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encoding and tags/metadata


bguil
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Chris,

I have problems with classical. As a newbie to ripping and ipods, could you explain tags and metadata and their use on the ipod? If cover graphics are not important, are tags and metadata necessary when encoding. In 2010, what encoding do you recommend for Windows OS if tags are necessary or unnecessary, assuming almost unlimited storage on the ipod and music quality foremost?

 

Finally, how do you rip multidisc opera sets so they play and display as one performance?

Thanks for any help

 

 

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Bguil, I think we're all struggling because we don't have enough information to understand your question. What platform (Mac or PC) are you using (looks like PC because of Windows reference, but not sure). What playback software (iTunes, other) are you using? With as much info as you can provide, many here will help. Also, don't understand your reference to unlimited space on the iPod and music quality being foremost.

 

Tags and metadata are the way for the software to identify the music that you rip and will then be used to locate what you wish to play.

 

Help us help you.

 

MBP13-128gb ssd using VoiceOver to hear the screen, iTunes, Ayre QB-9, McIntosh mx119 & mc207, Thiel CS2.4

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Thanks for the reply. I am using PC/Windows and currently listening to IPOD. I originally encoded to MP3, but I would like to redo this to a higher quality lossless type file. Since I only plan to record limited classical or opera, memory on the ipod is not a problem. I also have no concern about cover art.

Forum entries that I read were a bit dated, but the recommendations seemed complicated, requiring other software. Is there a simple answer?

Thanks again

 

 

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Hi Bguil,

 

From the nature of your question I assume you have limited experience so best to keep it simple. You may find the following too basic but hard to know what level of knowledge you already have or whether you are already up ansd running

 

If you are mainly going to listen to your music using your iPod and want very good quality sound I would suggest the following, however, a lot depends on the capacity of your iPod. If you are not using it already download "iTunes for PC" from the web site "www.apple.com" under the tag "iTunes and iPods". Then simply follow the promps.

 

If you are already using iTunes and have ripped CDs using the iTunes default setting (was 128kps and is now 256kps) and have access to the original CDs then delete these files from both the iTunes library and also the original files from Explorer. You can do this by highlighting one song in the library and go to edit/select all and then edit/delete. Then follow the promps.

 

Rip your CDs to either AIFF or Apple Lossless (ALAC) by changing the "Import Settings" within iTunes under edit/preferences/general/import settings. Also check the error correction on this page. AIFF is preferred as it uses no compression at all and is compatible with many other players, however, it uses about 30-40% more space than ALAC . I personally cannot hear the difference between these two formats. Assume one CD in AIFF will consume approximately 1/2 Gig of space, and ALAC around 1/3 Gig.

 

If you have a very small iPod (say 8Gig Nano or less) consider selecting "ACC" then "Custom" then scroll down to 320kps and check the VBR box. This will give you very acceptable sound quality but most on this web site would argue not audiophile quality. Each CD will occupy around 10% of 1Gig.

 

On the same page change the drop down alongside "When you insert a CD" to "Import CD and Eject" as this will save time and angst as the CD will automatically begin ripping when inserted and eject when finished allowing you to work or listen to music while you rip.

 

Make sure you are connected to the internet as iTunes will automatically add the track names, album and artists. Now put a CD into the drive of your computer and it will rip and eject automatically.

 

When you have done several CDs connect your iPod and a separate window pane will open. Name your iPod and select automatic sync. If your library of CDs exceeds the capacity of your iPod you will have to select custom sync and then nominate artists or albums or playlists under "music" to copy.

 

Under iTunes preferfences / playback uncheck the first three boxes for playing the music on the computer and keep unchecked the equaliser and sound check on the iPod.

 

Purchase a good pair of headphones from a manufacturer such as Sennheisser and throw away the apple headphones. Minimum quality would be;

 

in ear - model CX 300-II or similar US$50

over ear - model PX 300 or similar US$80

 

Purchase the book "Itunes and iPods for Dummies" for a more thorough explanation of the above or simply refer to the help menu.

 

Hope this helps get you started on the right track.

 

 

 

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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Since you want to keep each whole performance together, don't set iTunes to rip on the insertion of the CD. Instead, and I don't recall the exact caption, have it rip only when instructed. When you insert the CD, the songs list will appear; select all the tracks and go into the iTunes-Advanced menu and check the "join tracks" item; this will keep your whole performance as one selection in iTunes. I use this for classical ripping and its completely effective.

