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Paul_B
2007-10-29, 11:34
I have all my music CD's ripped to NAS storage as FLAC and this all works beautifully with Squeezecenter and my SB3.

However, some times I would like to listen to the same music on a portable device. Currently I have an original 2GB Nano but I am thinking of getting a new device.

1. Should I get a new iPod? If so which one, Touch, Classic?

2. Should I get a non-iPod device (Zune Gen 2, Archos, Zen, Cowon, etc); I assume I will still need to transcode from FLAC to Mp3?

3. Which Music Manager is "best" for ease of use, MediaMonkey, Sveta from dbPowerAmp. etc?

I don't really want to rip to FLAC and MP3 and maintain two copies.

amcluesent
2007-10-29, 11:52
>3. Which Music Manager is "best" for ease of use, MediaMonkey, Sveta from dbPowerAmp. etc?<

IMHO (of course) OrangeCD. It understands how to scan FLAC and mp3 and can, with it's plug-in, also command music to be played on your SB3 (so long as OrangeCD and slimserver can both 'see' the physical library).

>I don't really want to rip to FLAC and MP3 and maintain two copies.<

I haven't yet found any another way that works long term. It's quick enough with foobar2000 to encode with LAME V0 vbr. Perhaps someone will write an Windows installable filesystem that accesses a physical disk and automagically offers all lossless files as lossy, encoded as you choose. Would make a nice assignment for a comp. sci. undergrad!

ddewey
2007-10-29, 11:52
Quoting Paul_B (Paul_B.2z8a0b1193682901 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com):

>
> I have all my music CD's ripped to NAS storage as FLAC and this all
> works beautifully with Squeezecenter and my SB3.
>
> However, some times I would like to listen to the same music on a
> portable device. Currently I have an original 2GB Nano but I am
> thinking of getting a new device.
>
> 1. Should I get a new iPod? If so which one, Touch, Classic?
>
> 2. Should I get a non-iPod device (Zune Gen 2, Archos, Zen, Cowon,
> etc); I assume I will still need to transcode from FLAC to Mp3?

I use MediaMonkey to transcode to mp3 to my iPhone and formerly to
my ipod. Works fine. There are also alternate firmwares you can
load for older ipods that will allow them to store and play flac,
but this is overkill probably. No such firmware exists yet to my
knowledge for the newer iPods (classic, touch, iphone).

You can also look into mp3fuse if are a linux person and/or have a
technical bent. Both of these allow mp3s to be loaded to portable
devices from flac sources without requiring 2 trees.

sugarmonster
2007-10-29, 12:38
If you're a windows user have a look at Anapod from www.redchairsoftware.com.

It's not a music manager, more of an alterntive way of copying music to the iPod. I have FLACs organised in a folder structure (genre/artist/album) so I don't really need the library stuff. Anapod lets you drag/drop from windows to the iPod and transcode FLACs to WAV/MP3 on the fly with tags intact.

It's a *very* slow process to transcode several thousand flacs if you want the whole library on the iPod but that'll be the same with anything and you only need to do it the once!

But... I've recently become a dbPowerAmp convert for ripping and they have a companion product for iPod copying. It's not yet compatable with the latest dbPowerAmp but I'm keeping an eye on it because it might make things a bit more integrated.

IMHO the Touch is exceptionally cute but mostly wasted effort. Nicely implemented though the browser is, I don't really need a portable wifi device; I can't see a use for it in my environment. One of the HTC smartphones makes much more sense to me. Plus the wheel on the classics is just hard to beat for usability in terms of a) scrolling through a huge music list and b) a volume control.

Having said that once you pick a touch up you really won't want to put it down again :-)

Marc.

radish
2007-10-29, 12:38
J River Media Center is a pretty decent library manager, and has a FLAC plugin. As for portables, I use one of the many flac2mp3 scripts floating around to keep the mp3 tree in sync.

JJZolx
2007-10-29, 12:59
1. Should I get a new iPod? If so which one, Touch, Classic?

For all of my needs I'm staying with solid-state players, despite their obvious storage limitations. I like the durability, the size & weight, and have no need to carry around 500 hours of audio. The new Touch, however, is overpriced and the 3rd generation Nano has very odd dimensions to accomodate its (worthless) video screen. Consider picking up a now discontinued 2nd generation 8GB Nano for cheap.


