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MP3 player - some tips for newbies

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by FBI Warning, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. FBI Warning

    FBI Warning
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    I was given an iRiver 140 for Christmas (I guess MP3 players were the present of the year!). I already had a load of MP3's but thought I'd share some of my tips applicable to all types of players.

    1. Ripping or downloading music. Make sure you select a high bit rate. Personally I can hear the loss of quality in anything less than 190kbs. I chose to rip at 256kbs which isn't the default for most programmes. Searching for music online using Limewire, make sure you choose the higher bit rate files.

    2. Using iTunes. Although iTunes is a useful free programme for sorting the library on your computer, it has two failings. Firstly it uses the redundant v2.2 for ID3 tags which isn't recognised by most tagging software. If using iTunes, select all of the songs in your library, right click and convert ID3 tags to 2.3 or 2.4 before editing them with other programmes. Secondly iTunes doesn't allow you to export playlists in the common m3u format, it uses it's own xml format. To convert xml to m3u, you need to use a utility. As far as I can see there is currently only an online utility here, but nothing available to download yet.

    3. Tag editing and file naming. I had my own method of labelling files and found a very useful programme to strip tag data from the file names and to edit multiple tags etc. It is free to download and is called ID3 Tagit. If you forget to edit your iTunes ripped music and the tags are still in v2.2 mode, then ID3 tagit won't save your changes so make sure that task is done first.

    4. BPM tag. I have a lot of dance music and large 70's disco collection. The BPM tag is useful for my playlists and although much of the music I had timed myself, I wanted to automate this function. I found an excellent utility called The Mixmeister BPM Analyser. Simply open the folder in the BPM programme and tell it to check the BPM of all the files. It will then check the song and automatically add the BPM tag to the file with an amazing accuracy.

    5. Once all my files were sorted, duplicates stripped, BPM and other data added, I used ID3 Tagit to then rename all the files in the format of my choice from the tag data (I use Artist - Title - Year - BPM.mp3) but ID3 Tagit lets you select any format you like.

    For ripping from CD's, there are so many programmes around including WinAmp, Easy CD, Nero, iTunes (with caution above) and Pinnacle MP3 to name a few (I've highlighted the free downloads to save you searching). Just don't forget to set the rip rate to 190 or greater.
     
  2. Dubya

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    That's a lot of useful information for a newbie. However, it's very technical.

    I hope you won't mind if I suggest that it's worth noting that editing of ID3 tag information is usually only required for illegally downloaded music, where the quality of ID3 information depends on the source. Music downloaded from legal sources should be correctly tagged. Meanwhile, music ripped from your own CDs can be tagged correctly and automatically, as any ripping software worth its salt should connect to FreeDB or CDDB via the internet to obtain tags in the ripping process.
     
  3. FBI Warning

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    I'm not condoning illegal downloading but there is quite a lot of rare stuff out there that I simply can't buy. My justification for "stealing" some music is that over the years I have paid the record companies on multiple occasions for the same music, for example I have bought originals of many albums in multiple formats since the early 70's, eg 8 track, cassette, vinyl, CD and recently DVD Audio. As they never offered me a format upgrade price, I got charged for full rights over and over again. I therefore don't mind short changing them once in a while.

    worth noting that editing of ID3 tag information is usually only required for illegally downloaded music

    I haven't found BPM data on the database so need to add that. Secondly, many of the tracks ripped from compilation albums contain the date of the CD release, not the original recording date, so again, I need to edit the tag.

    I'm sorry it appears too technical, the issues were important to me when consolidating my library and I wanted to share my findings of what I found to be the best way.
     
  4. fraggle

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    I'll add another thing.

    I've noticed that the quality of MP3s ripped from original CD using iTunes (set to MP3, 256Kbps VBR, highest quality) is a lot lower than ripping to WAV files and using lame to convert to MP3 (256Kbps VBR, overall quality 2, VBR quality 1).

    Only drawback to this is I haven't found anything under linux to auto add the ID3 tags to the finished MP3s...
     
  5. mick's cat

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    Although it's slightly off topic, there is at least one LAME encoder for the Mac version of iTunes so that you don't have a two-step process like fraggle uses. Thus you can use iTunes to grab the ID tags and encode to mp3 simultaneously. I'm sure there'll be others for Windows too.
     
  6. ipodstudio

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    For CD ripping one of the best programs (and the only one I use) is Exact Audio Copy. It's simple to use and gives you high-quality files... :smashin:
     

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