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iPod conversion questions, normalizing, file structure etc.
thomasmarup
post Nov 3 2006, 12:01
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Hi all
I have tried searching, but couldnt find consistent answers to my problems:
I have an iaudio m3 with 40gb, which is running out of space, even though I have encoded in vorbis at faily low bitrates for my m3. Im considering buying an ipod with 80gb, as it now is gapless. I therefore have some question:

1. I have all my music in flac, on seperate drive, in a structure like this: artist\album\# - songname. furthermore these files are not tagged or anything(these flacs are coded to vorbis for portable, and iaudio m3 just use the filenames and library structure). Is Ipod capable of storing files in this structure (mp3's), without any tags, and does that make for convenient song browsing on the unit?

2. Ill need to re-encode all my flacs to mp3 :-( because of ipod. And need a specific lame frontend(or script) which can convert my whole .flac library, to an mp3 library with exactly the same structure(eventually adding tags as well, based on the file-tree(only if Ipod needs tags will this be neccessary))

3. All my flacs have album replaygain tags. Since I believe Ipod support some kind of normalizing, like replaygain, I wonder if these replaygain tags can be converted to Ipod tags. If not, would I just let itunes compute and write the info to the mp3 files(which would make ipod lower volume in certain songs). Furthermore, can itunes distinguish between my albums, when they are arranged in the aforementioned structure? (I need normalizing with respect to albums, as I want the intended dynamics between songs)

4. This is a lame question, but I think that my m3 sounds very good when hooked to my stereo. Is the Ipod equalized to sound well on a stereo(I know this is subjective and all). I will be running without any signal processing on the Ipod(whatever there is, no dynamic bass boosts for me!). But abit of equalizing could ofcourse be done(even though that is processing as well).

Hope some of you will reply, as I know these kind of questions are trivial and asked alot

Thanks in advance, Thomas

This post has been edited by thomasmarup: Nov 3 2006, 12:50
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Sebastian Mares
post Nov 3 2006, 12:35
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You can use foobar2000 to convert from FLAC to MP3 - it should handle this pretty well since I do stuff like this pretty often.

If you want to write tags based on the directory stucture and filename, use Mp3tag.


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Maurits
post Nov 3 2006, 13:19
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The iPod is completely and only dependent on ID3 tags (or m4a tags when using AAC instead of MP3). It may be hard for you if you come from a 'no tag world' but it is the main reason iPods are so easy to use and you'll very likely love the iPod for it after a while. The app Sebastian recommended will make the step a lot easier though.

This post has been edited by Maurits: Nov 3 2006, 13:20
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chrisgeleven
post Nov 3 2006, 13:53
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QUOTE (thomasmarup @ Nov 3 2006, 07:01) *
3. All my flacs have album replaygain tags. Since I believe Ipod support some kind of normalizing, like replaygain, I wonder if these replaygain tags can be converted to Ipod tags. If not, would I just let itunes compute and write the info to the mp3 files(which would make ipod lower volume in certain songs). Furthermore, can itunes distinguish between my albums, when they are arranged in the aforementioned structure? (I need normalizing with respect to albums, as I want the intended dynamics between songs)


iPod's do not have album ReplayGain. It's Sound Check feature is very similar to track ReplayGain, but it isn't as accurate. For most stuff it works fine, but occasionally you find a song that is too loud or quiet.

One way around this is by using mp3gain in album mode on your MP3's. Then you can turn on SoundCheck if you are listening on shuffle and turn it off when you are listening to albums.


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iPhone 4 32GB
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thomasmarup
post Nov 3 2006, 14:15
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thanks for the replies
QUOTE
One way around this is by using mp3gain in album mode on your MP3's. Then you can turn on SoundCheck if you are listening on shuffle and turn it off when you are listening to albums.

Do Mp3gain apply gain based on the directory structure, or based on the tags in the files themself. what I mean is, that I want to import only my music directory(with subdirectory artist\album\) and want to have each album computed separately, without having to import every single album in mp3gain
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Sebastian Mares
post Nov 3 2006, 14:25
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foobar2000 can do it directory based AFAIK.


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kanak
post Nov 3 2006, 14:26
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I too am planning to buy an 80 G Ipod, and have a few similar questions:

0. Syncing the iPod- Do i have to use itunes?
I love foobar and it's the only audio related program i have and it handles all my needs. I don't want to install that bloatware itunes just for ipod support. Can anyone who owns a 5.5G ipod tell me well foo_dop works? Also, does anyone have an experience with "other" programs like Media Monkey?