3. Which Music Manager is "best" for ease of use, MediaMonkey, Sveta from dbPowerAmp. etc?

I'll second the recommendation for Anapod Explorer. Not a manager, just a way to load MP3's onto your iPod without having to resort to the godawful iTunes.


I don't really want to rip to FLAC and MP3 and maintain two copies.

Rip and encode in FLAC, but maintain a mirror MP3 library. This is by far the most convenient approach, at the cost of not a lot of hard disk space.

cepstein
2007-10-29, 14:10
Rip and encode in FLAC, but maintain a mirror MP3 library. This is by far the most convenient approach, at the cost of not a lot of hard disk space.

Transcoding is "convenient"? I find it to be a major pain.

I loved my Rio Karma (http://www.digitalnetworksna.com/shop/_templates/item_main_Rio.asp?model=261) for the week or so that it actually worked. That was the best portable player going (at least in theory) with a large-ish hard drive, and gapless FLAC playback. If only they could have made it a little more durable.

Maybe a portable player than can run Rockbox would be a good solution?

JJZolx
2007-10-29, 14:22
Transcoding is "convenient"? I find it to be a major pain.

Find (or write) a script that transcodes from Flac to Mp3 and keeps the library updated. I schedule mine to run nightly and any updates to my Flac library are automatically reflected in the Mp3 library.

cepstein
2007-10-29, 14:36
Find (or write) a script that transcodes from Flac to Mp3 and keeps the library updated. I schedule mine to run nightly and any updates to my Flac library are automatically reflected in the Mp3 library.
I've written many (http://etree-scripts.sf.net/), but that doesn't make the job any faster, use any less disk space, or make tag changes propagate automagically.

All in all, I find transcoding to be an unacceptable solution. This is one of the main reasons I have a Squeezebox in the first place, why I loved my Rio Karma for its oh-so-brief lifetime, and why I own a Cowon A2.

Josh Coalson
2007-10-29, 14:37
also, there are portables that support flac out of the box:
http://flac.sourceforge.net/links.html#hardware
(scroll down to portables)

the iaudio and trekstor are pretty popular.

JJZolx
2007-10-29, 14:59
I've written many (http://etree-scripts.sf.net/), but that doesn't make the job any faster, use any less disk space, or make tag changes propagate automagically.
I think the inital run on my system with 1600 album took about three days. Once done it won't likely need to be done again.

Once the initial library is built, the script will only be adding new content and updating changes. If you have a really busy day and have ripped 20 new albums the script might run for a few minutes. While you're sleeping.

Tag changes can easily be "automagically propogated" by comparing file timestamps. I have my script give the resulting Mp3 files the exact same timestamp as the orginating Flac file.

As for disk space, my Flac library uses about 550 GB, while the Mp3 mirror is 94GB. I find that perfectly acceptable. One fifth of a $150 500GB drive costs me about $30.


This is one of the main reasons I have a Squeezebox in the first place, why I loved my Rio Karma for its oh-so-brief lifetime, and why I own a Cowon A2.

Playing Flac files on disk-based portables lessens playback time on a battery charge considerably. On solid-state players it's generally not a viable option.

bephillips
2007-10-29, 22:14
I just got an iPod video 80GB (previous 5th generation) for my portable solution. I am using the Rebel Forces firmware Rockbox. It does flac, and frees your iPod from the Apple's Evil Empire (alas, this is what they've become.)

http://www.rockbox.org/

Issues:

No Rockbox yet on the latest generation of iPod/Phone/Touch, and unlikely anytime soon due to good encryption on the new Apple firmware. This is why I bought a used iPod Video, the largest HD based player that runs Rockbox. Some refurb units are currently still available from apple.com. Used on craigslist or ebay.

Battery life is less both due to flacs needing to access the HD more, and that Rockbox isn't (yet) as efficient as the apple firmware, but improvements in this may be expected. On older platforms Rockbox does better on battery life than the native firmwares. I use mine most in the car or in the hotel room while traveling, so not so much of an issue for me. I'm not much for walking around with headphones on. Could be an issue on a long airplane flight.

Video is not as good on Rockbox as with the native apple firmware, but Rockbox allows dual booting, so one could watch video with the native firmware. I don't like to watch video on tiny screens, so not an issue for me.

Not all iPod accessories that interface with the ipod beyond power and line out (remotes and such) work with Rockbox.

Simple folder-bassed organization, keeps its own database, provides for recording. Nice skins. Free, open source and customizable. Other advantages. I'm loving it so far.

