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Discussion Starter #1
I copied some music from the iTunes folder on my PC to a 4 GB USB stick to test in my Equinox. The stereo display indicated that the stick couldn't be read, or something like that. Two questions:

  • will it read .aac files that were created by ripping from CD? I don't necessarily expect it to read purchased music due to copy protection.
  • is there some requirement for the directory structure?

Mine is something like:
g:\music\artist\album
 

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Not sure about acc files, but for directory structure, I don't think there is any requirements. You can separate artists, genre, album, etc by folder if you do not want to relay on the actual ID3 tags on the file, but rather like to browse folder by folder. Once the USB has been indexed, you can go into search option and select folder view to view the folder structure. I've found this to be easier than creating playlists.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hmm...Since I copied from my iTunes directory, I think all the songs already have ID3 tags. It won't index the drive since it had some sort of problem recognizing it. I'm ok without playlists, but for now I can't get it to read the drive at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So it does, I see that now. It also says it'll play only the first 2500 songs on the drive. That's a bummer...based on average song size that means about 10-11 GB of songs. Hmm...I'll convert some songs to mp3 and try again anyway.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That did it...I converted a bunch of albums to mp3 format and copied them back to the stick. Works great!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Interestingly enough, my printed owner's manual says the stereo will recognize the first 10,000 songs, whereas the manual on-line says 2500. I wonder which is correct? If it's 10,000 I could pick up a 32 GB stick for about $60 and load it up with songs, and then not worry about leaving the iPod in the car.
 

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mnussbaum said:
That did it...I converted a bunch of albums to mp3 format and copied them back to the stick. Works great!
Did you use a program to convert them?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I used iTunes. It's not the greatest solution but I haven't found a better one, at least not for free. If you change the default import settings to mp3 you can right click any/all files in a list and convert them to mp3. The only problem is getting just the mp3s onto the stick. The original folder structure is something like:

\Users\Mike\Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\artist\album\songs

There's no simple way in iTunes to "duplicate" that folder structure so you have a parallel file tree with the mp3 versions, e.g.:

\mp3music\artist\album\songs

So I ended up copying all the iTunes folders, which now include mp3 and aac files in the same folder, into a new parallel structure elsewhere on the hard drive, and then manually deleting the aac files and copying the result to the stick. Then you have to delete the new mp3 versions from iTunes.

I have a LOT of music (>10,000 songs) so this is a royal pain. Anybody know of a free solution that will generate a new, parallel folder structure with the output files?
 

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I've had good success with dBpoweramp's Music Converter. I can't post links, but do a search for dbpoweramp.

It's very flexible. I used it to convert a number of AAC files to MP3 for a similar purpose. Now that I've got the 'Nox, I'll be doing more of the same. ;D
 

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iTunes... worst software ever... but we're stuck with it since Apple is so closed..................
 

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Discussion Starter #13
PaleGreen said:
I've had good success with dBpoweramp's Music Converter. I can't post links, but do a search for dbpoweramp.
Here's the link, I'm going to give it a whirl. Looks like it has "dynamic" output locations that includes artist name and presumably album name in the output path...exactly what I need. There's a 21 day free trial period. I only need to convert my library once so no problem there! ;) I'll report back how well it works. Thanks!
http://www.dbpoweramp.com/dmc.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Here's my early assessment of dbpoweramp, I'm still testing it.

At the moment I give it a full 5 stars, it's awesome! I came across one minor problem that I don't yet know whether the fault lies with dbpoweramp or the car. Read on.

Firstly, the program does exactly what I wanted--that is, it lets me select any or all folders in the iTunes library and send the output into a parallel structure. It works like a backup program's folder chooser. I can grab them all with a single click at the top, and then deselect branches or single folders below that one. I can also select or unselect individual songs. Very nice.

It converts files of all different types. It downloaded an AAC plug-in at first use.

It lets me tell it where to place the output files, and in what format. I can save the output in folders for artist/album/song under any other folder. I can also include a variety of other tags such as song number, genre, year, or a couple dozen other options.

It uses all 6 cores of my AMD processor simultaneously...converting songs into mp3 format 160kbps at approx 150x!

The program estimated about 5 hours to convert 11,000 songs. I started the process at 11:00 pm and let it run overnight, so I don't know what the actual run time was. It was finished in the morning.

A handful of songs didn't correctly convert (not sure why), but it offered to try them again. This finished the stragglers off. I copied a selection of files to a Sandisk 4 GB USB drive.

Now for the problem: When playing live music where tracks run together with no pause, there was the briefest of gaps, maybe 1/10 of a second. I need to look at the files themselves to see if there is any silence embedded into the tracks. If not I'll conclude it's a limitation of the stereo. I may also try converting to Windows Media format, apparently that's also supported by the car.

Just an aside, iPods used to have the same problem...a very slight gap between tracks. They fixed it probably 5 years ago. If you have a lot of live music in your collection like I do it's an annoyance. If not you'll never notice.

I'll post another update after some more checking.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, bad news...when converting to mp3 dbpoweramp inserted just under 1/10 of a second of silence at the beginning of each song. Major letdown. Probably a problem with the codec.

So I converted a sample album to wma format. A quick listen on the PC shows it to be better. I am unable to verify gaps with Audacity, it can't read the files for some reason. So I'll need to try it in the car next.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Don't get me wrong, the tool is phenomenal! It could be the "Lame" mp3 encoder it uses, which is something of a standard codec. Or not...I'll try wma.
 

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SuperMat64 said:
iTunes... worst software ever... but we're stuck with it since Apple is so closed..................
I use Winamp, it's free, and I am able to put music on both our Ipods without issue. If I remember correctly with itunes you can only sync to one Ipod.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I sync to 3 iPods with a single iTunes library. (Side note...what's with the small 'i' in front of everything???) What I do is put a checkmark in front of the songs I want on my iPod and it automatically syncs to it, and manually sync to the other two. Not sure if there's a better way but it works.
 
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