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Topic: Importing converted vinyl albums via M3U playlists - stopped working!

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Old 01-10-2009, 10:17 PM
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KDL
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Importing converted vinyl albums via M3U playlists - stopped working!

Hello all. I searched through this forum and didn't see anyone else with this situation, so I'll post this and see if anyone can help.

I'm converting a large collection of vinyl albums to digital format and using iTunes to store the resulting library. I'm using an application called Magix Audio Cleaning Lab to transfer the vinyl albums into digital form prior to moving them into iTunes. The process, outlined below, has worked great for over a year...and then iTunes stopped cooperating and I can't figure out how to fix it. It goes like this:

1. Use Magix to convert albums to digital form and clean up sound, etc. Export audio from Magix into .WAV files (16 bit, 44Khz), one .WAV file for each track on the album and one .M3U file which is a simple playlist for the album. These files are stored in a folder not under the iTunes Music hierarchy.

2. Start iTunes and use File-Import to import the playlist only. This results in a playlist pointing to the .WAV files.

3. Select all the .WAV files in the iTunes playlist and edit info to add album name, artist name, year, etc.

4. Select all .WAV files in the iTunes playlist and convert them to .AAC format. This gets the music converted to AAC and files stored in the proper iTunes folders under the right artist and album name.

5. Edit the info of each AAC file to assign rating, other misc. info.

6. Delete the imported playlist and .WAV files from iTunes. This only deletes iTunes pointer to the file; they remain in the non-iTunes folder.

Voila! I have imported a converted vinyl album to iTunes. Except that after a year or so of doing this, it stopped working.

Now when I import the playlist, it adds the playlist to the iTunes list of playlists, but the playlist is blank. It momentarily flashes the track list in the playlist pane, but then it disappears. Why?

The only thing I changed is that I added a 2nd internal hard drive and moved that Magix import/cleaning operation over there. So the source folder for the import is now on E: instead of C:. But even if I temporarily move the source folder to C:, I get the same result.

Anyone have any ideas on how to fix this? Or another procedure that is as simple?
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:53 AM
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King 'O' da Lounge
 
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This sounds like a bug in iTunes. Are you using windows? iTunes tends to be somewhat buggy on windows. I'm not sure how to fix it, but a program which is extremely easy to operate, (and which the audiophiles claim gives better quality conversions) is dbpoweramp. You just install it, open the wav tracks, and convert to aac, mp3, lossless, or whatever you want. Best thing is its free. On Mac you can use Music Man, but it costs $25. For some reason iLounge still wont let me post links, but dbpoweramp is at dbpowerampdotcom, and musicman is at mirethdotcom. Hope that helps.
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:32 AM
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Have you tried reinstalling iTunes?



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Old 01-11-2009, 12:38 PM
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I'll ask the obvious question...have you checked the .m3u files to verify that the file paths are recorded accurately? (for instance, Mac iTunes will become unresponsive if a .m3u path doesn't exist; Windows might handle this situation with a little more grace.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:02 PM
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Thanks people for your ideas. I haven't reinstalled iTunes. Really I suppose I should upgrade to V8, but I haven't wanted to invest the time to back everything up before I do. If I lose my library after all the work I've put into it, I'll be unhappy. No, worse.

I am using Windows.

S2_Mac, my .M3U file is simply a list of the file names. There is no path information. If I open the .M3U in Windows Media player, it plays just fine, finding all of the tracks. I'm not familiar with .M3U file format. Should each track in the list be a fully qualified drive:\path\filename? Or is there some path statement at the top?
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:43 PM
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Well, I try to stay as far from Windows as possible, so I don't know what WMP does ;-) For the heck of it, edit one of your existing doesn't-work .m3u files to include a full path and see what happens.

If your music files are important to you -- and if you're ripping your own LPs, it sounds like they are ;-) -- you're being silly not making a backup. Hard drives fail, Windows fails, people fail (witness the "Argh! I trashed my music folder by mistake!" posts on the boards ;-). Even completely removing iTunes and QuickTime won't ditch your music files or your iTunes library; those are left alone by the installer.

Pretty easy to make a backup: copy the "iTunes" folder (in the Music folder of your user account); if your music files are stored somewhere other than the default "iTunes Music" folder in the "iTunes" folder, copy that, too. P'bly do it for less than $85....
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:52 PM
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KDL
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Wink Figured this out

OK, I'm back after a bit of a break. I first upgraded to iTunes 8 and that didn't fix this. I then edited the .M3U playlist to show the complete Drive:\path:\ in front of each song in the playlist. Then I used the iTunes File-Library-Import Playlist function to import the playlist, and voila, it works again.

I have my iTunes preferences set to Keep iTunes Music Folder Organized, and to NOT copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding. So when I import the playlist, it leaves the .WAV files in the source folder. I then edit all the song information in the imported playlist to show the artist, album, and the total track count (and any other info that is common to ALL songs on the album.) Then I convert the selections to AAC format. When this occurs, the AAC versions of each song appear are then copied to proper iTunes Music folder, under the proper Artist\Album structure. I can then edit the individual song info as needed.

By the way, I do burn a copy of all the .WAV files to an audio CD just prior to adding to the library as my backup...and portable copy for the car. So I end up with a vinyl album, converted to digital, an audio CD copy, and the compressed AAC Files in iTunes.

I also found out that I could simply insert the CD into the PC's drive, and import it using iTunes, and I'd get a similar result. However, I prefer to use the other method to avoid any CD burning defects.

I hope this helps others trying this same thing...let me know. KDL.
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