I have a very large collection, and didn't want to maintain an mp3 mirror, and I didn't want to spend the time converting files. This seems to be the best solution for me. I'm still hoping for flac support to come from Apple at some future time.

Murph
2007-10-30, 09:00
The Cuwon is not my favorite player because I have no real use for mobile video but it is a niece piece of gear for flac music if you don't mind the size.

As others mentioned the main drawback of FLAC on a portable player is thier size but this or any 30GB unit would allow for 900+ flac songs. The 20 GB = 600 or more. That's a lot of tunes for on-the-go.

BigTony
2007-10-30, 12:07
I have been trying to get to grips with anapod today, trying to avoid the curse of a second mp3 library :-:

However, I can't seem to copy a .flac file over via drag and drop, or any other way to be honest! The help isn't to helpful, so I'm kinda stuck atm.

Can I copy flac usignt he trail version? It say that you can get the flac plugin from redchair, but I can't find that on the website either, do you need to buy and register before you can test this out with flacs?

Thanks

BT

Brian Ritchie
2007-10-30, 16:55
Can I copy flac usignt he trail version? It say that you can get the flac plugin from redchair, but I can't find that on the website either, do you need to buy and register before you can test this out with flacs?

I think it should be possible without registering, but it's been a long time since I registered and I can't really remember. (I can't remember details of the plugin either, I'm afraid.) I recall vaguely that the trial version would only let you transfer one song at a time.

Personally, I'd recommend against using Anapod's drag/drop transcoding; see below.

In fact, though I'm a registered user, I've stopped using Anapod for transferring music at all, and only use it for manipulating playlists (it's far easier to add tracks to playlists in Anapod than in iTunes (if there's a way to do it in iTunes without drag/drop, please tell me!)). My main reason is that I suspect that Anapod's music transfer mechanisms do not interwork with iTunes at all; at least, when I tried using both (don't ask why, I can't remember), the results were seriously screwy.

The biggest problems I experienced were truncated tags (so, for example, several string quartets would become one very large quartet!); and wildly varying playback levels (from inaudible to ear-splitting) when I let iTunes analyse tracks that had been transferred using Anapod (even when SoundCheck was turned off!) I'm not convinced which PoS was to blame; I've not had any trouble since just using iTunes for transfers, but then nor have I allowed iTunes to perform SoundCheck analysis itself since. I still have a lot of files on my iPod that got there via Anapod...

If you're at all interested in having cover art on the iPod Video, I don't think Anapod's for you. I couldn't get it to work at all when transcoding with drag/drop, and I ended up transcoding first (using foobar2k or MediaMonkey), adding cover.jpg to each album folder, then dragging/dropping the folder. Even then, it didn't always work; and when I looked using iTunes, then however Anapod assigns the artwork, iTunes didn't (usually) recognise it; and (rather more crucially) nor did the iPod.

(There's a good chance that my iPod's DB is pretty messed up, through using both Anapod and iTunes for a time. No idea how to clean it up, short of wiping it and starting from scratch, which I'd rather not have to do!)

I think the audio quality of files transcoded by drag/drop weren't as good as when I transcoded first; but assuming you can get transcoding to work in the unregistered version you can try this yourself.

Some people seem to have no trouble with Anapod; if you look in iPod / hydrogenaudio / these forums, you'll also see people who've had apopleptic fits over wasting the (imo miniscule) registration fee on something that doesn't work at all for them (and RedChair's support seems to have completely nosedived). After enjoying RedChair's Notmad with my Zen for years, initially I found Anapod pleasingly familiar, and far more usable than iTunes; but I've had too many interoperability problems, and there are some annoying GUI anomalies as well; so I've simply stopped using it for the most part.

I still use the CopyGear tool that comes with Anapod (registered version only?) to "backup" my iPod. Initially, I didn't want to waste 80GB of hard drive just for a lower-bitrate copy of a subset of my music library, but then I realised that I had some spare room on my PC at work (tsk tsk!) It's not perfect, but it's all I have.

FWIW, my current "workflow" is:

- rip to FLAC using EAC;
- do any required tag fixing with mp3tag;
- add ReplayGain tags with foobar;
- get artwork using Google image search (at present, saved in cover.jpg, not in tags);
- generate AAC copy with foobar:
* if it's a quiet album that I'm likely to play in the car, for now I'll also get foobar to apply track RG plus +6dB preamp;
* get foobar to add RG tags to this copy
- convert copy's RG track values to SoundCheck with mp3tag;
- import copy into iTunes;
- add artwork to copy using iTunes;
- drag/drop onto iPod;
- delete copy from hard drive;
- use CopyGear to copy iPod content to hard drive elsewhere.

