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Just starting digital library - what PC software is best?

by PCMoverlossy / December 28, 2009 10:05 PM PST

Okay I am about to start converting my CD library for the very first time. I do not use anything to play my files except Windows Media Player on my PC.
I've heard Apple's iTunes is the best music interface (on the computer).
Now first and foremost I am starting my library and down the road will purchase a portable MP3 player.
I've been using an older Roxio Easy Media Creator 7 BASIC to do some ripping to .WAV files. You should know I'm a bit of a sound quality snob so I have ripped some of my music to .WAV and then converted a few things to 192kbps MP3s.
This year I may explore a couple music paid account streaming-services such as MOG, SPOTIFY, ZUNE PASS, SLACKER.
I've used Slacker on and off and like it.

So if you were starting from scratch and did not own _ANY_ DRM-ed AAC audio files what software library player (on the desktop PC) would you use?

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Lots of variables
by make_or_break / December 29, 2009 4:48 AM PST

iTunes is easy to use, but it's not perfect. ID3 tag and album art data isn't always well embedded, allowing other apps (if you choose to use them) to destroy tag data, or it sometimes doesn't display at all on non-Apple devices. Arguably, the resultant sound quality of the files you rip could be better when done using other applications (I like rips done with Nero in general, and actually prefer the SQ of WMA Lossless files done with WMP11 over WAV rips done in iTunes).

A LOT depends on your choice of portable player. iTunes--without using some geeky workarounds--is only designed for iPods. Lossless WAV files aren't supported on a number of devices, including the Zune HD. Zunes only work with their own Zune software. iPods in the opinions of many, including myself, aren't the best-sounding devices on the market. And so on.

I like MediaMonkey as my library manager of choice, but it can be rather fussy, geek-laden and overly technical with its UI. Rips generally sound good, and although data editing isn't as clean as it is in iTunes, it's not horrible, though the learning curve is steeper. Plus the resultant embedded metadata doesn't seem to break nearly as much as iTunes files do when read by other devices (like Sony Walkman, Zunes, Sansa or Creative Zens).

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software and file formats
by PCMoverlossy / December 29, 2009 11:16 PM PST
In reply to: Lots of variables

Thanks 'Lots of variables' I'll research MediaMonkey software.

as I said before I _WILL_NOT_ be using Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC), Apple's Apple Lossless, MPEG-4 ALS, Monkey's Audio, and TTA lossless file formats at all.
I'd rather not buy into the whole "using uncompressed .WAV will require a lot of HDD space and not really worth it."
Hardrives are cheap enough and only getting cheaper.
I don't want to take the time to have to compress/transcode to a lossless format as I'm concerned with a portable player being able to store more songs and not use up the battery playing .WAV files off the harddrive (currently a 160GB or larger MP3 player with a real HDD).
I will probably start next year ripping my audio CDs to .WAV and have the Gracenote thing just give me the song titles & album names.


I'm a big picture guy. I will save all my .WAV files on a HDD forever.
At the moment I'm researching MPEG-7 & MPEG-21 and audio and how this will affect a music library for the next 5-20 years.
Since AAC was designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, I would then choose the most compatible audio codec that will be around for 25 years and convert from the .WAV files to whatever (MP3, The current version of the MPEG-4 Audio/ISO/IEC 14496-3:2009 AKA MPEG-4 HE-AAC v2)
Wikipedia mentions:
"HE-AAC is supported in the open source FAAD/FAAD2 decoding library (and all players incorporating it): VLC media player, Winamp, foobar2000, Audacious Media Player, and Sony's latest SonicStage version 4."
Nokia and Samsung use eAAC+ to label support for HE-AAC v2 on their phones. Motorola uses "AAC+ Enhanced" to indicate HE AAC v2.


About MPEG-7
application example:
Digital library: Image/video catalogue, musical dictionary.

I'm also not kidding about MPEG-21 since it considers e-book, an audio or video file, or an image all as "resources". Also A dual-purpose MP4 and MP21 file, for example, would play just the MPEG-4 data on an MP4 player, and would play the MPEG-21 data on an MP21 player.

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Well, there's still the adage...
by make_or_break / January 1, 2010 5:33 PM PST

...that it's all just vaporware until the first REAL devices and consumer software come to market that actually support these new formats. MP3 was supposedly such an outdated format that it was supposed to be dead by now...yet here it is still leading all other digital audio formats as the most ubiquitous and widely used of all. Improved codecs, innovative digital processing and better hardware parts and components have greatly extended MP3's life. Frankly I'd personally don't bother trying to guess the future; as I've seen too often in the past, many things can derail even the best of plans.

I use WAV files quite a bit on my devices, though not exclusively. The way I see (hear?) it batteries can always be replaced. Great SQ experiences can't be. If the original source material is good enough (particularly from an SQ standpoint) to merit a WAV rip, then I do it, else it's all 270k (or less) MP3. Besides, within a year or two someone will invariably come out with a better sounding digital device, and my old portable will get shoved aside, its battery never really used up, regardless of the parade of WAV files it's seen.

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software
by PCMoverlossy / December 29, 2009 11:19 PM PST

Thanks 'Lots of variables' I'll research MediaMonkey.

as I said before I _WILL_NOT_ be using Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC), Apple's Apple Lossless, MPEG-4 ALS, Monkey's Audio, and TTA lossless file formats at all.
I'd rather not buy into the whole "using uncompressed .WAV will require a lot of HDD space and not really worth it."
Hardrives are cheap enough and only getting cheaper.
I don't want to take the time to have to compress/transcode to a lossless format as I'm concerned with a portable player being able to store more songs and not use up the battery playing .WAV files off the harddrive (currently a 160GB or larger MP3 player with a real HDD).
I will probably start next year ripping my audio CDs to .WAV and have the Gracenote thing just give me the song titles & album names.


I'm a big picture guy. I will save all my .WAV files on a HDD forever.
At the moment I'm researching MPEG-7 & MPEG-21 and audio and how this will affect a music library for the next 5-20 years.
Since AAC was designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, I would then choose the most compatible audio codec that will be around for 25 years and convert from the .WAV files to whatever (MP3, The current version of the MPEG-4 Audio/ISO/IEC 14496-3:2009 AKA MPEG-4 HE-AAC v2)
Wikipedia mentions:
HE-AAC is supported in the open source FAAD/FAAD2 decoding library (and all players incorporating it): VLC media player, Winamp, foobar2000, Audacious Media Player, and Sony's latest SonicStage version 4.
Nokia and Samsung use eAAC+ to label support for HE-AAC v2 on their phones. Motorola uses "AAC+ Enhanced" to indicate HE AAC v2.


About MPEG-7
application example:
Digital library: Image/video catalogue, musical dictionary.

I'm also not kidding about MPEG-21 since it considers e-book, an audio or video file, or an image all as "resources". Also A dual-purpose MP4 and MP21 file, for example, would play just the MPEG-4 data on an MP4 player, and would play the MPEG-21 data on an MP21 player.

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