New AppleTV as transport

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skunark

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Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #80 on: 16 Oct 2010, 11:35 pm »
Well, that's great for you. You could take some straightforward delight in knowing that Apple is not trying to herd its users into a propietary format that basically makes things into an unnecessary hassle.

You prefer to take delight at other people's annoyance. Good luck with that.
Granted that the FLAC file format is open source, which I'm a card carrying member, there's not a free player (device). Everything has a cost.   There's not one single device I own that supports flac unless I hack it, nor is there an online site that will allow me to download any significant music that I actually like in flac or any lossless format.  I don't know of any major studio or mainstream manufacturer that his adopted either ALAC or FLAC as a way to deliver media.  We have a long wait before this format war is over.  There's not a large selection of devices that make FLAC standout either. (http://flac.sourceforge.net/links.html)

And you don't have to like Apple and you can even call them a Monster, that aside let the guy enjoy his $99 Apple TV.   It's very inexpensive player for netflix, vod and to stream audio and to top it off it is truly convenient for both the little ones and the technically challenged.  That's a big win for me.... less tv tech support.... more time for other activities.

Perhaps a better way for the resistance to fight back is to just describe your set up and what you like about.   The debate between which format a consumer will use is a far second after convenience.  Maybe in the end it will be no different than whole milk or organic whole milk as they both can come from the same holstein just $1 more a gallon at the store.

trebejo

Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #81 on: 16 Oct 2010, 11:39 pm »
Just pick a directory and it will read all the files in a sub-directory. If you computer has multiple cores, say 4, you can ask it to do 4 at a time.    Great open source product to help folks get around the betamax vs vhs digital file format war.  IMO very painless process, it's great.

XLD doesn't seem to be an open source or at least there's no mention of open source or GPL on the website.  But like all of those apps they all end up using the same open source libraries and the core audio libraries.

Ok, yes, the Max workflow is the one I was familiar with from before. The basic problem there occurs if you have each album in its own directory (a common arrangement). *If* you put all your tracks in a single directory, then it's drag-n-drop and let it go. I would not recommend that arrangement, myself, since tracks will often have the same name (e.g. "01 - I. Allegro.flac" is going to be an awfully popular name in classical music).

Now it's hard to fault Max for this, since drag-n-drop interfaces tend to require this. If you allow such an interface to recurse down a directory tree, the results can be unexpected (and massive).

XLD documentation is sparse at best, that's for sure.

btw a tool that has not been mentioned here is Media Rage, that one does recurse down directory trees, renames files on the fly, etc. It goes for  a little bit ($29) but it makes tagging remarkably effective. It helps to do a little bit of regexp work (a la Perl). One of its nicest features is its ability to create a tag straight from the filename, which saves you a fair number of keystrokes and mouse drags.

skunark

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Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #82 on: 16 Oct 2010, 11:45 pm »
Ok, yes, the Max workflow is the one I was familiar with from before. The basic problem there occurs if you have each album in its own directory (a common arrangement). *If* you put all your tracks in a single directory, then it's drag-n-drop and let it go. I would not recommend that arrangement, myself, since tracks will often have the same name (e.g. "01 - I. Allegro.flac" is going to be an awfully popular name in classical music).

Now it's hard to fault Max for this, since drag-n-drop interfaces tend to require this. If you allow such an interface to recurse down a directory tree, the results can be unexpected (and massive).

XLD documentation is sparse at best, that's for sure.

btw a tool that has not been mentioned here is Media Rage, that one does recurse down directory trees, renames files on the fly, etc. It goes for  a little bit ($29) but it makes tagging remarkably effective. It helps to do a little bit of regexp work (a la Perl). One of its nicest features is its ability to create a tag straight from the filename, which saves you a fair number of keystrokes and mouse drags.

What I meant by sub-directories is that it will recursively get everything.  No dragging and dropping required.  I can easily convert a very large library from one format to another with just a few clicks and compute cycles.

trebejo

Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #83 on: 17 Oct 2010, 02:15 am »
What I meant by sub-directories is that it will recursively get everything.  No dragging and dropping required.  I can easily convert a very large library from one format to another with just a few clicks and compute cycles.

Thanks, that is a good workflow for converting things. We should warn newbies though, be careful, please, anything that recurses through subdirectories is veddy veddy powerful!

Now, easily... I still have issues with using that particular word because of how much it needs to be qualified. Easily, for guys like you or me or some of the other folks contributing here. Easily, if you are lucky enough to find Max and use it instead of iTunes exclusively (which is the direction in which Apple herds its users). Easily, if you have enough hard drive space for the potential multiple copies of the same song. Easily, if you have a multi-core computer (which is standard among new machines nowadays but was certainly not the case back when Apple shafted flac support). But for the newbies... yes, flac also presents challenges... but it's more of a "teach a man to fish" type of challenge.

There is an observation embedded there: what may have become easier over time was far more difficult back when Apple pulled this stunt; it took the work of people outside of Apple to make it easier, and that also took time. In the end, all this extra work was totally wasteful and unnecessary. Apple works against its users on this occasion.

Your other message, seeking positive rather than negative contributions, is very good! I'll take up your offer. This may have to wait a bit because I need to look at what I'm doing with my home machine and that's not a two-minute job, unfortunately.

Hopefully, we can tie this tempest in a teapot with a nice ribbon so that the prospective Salk speaker listener and digital music collection newbie can have some idea of what he's in for if he buys a squeezebox or an apple box or a Sonos (or, why not, a Zune).

floresjc

Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #84 on: 17 Oct 2010, 04:48 am »
I've archived my music in both ALAC and FLAC, because the Squeezebox doesn't handle ALAC files in hardware, so I use FLAC for that, and ALAC for my AirTunes. I'd prefer that iTunes ran FLAC natively, but that won't happen, but if its really that much heartburn for a guy, just download Songbird. It plays virtually every file format and has the same interface as iTunes and is compiled for all three platfroms. It is also completely free.

