m4a to m4b converting ON A MAC


Uncle Ted

New member
Hello dudes, I'm new here.

I've gone through all the threads regarding audiobooks and m4b, they all seem to very detailed by a chap named Robert, but sadly they seem to be geared to the PC crowd.

Problem:

-I have converted existing mp3s to stereo AAC files (1 file per disc)
-I have changed the extention to .m4b simply by the "get info" method in the finder
-I then dumped them on to my pod (4G 20gig)
-They play, but don't hold my spot and don't show up under audiobooks in the menu
-Thus, I don't think they are being recognized by itunes & ipod as proper " .m4b's"

Question:
Is there a program(shareware) or better method to convert the AAC's to m4bs for MAC?

THANKS

PS Also I'm confused as to what bookmarking actually does, I've assumed that it means once you've stopped listening (pause) it remembers where in that book (playlist & track #) you left off and starts off at the same exact spot? I'm I correct? Can you listen to music and then go back to it exactly as before? Because on my 4G it always starts of where I left off (when I stop it) and I assume book marking is more advanced otherwise its pretty useless.
 

dordale

New member
Uncle Ted--

I'm not a mac user, but I do know that Mac users have to run a script on files to make them bookmarkable...you can download the script from here: http://www.malcolmadams.com/itunes/scripts/scripts07.php?page=1#makebookmarkable

Basically, you have the right idea bout bookmarkable files...they retain the last position played, even if you play other music or audio book files on your iPod. The next time you play a file that is bookmarkable, the iPod will start in the last position you listened to. I don't have a 4g (3g only) but for 4g users, files that are bookmarkable appear under the special audiobook menu. I believe that the 4g will also skip over any of these files when it is playing music in shuffle mode.

Hope this helps-
dordale :)
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
Posted here:

http://www.ipodlounge.com/forums/newreply.php?s=&action=newreply&postid=401311

eallison said:
This almost works for mac users. You have to change the "file type" as well as the extension in OS X or it won't be recognized as an audiobook file. There are a bunch of free programs (check versiontracker.com) that will do file type/creator changes. For those that don't know, file type/creator is a form of metadata that each mac file has - it's why mac files that don't have extensions seem to be able to magically know which program to open when you click on them. OS X has added file extensions as a way to specify type, but it seems that the "file type" metadata takes precedence, at least in this case. So you probably could delete the .m4b extensions on all your files and just change the type to M4B, and it would probably work.
If you get this figured out, it would be great if you post the differences and I will try to add them or link to them in the guides.

Or, for someone inclined to post a mac guide, I will be happy to email you the guide posts in "edit" format so that you can adapt for your post.

Robert
 
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mjsanders

New member
This worked for me.

Download and install the script as suggested above - to make the tracks bookmarkable.

Load the Audiobook CD into iTunes. I used AAC and joined the tracks together - as suggested else where.

Select the file and run the make bookmarkable script.

Select the file and select show song file.

Change the extension to m4b.

Sync with your ipod and hey presto.

Basically I think the script changes the creator but doesn't change the extension and both need to be done for it to work!
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
Need help understanding mac conversion & renaming of audio files to m4b

In the Apple Discussion Groups the following interchange took place over the past two days in this thread
Protected AAC vs. AAC, focused on mac:
cbud posted You don't need to change the extension [to get a bookmarking file]. Changing the extension just makes iTunes re-copy it to your iPod because it has been modified. Modify the file in anyway and it will re-copy and work."

Robert posted If you want a bookmarking file it is absolutely necessary to change the file extension of the file created by from the AAC conversion *.m4a to *.m4b

stage posted That is only true on a PC, where the file type is based solely on the the .3 extension. On a mac you have the .3 extension for compatibility, but iTunes/iPod defer to the hidden 4 character file code for the acceptance of the file as an .m4b file. In this context the .3 extension is mostly cosmetic.
I am out of my league here, this being mac talk, but all the posts that relate to homemade mac conversion of audio files to bookmarking m4b in iPodlounge have said must go to applescripts to change the extension of the file to m4b. I gather from the stage post that he is saying this is unnecessary.

Could someone please explain it to in simple enough language for me to edit the proper process into the audio file to m4b guides? Better yet, provide me the language to cut and paste into the guides so that a mac user can follow the steps. Really would like to get the best possible information in the guides for both pc and mac users.

It is possible, with my lack of mac knowledge, that I misinterpreted. As a PC user, Stage's post is almost incomprehensible to me.

Thanks.

Robert.
 
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mjsanders

New member
Re: Need help understanding mac conversion & renaming of audio files to m4b

You said: "I am out of my league here, this being mac talk, but all the posts that relate to homemade mac conversion of audio files to bookmarking m4b in iPodlounge have said must go to applescripts to change the extension of the file to m4b. I gather from the stage post that he is saying this is unnecessary."

