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View Full Version : Itunes / FLAC Strategy anyone?



sdevans
2007-01-10, 08:34
I have my music stored (as FLAC) on a simple windows 2000 PC stuck to my garage wall. I'm buying a laptop for the first time, and I'm stuck on a Macbook. I'm also planning on buying a ipod as it now supports gapless playback.

I want a mp3/aac version of my entire music library on the laptop managed via itunes so that I can do the whole playlist/syncing to my ipod.

I know I can use foobar to convert my library to mp3 and copy it over to the laptop (after a couple of days), but how to keep this up-to-date?

Also I'd love it if my playlists created on the ipod could be used by the squeezebox? I understand there is some integration between Squeezeboxes and Itunes, but since my music is stored in FLAC I don't know if that's an option.

Anybody got any ideas on this slightly off-topic post.

Thanks

Heuer
2007-01-10, 09:11
I converted all my FLAC files to MP3 using the appropriately named FLAC2MP3 script. Do a search around here and you will find how to do it. Basically you set it running and forget about it until it is finished (a couple of days for 5,000 songs). Point iTunes at your new MP3 diectory and you are away. I now rip new albums to FLAC and then use foobar to convert to MP3 for the iPod.

Robin Bowes
2007-01-10, 10:01
Heuer wrote:
> I converted all my FLAC files to MP3 using the appropriately named
> FLAC2MP3 script. Do a search around here and you will find how to do
> it.

There are several. Mine is here:

http://robinbowes.com/projects/flac2mp3

I'm on the verge of releasing a new version - the last couple had
problems on Windows.

R.

hickinbottoms
2007-01-10, 10:20
I have my music stored (as FLAC) on a simple windows 2000 PC stuck to my garage wall. I'm buying a laptop for the first time, and I'm stuck on a Macbook. I'm also planning on buying a ipod as it now supports gapless playback.

I want a mp3/aac version of my entire music library on the laptop managed via itunes so that I can do the whole playlist/syncing to my ipod.

I know I can use foobar to convert my library to mp3 and copy it over to the laptop (after a couple of days), but how to keep this up-to-date?

Also I'd love it if my playlists created on the ipod could be used by the squeezebox? I understand there is some integration between Squeezeboxes and Itunes, but since my music is stored in FLAC I don't know if that's an option.

Anybody got any ideas on this slightly off-topic post.

Thanks

It doesn't help you (as it's Linux-only), but in case any Linuxers want to do the same thing I've a strategy for this using some commonly-available tools:

http://hickinbottom.demon.co.uk/development/script-to-maintain-a-transcoded-mp3-tree/

Stuart

erland
2007-01-10, 10:32
I have my music stored (as FLAC) on a simple windows 2000 PC stuck to my garage wall. I'm buying a laptop for the first time, and I'm stuck on a Macbook. I'm also planning on buying a ipod as it now supports gapless playback.

I want a mp3/aac version of my entire music library on the laptop managed via itunes so that I can do the whole playlist/syncing to my ipod.

I know I can use foobar to convert my library to mp3 and copy it over to the laptop (after a couple of days), but how to keep this up-to-date?
I use the flac2mp3 script on my server, it converts my whole music directory of flac files to mp3 files in another directory with the same structure every night. The result is that I have both a flac and mp3 directory tree on the server. Slimserver is configured to point to the flac tree. Once in a while I run rsync from the laptop to copy changed or now files in the mp3 tree on the server to the corresponding mp3 tree on the laptop. The laptop is used for the synchronization with the iPod.


Also I'd love it if my playlists created on the ipod could be used by the squeezebox? I understand there is some integration between Squeezeboxes and Itunes, but since my music is stored in FLAC I don't know if that's an option. I haven't verified this myself, but I thing you should be able to do something like. Take a copy of your iTunes library xml file and open it in a text editor and use replace to replace ".mp3" to ".flac" and also replace the beginning of the paths from for example "D:\MyMp3MusicFromItunes" to "/home/xxx/MyFLACMusicForSlimserver". This should get you a iTunes xml files which point to the correct files and now you can just point slimserver to this and perform a rescan to show the playlists in slimserver.
As I said above I haven't verified that this actually work, so I might have missed something.

tmarino
2007-01-10, 19:41
I've been working the opposite direction re-ripping my CDs to flac as I had previously ripped to mp3. When I get a new CD now, I rip both a flac copy and an mp3 copy, correct tags on both and store them in separate directories. Itunes looks only at the mp3 directory and I let it organize things it's own way. The slimserver looks only at the flac files (and remaining mp3s to be re-ripped).

I do all of my playlists on itunes and use a little utility to create an m3u list which I then edit with a text editor for slimserver. The utility is here http://www.mecalabs.com/wiki/index.php?title=Playlist_Generator and it's not fancy but gets the job done. Just note to save the edited file in a different place then the program's output directory.

