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Hercules
2009-07-19, 05:01
It's about time I got a new phone. I'm trying to decide whether to get an iPhone and would appreciate your thoughts on the iPhone, as well as on my situation. Thank you!

My requirements are for a device that:
- acts as both a phone and an mp3 player (thereby replacing my current Sony K800i phone and Cowon iAudio 7 mp3 player)
- will work well with my private Gmail (but won't need to use my work email)
- has a reasonably good GPS that I would be able to use for getting around (including while cycling on-road and off-road)
- is a fun gadget :-)

My primary concern is whether the use of iTunes will have a detrimental on my well-structured and time-consumingly-tagged music library. I accept that I will need to create a second mirrored music library in mp3 format (as the majority of my music is currently FLAC). I'm concerned that iTunes will start messing around with my music files (i.e. restructure them, change tags, etc.). While in theory that shouldn't be an issue - as it will be a "disposable" copy library that could be easily recreated - I'd guess that a library that is prone to being reorganised by iTunes would be difficult to synchronise with the main library. I'd prefer to use another application to iTunes but recognise that iTunes has broader benefits that will make it worth using. And maybe I'm being paranoid about iTunes :-)

I'd appreciate any thoughts from those of you who have been through similar decisions, as well as general comments on the pros and cons of the iPhone itself. I have to admit the iPhone does look cool and I am tempted:-)

garym
2009-07-19, 06:05
Go for it. I use several IPODS and we have two iphones. Iphone works nicely for all the uses you have requested (and is a fantastic controller for squeezeboxes if you use Pippin's IPENG application). I keep a FLAC version of files for use with SC at home and a mirror image of mp3 files within itunes. In itunes, you should "uncheck" the option "allow itunes to manage library". This way it won't reorganize any of your files. In my case I don't care that it reorganizes, because it uses the same strategy I do (artist/album/song or compilations/album/song). Itunes doesn't modify my mp3 tags at all unless I edit/change tag data using itunes (which I don't). Itunes will add a "soundcheck" value to each file when added to the library for use in its own version of replaygain. This information is added as an additional comment tag (COMMENT ITUNNORM). It doesn't modify your other comment tag if it exists and won't modify your replaygain tags if you have those. And I believe as long as USE SOUNDCHECK is turned OFF when you add the files to your itunes library it won't even do this (although the soundcheck value is useful with the IPOD for volume normalization--I use mp3tag to convert the replaygain album gain values into soundcheck values used by ITUNES, but this is another conversation). If you are really paranoid, simply select all your mp3 files and "write protect" them before adding to ITUNES library. This way itunes can't do anything to the files.

Keep in mind that most of what ITUNES does is in its own library. It creates a library database when it originally imports the files (using info from the tags), but the ipod/iphone and itunes is using it's library information from then on.

I have no trouble keeping the two library's organized and synchronized (FLAC and mp3) and I have over 100,000 files. I can't speak to all comments, but in my opinion most of the complaints about ITUNES "messing" with things seem to be caused by the USER not understanding how to use itunes and set the appropriate options. Itunes is not evil. Just a software program. I use dbpoweramp for ripping and converting from FLAC to mp3. I use mp3tag for certain things dbpoweramp can't do. I use foobar2000 for playing files on my computer itself. I use SqueezeCenter for feeding my numerous Squeezeboxes, and I use IPODs/IPhones for music on the go. Bottom line: I'm meticulous about my file organization, tags, etc. and Itunes used properly has not caused a single problem for me.

Edit: And just download itunes, add a few songs to it, play around etc. to get comfortable with what it does and its options before committing. You can confirm all I said above by playing around with ITUNES for an hour or so (importing files, checking their tags in other programs, etc.).

iPhone
2009-07-19, 07:24
It's about time I got a new phone. I'm trying to decide whether to get an iPhone and would appreciate your thoughts on the iPhone, as well as on my situation. Thank you!