I'm confused, are you using a Mac or PC to load material onto you're iPod?

If it's a Mac then you need to follow the steps I posted above. It is the only way it will work for me.

One thing, so far - although I haven't done exhustive testing - the process only works if you import using AAC at 32KB's in stereo. As I said I haven't tried other sample rates but it's only speech!

Basically, the "make bookmarkable" script changes some data inside the file - but for some reason doesn't change the extension to .m4b You need to do both before you're iPod will recognise it as an audio book.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
Thanks.

I am PC, but the author of the guides in the signature below and wish to edit these guides so that mac users can follow them more easily and produce usable files.

1. It appears to me, with limited testing, that mono now works with conversions using iTunes v 4.7.1.30. I would like to have validation from others that the mono bug has been eliminated with the new iTunes version so that I can edit the guides accordingly.

2. I interpret the above referenced Apple Discussion posts to state that a mac user does not have to change file extension to m4b. Everything I have seen in iPodlounge threads indicates that the file extension does have to be changed. You are validating that a mac user does have to change the extension -- both the script and renaming are necessary. I interpret Stage's post to say that renaming to m4b is not necessary, but the language he uses is not clear to me. Stage has 1200 or so posts, so he is not necessarily an uniformed newbie.

Thanks,

Robert
 

mjsanders

New member
Rober,

As far as I can tell, I've found you have to change both the extension and run the script. If I remember I'll dig inside the script or email the author to so that the script does both.

Also, and I need to check this, if you make sure the discs are labelled in the title 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 it will automatically roll onto the next disc when playing on the iPod.

I've just finished one audio book and need to load another on, so when I do it and if I have enough time I'll try and vary all the options and see what happens.
 

moriond

New member
m4b file extensions not needed for bookmarking on a Mac

mjsanders said:
As far as I can tell, I've found you have to change both the extension and run the script.
I've been using the Make Bookmarkable script on a Mac for several months to make iTunes files bookmarkable without changing the file extension. This site gives an explanation of the difference(s) in the ways file types are identified to applications on PCs and Macs. On PCs the file extension determines the application that gets used when you double-click on a file, and all files with a given extension share the same default application. On Macs you can specify the default application that opens each file. For example, an mp3 file created by a program like Amadeus II which allows you to record and edit sound files from tape, LP, or microphone input (similar to PolderbitS Sound Recorder and Editor) will open in that program, while an mp3 file added to iTunes will open in iTunes unless you change these defaults.

This flexibility means that you cannot pass on the information about the differences between a bookmarkable and nonbookmarkable audio file to iTunes on a Mac using the file extension -- you have to put the information about the file into the disk management structure and this is what the the Make Bookmarkable AppleScript does. There is also a Make UN-Bookmarkable script.

Originally posted by Robert from the Apple Discussion forums
cbud posted "You don't need to change the extension [to get a bookmarking file]. Changing the extension just makes iTunes re-copy it to your iPod because it has been modified. Modify the file in anyway and it will re-copy and work."
I think this refers to automatic updating of files that have been made bookmarkable in iTunes, but which were already on the iPod in unbookmarkable form. iTunes will not automatically transfer the new, bookmarkable version of a file onto the iPod unless a name change or a change in the length of a file indicates there is a new version in iTunes. This could be why mjsanders finds that changing the file extension to .m4b is necessary. However, if you use auto-updating and you're running the Make Bookmarkable script on files which have never been transferred to the iPod before they don't need to be renamed, and by the same token any change in file name in iTunes (not just .m4a -> .m4b) should force the iPod to grab the renamed (bookmarkable) file as a new file under automatic updating.

If you manually update your iPod you should never need to rename your bookmarkable files. All files that I've made bookmarkable with the AppleScript on a Mac and (manually) transferred to a Windows formatted iPod also work correctly without changing the file extension from .m4a to .m4b.

Edited to update the links for the Make Bookmarkable and Make UN-Bookmarkable AppleScripts. Site for Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes changed to the domain name http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/ in April.
 
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mjsanders

New member
Re: m4b file extensions not needed for bookmarking on a Mac

Originally posted by moriond If you manually update your iPod you should never need to rename your bookmarkable files. All files that I've made bookmarkable with the AppleScript on a Mac and (manually) transferred to a Windows formatted iPod also work correctly without changing the file extension from .m4a to .m4b. [/B]
Yes, but I'm using a Mac and a Mac formatted iPod - could there be a confusion there?
 

moriond

New member
Re: Re: m4b file extensions not needed for bookmarking on a Mac

mjsanders said:
Yes, but I'm using a Mac and a Mac formatted iPod - could there be a confusion there?
No, I'm also using a Mac and a Mac formatted iPod, too. Sorry if I confused things.