The one advantage of having ALACs is that they will store album art in the file, whereas you have to take extra steps to add it into FLACs. Several programs which can read FLACs require special configuration to read that album art and display while playing.

Having both file formats, a bunch of different music players, and Squeezebox/AirTunes, I find the slickest solution to be AirTunes via the iTunes interface. The files are lossless, streamable to a $99 Airport express, and if you want to get really fancy, you can use an iPod touch or iPhone or an iPad as a remote...for the whole house. For the cost of a single Squeezebox, you can literally setup 3 Airport express stereo receiving stations and use your iTunes playlist. That iTunes playlist is handy because it is already rated and organized. I could recreate the same thign on my SB, but its just extra work. And dynamic updates from anything I change on my iPod after I mow the lawn.

Right now I have Squeezebox hooked up to HT2-TLs with an AVA front end and I also have my SongTowers in my office with AVA gear as well (on AirTunes). Eventually, I'm going to go all AirTunes, which would cost me $99 bucks, so I only have to manage one set of playlists, which are usable from my computer, any of those roaming iDevices with Remote, or my iPod. I will continue to archive in both formats for insurance, storage is cheap and XLD and 8 cores make short work of converting any files. In fact, when ripping off the CD, you can set it up to make 8 formats at one time if you like. The only extra "work" is checking the box for what formats you'd like. I've tried both Max and XLD and prefer XLD myself.

I consider myself a very informed user, having messed with streaming extensively, and virtually any and all possible solutions from Microsoft and Apple (I'm a computer geek). If anyone has any questions about it, feel free to PM me. I honestly think the "work" argument is bunk, its no more work to go from FLAC to ALAC and back (or simultaneously) than it is to re-rip all your CD's from mp3 to FLAC in the first place.  And it don't cost hardly more than $65 dollars to store all of it, which is dirt cheap considering people on these boards are buying 5-10K speakers and associated electronics.

floresjc

Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #85 on: 17 Oct 2010, 05:08 am »
Since I'm bored and its late, I guess I'll write a short little primer for those considering the options.

Complete aversion to Apple:

SqueezeBox is the way to go. The server runs on all platforms and handles the Big 2 (FLAC and mp3) natively in hardware. If you're using something like Windows Media Player or Winamp, any m3u playlists can be imported.

Complete Mac dominated household:

Obviously, you'd want to stick to ALAC, iTunes and AirTunes via Airport Express. Your iTunes playlist that you are already using for your iPods and etc will be usable either from your computer desktop or via some mobile iDevice using the Remote app. Simply go into iTunes and instead of selecting your computer speakers as your output device (the dropdown in the bottom right corner of iTunes), select the appropriate Airport Express, say hooked up to your stereo in your Den.

Mixed environment:

This could be a completely Windows household where people are using some combination of foobar, iTunes, Winamp, MediaMonkey, etc, basically a hodge podge of players and/or mp3 players. iTunes remains quite popular (#1) on the Windows platform, so if you have to have lossless, ALAC is your only choice. Unless you want your wife to be pissed you have a bunch of music in format her iTunes won't read, or your daughter's iPod won't use. You could always just use 320kbps mp3, and format problems go away.

The easy solution for lossless in a mixed user environment is just to follow the "all Mac" solution above, use AirTunes via Airport Express and ALAC. If you personally can't bring yourself to do that, then maintain two separate file chains, one for you that is Mac free, and one for the rest of your mixed computing environment. I'm finding that the easiest thing to do is use the ALACs in the live realm and keep FLAC copies in case Apple decides to go all RIAA on its users and lock you out of your tunes. A $65 1TB hard drive will solve your problem, although I think some folks tremble with rage at the thought of decoding an ALAC file in their AVA DAC.

For any of the solutions, I'd recommend an external dac to hook up to your Airport Express or your Squeezebox. They sound ok without one, but they sound supreme with one.

Art_Chicago

Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #86 on: 18 Oct 2010, 02:41 am »
^^
well said! :D

sarge_in

Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #87 on: 18 Oct 2010, 05:38 pm »
Good guide to options, floresjc!

As Max and XLD seem to be Mac-based, just wanted to add that dbpoweramp is a windows-based program that can handle most format conversion needs of Windows-based users. Quite painless and you can make it sort the songs into tag-based folders if required. Am sure there are several others out there too.

Also, Mp3Tag works great for bulk tagging.

Unless you actually use FLAC on devices that don't support ALAC, I don't see why I would need to keep copies in FLAC as well (for those in Mac/mixed environment). I can easily (relative, I guess) convert back and forth between FLAC and ALAC and I doubt Apple can lock me out of those that I already have with s/w that already supports it? More than space cost, it is the hassle of managing duplicate files I would rather avoid unless I just have to.

floresjc

Re: New AppleTV as transport
« Reply #88 on: 18 Oct 2010, 07:49 pm »
XLD and Max are Mac only. Windows does have a few good options for converters though.

Foobar handles just about any file format you'd want and has excellent "amateur" development support. Since it is plugin based, anything you'd want it to do out of the box can usually be found as a plugin.

dBPowerAmp is a good program, but I didn't think it was free. Thats not to say that its expensive, I thought a full up version was like $30. But people love it if you want to spend the money.

MediaMonkey also handles conversions of most any usable format as well.