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Transferring digital library from a PC Window Media Player to Mac (El Capitan)


Dark Knight
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Greetings all. It has been years since I have posted. I want to consult the collective wisdom. I can only imagine that that this is a typical Newbie question.

 

Background.

 

I have spent the past several years ripping a large CD collection to create a my own digital library. It was a very simple approach in Windows Media Player, ripping everything as high quality mp3s. When that had trouble identifying albums, art, and tracks, I just manually fixed it. Until I last posted here, I was totally unaware at the the time of third party products to help ease the pain. I am sure there are many who know the countless hours. But, I was really happy with how Windows Media Player let me organize my digital library. I am simple: Album, Artists, Genera. I am not a complicated user but a meticulous curator. I do transfer a few albums as needed to my Google Phone Nexus 5 where Google Music is the manager and player. I can drop my album by directory straight to the phone through a USB connection and that has been great so far.

 

Current Status.

 

I have had to move to a Macbook Pro for work reasons. I actually like it. So far I am not having any work flow issues. But, now I have this large (for me, approx 1500 CDs) digital library sitting on my PC and backed multiple times (paranoid to lose all that work). I am looking for a Window Media like product for my Macbook (El Capitan). My "interweb" searing by no means complete has revealed several possibilities so far: Swinsain, Tomahawk, and Ecoute to name a few as these few names keep reoccurring. I like the way Google Music organizes and plays mp3s on my Google phone but do not like fighting the constant ads and fighting the redirection to the music store.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion of a music player and manager that will help me convert to working in the Mac OS? Hopefully it will keep all my hard work in tact when I convert. What is the best way to convert? Any pitfalls to watch out that I may learn for your experience? I am also willing to pay for a program if is worth it in your opinion.

 

Best Wishes,

 

DK

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Hey DK- this is going to surprise you at how blinking easy this *can* be, though to get things just perfect for you, it might take a bit more effort.

 

First- moving the files. If you have them on an external disk, just plug it into your MacBook and copy away- either to the internal disk or to a second extrrnal disk formatted with HFS. Macs read NTFS just fine, and they can write to NTFS too, but writing will be terribly slow in most cases.

 

Second - iTunes is already on your Macbook, try importing the music files to iTunes and see if you like it. Since all your files are MP3s, iTunes will be a good choice.

 

Third, if you a more Windows Media Manager like experince, download and install the trial version of J. River Media

Manager. It will also import your physical music files and gives you several more "Windows" like options.

 

Both iTunes and JRMC will allow you to exit the Metadata in your files if something does not import correctly, and both are pretty easy to use, and just about as conplex in terms of capabilities too. :)

 

Depending upon how many music files you have, it could take less than an hour to copy the files, and import them jnto both applications.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Paul R,

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I great appreciate it. I was thinking that the post was so basic that it was going to languish. I will give it a try. I do have the library backed-up on an NTFS external hard drives. Don't know why there is so much apprehension. I guess it is "change". I have been using Windows Media Player for all of this for a long time and the though of figuring out another program's peculairities is not appealing. But, if it is easy as you say, I have the back-ups so I might as well try. It is towards the end of the night here (for me). It may take a couple of days to take the plunge but I will let you know how it goes.

 

DK.

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Paul R,

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I great appreciate it. I was thinking that the post was so basic that it was going to languish. I will give it a try. I do have the library backed-up on an NTFS external hard drives. Don't know why there is so much apprehension. I guess it is "change". I have been using Windows Media Player for all of this for a long time and the though of figuring out another program's peculairities is not appealing. But, if it is easy as you say, I have the back-ups so I might as well try. It is towards the end of the night here (for me). It may take a couple of days to take the plunge but I will let you know how it goes.

 

DK.

 

It really is easy peasy - but do expect to run into a few frustrating differences when you first try it though. When you hit those, just ask. Myself or dozens (hundreds?) of other folks here will usually be able to get you over any humps.

 

Oh yes, you will probably get a deluge of advice about this or that player, or this or that format, or - any of a bunch of other subjects. Most of it will be good advice, but stick to the KISS principle if you can.

 

You can always improve on things later, after you have them working - when it is fun to do so and not frustrating. :)

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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If you're going to be using a Mac, I'm pretty sure you need to enable full NTFS support. If I remember correctly, OSX can read NTFS, but not write it without doing something to enable support.

 

Latest versions can read/write NTFS, but it is still unsupported. And slow.