I used a PC when I first started listening to Audible, but I got a Mac PowerBook shortly after my iPod and have found the Mac platform much more convenient for working with audio files. However, because of my original experience with Windows formatted iPods, I experimented and I know that you can play files that have been transferred from iTunes on a Mac to Windows formatted iPods under manual updating. If you've run the Make Bookmarkable AppleScript these files will also bookmark correctly when played on a Windows formatted iPod without having to rename the file extensions. This may be extraneous information, since most people don't use their iPods across different platforms.
Summary:
  • Mac users do not need to change the file extension from m4a to m4b to have files run through the Make Bookmarkable AppleScript and transferred to the iPod bookmark correctly.
  • [Ignore this as irrelevant unless you use your iPod with both PCs and Macs] Mac iTunes files made bookmarkable with the Make Bookmarkable AppleScript and transferred to Windows formatted iPods (where autosynching has been turned off) also bookmark correctly without having to rename file extensions from m4a to m4b.
 

mjsanders

New member
Moriond you're completly right. Not quite sure what happend when I originally did it. I thought I'd erased the files from the iPod before updating them. But anyway, yes I agree all you need to do is make the file bookmarkable and there is no need to change the extension. I can also confirm that 32Kbs Mono works - but sounds terrible!
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
mjsanders said:
... I can also confirm that 32Kbs Mono works - but sounds terrible!
To get a mono file to show up in iTunes equivalent to audible format 4 (and show 32 kbps bit rate in iTunes -- Format 4 audible files are mono 32kbps), it is necessary to set the mono kbps at 64 in the custom window. The importing tab will then show 32 kbps even though you set 64 in the custom window. If you set custom at 32 kbps, you would have gotten the equivalent of audible format 3, or 16 kbps.

I am getting very good quality with the 64 kbps setting that results in 32kbps mono files.

The resulting file size is identical if set custom for 32 kbps in stereo vs 64 kbps in mono. Not quite sure what iTunes is doing here.

I will try to edit all the good info in the last few posts into the guides. I gather, basically, just do apple scripts make bookmarkable with no need to change the file extension. And, if you choose to convert to AAC in mono, set the desired bit rate in the custom window at twice the bit rate result you want. I will link to moriond's first post and refer to follow up posts. Quite a contribution for two freshmen loungers. Thanks for the contribution!

Robert
 
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moriond

New member
Re: My bookmarks aren't "sticking"!

atmattix said:

I've been reading this forum to learn how to make "bookmarkable" files from audio CDs, but I'm still having problems.

I'm on a Mac using iTunes 4.7.1. I followed Robert's instructions to import the audio as a single AAC file at 32 kpbs stereo. Then I ran the "make bookmarkable" AppleScript and changed file extension to "m4b " (with the space) using "show song file" from within iTunes.

In iTunes, when I play the audio file, pause, and hit play again, my bookmark works. BUT, when I play another track, then go back to the original track and hit play, the bookmark is lost. My audible.com-purchased .aa files do NOT have this problem. It's just the files I'm importing from CD.
Select the file in iTunes and use File -> Get Info then choose the Summary panel. Does Kind show "Protected AAC audio file" or "AAC audio file"? It should say "Protected AAC audio file" for bookmarking to work. If it doesn't, you should check whether you've placed the Make Bookmarkable script in your personal Library->iTunes->Scripts folder. You probably had to create the Scripts folder if this is your first AppleScript for iTunes.

It sounds as though your file is not bookmarkable. How did you run the script? A scroll icon should appear at the end of the iTunes menu options on the title bar after you have placed scripts in the home -> Library -> iTunes -> Scripts folder. Select (highlight) an entry you want to make bookmarkable and use the drop-down menu from the scroll icon to select "Make Bookmarkable". A window will pop up with the message "This script will attempt to set the file type of the selected AAC tracks to work with the iTunes bookmark feature" with option buttons to "Proceed" or "Cancel". If you select "Proceed" the popup should say "Done" when finished. If you now do a "Get Info" on this file it should show "Kind: Protected AAC audio file". (The convenient keyboard shortcut for "Get Info" is to use the command key -- the one next to the spacebar with the Apple sign -- followed by the "i" key).

The file should now bookmark correctly. Start playing it then click >> to move to the next entry in your library and << to move back. You should be in the middle of play, rather than at the beginning. You may find it convenient to download the Make UN-Bookmarkable AppleScript as well.

Hope this helps.

Edited to update link to Make UN-Bookmarkable AppleScript. Site for Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes changed to http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/ in April.
 