1. Album Art
Right now i have a "folder.jpg" file in every folder which is the album art. I guess i have to embed this into every file so that the display pic is shown when i play the song in ipod right? (Please correct me if i am wrong). Can Foobar do this? MP3 Tag? Media Monkey? (I'd like to avoid itunes as far as possible).

2. Tag Standards
I am currently tagging with APEv2 + ID3v1. I'm guessing i have to move to ID3v2, though i don't know which version. Is it 2.3?

3. Replay Gain/ Rockbox
All my files have Replaygain scanned into them. How long will it take to add soundcheck (we're talking about 12-13,000 MP3 files). Will it be easier to just use Rockbox instead? I'm currently wary against rockbox because i don't want to sacrifice battery life (something that matters a lot) for support for multiple formats (something i don't need because all my files are in MP3).


and one totally unrelated question pertaining to the ipod: i heard my friends mention that ipod tracks the times a song has been played (on the device) is that true?

This post has been edited by kanak: Nov 3 2006, 14:27
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thomasmarup
post Nov 3 2006, 14:41
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QUOTE
foobar2000 can do it directory based AFAIK.

OK, you mean the "Apply album ReplayGain to MP3 Data" option in the replaygain menu, when rightclicking tracks. I get the warning that it will irreversibly alter my mp3 files. But I thought that MP3gain were completely lossless, so this is not the same as what MP3gain does?
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kornchild2002
post Nov 3 2006, 15:17
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thomasmarup, here are the answer to the questions that I know:
1. As previously stated, the iPod needs ID tags to properly organize its music. If not, everything will some up as a blank artist name and a blank album name thus lumping your entire music collection. It will be a pain, but your music will need to be properly tagged.

4. As you stated, this is subjective. I think the iPod has pretty good audio processing when it is hooked up to my Logitech Z-680 system or when running through the iPod Hi-Fi system. It also has decent audio quality when hooked up to my car CD deck via a aux connection. However, that quality is not as good as my car CD deck directly playing the mp3 CDs.

Kanak,
0. foo_dop (or foo_pod, I can't remember) will work but you will not get gapless support for the iPod. Additionally, I don't think it can sync videos or photos to the 5G/5.5G iPods. You don't have to use iTunes, there are plenty of other free programs to sync music to your iPod. Granted, they might not have the syncing features that iTunes has but there are free alternatives to iTunes.

1. I don't know about those other programs but iTunes can do it. I know that is not the answer you wanted to hear.

2. Both iTunes and the iPod support ID3 tags version 1.1 and above so you don't necessarily need to convert your ID tags. I use 2.3 for all my mp3's though but I have a few 1.1 mp3s.

3. This will take an extremely long time unless there is some program out there that will convert you Replaygain information to Sound Check information.

4. The iPod and iTunes track how many times a song has been played. That way, you can setup iTunes to sync music (movies, or TV shows as well) to your iPod that has never been played before. You can also setup iTunes to make a smart playlist that will put songs in that playlist that are played constantly, played normally, or songs that haven't been played at all (or a mixture).
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Maurits
post Nov 3 2006, 15:26
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QUOTE (kanak @ Nov 3 2006, 14:26) *
I too am planning to buy an 80 G Ipod, and have a few similar questions:

0. Syncing the iPod- Do i have to use itunes?

There are quite a number of programs that can sync with an iPod. You might try Winamp as well. I have no experience with Winamp or Foobar for iPod sync though because I personally only use iTunes and YamiPod.

QUOTE
2. Tag Standards
I am currently tagging with APEv2 + ID3v1. I'm guessing i have to move to ID3v2, though i don't know which version. Is it 2.3?

iTunes supports reading ID3v1.1 and ID3v2.1 to ID3v2.4 (although ID3v2.4 is slightly buggy in the Windows version). Strictly speaking the iPod doesn't really care about tags, it is iTunes (or Winamp, YamiPod, Foobar etc.) that needs to support a tagging format. The program will write the metadata to the database on the iPod. I suppose Foobar will read APEv2 and can write it into iPods, not quite sure but it makes sense. Try that before you start converting all your tags.

QUOTE
and one totally unrelated question pertaining to the ipod: i heard my friends mention that ipod tracks the times a song has been played (on the device) is that true?
The iPod stores things like rating, last time played and number of times played in its database. If you would like to use this information you'll need a program or plugin that supports displaying this info, I'm not sure they all do.

