Sounds good?
May 14, 2004 10:11 AM   Subscribe

After reading a bit of the site I'd have to say that his goal is to be as belittling as possible. Or maybe he's trying to be funny. Whatever.

When I rip, I use iTunes. Simple to adjust, I end up with high quality MP3s and less attitude.

Interesting information though.
posted by fenriq at 10:26 AM on May 14, 2004

The LAME encoder does sound better than iTunes' encoder (which I believe is Fraunhofer).

But really, most people aren't going to care, let alone notice. iTunes, and indeed most MP3 encoders, are "good enough". People who really care about audio quality are either already going to know about LAME, or are going to be using something other than MP3.

Unless you have an MP3 player that doesn't support it, all iTunes users should try out the AAC format. Same quality, smaller files. Fab.
posted by Mwongozi at 10:30 AM on May 14, 2004

The audio-illumination site referenced in the FPP link is now accessible at HydrogenAudio.
posted by Gyan at 10:38 AM on May 14, 2004

Anyone want to give me instructions for LAME --alt-preset thingy encoding on a Mac? I'm interested in having my mp3s as high-quality as possible, but this article gives me nothin'...
posted by Marquis at 10:39 AM on May 14, 2004

anybody who uses iTunes deserves crappy sound. sorry, i don't get it.

Most. Intrusive. UI. Ever.

and yes, i'm still bitter that iTunes took 15gigs of my MP3's sorted by file folder and often missing ID3 metadata and "organized" it into it's own stupid file structure.
posted by dvdgee at 11:12 AM on May 14, 2004

Oh yeah, when I happened to mention that I love my iPod to a pal who's an audiophile (think $3500 for a four foot speaker cable), he threw his nose up and said he could never listen to MP3s, they're just too dirty.

My 'Pod works perfectly for me. I am almost always listening to music in a setting with other noise to mask any quality issues.
posted by fenriq at 11:31 AM on May 14, 2004

and yes, i'm still bitter that iTunes took 15gigs of my MP3's sorted by file folder and often missing ID3 metadata and "organized" it into it's own stupid file structure.

Well, gee, then turn that off!
posted by kindall at 11:44 AM on May 14, 2004

I installed iTunes as a joke, once, on my Windows system.

It took over -all- my A/V associations, and quickly munged about 30gb of MP3 file structure before I unplugged my computer. (And yes, I had 'turned that off'.)

Not so funny of a joke, I guess.
posted by Jairus at 11:54 AM on May 14, 2004

At this point hard drives are cheap enough that you might as well rip to a lossless format anyway. Not because MP3 quality isn't sufficient for most purposes, but so you can convert to any needed future format without re-ripping or losing quality by re-encoding.

The cost of hard drive space has dropped by 1000 times in the past 10 years, according to this source. Presumably you want your music collection to be around for at least 10 years. Once you have 50 terabytes of storage you'll feel pretty silly having all your music in MP3s.
posted by mcguirk at 12:05 PM on May 14, 2004

It took over -all- my A/V associations, and quickly munged about 30gb of MP3 file structure

Huh. That's odd. I've never had any sort of problems like that with iTunes, for either Mac or Windows.

By the way, Mac users, you can use LAME with iTunes if you download and install Blacktree's LAME encoder for iTunes.
posted by 40 Watt at 12:24 PM on May 14, 2004

what i was trying to do with iTunes, was to get it to actively monitor my root MP3 folder for new downloads, while keeping the file structure as is.That way, when I download the latest 'Tallica choons off Kazaa, iTunes would pick it up and show it in my library. I looked around, couldn't find out how to do this, posted on some forum, and some bastard told me to hit the "consolidate library" button. I must've been drunk at the time, because I went ahead and did just that. What a sadist.
posted by dvdgee at 12:43 PM on May 14, 2004

Will someone who doesn't like iTunes tell me what's horribly intrusive about putting the mp3 file inside a folder named for an album, inside a folder named for the artist? That's how iTunes organizes a library of mp3s, and I'd hardly call that taking over a computer.

I've thought about using AAC, but I've already ripped my entire CD collection using 192Kbit mp3 with VBR turned on. I'd save a lot of hard drive space, but I don't want to go about doing it all over again since I have over nine days of music on my Mac.
posted by emelenjr at 12:46 PM on May 14, 2004

I love how serious audio-type discussions never even mention wma. Oh I feel so silly thinking back to my days of youthful indiscretion when I made a horrible decision that has changed my life. Damn you Microsoft, and your little built in menus of lossyness.
posted by loquax at 1:16 PM on May 14, 2004

i was one of the people who installed itunes on the day it came out for windows, just to try it out, and had his media library rearranged and raped. some other people might remember that there was a bug where your library was rearranged even if you specifically told itunes not to do that. i'm stupid enough to still have it installed, but i mostly keep it around now for testing purposes, though i haven't opened it in weeks.

if you want to rip to mp3 with itunes, i highly suggest using the lame encoder. iTunes had a very poor showing on hydrogenaudio's last test with mp3 comparisons, though their AAC ripping/encoding is quite nice i hear.
posted by lotsofno at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2004

emelenjr, this is my folder setup:

Full Albums
--DnB - Heavy
----DJ Acucrack - The Dope King (2002)
----Panacea and Cativo - Live on Radio FM4 (2000)
--Downtempo - Crossgenre
----Dntel - (this is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (2002)
----Dntel - Life is Full of Possibilities (2001)
----Dntel - Something Always Goes Wrong (2000)
----M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas And Lost Ghosts (2003)
----Ulrich Schnauss - A Strangely Isolated Place (2003)
----Ulrich Schnauss - Far Away Trains Passing By (2001)
--Downtempo - Illbient
----DJ Danger Mouse - The Grey Album (2004)
----DJ Shadow - Endtroducing (1996)

Etc., etc... I don't want artist folders and album folders -- I like being able to see the year of my albums, and being able to play a randomized playlist of any Jairus-defined genre with one click.

