iTunes & iPods tips, tricks, and embracing the love

Discussion in 'Computers' started by DaveF, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Despite the grumbles about iTunes, this is the program that most of us must use with the iPods that most of us have (if we have a digital music player). So I thought it would be useful to have a thread to share useful tips & tricks for iTunes, our iPods, and maybe helping each other work through some of the frustrations with their quirks.

    My biggest revelation was that Playlists are central to managing content on my iPod, having more music than space.

    That then resolved my frustration with the iPod lacking a means to randomize a playlist. I found it was done by randomizing the playlist within iTunes; the random order is preserved on synch in the iPod. If I get tired of that order, hit the random button again in iTunes on it's updated on the next synch.
     
  2. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    any advice on using nested smart playlists? or what the benefit is? i use my (60 GB) ipod as a jukebox, and i manually manage the music that is on it, so everything that is in my music folder is synched with the ipod, and the folder is never larger than ~55.9 GB, the actual capacity. what can i do with nested smart playlists?

    CJ
     
  3. Bob_Chase

    Bob_Chase Stunt Coordinator

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    The Smartplaylists were a godsend once I figured out what they do. Right now I'm using them mostly for artists, but I've also set a few up for genres (holiday, classical, etc.)

    For those of you that don't know how it works, for example, I have a Radiohead smartplaylist. Whenever I add any new Radiohead material to my library iTunes automagically puts it into that playlist. I then just drag that playlist onto my iPod and voila!

    I've also heard of some individuals setting up playlists by keyword. For example, "rain". Any song with the word "rain" in the title gets added to the playlist.
     
  4. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i use smart playlists to listen to 4 and 5 star songs, when i rate them. i spent a rainy afternoon rating songs one time, but they all got erased somehow, and i never bothered to do it again.

    CJ
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've never tried that, and I'm curious as well to hear from those who have.

    I still need to figure out how to get my nano to delete files to be removed before it tries to add new files into the system. I often have to manually intervene when updating PodCasts.
     
  6. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    My biggest problem with doing something like that is inaccuracy of the CDDB Genre data. Especially with classical music and opera. Indeed I am hard pressed to remember an opera CD that came up as "Opera" -- instead I've seen absurdities like "Dance and Electronica."

    Yes, I know I should fix it all manually, but for ~1000 CDs it is pain in the neck. Apple should buy CDDB the way Amazon bought the IMDB and fix the data.
     
  7. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i don't use the genre tag at all for music. it's hard enough determining classifications for most stuff, so i just leave it blank.

    CJ
     
  8. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Question: How do you avoid duplicate songs? This a big problem with compilations, soundtrack albums, etc. I want to preserve the integrity of the albums, but I don't want 4 copies of the same song residing on my iPod.

    The one way I can see is to replace all albums containing duplicates with playlists, and keep just one copy of the song for all "album" playlists. That will work, but seems pretty cumbersome. I wish iTunes would have some automatic feature to handle that.

    I do have to say that iTunes 7 is a HUGE improvement in its iPod organization ability -- I was able to free up 1.5GB of space very easily, so I could update my jam-packed iPod for the first time in months.

    Ted
     
  9. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    what allowed you to free up the space?

    CJ
     
  10. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Re: Keeping garbage CDDB tag info out of your database.

    As mentioned above, the GraceNote/CDBB info that iTunes looks up when you stick a CD in is riddled with errors. I find the easiest way to keep a clean database is to fix the tags before you even rip the disc.

    To do this, you must first change the action iTunes takes when a CD is inserted. The default is to automatically import the disc. The problem with automatic import is the bad info is automatically put into your database as well. Go to Preferences/Advanced/Importing, and change the action for "On CD Insert" to "Show CD".

    Now, when you put in a CD, iTunes will look up the info at CDDB, the CD will apper in the Source list on the left - and that's it. At this point, you can right-click on the CD title in the Source list, and change a number of fields on an album basis. Album, artist, year, genre, and compilation setting are all here (it's amazing to me how many albums are incorrectly tagged as Compilations when they're not). When you're done, click OK, and the click the Import button at the lower right.

    I really have found this the quickest way to fix the tags. This is the only place in iTunes when you can truly edit tags on an Album basis - once the music is in your library, you have to multi-select all the tracks in an album to do this, which is tedious.

    Hope this tip helps somebody.
     
  11. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I do the same thing, but using a different method than Craig outlines above. Instead of using iTunes to rip my CD's, I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) with an external LAME encoder. The resulting MP3 encodes are much better quality than iTunes can create. I prefer MP3 over AAC for greater compatibility.

    I can edit the major tag information in EAC before ripping, then import the encoded files into iTunes, where I then complete the editing and add album cover art.
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    does aac sound better than mp3 at similar bitrates? i could do a test when i get home...i was thinking of converting all my music to lower bitrate aac, to conserve space. if 96 kbps aac sounds the same as 128 kbps mp3, i think i may do it. i also have TONS of adam carolla show/stern/loveline files, most of which are at 32 kbps mp3. could i benefit from going aac?

    CJ
     
  13. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    If you only have access to the MP3 source (and not the original CD's), I would highly advise against re-encoding an already-compressed music file a second time. Lossy compression times two, especially at such a low bit rate, will most likely result in poor audio quality. It certainly will not improve the original lossy MP3 source.
     
  14. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I use the rating system as a method of loading my ipod. Anything 3 stars or higher gets added to a smart playlist that syncs to my ipod (I can only put ~ 1/2 my music on the ipod at any given time). Fixing the id3 tags is not very hard. Select MULTIPLE files and fix all of them at the same time. For example, I like my classical music to follow a particular naming convention (last name, first name). I just select all the songs by that artist (or composer) and change all the composer names to the appropriate format. iTunes also has a neat thing where it auto-fixes any repitition in the artist name (E.G. Queen - Queen). Just select properties and go to the next entry (arrow key in the window)... it will automatically fix the name to "Queen". EAC sometimes causes this and I've found this to be a big help (vs. selecting each song and manually deleting portions of each entry).
     
  15. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    well, these are radio show captures, there are no original CDs. and they are all talk, no music, so the sound quality isn't of great concern. most of them were 64k mp3 originally, and i encoded them to 32k mp3. these shows could easily 40 of my 60 GB ipod at 32k mp3, so i thought if i could reduce that a little with a lower bitrate aac (with even a slight reduction in sound quality), i'd go for it. i wouldnt be so easy to re-encode my music, but i don't mind as much on the speech-only files.
     
  16. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    iTunes 7.01 is out, which is alleged to: Happy downloading.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Since the upgrade to iTunes 7, my 1G nano stutters playing some podcasts. Has anyone experienced this?
     
  18. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    no, but my 5G ipod stuttered during one song, and appeared to want to stutter until i switched to the start of the track, or another track. only happened that once.

    CJ
     

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