Itunes free? Importing CDs w/ Anapod and getting tag info

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mogroith

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SOooooooo, my aim is to use some program (I have dbpoweramp, Winamp etc) to import CDs andcreate files, which I then import using Anapod. In order to avoid using Itunes to import (whose only advantage is getting tag info, IMHO) and also to avoid having to do a crapload of typing, any suggestions? Shabbs, I see you have a very similar setup to mine (4g 40g, Anapod, Win XP with Service pack two) and that you're itunes free, so if you (or anyone) can help, it would be most appreciated. Thanks!

(and yes, I did watch this:

http://www.trials-shack.co.uk/posting.html

AND follow the directions prior to posting!)
 
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shabbs

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mogroith said:
Shabbs, I see you have a very similar setup to mine (4g 40g, Anapod, Win XP with Service pack two) and that you're itunes free, so if you (or anyone) can help, it would be most appreciated. Thanks!
Ahhhh yes - the Quest to be iTunes Free. It is possible and I am living proof. It can be done. Heh heh.

Anyway - all drama aside. Maybe I'll just outline to you how I "manage" my music and that should help you out. What I oultine below will apply to people operating on WinTel platforms that have chosen MP3 as their format of choice (I will not go into an AAC vs MP3 debate here - plenty of that going on elsewhere).

First off, when I buy a new CD - I make a full backup copy for my truck using CloneCD (simply the best CD duplicator on the planet and well worth the expense) and then I rip it to MP3.
CloneCD: http://www.slysoft.com/en/clonecd.html

Now, my rip/convert tools of choice:

Audio Ripper: Exact Audio Copy v0.9b4
MP3 Converter: LAME v3.90.3 by Dibrom

Set these two FREE tools up using Chris Myden's Elite DAE Guide here (he has links to the software on his guide):
http://www.chrismyden.com/nuke/modules.php?op=modload&name=Elite_DAE&file=painless

Following that guide TO THE LETTER will give you very high quality MP3s, and the Secure ripping mode of EAC will ensure that the audio you extract from your CDs will be as clean as possible. EAC will also generate the necessary ID3 tags for each file as it can connect to a CDDB source that you specify. This is very important.

On my XP system, I have a partition dedicated to my MP3 collection. I share my music collection with my Squeezebox (network MP3 player connected to my sound system at home) so I needed a solution that could handle the iPod and the Squeezebox nicely. I've organized my MP3 collection using a folder based system that works for me. And for that treason, I needed a "manager" that would allow me to drop files in there, have it detect the "new" files and then fire them over to the iPod with very little effort. The Squeezebox Server service on my XP system works that way - it just rescans the music folder and recognizes the new music.

The important thing to remember is that the iPod cares not about folders and only about ID3 tags. This is very critical and took me a while to really understand. It is very important that when you rip your tracks you get your TAGs in order - Artist, Album, Track, Year, Genre are the key tags you'll need. If tags are different for the same song, the iPod will see them as two differnt songs. It does not matter how you name your files. Similarily, if the tags for two different songs are the same, the iPod will see it as a duplicate.

So, once I've ripped and converted a CD using EAC/Lame, I move it into my MP3 storage area and make sure things all look good. Sometimes you can get a mis-tag because the CDDB system isn't perfect. Every now and then I scan my music files to make sure the tags are in order. I use ID3-tag-it - a very good and free utility. Using ID3-tag-it it's very easy to pick out typos in your files and you can do mass ID3 tag updates. Very cool.

ID3 Tag Tool: ID3-tag-it
http://www.id3-tagit.de/english/index.htm

If all is well, I put my iPod in it's dock (I connect via the FireWire connection since I like to take the USB connection with me when I travel). Then I fire up Anapod Explorer, hit the synch button and send the files over to the iPod.

Very smooth and keeps me happy.

Now - for playlists, I use WinAmp to create them since my Squeezebox can handle M3U playlists directly, and Anapod Explorer can import them without any issue. This means I don't have to keep re-creating my playlists that I use at home on my iPod. If I create a playlist in WinAmp, I just drag the M3U file to Anapod Explorer and it creates a playlist on the iPod. Anapod Explorer is able to tell that I have all those songs on my iPod already and does not transfer any songs. It just creates the playlist. If there is a song on there that I do not have - it fires it over.

Now - my setup is probably not like everyone. I wanted my MP3 collection on my XP system to be my central focal point. My iPod is a copy of that sructure and I've only really been doing a one-way synch (PC --> iPod). Anapod Explorer also has the ability to copy files from your iPod back to your PC. When it does the synch - it lets you know what files are on your PC that your iPod does not have, as well as what files are on your iPod that your PC does not have. This is something iTunes can not do. With iTunes - I felt like I have no control over what it was doing and every time I synched my library seemed to grow. Part of this was due to bad ID3 Tag info, but I just did not feel comfortable with iTunes.

All my music has been ripped from CDs I own or originals that I've borrowed from friends (perfectly LEGAL here in Canada). I find music downloaded from the 'net is crap, and the tags are all out of whack anyway.

So that is my solution to managing my MP3 collection. I hope that helps shed some light for you.

Good luck.
 

mogroith

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Wow, shabbs, thanks for the detailed process! For what I need to do, it looks relatively simple. I haven't had a lot of luck with the sync function on Anapod - must be doing something wrong. Mebbe if I make one dedicated folder for mp3s and sync to that, that would be best. In a very small nutshell, that seems similar to what you do. Thanks again for the great help and links-

Mike
 

shabbs

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I have one top level folder in the root of my partition called "MP3". Inside that folder are subfolders that break down my music collection as I see fit. There are several layers of folders, and Anapod has no problem handling that. I just point it to the top level "MP3" folder and it takes care of the rest.

The other folders that I have in the root of that partition are "Playlists" which house my M3U files that my Squeezebox server uses, and "Temp Rips" which is where my converted files from EAC go before I load them in my MP3 folder structure.

It works for me and the way I use my collection. Now, when my music collection grows beyond the capacity of my iPod, I will have an issue. The solution to that will be to re-structure my MP3 folder to accomodate this, not a big issue.

It's all good.
 

mogroith

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syncing revisited

so, I'm having problems syncing with anapod. I go into anapod options, select the folders I want anapod to sync the ipod with (only pc -> ipod, not the reverse). Then when I go to sync to those folders by hitting the autosync button in anapod, anapod tells me I haven't selected a PC target folder, and it won't sync/let me sync? Wtf, over?

(btw, shabbs, I downloaded Exact Audio Copy per your recommendation and it works great. Slower than Itunes definitely, and I may use Itunes on occasion just for the speed factor, but other than that I'm pretty happy with it, considering it's free and alll .. . .. :D
 
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shabbs

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You still have to select a PC target folder (even if you are not going to synch back to your PC). When the comparison is done it will show you what is on your PC and is not on your iPod and vice versa. You can select to only transfer files from your PC to your iPod.
 

mogroith

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pardon me if this is an example of dumbth, but do you select the target folder through the Anapod options? I thought I had done that, but maybe I need to go back and check. Thanks again for the help shabbs
 

shabbs

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mogroith said:
pardon me if this is an example of dumbth, but do you select the target folder through the Anapod options? I thought I had done that, but maybe I need to go back and check. Thanks again for the help shabbs
Yes - you still have to. It's a drop-down option that is based on the folders you've identified to synchronize with. You will have to select one, even if you are not going to synch back to the PC.

Strange indeed - but it's the way.

Cheers.
 

mogroith

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Aaaaaah - I see. That's the step I was missing, since it makes it seem like you only need to use that for the ipod->comp transfer. Worked like a champ - thanks again, shabbs
 
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