My requirements are for a device that:
- acts as both a phone and an mp3 player (thereby replacing my current Sony K800i phone and Cowon iAudio 7 mp3 player)
- will work well with my private Gmail (but won't need to use my work email)
- has a reasonably good GPS that I would be able to use for getting around (including while cycling on-road and off-road)
- is a fun gadget :-)

My primary concern is whether the use of iTunes will have a detrimental on my well-structured and time-consumingly-tagged music library. I accept that I will need to create a second mirrored music library in mp3 format (as the majority of my music is currently FLAC). I'm concerned that iTunes will start messing around with my music files (i.e. restructure them, change tags, etc.). While in theory that shouldn't be an issue - as it will be a "disposable" copy library that could be easily recreated - I'd guess that a library that is prone to being reorganised by iTunes would be difficult to synchronise with the main library. I'd prefer to use another application to iTunes but recognise that iTunes has broader benefits that will make it worth using. And maybe I'm being paranoid about iTunes :-)

I'd appreciate any thoughts from those of you who have been through similar decisions, as well as general comments on the pros and cons of the iPhone itself. I have to admit the iPhone does look cool and I am tempted:-)

Don't know to much about EU networks, but here in the States, I like my iPhone. Works great as a phone, iPod, mobile browser, and with iPeng it is a great addition to Squeezeboxing.

As for having iTunes because of the iPhone, I keep two separate libraries on separate drives. I rip to FLAC on my main server and then use the converter in dBpowerAmp to convert to 256 MP3 the songs I want to put on my iPhone. Really no need to convert them all in my case as 6TB of FLAC will not fit on an iPhone even when converted to the lossiest MP3. So I only convert favorites and then spot convert when I want something different on the iPhone. I turn off all tagging and art work searching in iTunes so that iTunes can't hose my tags, artwork and library. Another approach for somebody just starting is to use Vortexbox as it rips a FLAC copy and an MP3 copy automatically.

So I say go for the iPhone if you need a new phone and want to also control Squeezeboxes!

Luke Redpath
2009-07-19, 15:34
Yes, because then you can grab Squeemote and use it as a great remote control for your Squeezeboxes ;)

ajkidle
2009-07-19, 16:28
Got mine 2 weeks ago. Love it. Go for it!

heidtheba
2009-07-19, 16:50
I have recently bought an iPhone, which serves very well as a Squeezebox controller (using iPeng app) as well as of course being a very nice MP3 player.

I would really love to have an easily automated way of syncing my Squeezecenter library with one which I can carry with me on the iPhone. Having half of my large music collection as FLAC files means I can't use iTunes to sync these. The answer seemed to lie in Mediamonkey Gold- which can autoconvert FLAC, Ogg, etc and high-bitrate music files to lower bitrate MP3 files which are better suited to syncing with the iPhone. I much preferred Mediamonkey's library management also, it just seemed to work better with the tags I create in mp3tag for the Squeezecenter library.
I use trackstat to rate my music in Squeezecenter- I tried and failed to have an automated way of e.g. taking this rating and applying it as a rating within Mediamonkey (via a script). This would allow me to only sync those tracks to the iPhone which I originally rated on Squeezecenter. I was able to do this manually by using Trackstat Export, to export the e.g. 4star rated files as a playlist, and import this playlist into Mediamonkey, then rate everything in it with 4 stars.
Then came the bombshell that the new iPhone firmware upgrade crashes Mediamonkey. Now I am forced to using iTunes again, and will have to explore the option of creating a separate lower bitrate MP3 library for syncing with the iPhone. This gets me nowhere nearer a solution for automating ratings transfers from trackstat, so that rated playlists can be automatically synced to the iPhone (to save space with no duff tracks), and be up-to-date with all recently rated tracks.

I have given up on the idea of syncing "number of plays" between trackstat and itunes/mediamonkey.

Would be interesting to see how others deal with syncing recently rated tracks.

jeebers
2009-07-20, 01:26
I've just got hold of an iphone in the last couple of days and initial impressions are good. It's a very nice piece of kit, if not the life-changing experience some of the acolytes would have you believe.

iPeng works very nicely, and the email / web browsing / phone functions are all pretty good. Maps is great, and the last.fm / facebook apps are pretty slick (if that's your thing).

I've set up a separate library for iTunes to use and I have to say, having only used iTunes briefly before, that it is a horribly confusing and non-intuitive piece of software. Maybe it's just familiarity and it'll grow on me, but I've found it very awkward to use - I would have expected it to be as simple as pointing it to a directory and letting it go - it wasn't. I think I've got it working now but we'll see.

Luckily, the MP3 function was pretty much the last thing I bought the iPhone for...