 

Very much recommend copying files to a HFS+ formatted disk for permanent use. Just as a read/only test, no problem to use NTFS.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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The Mac OS does reads the NTFS fine. It takes/took about 6 hours for a backup on my current NTFS hard disk on the Windows PC side, using the dual boot. I purchased an external hard disk and partitioned it 1/3 a FAT32 and the other 2/3 as HFS. So, I am copying my music library to the 1/3 FAT32 external tonight. Maybe it is unnecessary but baby steps to moving to the HFS side.

 

DK

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The Mac OS does reads the NTFS fine. It takes/took about 6 hours for a backup on my current NTFS hard disk on the Windows PC side, using the dual boot. I purchased an external hard disk and partitioned it 1/3 a FAT32 and the other 2/3 as HFS. So, I am copying my music library to the 1/3 FAT32 external tonight. Maybe it is unnecessary but baby steps to moving to the HFS side.

 

DK

 

You have to do it in a way that you are comfortable with. That seems like a pretty good way to move forward, to be honest. :)

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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The Mac OS does reads the NTFS fine. It takes/took about 6 hours for a backup on my current NTFS hard disk on the Windows PC side, using the dual boot. I purchased an external hard disk and partitioned it 1/3 a FAT32 and the other 2/3 as HFS. So, I am copying my music library to the 1/3 FAT32 external tonight. Maybe it is unnecessary but baby steps to moving to the HFS side.

 

DK

6 hour backups?

 

I am going to insert my standard advice to consider moving your library to a NAS ... queue the Neil Young song "Everyone needs a NAS"... format the discs as ZFS or BTRFS, access via SMB, and sleep well.

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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OK. It is the weekend now and I can continue to make progress. Before continuing on my mac, with everything backed-up, I performed a dry run on the original PC the digital library on Windows Media Player. With great trepidation, I installed the trial version of JRiver Media Centre 21. It is love at first site. I transferred all of my data and organizational preferences as existed in Windows Media Player. It has kept all the work done by hand on obscure albums. The album art that did not transfer was album art that I for some reason just cold not get to "stick", even in Windows Media Player, no matter how many times I changed it. An odd album or two in either the Decca, Living Presence, to similar box sets. I can't remember now.

 

At any rate, I will down load the mac version and continue. It says on the website that a newer build is on the Mac 21 board. Should I go there? And, rather than transferring the library to the Mac, how is to run J River on my Mac but directing it to music on a dedicated external drive?

 

DK

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OK. It is the weekend now and I can continue to make progress. Before continuing on my mac, with everything backed-up, I performed a dry run on the original PC the digital library on Windows Media Player. With great trepidation, I installed the trial version of JRiver Media Centre 21. It is love at first site. I transferred all of my data and organizational preferences as existed in Windows Media Player. It has kept all the work done by hand on obscure albums. The album art that did not transfer was album art that I for some reason just cold not get to "stick", even in Windows Media Player, no matter how many times I changed it. An odd album or two in either the Decca, Living Presence, to similar box sets. I can't remember now.

 

At any rate, I will down load the mac version and continue. It says on the website that a newer build is on the Mac 21 board. Should I go there? And, rather than transferring the library to the Mac, how is to run J River on my Mac but directing it to music on a dedicated external drive?

 

DK

Just copy the physical files and you can point JRMC to it. Works easy as pie. ;)

 

With JRMC, you automatically have streaming, library sharing,mcideo, and more. It is quite an impressive piece of software. It will even play to Sonos units.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I am continuing this morning. A further word about J River that blew me away. As far as recovering the very few lost album art that could not even stick in Windows Media Player. I just had it search for it within the file itself and it appeared like magic. It found everyone one problem and I do have some very obscure stuff. I think I have settled on running the Mac J River from my external hard drive formatted as a FAT 32. I really appreciate your help and suggesting. It will be fun to hear how these files play on my vintage stereo system.

 

DK

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I am continuing this morning. A further word about J River that blew me away. As far as recovering the very few lost album art that could not even stick in Windows Media Player. I just had it search for it within the file itself and it appeared like magic. It found everyone one problem and I do have some very obscure stuff. I think I have settled on running the Mac J River from my external hard drive formatted as a FAT 32. I really appreciate your help and suggesting. It will be fun to hear how these files play on my vintage stereo system.

 

DK

 

Great news! :)

 

One thing however, FAT or FAT32 is not the best choice of filesystem. I would format a drive as MacOS Journaled (case insensitive, which is the default) for several reason. The less important ones are much faster speed and better handling of characters in file names, as well as the capability to pretty much ignore how lomg filenames and filepaths get on the disk.