 

MBP13-128gb ssd using VoiceOver to hear the screen, iTunes, Ayre QB-9, McIntosh mx119 & mc207, Thiel CS2.4

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Ajax, thanks much for the great help. I do use itunes to rip and this is how the original mp3s were loaded, so I plan to replace these. Since this is a dedicated 80 GB ipod, there is plenty of capacity for the discs I plan to rip. When researching the process through the forum entries, the old posts suggested that using some of the lossless encoders with Windows resulted in loss of tags/metadata, requiring third party software to recapture. It was at this point that I lacked sufficient information to know whether I needed this additional step, or whether I could just rerip directly to itunes>ipod using ALAC or AIFF and still have disc and track names.

Once I have my discs ripped to lossless, is there a disadvantage to playback in this form on the ipod, other than size. I do listen with high quality headphones.

 

Thanks Rayhil also. One additional query. Does this process also work to join tracks on multiple cds? Most of the operas are 2-3 disc sets that I want to play together.

 

Thanks again Ajax/Rayhil for the help.

 

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In iTunes, select the contents of the first disk, right click and "Get Info" and make sure the data "1" of is correct for the first disc.

 

Repeat with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.

 

Now select the contents of all the disks, right click and choose "Get Info" again and change the Album title so they are all the same. Now all the disks should be listed together.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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In my experience there is no need to worry about loosing your data when ripping in either ALAC or AIFF.

 

I have ripped CDs in iTunes using both formats and have then played them on window based players such as Media Monkey and J.River Music Centre with the album name, artists track info etc all showing correctly.

 

Having said that considering your 80 Gig ipod will hold around 160 albums in AIFF I would go with this format as it is easier to use other players should you wish to in the future and get bit perfect playback. You can do it using downloaded plug ins with ALAC but you really don't want to go there if you don't have to.

 

If / when your library exceeds 160 CDs simply use the custom sync facility on the ipod window within itunes and just select different albums or playlists over time.

 

The dummies book I mentioned previously is well written and a really good source of info.

 

Good Luck.

 

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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Ajax,

thanks again for the great advice. Could I also ask a followup? If I rip in AIFF, can I later download to my ipod in lower fidelity while preserving the AIFF files, and what lower file size encoding would you recommend for the ipod for best replay in good earphones?

Greatly appreciate your input.

bguil

 

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Yes Ajax ...

 

You can rip in AIFF now, then later compress the files (either lossy or lossless) to go on your iPod keeping the original files - the only issue is managing the two sets of files.

 

ALAC or high bit rate AAC (320k) both work well weather you'll notice the difference depends on the quality of your headphones.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Hi Chris,

 

"Do both AIFF and ALAC play well on the ipod...?"

 

I'm not Eloise but I can say I do all my rips to AIF and they work just fine on my iPod, while preserving the full fidelity of the original (something I do not hear from the so-called "lossless" formats).

 

Best regards,

Barry

www.soundkeeperrecordings.com

www.barrydiamentaudio.com

 

 

 

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Hi Bguil,

 

One last word. If you are not a computer geek, and have no desire to become an expert in computer audiophile, then "Keep It Simple Stupid" should be your mantra.

 

There is a very easy way within iTunes of ripping to lossless (AIFF & ALAC) and then converting to lossy (320), however, as pointed out above you will end up with two sets of files and you will also be reducing the sound quality. You can deal with the two files in many ways e.g.

 

1. by having two accounts in windows on your computer and running two itunes libraries

2. using a smart playlist that will only show files at 320 and then sync only this list to your ipod

 

However, you can get into a real mess and anyway what's the point? In your orignal post you asked "In 2010, what encoding do you recommend for Windows OS if tags are necessary or unnecessary, assuming almost unlimited storage on the ipod and music quality foremost?"

 

The answer is rip once to lossless (AIFF or ALAC) and then use the flexibility of playlists, albums, artists to manage your ipod if your itunes library exceeds its capacity. I explained how to do this above in my original post. You will get an excellent sound with no hassles. Also BACKUP religiously.

 

Using ALAC you will get in excess of 200 CDs onto your 80 Gig ipod and when your iTunes library exceed this number just change your music around every 3 months (say). If you don't want to do this then get an ipod classic which has 160 Gig capacity and will hold nearly 500 albums.

 

The Dummies book is great for all this stuff and will show you how to set up your playlists and manage your iPod.