And just FYI, if you ripped your CD collection as VBR, it's not 192kbps. CBR = constant bitrate, VBR = variable bitrate. Any 192kbps MP3 is CBR.
posted by Jairus at 2:00 PM on May 14, 2004

(For anyone who's curious, here's my full mp3 directory structure.)
posted by Jairus at 2:04 PM on May 14, 2004

think $3500 for a four foot speaker cable

I bet this guy thinks he can hear a difference between an original (pressed) CD and a bit-for-bit copy when in actual fact he cannot.
posted by oaf at 2:11 PM on May 14, 2004

anybody who uses iTunes deserves crappy sound. sorry, i don't get it.

Most. Intrusive. UI. Ever.

But it must be good. It's patented!
posted by pmurray63 at 2:19 PM on May 14, 2004

It doesn't really matter to me how iTunes organizes my files, because I usually find what I want to play through the iTunes interface either by browsing or using smart playlists.

I use winamp for playing any "dirty" files I get from p2p services. Once I've verified the ID3 tags and album covers are up to snuff, THEN they get invited out of quarantine and into my iTunes library, with the rest of the cool kids... and from there, to the ipod.

And now you know.
posted by cratchit at 2:25 PM on May 14, 2004

never even mention wma.
That's because things encoded in WMA tend to sound like they're being played through a cardboard tube.
posted by Nauip at 2:28 PM on May 14, 2004

WMA Lossless is quite good, actually. Compares well with SHN and FLAC and Monkey's (also lossless compressed formats). Low CPU util, slightly better than average compression ratio.

I see Apple is now jumping on the bandwagon ( few years late as usual) by providing AAC Lossless or something similar. I haven't seen yet how it compares for CPU and compression.

With disk space getting so cheap, transcoding to lossy formats such as AAC and MP3 should only be kept for low-capacity portable devices in low-fidelity environments.

Keep Lossless on the server, push out lossy to the portable clients.

According to this page Apple's Lossless doesn't shape up too well, but it is their first try...

Yes, I use Media Center.

Best. Media. Jukebox. Ever.
What other jukebox programs want to be when they grow up...
posted by meehawl at 2:50 PM on May 14, 2004

Right, Jairus, I know. But even with VBR turned on, you still have to set a minimum rate. For me that rate is 192. Most of the files in my library show bitrates of 200-240 Kb/sec.

And as for how iTunes disrupted your filing system, them's the breaks, I guess. I'm sure it would be a pain to do, but you could always pull everything out of your iTunes library folder and reorganize the files the way you want again. (On preview: looks like you did.) Or you could do what cratchit does (and what I expect the iTunes programmers hope people will figure out) and find your music using the iTunes interface.
posted by emelenjr at 2:52 PM on May 14, 2004

That's a pretty old comparison. LAME 3.90.3 kicks the hell out of 3.61.
posted by Jairus at 3:04 PM on May 14, 2004

(...and emelenjr, I haven't used a VBR encoder that you need to set a minimum bitrate for in a very long time. LAME spoiled me, I suppose.)
posted by Jairus at 3:05 PM on May 14, 2004

I was also used to organizing my mps'3 in my own folder structure, but once I installed iTunes, I realized that if I just took the time to organize my ID3 tags (which is very easy to do in iTunes) the program was a fantastic way to keep track and play back my music library.
posted by fresh-n-minty at 3:07 PM on May 14, 2004

I was also used to organizing my mps'3 in my own folder structure, but once I installed iTunes, I realized that if I just took the time to organize my ID3 tags

Or you could use the approach of Media Center.

You can choose to rearrange files according to their tag data. There is a default renaming convention, just like iTunes.

But you can also customize this renaming template. You get to select which tags get analyzed, and which order is used for the naming convention.

You can also define your own arbitrary tags and use them in the media library, fill them with data, then include them for file renaming.

Very sweet.
posted by meehawl at 3:18 PM on May 14, 2004

i rip to .wav and use mkw to encode to mp3. though it encodes slow, i have full control over what is happening. i also have 200GB of lossless files, mostly in .shn, that mkw works wonders for also. like mcguirk says, it's only a matter of time before you'll wonder why you have your music archive in mp3 format.

i use a nomad ZE 30GB. the software works better than most of the competition and it works well with windows. better than itunes/ipod. i've seen some horror shows with apple software and hardware used with windows. in general, i'm not at all impressed with apple's stuff and i wonder why people on windows think it's the end all be all.
posted by oliver_crunk at 3:33 PM on May 14, 2004

oaf, he might think he can when he cannot but I can say that, after helping him carry in the two 250 pound amps and the custom build speakers, he sat me down and played Hotel California for me and it was easily the best recorded sound I've ever heard.

With that said, I still love my 'Pod. I don't need perfection, I need distraction and ambiance (and the ability to piss of my neighbors but that's a whole other story).
posted by fenriq at 5:09 PM on May 14, 2004

Jairus, what tool did you use for the dir listing?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:02 PM on May 14, 2004

cdex isn't an encoder. It uses various encoders, but it is not one itself.
posted by NortonDC at 11:35 PM on May 14, 2004

Stavros, I used a tool called Guidua, which is a GUI frontend to Oidua. I don't have links handy, but Google should know where it is.
posted by Jairus at 1:14 AM on May 15, 2004

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:27 AM on May 15, 2004

In regards to the article, I really despise being treated like a moron by the teacher. People like that don't really want to teach you anything, they use it as a guise for boasting and reaffirming themselves by using their knowledge as an arena to act smug.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:47 AM on May 15, 2004

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