This post has been edited by Maurits: Nov 3 2006, 15:30
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kanak
post Nov 3 2006, 15:32
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Maurits and kornchild thanks for your replies.

about the ipod tracking playcount, i meant something like this:

let's say i'm listening to a song that hasn't been played on my computer on my ipod. does the ipod store somewhere that the file has been played so that when i sync to the computer, itunes knows that i've played the song on my ipod?

This post has been edited by kanak: Nov 3 2006, 15:33
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JeanLuc
post Nov 3 2006, 16:29
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QUOTE (kanak @ Nov 3 2006, 14:26) *
1. Album Art
Right now i have a "folder.jpg" file in every folder which is the album art. I guess i have to embed this into every file so that the display pic is shown when i play the song in ipod right? (Please correct me if i am wrong). Can Foobar do this? MP3 Tag? Media Monkey? (I'd like to avoid itunes as far as possible).


MP3Tag will perform this task automatically once you told the program what to look for ...

Use Alt+5, create a new action named "embed artwork" and select "add cover from file" with the string "folder.jpg" ... you then can select multiple files that will be tagged with the appropriate folder.jpg


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chrisgeleven
post Nov 3 2006, 18:26
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QUOTE (kanak @ Nov 3 2006, 10:32) *
Maurits and kornchild thanks for your replies.

about the ipod tracking playcount, i meant something like this:

let's say i'm listening to a song that hasn't been played on my computer on my ipod. does the ipod store somewhere that the file has been played so that when i sync to the computer, itunes knows that i've played the song on my ipod?


Yes. What I do is I have a Smart Playlist on iTunes that tracks all songs with a 3-star rating or higher, which haven't been played in the last 14 days. I have that smart playlist sync with my iPod. So everytime sync my iPod, it compares the last played times and removes any songs that I played on iTunes or the iPod, then puts on new songs.

So say I listen to 10-20 songs during my work commute on my iPod. When I get home, I plug in the iPod and it automatically syncs with iTunes, removing those songs I listened to and puts on new songs that fit the criteria of the smart playlist. It also removes any songs I listened to on my computer.

To me, that is the best thing about iPod's and iTunes. Smart Playlists are amazing.


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iPhone 4 32GB
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kanak
post Nov 3 2006, 19:29
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So where does the ipod store the playcount information? does it write tags or store it in the database? In any case, is foo_dop able to access that information? The main thing i'm concerned with is if i can do in foobar what you're doing with itunes (having the playcount synced)-- if it's stored in a tag or something, i can prolly write a masstagger script to add it but if it's in the database, then that'd be something entirely different.

So in any case, whether i use itunes, or foobar or any other program, i will have to embed the album art into the file right?
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thomasmarup
post Nov 4 2006, 00:25
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OK, luckily mp3gain seem to interpret each subfolder as a seperate album and is therefore very usable on converting a large collection of albums.
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chrisgeleven
post Nov 4 2006, 03:06
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QUOTE (kanak @ Nov 3 2006, 14:29) *
So where does the ipod store the playcount information? does it write tags or store it in the database? In any case, is foo_dop able to access that information? The main thing i'm concerned with is if i can do in foobar what you're doing with itunes (having the playcount synced)-- if it's stored in a tag or something, i can prolly write a masstagger script to add it but if it's in the database, then that'd be something entirely different.

So in any case, whether i use itunes, or foobar or any other program, i will have to embed the album art into the file right?


iPod's use a database to write all of this information. I have no idea if foobar is able to use stuff like last played and play count while keeping it all synced. As far as I know, iTunes is the only application that can expose the benefits of the iPod database to its fullest. This allows you to do some amazing things with Smart Playlists.

As for album art, the latest iTunes (version 7) will automatically download album art for most music (and keep it separate from the file) if you create a free iTunes Music Store account.

If you don't do that, you have to embed the album art into the file manually.


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iPhone 4 32GB
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singaiya
post Nov 4 2006, 04:17
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QUOTE (chrisgeleven @ Nov 3 2006, 18:06) *
As for album art, the latest iTunes (version 7) will automatically download album art for most music (and keep it separate from the file) if you create a free iTunes Music Store account.

If you don't do that, you have to embed the album art into the file manually.


Note that the itunes account registration requires you to enter a credit card #. Even if you aren't buying anything, just to open an account to use this feature. For me, that doesn't work.
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