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robert

Moderator
Moderator
Great Post, Moriond. I have edited the guide as follows. Since I am PC, would appreciate any clarification and also, since your post is linked to the guide, perhaps you could edit it with an eye to visit from the link in the guide.

Edit:

Mac: Install this "Make Bookmarkable" AppleScript. Mac will bookmark as m4a, but to keep out of main menu shuffle, rename m4b . (with blank space after b) See several posts here for discussion.
See excellent post by Moriond on using the Apple script here
 

moriond

New member
Out of curiosity, can you try running the script on some small AAC file -- for example, a music track that you've ripped directly into iTunes? This might help decide whether the script is failing with the book file (the result of several steps) or with other AAC files. You can always run the Make UN-bookmarkable script to change this back.

My other thoughts are either that the downloaded script was truncated (unlikely) or that for some reason you don't have the correct permissions set. I'd try the experiment first. Also, in older versions of the system I recall that I had to either briefly play or select the file before the status of "Kind" updated. (The directories don't update unless they detect a change, or reopen the file). This doesn't seem necessary with the latest system updates, but I would briefly open the file before rechecking the status.

If that doesn't work, I would try repairing permissions using the disk utility (Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility). Select Macintosh HD, go into First Aid, and select the option to Repair Permissions on the lower left. You can run into problems if the system doesn't think you have permission to alter the necessary files. This can happen when some third-party software installs on the system, and in general it's a good idea to repair permissions before and after software installs and system updates.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
Is there an mp3 freeware merge for mac?

In looking over the guides with an eye as to how to put Davids upcoming PC shareware into the sticky guides (his beta is inexpensive, slick, simple, one software mp3 to bookmarkable file in iTunes Library) I realized that Guide 1 is not fully mac adaptable. Can someone give me a link for mac freeware to accomplish mp3 merge so that I can post in the guide, please?
 
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robert

Moderator
Moderator
PC requires renaming to m4b to activate faster listen and main menu shuffle exclusion

This may be pc only, but I discovered that the features of main menu shuffle not including audiobooks and the listen at faster speed both require renaming to m4b .
 

moriond

New member
Re: Still working on the bookmarks...

atmattix said:
Still no luck! I tried running the script on various AAC files. It isn't working -- the file type doesn't change, and the "date modified" remains the same. Playing or opening the file makes no difference. I repaired permissions twice and restarted; still the same. The script doesn't appear to be truncated and all the little message boxes pop up, but it just isn't doing anything. In case anyone would like to know, I'm running OS 10.3.7 and iTunes 4.7.1.

I thought I'd abandon the script and figure out how to change the file type manually, so I downloaded a program (Type & Creator Changer) that should let me do that. Does anyone know what the new file type should be? Would this work? I don't understand exactly what it is that the script is doing.

I appreciate the help!
Try posting a question to Doug Adams in the AppleScripts for iTunes forum (under Software -> iTunes Mac). The Make Bookmarkable script is fairly simple and should just work. If you want to look at the contents of the script, just select it in Finder; it will open in the Script Editor. I can't think of any obvious other things to check and it sounds as though you've been doing everything correctly. I assume all these files were created on your Mac (not transfered from another machine, or from a different account)? The "date modified" on the audio file shouldn't change since you are not modifying the file by renaming it, as you would under Windows. iTunes itself and your iPod use the iTunes Music Library.xml file to keep track of Album and song information, including a key that gives the file type, that also identifies which files are bookmarkable. If you use iTunes to write a CD of an audiobook which has been made bookmarkable a ContentsDB.xml file containing the subset of information for the entries on the CD also gets written. If you add the contents of the CD to another iTunes library, the .xml information is also read. This is what gets transfered to the iPod when you do manual downloads of individual files. How an aac file is identified as bookmarkable to the .xml file depends on your operating system (for Windows or Mac).

I can't test Robert's question about requiring that file extensions be renamed to .m4b to activate the listen at faster speed and shuffle features on 4th generation iPods, but on my Mac, when a bookmarkable file is written to CD, it automatically gets renamed to a .m4b extension without the user having to do anything (even if the name of the file is still xxxxx.m4a on the computer, as long as the Make Bookmarkable script has been run). So it's possible that this is also handled transparently when files are downloaded to the iPod without requiring user intervention to rename file extensions. This would explain why such a renaming feature hasn't been added to the AppleScript.

Atmattix, I hope you find a solution. The only thing I could think of was that you couldn't set the file type definitions under the script because you didn't have permission (why I suggested you repair permissions earlier) or because the .xml file was locked (in fact, experimenting with this showed that I could make files bookmarkable even when I locked the iTunes Music Library.xml file, I guess because I was running as Administrator in Windows parlance). Good luck.
 

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