View Full Version : iPod management, mp3 encoding, renaming files and mp3 tags.

05-13-2009, 08:20 AM
As a guy who's had an iPod for a couple years, but never really enjoyed it that much... I finally committed to getting it figured out. Here's what I know so far:

1) The smallest file size with the highest quality supposedly comes from OGG files (encoded by Vorbis)... but the lack of universal compatibility of OGG and to MY ears, the difference in sound quality + savings in file size... ain't worth it.

2) The best mp3 encoder is LAME, which stupidly (or ironically, if you're into techy humor)... stands for Lame Ain't an MP3 Encoder. This is one of the ONLY mp3 encoders that is still being developed and improved all the time. LAME is CODE ONLY... so you need it to be a part of some other program... (it can be installed into Audacity for example, but Audacity isn't a good program for this particular thread topic.)

3) If you have some old mix CDs and you want to import them to your iPod they will come in titled "track 1, track 2" etc. This is why you need to rename your tracks to the proper names... simply clicking and renaming the tracks the normal way doesn't work! You rename them and they still come up in your iPod saying "track 1" etc. Renaming the FILE as you see it on screen will NOT do this... you need to rename the TITLE (read on).

4) I bought a program specifically for renaming/retagging mp3s... (Tag&Rename) *ugh* (a TOTAL WASTE considering the following info)... then discovered that you can get a much better program which does EVERYTHING... it's called Easy CD-DA Extractor... I downloaded it from download.com. Easy CD-DA Extractor uses the LAME mp3 encoder.

Easy CD-DA Extractor will rip your CD to LAME encoded mp3, write all the tags and names (and let you easily edit any names/tags so they show up right in your iPod), plus has an EASY interface to import the album art. Frankly this whole program is SO good I can't believe it... and to buy it is only a couple bucks more then the program I wasted $ on.

On that note... There are a LOT of programs on download.com that are totally obsolete... but are still getting a thousand downloads a week... and the site STUPIDLY lists other related programs... that are all ALSO obsolete! I didn't find Easy CD-DA Extractor until I read about LAME encoding! It was only then that I realized this program does EVERYTHING... elegantly, I might add. (Set the error correction ON in the program also... and a quick click of the CDDA button will check your cd-rom's error checking and set the program to FIX any issues... and I was surprised to see this utilized in the program several times. I had an old Queen CD that got a little scratched up... when I encoded it without the error correction there were clicks and minor sound issues... then using it the problems were fixed. Now I just leave that setting ON and accept the extra encoding time.

If YOU know of a better program then Easy CD-DA Extractor then please reply with it!

5) VBR encoding is "variable bit rate"... and from what I've read and HEARD... there's no reason not to use this... you can encode the same mp3 at a higher bit rate (higher resolution) and still end up with a file that's about the same size as a non-VBR encoding at close to HALF the bit rate (resolution).

If you want to encode your CD collection and basically forget about them... then I suggest VBR 2 (says CD Quality)... the average encode is 320 kbps to 256 kbps... and the files are still pretty small.

6) I also got a free program called mp3gain to try to get the songs to play at CLOSE to the same volume. So far... this program isn't working! Once the songs are imported to the iPod there are still a lot of BLASTING songs that mp3gain didn't adjust.

How I solved this (so far) is to organize the songs into playlists titled Loud, Louder, Loudest, Normal Volume, Quiet, Quieter, Quietest... and this also automatically organizes the 7 playlists alphabetically. I can't tell you how much more enjoyable my iPod is now that I don't have to wonder when I'm going to get the surprise blast in my ears. I set the volume for that playlist and any song that comes on sounds good.

The one thing I will say about mp3gain is it doesn't permanently change the mp3. You can pull the adjusted folder back in and click "undo gain" and it quickly turns everything back to normal.

Somebody will say that "soundcheck" in iTunes already does this... and/or that clicking "soundcheck ON" in the iPod does this... but on my iPod... it DOESN'T (I restored my iPod, cleared out iTunes, and tried everything to make it work)... and I've talked to a few other people who have the same volume problem (which they simply deal with, like I was... so... if you don't, good for you, ignore this part.

Anyway... hopefully this will help out a few people around here... I WISH I had found a thread like this a week ago. :beer:

05-13-2009, 09:31 AM
You didn't mention that this is Windows software so not much use to Mac users.
I don't have an iPod but the various apps I use are. MP3IDX does metadata editing. I was using it to correct thousands of old radio shows I got in MP3 with dodgy metadata. Fixtunes, does a good job of fixing the files in you iTunes library, I believe it can rename the files also. CoverScout is very good at finding cover art even for stuff that didn't have any (you can do a google images search for the artist). I'm still sing an early demo version, I was going to pay for the latest version but I like the old version better??? And I use a free app called SyncTunes to sync playlists to me PALM (what I'm using for an iPod at the moment), it will sync to just about anything including memory cards. And finally I use Syncopation to keep my laptop library and my desktop in sync One could use a more general backup software but Syncopation lets me sync the music and leave the podcasts and video etc alone.

So there are some Mac. solutions. I've tried a few others and have some stuff I don't use anymore. TuneRanger would take forever to sync libraries, I think it gets over zelous about what changed and was much less flexible about Not syncing what you don't want synced. PowerTunes, works well if you use multiple libraries. iTunes can switch libraries burt somethings don't switch and can cause problems Power Tunes makes the switching seamless and nothing gets lost. And if your a sound post person you might have Soundminner. It will do all kinds of wonderous stuff like metadata and file renaming etc. At close to $1k it's not going to be something you get for iTunes but if your in sound post it's one of those apps you NEED for it's primary job, sound librarian, project management and spotting in to DAW's plus more, so whynot get some extra milage out of your investment.