(Damn, that hasn't turned out right at all. I need to learn about forum markup tags... but some other time!)

I've only been doing it this way for a few weeks; I didn't know that foobar could generate AAC, nor that mp3tag could convert ReplayGain to SoundCheck! I'd stopped using Anapod for transfers before then; maybe it would work better now; but I've no real need for it.

Unfortunately, I've only recently started adding SoundCheck tags (discouraged by earlier problems), so the bulk of my iPod content doesn't have them. Until I redo them, SoundCheck is useless; hence the stopgap of normalising to RG +6dB.

-- Brian

BigTony
2007-11-01, 11:56
Thanks for all the help and encouragement. In the end ITunes got all in a state with Anapod, so I went and installed rockbox :-)

Now I wonder why I didn't do that in the first place! All I had to do myself was to convert my cover art to .bmp and now I can use the flacs and look at the art on the Ipod. so when I want to add an new CD, I just copy the files over, no messing. And I free'd up 60GB of HD space in the bargin. So I don't have as much music on my Ipod as I did have before, its much easier to add/remove.

One happy bunny.

I am so glad that I sorted all my music out for the SB3, I knew it was time well spent (and cheaper than going down the pub)

BT

Robin Bowes
2007-11-09, 05:51
cepstein wrote:
> JJZolx;238771 Wrote:
>> Find (or write) a script that transcodes from Flac to Mp3 and keeps the
>> library updated. I schedule mine to run nightly and any updates to my
>> Flac library are automatically reflected in the Mp3 library.
> I've written many (http://etree-scripts.sf.net/), but that doesn't make
> the job any faster, use any less disk space, or make tag changes
> propagate automagically.
>
> All in all, I find transcoding to be an unacceptable solution. This is
> one of the main reasons I have a Squeezebox in the first place, why I
> loved my Rio Karma for its oh-so-brief lifetime, and why I own a Cowon
> A2.

Have a look at flac2mp3:

http://robinbowes.com/projects/flac2mp3

It propagates tag changes automatically, and only transcodes if necessary.

Once you've done the initial transcode, incremental updates will not
take long and can be scheduled overnight.

R.

oyvine
2008-02-05, 15:00
cepstein wrote:[color=blue]

Have a look at flac2mp3:

http://robinbowes.com/projects/flac2mp3

It propagates tag changes automatically, and only transcodes if necessary.

Once you've done the initial transcode, incremental updates will not
take long and can be scheduled overnight.

R.

Hi, I recently tried Robin Bowes script, and I find it super nice :) I have a collection of some 300 albums nicely sorted in catalogs with cover art in folder.jpg files for almoust every album. I run a linux server for my squeezebox. I have also got a Sandisk sansa running rockbox. It would be great if this script could convert my cover art to small cover.bmp files and store them together with the mp3 files. I guess that this would be very easy for someone who knows a little perl. Anyone care to have a look? I might even give it a shot myself if no one catches on.

best regards to Robin for writing such a nice script though,
yvin

oyvine
2008-02-06, 07:42
Hi,
As I have no patience at all, I just took at shot at Robins script to convert all folder.jpg files into cover.bmp files at 162x162 resolution(max size the tiny Sansa display can handle I think). It is probably not very elegant coding, as I have never programmed perl before. There is also a couple of limitations. The filenames are locked to folder.jpg for the source and cover.bmp for the destination. You must install imagemagick to make it work, and I rely on the flac-to-mp3 conversion process to generate all the necessary destination directories. But it will do for me anyway.

I have made the modified script available here:
http://oyvine.dyndns.org/upload/flac2mp3oe.pl

Apologies to Robin Bowes if this is a breach of copyright and so on. I will remove this asap if he finds this unacceptable. I will send him a mail pointing here just to make sure it's ok.

regards,
yvin Eikeland

m1abrams
2008-02-06, 12:04
Check out jriver media center. It does a very nice job for me keeping my 4th gen and 6th gen ipod in sync with my FLAC collection.

I use to do the perl script method of keeping FLAC and MP3 copies in sync, but found that to be a major pain in the butt. Mostly due to issues using iTunes. So when I dropped itunes I discovered how much nicer it was to have on-the-fly trancoding. If you have a dual core pc or better this is actually fairly fast. Also going this route if you like to rate your music (i do) on the ipod then when you sync it goes back to your flac copy. Same with playcounts.