 

The more important reason is the fact that the filesystem will protect your files much better in the event the computer crashes or anythng event like that..

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Done. I have formatted my externals to the Mac OS journaled (case insensitive). It is all good. You all were right it is very easy. Everything is up and running great. Album art for only three CDs were not transferred and easily recovered. I guess now it is time to "play" with the the finer points of working with JRiver, which I find enjoyable.

 

DK

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but "high quality MP3s" is an oxymoron. MP3 is a "lossy" file format, meaning you're missing a whole lot of "bits" that were on your CD. Any future CD's should be ripped in a "lossless" file format, like FLAC, ALAC or AIFF. I rip my CD's in FLAC format on my PC and convert them to AIFF to play through my Mac-based music system. I also download hi-res files in FLAC format (in order to save disk space on my PC's hard drive) and convert them to AIFF on my NAS. You might not be into hi-res audio yet, but someday you will be. At the very least, you don't want to listen to music in lesser quality than a CD, so be sure your music files are "lossless".

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but "high quality MP3s" is an oxymoron. MP3 is a "lossy" file format, meaning you're missing a whole lot of "bits" that were on your CD. Any future CD's should be ripped in a "lossless" file format, like FLAC, ALAC or AIFF. I rip my CD's in FLAC format on my PC and convert them to AIFF to play through my Mac-based music system. I also download hi-res files in FLAC format (in order to save disk space on my PC's hard drive) and convert them to AIFF on my NAS. You might not be into hi-res audio yet, but someday you will be. At the very least, you don't want to listen to music in lesser quality than a CD, so be sure your music files are "lossless".

 

I hear you and agree. I debated a long time with myself about this. I know that the other formats are of much higher quality. My main listening system is a vintage stereo system that I taken a long time to restore and step-up for my more audiophile mood. Then, there is my computer system which I believe is rather common place. I am not sure that my computer set-up would allow me to discern the difference in quality. It may, I just do not know. The digital library is mostly for working with a simple speaker system, or synching with my Google phone for listening with earbuds. Once in while I have ported the output to Yamaha amplifier for the fun it.

 

I did my first rip using JRiver and used the lossless option for a file type I did not recognize. I looked for a "higher" quality mp3 but it was not an option. So, I guess I am now in the world of lossless now anyways. This is going to be an interesting change. Even though it will take time. I may invest the time to "re-rip" everything in lossless for the future. At least, I will get all the meta-data right now that I am more aware of what I am doing and the organization I would like.

 

DK

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What SFRalph said. Take this opportunity to re-rip to lossless as AIFF.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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Additionally, uncheck anything in iTunes having to do with letting it automatically manage your Library filing.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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I hear you and agree. I debated a long time with myself about this. I know that the other formats are of much higher quality. My main listening system is a vintage stereo system that I taken a long time to restore and step-up for my more audiophile mood. Then, there is my computer system which I believe is rather common place. I am not sure that my computer set-up would allow me to discern the difference in quality. It may, I just do not know. The digital library is mostly for working with a simple speaker system, or synching with my Google phone for listening with earbuds. Once in while I have ported the output to Yamaha amplifier for the fun it.

 

I did my first rip using JRiver and used the lossless option for a file type I did not recognize. I looked for a "higher" quality mp3 but it was not an option. So, I guess I am now in the world of lossless now anyways. This is going to be an interesting change. Even though it will take time. I may invest the time to "re-rip" everything in lossless for the future. At least, I will get all the meta-data right now that I am more aware of what I am doing and the organization I would like.

 

DK

 

Step by step mate - only way to go. ;). By the way, JRMC will handle FLAC files on your Mac just fine, so you can choose that format, or any other format you really like. I personally use AIFF, but you can also choose ALAC or FLAC and still get all the bits. Might want to sidestep using WAV files for now, as the metadata is different and limited with that format, but you can certainly try it as well!

 

I believe you will find that your computer based system is capable of rivaling even the best analog systems, with perhaps a similar amount of fussing and investment, but not everyone agrees with that. Part of the fun. ;)

 

Try Ripping one disc to AIFF, FLAC, or ALAC if you have not already, and see if you can hear a difference. If you can, well, then reripping is worth it, If not, just wait till you can hear a difference if you want to. It can be devilishly difficult telling the difference between a 320mps MP3 and a CD quality file. Sometimes you just can't.

 

Just remember to have fun as the flood of suggestions and ideas hit you! -Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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