Hi everyone, I've perfected a good way to integrate itunes with a nw hd5. To those who are new to mp3, itunes is the software that apple developed for the ipod. The ipod has been criticzed recently because of its sound quality and battery life, but it is generally agreed that itunes is a intuitive and very powerful software and is very easy to use. The NW HD5 on the other hands seems to win hardware wise, but the software is a bit awkward to use. So how can you get the best of both worlds? Well, i recently discovered that it is a simple case of drag and drop to get the two pieces of software to talk to each other. The idea is that you can create, rip, edit, name and sort your music using itunes, then transfer the resultant organised files over to the sonicstage 'My Library'. Heres how I do it. 1. Download itunes from the apple website. Its totally free. You will also be offerd free updates every few months but usually these are just minor updates to ipod drivers, functions and bugs. 2. Import any existing mp3 files you have into itunes. In the preferences menu, you can get Itunes to organise neatly all your files into artist and album folders which look really good on your hard disk. Also you can ask itunes to update these folder and file names when you make changes to names etc. Very smooth. The final thing you can do is when you import a file, it will automatically create a copy of that file and add it to the itunes library, so they are all in one place. You can delete the original file if you wish especially if you have music files scattered all over your hdd. 3. Before ripping cds, you need to go to preferences>importing/ripping and select the encoding you want. You should select mp3 or wav. aac is NOT supported by the hd5. A standard bitrate for most is 128kbps. I use 192 for a bit of extra quality, but it depends on how many cds you have and hard disk space. NEVER go below 128k. it sounds awful. 4. You can use various organisaton features to catalogue your music. Have a play and see what works for you. 5. Now the clever bits. Open sonicstage while itunes is also open. Select all your mp3s on itunes so they are highlighted in blue. Then, point at the highlighted songs and, HOLDING THE LEFT BUTTON DOWN, drag the mouse pointer slowly over to sonicstage's 'My Library' space. The computer will now update sonicstage with all your songs. it may take a moment. 6. Go back to itunes. It would be a good idea to keep track of the songs that have been xported to ss, so now you need to put some kind of label on all those tracks. So, with all the tracks still highlighted, press ctrl i. This is the get info command. A box will pop up with information about the track. select the page with the info about name, album, etc. DO NOT write anything in the artist, track name or album boxes...it will label all your tracks with that if u do. Simply go to the 'comments' box and type something like 'added to sonicstage 19/6/05'. Click ok. It will now label the tracks highlighted (a hence the tracks exported) with added to sonicstage. 7. Your now covered if you subsequently added tracks to itunes, because you can keep track of anything not added yet. Heres another clever tip. Go to FILE menu and 'create smart playlist'. It will then come up with selectable criteria and if any tracks satisfy the criteria they will appear in the playlist. The smart list will also update itself as files change. So if you enter 'Comments do not contain the word sonicstage' and keep live updating ticked, itunes will constantly maintain a list of all the tracks that are not on sonicstage. So as you add tracks with the comment box still blank it will queue them up on the smart list. Then you just need to drap and drop from the playlist to ss, and then label them up as exported, and they will disappear from the list. 8. With your songs in ss, you can then choose to transfer as mp3, or convert to atrac3. In the settings menu of ss, choose 'as is' transfer to have the mp3s directly on the hd5. To convert to atrac, go to advanced setting, and select 'always convert'. select your required bit rate, and tell ss if you want the shadow atrac3 files on your computer as well. its a good idea but if you need the space, you can ask it to keep just the file on your walkman. If you are converting to atrac3, its a good idea to keep the quality of the original file as high as possible. as said before, i use 192kbps with good results. i hope this all makes sense. any q's please ask.