Hercules
2008-02-06, 14:25
I used to have a 20GB iRiver H-120 which was rockboxed to support FLAC. It was a fantastic player (until it gave up after several years of reliable usage).

I now have an 8GB Cowon iAudio 7 which supports FLAC natively (albeit not gaplessly). I do miss the larger storage space but it's a great little player.

MuckleEck
2008-02-06, 15:04
I am another advocate for MediaMonkey....does transcoding on the fly to my Ipod....seems to kep everything neat and tidy as well

just imho

mdhmdh31
2008-02-16, 20:57
I am another advocate for MediaMonkey....does transcoding on the fly to my Ipod....seems to kep everything neat and tidy as well

just imho


Echo one for MediaMonkey. I keep flac on my computer, and MM lets me set up rules to automatically transcode anything not format recognized on the portable device. MM also lets me tell it what formats are recognized per device, so I can tell it that the iRiver can do flac or ogg, while my iPod nano needs the auto conversion. On the local drive of my computer, then, there are no multiple copies of the music in different formats.

bazeeem
2008-02-17, 08:54
Im another media monkey advocate. I also rip my CD's mostly to FLAC, but also have mp3's aac's and others. Media Monkey is also excellent for tagging, including album art which is nice for new i-pods with coverflow (and should be good if i get round to buying the new sb remote). I have a 160GB classic, and have set flac to be converted to 256kbs mp3 onto my i-pod. The initial sync took about 4 days(!!) and the i-pod is a little over half full, but now It will just add new tracks. This solves the biggest problem of keeping a lo-fi and hi-fi library. Also you can hook up pretty much any device to media monkey and set rules, so I use that to transfer songs to my phone which has 4gb storage.

Bradley
2008-02-17, 09:05
I have all my music CD's ripped to NAS storage as FLAC and this all works beautifully with Squeezecenter and my SB3.

However, some times I would like to listen to the same music on a portable device. Currently I have an original 2GB Nano but I am thinking of getting a new device.

1. Should I get a new iPod? If so which one, Touch, Classic?

2. Should I get a non-iPod device (Zune Gen 2, Archos, Zen, Cowon, etc); I assume I will still need to transcode from FLAC to Mp3?

3. Which Music Manager is "best" for ease of use, MediaMonkey, Sveta from dbPowerAmp. etc?



Paul:

I've been in the same situation as you for me and family.

For me, I bought a FLAC capable player, a COWON iAudio XL5. It's a bit dated now, but awesome. You might want to take the same tact, as no conversions of your media library files are necessary and, as such, you retain the high level of lossless sound. The only caveat is that FLAC files are large, so you'll need a player with a large capacity to carry a large amount of music.

For my family, they all have iPods. To accomodate them, for a while, I bought several licenses of Red Chair Software's Anapod Explorer, the software that others in this thread have mentioned. It will transcode your FLAC files to MP3 format (user selectable to a quality/bit rate). That may work for you, but note that Red Chair Software is out-of-business and does not support the software any longer -- they just collect the license fees you pay to download it. The software also has problems in dealing with Album Art, and conflicts with ITunes, so you'll need to learn the quirks necessary to get it to work with these two things. I've totally dropped Anapod for something I feel works much, much better for family and iPods, or any non-flac compatible device (see below).

If your Slimserver is on Linux, which mine is, I would strongly suggest you look into MP3FS (http://mp3fs.sourceforge.net/). This utility lets you mount a psuedo "MP3 drive" of your FLAC files, which you can then set up as a SAMBA (SMB) Shared Drive, for Windows and Mac computers. In this scenario, iPod users see a drive full of 100% compatible MP3 files, fully drag and droppable into iTunes or to the device's directory. I find this is the perfect solution for my wife and son for their music needs . They pick the music files they want, and MP3FS transparently transcodes them to MP3 files for their use, on-the-fly.

As for music managers, if you go with an Apple Device, you can't beat iTunes, in my opinion. I've tried some of the others, dbPowerAmp, Media Monkey, but have settled with simple drag and drop with the windows file system explorer and using both a Samba (SMB) Share mapped to the straight FLAC files and a second Samba Share mapped to the MP3FS system for MP3 versions of the FLAC Files.

Best of luck,

*Bradley