The whole process is a bit clumsy but it works.

totoro
2007-01-10, 20:12
I've been working the opposite direction re-ripping my CDs to flac as I had previously ripped to mp3. When I get a new CD now, I rip both a flac copy and an mp3 copy, correct tags on both and store them in separate directories. Itunes looks only at the mp3 directory and I let it organize things it's own way. The slimserver looks only at the flac files (and remaining mp3s to be re-ripped).

I do all of my playlists on itunes and use a little utility to create an m3u list which I then edit with a text editor for slimserver. The utility is here http://www.mecalabs.com/wiki/index.php?title=Playlist_Generator and it's not fancy but gets the job done. Just note to save the edited file in a different place then the program's output directory.

The whole process is a bit clumsy but it works.

I'm in the same boat as you. The directory names that itunes chooses can have characters embedded in them which, in my experience, can cause slimserver to refuse to show album art. So I changed them in my flac tree. I still let itunes manage the mp3s, though. I suppose the best answer there might be to make the flac tree however it needs to be, use a script to generate the appropriate mp3 tree, and simply stop having itunes organize its directories. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Thinking further, I guess this will be necessary in order to manage playlists in any sensible manner.

peter
2007-01-11, 03:13
hickinbottoms wrote:
> It doesn't help you (as it's Linux-only), but in case any Linuxers want
> to do the same thing I've a strategy for this using some
> commonly-available tools:
>
> http://hickinbottom.demon.co.uk/development/script-to-maintain-a-transcoded-mp3-tree/
>

Aren't there any scripts that use links (hard or soft) on linux or
shortcuts on windows for files that are already in mp3 format?

That seems logical...

This is another cool sounding option for Linux users:

http://www.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/09/29/1525201

A userspace filesystem that transparently transcodes FLAC files to mp3.
I've no idea how it performs in practice since my mp3 player just plays
FLAC.

Regards,
Peter

hickinbottoms
2007-01-11, 03:20
Peter wrote:
> This is another cool sounding option for Linux users:
>
> http://www.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/09/29/1525201
>
> A userspace filesystem that transparently transcodes FLAC files to mp3.
> I've no idea how it performs in practice since my mp3 player just
> plays FLAC.
>
>
This is MP3FS, which is what my script uses to do some of the work. The
difference is that I create an actual copy of the transcoded files to
avoid the processing overhead of transcoding to MP3 every time the file
is read - it's a tradeoff between speed and disk space and whether
that's better for anyone depends on their system and needs.

Stuar

peter
2007-01-11, 03:30
Stuart Hickinbottom wrote:
> Peter wrote:
>
>> This is another cool sounding option for Linux users:
>>
>> http://www.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/09/29/1525201
>>
>> A userspace filesystem that transparently transcodes FLAC files to mp3.
>> I've no idea how it performs in practice since my mp3 player just
>> plays FLAC.
>>
>>
>>
> This is MP3FS, which is what my script uses to do some of the work. The
> difference is that I create an actual copy of the transcoded files to
> avoid the processing overhead of transcoding to MP3 every time the file
> is read - it's a tradeoff between speed and disk space and whether
> that's better for anyone depends on their system and needs.
>

Considering the low prices of disk space, I'd say storing a copy makes
perfect sense. It doesn't need to be backupped.

Regards,
Peter

rhuffman
2007-01-11, 15:59
I do what some of the other folks do: keep parallel directories of FLAC and MP3. To rip CDs, I use Exact Audio Copy, and for it's "compression" I use Mareo, which is really just a program that lets you run multiple compressions. In my case I configure Mareo to use LAME to compress to MP3 and FLAC to compress to FLAC. So for each song ripped, I get these files:

G:\Music\FLAC\<artist>\<album>\<song>.flac
G:\Music\MP3\<artist>\<album>\<song>.mp3

For playlists, so far I've been generating the playlists for FLAC and keeping them in the FLAC directory. I use a text editor if they contain absolute paths, making them relative. Then I copy them to the MP3 directory and do a global replace of ".flac" with ".mp3".

The EAC/Mareo/LAME/FLAC setup is great, but I'm still trying to figure out a more convenient way to deal with the playlists: I hate having to edit, copy, and edit again.

tbessie
2007-01-12, 00:07
If you don't mind paying for it (mass-conversion functionality is part of the paid-for version, I think, as opposed to the free version), MediaMonkey's a pretty great program. I like it better than iTunes, and it has a very active community of people involved in it, writing scripts, etc.

Take a look: http://www.mediamonkey.com

- Tim

sdevans
2007-01-12, 02:35
I've looked at Mareo in the past, but it doesn't fit my needs exactly in that I need the replaygain added. (Plus I could never get it to work)

Currently if I want an mp3 (or other 'portable' version) of a CD, I'd rip to FLAC for the squeezebox, load into FOOBAR to scan for both album and track replaygain, fix any tags if I've messed up (I like to merge double albums into 1 album for instance), then convert the FLACs to mp3 with replaygain applied.

If I rip using MAREO I don't 'think' I get that flexibility, plus I'd definitely have to fix 2 sets of files tags.

