Oh Apple, why won't you let me use my lossless files in a managable way?
Sep 13, 2008 at 12:34 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

vulc4n

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For a little background, I've been ripping all my music in lossless for years now. In my mind I've more or less perfected the process. I currently have a Windows server that I use DBPA CD Ripper on. It has an amazing ability to fetch accurate metadata and also makes great use of the AccurateRip DB.

Now, at the beginning of the summer I officially switched over to using OS X as my primary OS. It took me a little while to get used to using iTunes, but eventually I did. Granted, iTunes in OS X is much nicer than it is in Windows (imo).

Now, the problem comes when I want to start using lossless files in iTunes. Okay, so I can't use my FLAC files... I can live with that. The real problem comes in when I try to use a large library of lossless files with an iPod/iPhone. Apple provides to way to automatically transcode files to a losssy format to put on my portable player. To accomplish this I have to maintain two entirely separate itunes libraries. Admittedly, this is possible but it is nothing less than a royal pain in the %^&.

I was hoping iTunes 8 might address this problem, but alas it has not. This is a feature that every other good media management program has... Hell, the fundamentals of what needs to be done for this to work are already there for the iPod Shuffle players. They just need to implement a file cache so that syncing a larger player is actually bearable.

Anyway... I will continue to make do with my single library of MP3's until something does happen.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to vent my frustration.
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Sep 13, 2008 at 1:29 AM Post #2 of 13

velingara

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Cant you just have two playlists- a low bitrate that you use with your portables and lossless for home use? Thats what I do.
 
Sep 13, 2008 at 1:57 AM Post #3 of 13
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I feel for you, I have had the same issue, and have maintained 2 versions of all my songs. One nice thing is you can make a playlist for lossless and one for lossy, and then use the browser (genre, artist, album filter at top) with that playlist selected, which gives you the ability to view only lossless or only lossy as if it were the only music you had. However, when changing ratings, etc, you have to do it twice.

The shuffle allows you to convert on the fly because the sound chip they use for that is different from all other iPods, and allows hardware conversion of the bit rate. That's why I'm hoping Toshiba's new 240GB drive (out this holiday season) will fit in my iMod...that would mean no more need for the lossy copy of music! Ideally, Apple would enable this feature for iTunes, but I fear we lossless fanatics are a very small percentage of their customers.
 
Sep 13, 2008 at 6:59 AM Post #4 of 13

krmathis

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Let me see..
1. You can indeed use FLAC in iTunes. Ex. using Fluke.
2. Instead of managing two separate iTunes Libraries, why don't you simply use two Smart Playlists? One for Apple Lossless, and one for MP3.

I agree that they should have a built in transcoder for use when syncing to iPod/iPhone. Allowing us to keep Apple Lossless in iTunes, but sync AAC or MP3 to an iPod/iPhone.
 
Sep 13, 2008 at 8:21 AM Post #6 of 13

Agnostic

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Quote:

Originally Posted by n3rdling /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Is there a way in windows? Couldn't somebody hook it like the multiplugin to support FLAC?


Get J.River. Has all the features of Itunes and more and encodes to ipod on the fly.
 
Sep 13, 2008 at 9:01 AM Post #7 of 13

blessingx

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There are Applescripts which transcode, move to iPod and delete from computer. Course you need OS X.

Honestly though I never got this complaint. It takes time to transcode. Isn't it better to just do a batch, move then delete? Waiting to transcode and sync takes too much time anyway.
 
Sep 13, 2008 at 9:40 PM Post #8 of 13

vulc4n

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I think some of you guys missed my main point. Maintaining a lossy copy and a lossless copy of my files is a real pain. Any tagging changes have to bade twice and in general it just makes using iTunes harder than it should be. I don't want to have to deal with two copies of everything when I'm browsing the music library.

Quote:

Originally Posted by blessingx /img/forum/go_quote.gif
There are Applescripts which transcode, move to iPod and delete from computer. Course you need OS X.

Honestly though I never got this complaint. It takes time to transcode. Isn't it better to just do a batch, move then delete? Waiting to transcode and sync takes too much time anyway.



If I use the applescript method, any rating changes I make on the iPod are not synced back. Furthermore this turns changing whats on my iphone from automatic to a real pain.

As far as transcoding go, if done correctly it should have little effect on syncing. IE: There needs to be a cache of transcoded files.

Even if I did have to wait, I wouldn't care. I've used this method on every MP3 player I have ever had for years now.

Quote:

Originally Posted by krmathis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Let me see..
1. You can indeed use FLAC in iTunes. Ex. using Fluke.
2. Instead of managing two separate iTunes Libraries, why don't you simply use two Smart Playlists? One for Apple Lossless, and one for MP3.

I agree that they should have a built in transcoder for use when syncing to iPod/iPhone. Allowing us to keep Apple Lossless in iTunes, but sync AAC or MP3 to an iPod/iPhone.



I've tried several ways... None of the ways I tried actually made FLAC files work in iTunes as if they were native files. I couldn't make tagging changes or anything. Correct me if I'm wrong, but thats just not possible currently.

I realize I can make use of smart playlists, but I still have to maintain two sets of files and propagating any tagging changes between those two is not fun...
 
Sep 14, 2008 at 7:53 AM Post #9 of 13

krmathis

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vulc4n /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've tried several ways... None of the ways I tried actually made FLAC files work in iTunes as if they were native files. I couldn't make tagging changes or anything. Correct me if I'm wrong, but thats just not possible currently.