 

All the best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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Thanks Ajax

My computer geekness is more toward imaging than music. All of the info received is of great help in trying to understand this different arena. My 80 GB ipod is adequate for my opera needs and I will use either ALAC or AIFF to put them in, per your suggestion, keeping only the hi res files. I think this will be a big improvement compared to the MP3s I started with.

Thanks again for taking the time

bguil

 

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As a slight aside, I just bought a new ipod, an upgrade to the 160g Classic so that I could load more, and especially higher bitrate files.

 

I've been ripping via dbpoweramp simultaneously to AIFF and ALAC, one for home listening and the other for the ipod.

 

I find the menus to be sluggish in the ipod when loaded up with ALAC, this in comparison to previously being loaded with 320kbs files. Anyone else find this and is it any better loaded with AIFF? I wonder if the compression/decompression of ALAC slows the ipod down a bit, or is it just the large files.

 

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Hi Bguil,

 

I have been thinking about your journey into the world of HiFi computer generated music and I felt that there is one more step worth taking.... by adding album covers to your music collection as follows.

 

1 Set up a good way to view your collection by going to "View" and selecting "show column browser" and then also within "View" select "column browser" and check " genre, artist, album, on top".

 

2 Rip around 15 to 20 CDs (say) into iTunes at a time and keep the CD cases nearby for reference.

Select one album at a time using the search facility (search on artist and then choose the individual album) in the top right hand corner of iTunes and then highlight only the one particular album’s tracks using the shift key or the “select all” from the Edit drop down menu

 

3 Right click on highlighted track list and select “Get Info” and a pop up will open.

 

4 Now go to the Google home page in internet explorer and click on “images”, which is highlighted in blue in top left hand corner.

 

5 Type in the artist and album name .. usually an automatic drop down list opens and you can just select the correct one or simply press enter

 

6 Click on an image between around 300 x 300 to 800 x 800 in size .... try not use less than 300 x 300

 

7 Click again on “see full size image” and then right click on the full size image and select copy

 

8 Go Back to Itunes and left click on the “Artwork” box and then right click and select paste and press OK

 

This all sounds like a lot of work but actually takes less than one minute to add a cover. The 3 boxes next to the search facility at the top RHS of the iTunes window allows you to search your music using album covers and it is really neat.

 

FYI following are some really interesting links on how to get the most out of your computer for free – just copy the links into your browsers

 

How to set up your computer properly –

 

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/wiki/index.php/Computer_Audio_Playback_-_Setup_Guide#Some_general_guidelines_for_configuring_a_computer_for_better_audio_performance

 

 

Why we need to use Lossless coding for hifi although 320kps ACC is OK for ipods

 

http://stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/

 

Read on how in the future by using our computers, and not CD players, we will get much superior quality than CD by downloading the original high resolution mastered digital files straight from the recording studios' computers hard drives with 24bit word length sampled 96,000 times per second (or more) compared to CD which is just 16 bit word lengths sampled 44,100 times per second. You CAN hear the difference .. much more natural sounding. When you open this link page down the RHS and read the article “The definitive guide to 24-bit FLAC”. FLAC is the windows codec equivalent of Apple Lossless although iTunes can’t read it, however, you can convert it to ALAC using a free software package called dBpoweramp Batch Converter. For $50 per annum you can get around 20 albums of this site of new artists... some of whom are awesome.

 

http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/display.aspx?terid=3554&infid=3550

 

Why we need to use a good DAC (digital to analogue converter) that samples correctly. This is for home use via your computer. I use a benchmark DAC1 HDR played through ADAM A7 studio monitors speakers. Hassle free and amazing sound.

 

http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/KB/BitPerfectJitter.htm

 

 

 

Cutting through the Audiophile Bull Shit

 

 

 

 

Understanding acoustics

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustics

 

 

 

How to set up a listening room – why room acoustics is so important

 

 

http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

 

 

The 500 greatest albums of all time by rolling stone magazine

 

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5938174/the_rs_500_greatest_albums_of_all_time/

 

This should keeep you out of trouble for a while.

 

All said and done this site, computer audiophile, has been by far and above the best source of information that I have found. Chris has demonstrated time and again that he is a no bullshit sincere individual with exceptional knowledge. We are all very lucky that he has had the courage and vision to put all this together.

 

I hope you enjoy the journey and have as much fun as I have.

 

 

 

 

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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Ajax,

Many thanks for this info. I still have a ways to go with all this, but your help and others is invaluable to sort out the technical steps. Can't thank you enough for taking the time and sharing your expertise.

bguil

 

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