So yeah, all in all I'd have to say go for it.

trouty00
2009-07-20, 03:15
if using it for cycling is a big requirement personally i think the iphone is not a good choice, are you planning to mount on handlebars or just have it in a bag? i think its too big too mount on handlebars and you will damage it off road mtb'ing, not what id want to do with a 400 phone!

also dont expect the audio to be on par with the cowon.

what are your real requirements here?

ddewey
2009-07-20, 08:03
Quoting trouty00 (trouty00.3vmawn1248084961 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com):

>
> if using it for cycling is a big requirement personally i think the
> iphone is not a good choice, are you planning to mount on handlebars or
> just have it in a bag? i think its too big too mount on handlebars and
> you will damage it off road mtb'ing, not what id want to do with a 400
> phone!
>

I use the moderately-excellent MotionX iphone app for tracking my
cycling. Has gps, mapping capability, waypoints, all the stuff you
need. I normally just slip it into my pocket or bag and it's fine,
but I'm a bike commuter not a mountain biker. I've had an iphone
since they were released (on 2nd one, the 3g) and found them to be
very robust, they are not at all fragile. That said, I wouldn't
mount it on the handlebars. I've looked, and havent found a mount
that looked trustworthy. If anyone knows of one, I'd love to hear
about it.

And oh yeah, iPeng rules.

trouty00
2009-07-20, 08:17
MTB'ing is a bit different to commuting! even easy cross country type stuff throws up bumps enough to dislodge lights let alone phones in handlebar mounts. I know, I had my nokia set up with an app similar to the one you describe and it was constantly falling out whilst hurtling down a hill at 20+ mph. I cant imagine any touchscreen device surviving one of those type rides!

also i think the screen on a normal nokia is many times stronger than a touch screen (not just the iphone but any touchscreen) just because of the nature of them.

Ive seen probably over 10 smashed iphone screens when using them for activity's such as snowboarding/biking etc, it really doesn't take much of a direct hit to wreck it.

if you want something for biking then i'd think again, the iphone in the back pack is an option as it can monitor speeds/distances which is interesting for later viewing but for mapping purposes offroad i'd question its suitability.


this all said, i still dont know what op requirements are!

Hercules
2009-07-20, 11:34
Thanks very much all for the replies.

The GPS requirement is more for fun rather for serious minute-by-minute use to guide me round the trails. I'd imagine keeping it in my camelbak then stopping to pulling it out every so often to work out where i am

As regards synching my library is a mixture of FLAC and MP3. I was assuming that the flactomp3 utility would allow me to create a duplicate library, and be sophisticated enough to just copy MP3 files and convert FLAC files. If not I'll have a look at MediaMonkey or dbPoweramp.

arztde
2009-07-20, 13:55
It's about time I got a new phone. I'm trying to decide whether to get an iPhone and would appreciate your thoughts on the iPhone, as well as on my situation. Thank you!

My requirements are for a device that:
- acts as both a phone and an mp3 player (thereby replacing my current Sony K800i phone and Cowon iAudio 7 mp3 player)
- will work well with my private Gmail (but won't need to use my work email)
- has a reasonably good GPS that I would be able to use for getting around (including while cycling on-road and off-road)
- is a fun gadget :-)

My primary concern is whether the use of iTunes will have a detrimental on my well-structured and time-consumingly-tagged music library. I accept that I will need to create a second mirrored music library in mp3 format (as the majority of my music is currently FLAC). I'm concerned that iTunes will start messing around with my music files (i.e. restructure them, change tags, etc.). While in theory that shouldn't be an issue - as it will be a "disposable" copy library that could be easily recreated - I'd guess that a library that is prone to being reorganised by iTunes would be difficult to synchronise with the main library. I'd prefer to use another application to iTunes but recognise that iTunes has broader benefits that will make it worth using. And maybe I'm being paranoid about iTunes :-)

I'd appreciate any thoughts from those of you who have been through similar decisions, as well as general comments on the pros and cons of the iPhone itself. I have to admit the iPhone does look cool and I am tempted:-)

I own a HTC Touch Diamond and it have all what you need. Including a nice upgrowing Squeeze Remote Control ... Look here inside the forum for SlimControl and test it. I gave some time Sebastian the developer my HTC phone to optimize SlimControl. Just test it and be surprized.