That may be right.
Fluke allow iTunes to play FLAC files, but afaik it don't allow you to write back to the FLAC files (aka. no metatag editing).
 
Sep 14, 2008 at 8:58 PM Post #10 of 13

burnspbesq

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vulc4n /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think some of you guys missed my main point. Maintaining a lossy copy and a lossless copy of my files is a real pain. Any tagging changes have to bade twice and in general it just makes using iTunes harder than it should be. I don't want to have to deal with two copies of everything when I'm browsing the music library.


If I use the applescript method, any rating changes I make on the iPod are not synced back. Furthermore this turns changing whats on my iphone from automatic to a real pain.

As far as transcoding go, if done correctly it should have little effect on syncing. IE: There needs to be a cache of transcoded files.

Even if I did have to wait, I wouldn't care. I've used this method on every MP3 player I have ever had for years now.



I've tried several ways... None of the ways I tried actually made FLAC files work in iTunes as if they were native files. I couldn't make tagging changes or anything. Correct me if I'm wrong, but thats just not possible currently.

I realize I can make use of smart playlists, but I still have to maintain two sets of files and propagating any tagging changes between those two is not fun...



Why are you insistent on keeping FLAC files? Why not use Switch or Max to convert FLAC to AIFF? Max will automatically add the newly-created AIFF files to your iTunes library, and you can then use the "convert selection to" command on the Advanced menu to create lossless, aac, or mp3 files.

For me, I've standardized on Apple Lossless, and just accepted that I can't carry as much music on my portable players.
 
Sep 14, 2008 at 9:03 PM Post #11 of 13

Pangaea

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Quote:

Originally Posted by matt8268 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I feel for you, I have had the same issue, and have maintained 2 versions of all my songs. One nice thing is you can make a playlist for lossless and one for lossy, and then use the browser (genre, artist, album filter at top) with that playlist selected, which gives you the ability to view only lossless or only lossy as if it were the only music you had. However, when changing ratings, etc, you have to do it twice.

The shuffle allows you to convert on the fly because the sound chip they use for that is different from all other iPods, and allows hardware conversion of the bit rate. That's why I'm hoping Toshiba's new 240GB drive (out this holiday season) will fit in my iMod...that would mean no more need for the lossy copy of music! Ideally, Apple would enable this feature for iTunes, but I fear we lossless fanatics are a very small percentage of their customers.



I have always been curious about this feature. So if I click this option for my shuffle and I put a Lossless track on there it downgrades the bitrate but just on the shuffle? Or does it also add the lossy version to my itunes library? What I don't want is a bunch of random losssy tracks showing up on my computer,
 
Sep 14, 2008 at 11:38 PM Post #12 of 13

vulc4n

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Quote:

Originally Posted by burnspbesq /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Why are you insistent on keeping FLAC files? Why not use Switch or Max to convert FLAC to AIFF? Max will automatically add the newly-created AIFF files to your iTunes library, and you can then use the "convert selection to" command on the Advanced menu to create lossless, aac, or mp3 files.

For me, I've standardized on Apple Lossless, and just accepted that I can't carry as much music on my portable players.



Well, FLAC is the most well supported lossless compression around. Even if I were to use ALAC on my main system I would surely keep a FLAC archive on my server just because it is much more widely supported. If I could work out a way to use FLAC with some sort of FUSE plugin and still be able to sync my iPhone that would be ideal. Unfortunately I don't ever see that happening with iTunes.

I'm a long time windows user that just switched to OS X this past summer. Its been a back and forth thing, but now I have seriously settled in with OS X. I stopped using iTunes on Windows a good while ago not just over performance issues, but because of its limited library management and organization features. Unfortunately there are no viable alternatives... And with the very tight integration of iPhone / itunes I don't think there will be in my case.

Also, thought of another iTunes thing that has been bugging me...

The fact it still does not support any sort of delimited listing for genre and other fields. If I use tags the way I have in the past it results in usability issues in iTunes and my iPhone... If I just remove the information, well quite clearly its no longer there for me to make use of.

iTunes has a lot of things going for it, but it really fails as a library management tool imo. The sad thing is that it could be really really good with just a few relatively minor changes.

I was hoping that iPhone 2.1 software would make browse by artist work like it does now in iTunes 8. IE: It does an 'includes' search instead of hard matching... This means that when I tag guest artists in the track artist tag I can still use the artist browser properly.

Really the only fix to these last issue is to make all the track artists match. If I do that, whats the point of even having an album artist field?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pangaea /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have always been curious about this feature. So if I click this option for my shuffle and I put a Lossless track on there it downgrades the bitrate but just on the shuffle? Or does it also add the lossy version to my itunes library? What I don't want is a bunch of random losssy tracks showing up on my computer,


I've never had a shuffle, but the lossy files that are created shoudl not be added to your library. As I understand it they are not cached in any way.
 
Sep 15, 2008 at 1:15 AM Post #13 of 13

monolith

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I used to just use Apple Lossless, but that's a pain in the ass for dealing with high quality torrent sites that demand perfect EAC rips and such.

I've taken to ripping a proper FLAC rip and keeping it, then re-encoding to V0. iTunes simply can't see the FLAC files, so the only stuff it uses are the mp3s, which I use for my iPods.

For listening at home I use a proper music player instead of iTunes (Winamp), and there I use the FLACs.
 

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