Ideally I think I need to look at the flac 2 mp3 scripts that can run regularly and notice that the conversions already been done. And I also need to look at how to sync that with the resulting files into the itunes library at a less regular interval, and also how to tweak the playlists (stored in .xml) to work with the squeezebox library of flac files.

It sounds a lot of work but that's what weekends are for right?

Mark Lanctot
2007-01-12, 13:46
I've looked at Mareo in the past, but it doesn't fit my needs exactly in that I need the replaygain added. (Plus I could never get it to work)

Currently if I want an mp3 (or other 'portable' version) of a CD, I'd rip to FLAC for the squeezebox, load into FOOBAR to scan for both album and track replaygain, fix any tags if I've messed up (I like to merge double albums into 1 album for instance), then convert the FLACs to mp3 with replaygain applied.

If I rip using MAREO I don't 'think' I get that flexibility, plus I'd definitely have to fix 2 sets of files tags.

Actually this works just fine for me. The critical component you're missing is a command-line ReplayGain scanner for MP3s, which is MP3Gain (http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/).

Figuring out mareo.ini isn't easy, I agree with you, but it's about the same as figuring out the rest of the stuff you propose. And once you've done it once, you don't have to do it again.

Balthazar_B
2007-01-16, 13:48
I've looked at Mareo in the past, but it doesn't fit my needs exactly in that I need the replaygain added. (Plus I could never get it to work)

Currently if I want an mp3 (or other 'portable' version) of a CD, I'd rip to FLAC for the squeezebox, load into FOOBAR to scan for both album and track replaygain, fix any tags if I've messed up (I like to merge double albums into 1 album for instance), then convert the FLACs to mp3 with replaygain applied.

If I rip using MAREO I don't 'think' I get that flexibility, plus I'd definitely have to fix 2 sets of files tags.



Mareo has a post-processing option which I believe will allow you to apply both album and track replaygain. Check out the Mareo documentation for the nitty-gritty.

dSw
2007-01-16, 14:37
For what its worth, I use Anapod Explorer to convert from FLAC to MP3 on the fly. It offers a drag and drop interface to iPods (and other devices) and means that I don't need iTunes installed. It also supports playlists.

Takes 3-5 minutes to copy a CD over but it means that I don't need to maintain a parallel library of MP3s.

sdevans
2007-01-17, 03:41
Thanks for all the suggestions, still confused what to do. I'm swapping from an old dual pentium workstation to a macbook and don't ~really~ want to fire the PC up just to rip CDs. So windows software seems a bit of a non starter.

I've looked at the Mac OS X program MAX which can rip to FLAC and MP3 at the same time (sort of Mareo style). I'd then import the MP3's into itunes for my IPOD synchronisation and copy the FLAC files over to the server. (Which to complicate things further will now run Xubuntu and not Win2000). Then all I need is to scan for Replaygain on the FLAC files on the server and hopefully use the iVolume plugin within Itunes as I don't think MAX has any replaygain functionality built in. I will probably use Foobar's convert function to deal with the FLAC files I've currently got.

I've read that MAX is not as good as EAC for ripping but if it's 70% as good then I'll use the PC for the duff discs (I buy quite a bit from Amazon Marketplace!), but if the Macbook is dead slow then I'm not sure what I'll do.

I'm even contemplating ditching XP on the workstation as Xubuntu looks interesting, but have other PC only (that I know) tasks that I might want to accomplish.

Thanks.

peter
2007-01-17, 09:49
dSw wrote:
> For what its worth, I use Anapod Explorer to convert from FLAC to MP3 on
> the fly. It offers a drag and drop interface to iPods (and other
> devices) and means that I don't need iTunes installed. It also supports
> playlists.
>
> Takes 3-5 minutes to copy a CD over but it means that I don't need to
> maintain a parallel library of MP3s.
>

Looks like a nice program. If I had an iPod I would have had to consider
it seriously.

Regards,
Peter

Jonathan DA
2007-01-17, 09:59
Is there a specific reason why you're tied to iTunes? The only reason I can think of is if you purchase music from the iTunes store. If that's the case, then the options above are a good bet. However, if you're not tied to the iTunes store, then a second option is to get Parallels and run JRiver Media Center. JRMC can handle FLAC, do secure ripping like EAC, manage your iPod, and stream to a Squeezebox.

It's a more expensive solution, but it sounds like a much simpler option than trying to maintain duplicate sync'd libraries.

Josh Coalson
2007-01-17, 12:14
BTW as you all work through this frustrating process, don't forget
to also petition apple:

http://flac.sourceforge.net/itunes.html

Josh

sdevans
2007-01-17, 23:46
Only contemplating tying myself to itunes as I'm interested in the whole integrated iLife thing. Mainly for my wife, as I want her to get involved this time, rather than it be my little project stuck upstairs on the computer. I personally will probably never buy anything off itunes, though I will ask for Flac support!

Thanks.