V13 and while I was at it upgraded the relevant codec modules, both of which had new major versions available: (ALAC V7 -> 8 and FLAC V11 -> 12).

This seems to have done the trick. A couple of quick tests have shown that all files are now successfully being converted and the conversion speed is more in line with my expectations (I saw up to 41X rather than about 1X before). Reading the release notes for the latest ALAC converter I can only assume I was running into the 'large chunks' bug. Go figure. Anyway, version 8 seems to be a fairly substantial rewrite and I would urge anybody using dbpoweramp to manipulate ALAC to upgrade.

The resulting FLAC files play fine in foobar (Vista users in particular should check out the latest 9.5.5 release and the new WASAPI output module - bit-perfect output using Vista exclusive mode - which I am looking forward to testing) although I haven't had time to add them to the Sonos library yet to see if cover art is being correctly converted. That is a BIG issue for me by the way as I have spent many tens of hours locating cover art for these albums in jpeg format at the optimum resolution (and scanning those that I have been unable to find online myself) and inputting them by hand into iTunes using the prescribed method to circumvent the iTunes bug and get them to render correctly on the Sonos controller. Pending the outcome of these tests I will re-attempt the mass conversion next weekend when we will once again be heading for the country.

So, the saga continues! More proof, as if any were needed, that this stuff is not ready for the 'fat belly' of the adoption bell-curve. I can't wait to read the Sooloos review in the September issue!

Stay tuned folks. More as it happens...

Elk
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Congrats on the Transporter!

That's quite a story.

While this is the type of problem that slows adoption, MP3s took over as people desperately wanted to be able to stuff lots of music onto their portable devices. The average user was willing to work to overcome the technology.

This level of desire has not yet manifested to speed the adoption of music servers.

jazzfan
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Hi Struts,

Welcome to the club!!

Congratulations on your new Transporter. I know that you'll be very impressed with the sound of the unit. And another congratulations on your dBpoweramp purchase. I'm sorry to hear that you had so much trouble with it the first time around but I think that in the long run you'll come to love and cherish dBpoweramp, as do many of it's users.

Along with the Transporter comes SqueezeCenter, complete with all it's virtues and shortcomings, so be prepared for a whole new world of enjoyment accompanied with plenty of pain and suffering. Although I think that with your computer audio background things should go fairly smoothly for you.

I strongly suggest that you register on the Slim Devices Community forum since it's a great resource for all things SqueezeBox. Of course once you register there the Slim Device's forum will be getting another member whose knowledge and opinions I highly respect and look forward to reading.

Now just where can one download some high resolution audio (read: flac) files at a real world price? In other words, www.linnrecords.com doesn't count.

struts
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

jazzfan,

I have been registered on the Slim forum for a while although only posted a couple of times. I'll probably be there more often from now on! I am struts there too.

I just stumbled on an interesting source of FLAC downloads at a very reasonable price. See my post below.

RGibran
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!


Quote:
I can't wait to read the Sooloos review in the September issue!

IMHO, if you paid full retail for the Transporter you just got one of the screamin' bargains in streamin' music servers!

I look forward to your impressions. If I remember correctly you have a Boulder Pre with built in DAC that your in love with? It will be an interesting comparison. TP sounds best balanced out.

RG

struts
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

RG,

Yes, I still have the Boulder (which is all-balanced btw) so I will be able to compare the TP's DAC with the Boulder DAC as well as comparing the TP with the Sonos and a good CD transport (if I can borrow one). However I have been promised delivery of my new turntable tomorrow so these projects may all have to wait a while!

PS I got the TP way under list so I am pretty pleased with myself. OTOH it probably means it is obsolete and they are just about to announce a successor

struts
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

Just another brief status report.

I have now converted everything to FLAC and the evil iTunes is now part of my past. I think I will find another program to manage music my iPod, if anybody has one they think is particularly good I am open to suggestions.

The audio data and metadata conversion from ALAC -> FLAC using R13 of dBpoweramp went smoothly, however, as I suspected the album art wasn't converted at all. I pulled an all-nighter to locate and download all the missing album art from the internet (even when at about 3 a.m. pragmatism took over and I dropped my resolution requirements significantly) and I still have about 25-odd albums that I will have to scan by hand. It is almost always the classical albums that cause the problems.

I have moved the iTunes library back to my c: drive as a backup and for iPod use. This involved setting 'Keep iTunes Music folder organized', goodness knows what chaos that has caused!

Anyway, I now have a properly organized and tagged library of FLAC files on my NAS ready for the next instalment of my plan, the installation of the Transporter. That is currently held up by the need to add a level to my rack...

judicata
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

I found that album art slows down my ipod and takes up more battery, so I don't do it any more.

Download Rockbox (www.rockbox.org), and your iPod will then be a FLAC and ogg playing machine. (Ok, well, it is a little more complicated than just downloading, but still).

struts
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!

So on calling to arrange collection of my new Transporter I find that the retailer who sold it to me had in fact already sold it to somebody else. I will admit to being slightly ticked off but my general philosophy is that life is too short to get all wrapped around the axle over things like that. Do I believe the slightly over-cooked excuse? Who cares; shrug and move on. The interesting part of this however is that when he tried to order a replacement unit he found that the distributor could not only not supply one but couldn't even give him a date when he could (he told me it might be easier with a black fascia but even here he couldn't commit to a date).

At this point my antennae started twitching and rather than pursue the issue I retreated with my refund. NIB units being sold below list? No inventory left in the channel? Not even a date? New model on the way???? Now I am not trying to start any rumors here (honest) but the TP has been out for a fair while and it is arguably about time it was goosed, if not replaced. In particular I would like to see support for 802.11n (MIMO) which is what I need to run to get full coverage in my long, stretched-out apartment with 18" brick walls. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if Sean had come up with a few new ideas on how to make it sound better in the intervening years years either. Hmmmmmm....

RGibran
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Re: iTunes again - AAAAAAARGH!


Quote:
The interesting part of this however is that when he tried to order a replacement unit he found that the distributor could not only not supply one but couldn't even give him a date when he could (he told me it might be easier with a black fascia but even here he couldn't commit to a date).

To use your own words... Do I believe the slightly over-cooked excuse?


Quote:
Now I am not trying to start any rumors here (honest) but the TP has been out for a fair while and it is arguably about time it was goosed, if not replaced.

If it ain't broke... and, I don't see any competition


Quote:
In particular I would like to see support for 802.11n (MIMO) which is what I need to run to get full coverage in my long, stretched-out apartment with 18" brick walls.

I believe I read Sonos addressed this in their new offerings to better serve their european customers. I could see Slim upgrading the WiFi throughout their entire line.


Quote:
And it wouldn't surprise me at all if Sean had come up with a few new ideas on how to make it sound better in the intervening years years either. Hmmmmmm....

Better? You meant to say "different" didn't you? I hope you haven't been reading too much of that monkey see monkey do jibberish over at the Slim forums about how the TP doesn't sound musical! Puleeze! I guess some folks don't know a bad recording when they hear it.

Hey, as a biased owner I'm not trying to say it's the end all of digital players, but I do think it capable of doing what we all desire from our components, and that is get the hell out of the way of the music.

Recent software and firmware updates have improved and sorted out the remaining few functional snafu's. I just don't see a new model in the works.

RG

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