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What CD-R Format Do You Use ?

Discussion in 'The PatsFans.com Pub' started by BelichickFan, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    First, I want to be clear that I don't download music for free. I'm talking about music that I buy, I have 1,500+ CDs.

    I have a Sony CD player that can play CDs, MP-3s and ATRAC format. I've started copying my CDs to MP-3 format into i-tunes (but I don't have an i-pod).

    I just copied 25 CDs onto one CD-R in ATRAC format. It's sick. And I'd be happy with this route except I have no idea how long/if the ATRAC format will be around - anyone know ?

    The other thing I could do is use MP-3 format. The problem is that burning them through i-tunes just gives me a list of songs but I can't split them into CDs and skip CD to CD with one button press. I can do that with the ATRAC burning. Does anyone know of EASY TO USE software that I can burn an MP-3 disc but contain the CD info so I can skip CD to CD instead of having to skip each individual song ? The software doesn't need to be free but would need to have a free trial period so I could try it out before buying.+

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Hmmm - not sure I understand your question fully

    I have a Creative Design MP3 player that has software availalbe for free on the Creative Design website that might serve your needs - it would categorize your mp3s by track, by artist, by genre, and by album - you'd just need to ensure that the track details contain all the information you need

    the name of the softeware is Creative Media Source - look here for what you need

    http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/

    Your larger question seems to be about compressing and saving CDs digitally - and what to use

    ATRAC is a Sony proprietary compression application (that is, no one other than Sony can or does use it) that I'm not sure really has a future as it was a product of the outdated Sony Minidisc players- Mp3 is widely accepted and while it has its faults, you can be pretty confident that most players will recognize the digitial format for a long time

    However, Mp3 is a "lossy" compression meaning that some of the data is lost in compression - for this reason its always better to compress at no less than 128 kb/s rather than the 64 kb/s formatting that makes much smaller files (I definately notice a loss of audio quality at 64 - can't really tell at 128 kb/s - and usually opt for a variable bitrate between 128 & 190 kb/s)

    One alternative for archiving , is to compress into "shorten" format (.shn files) - which is "lossless" technology - or FLAC (.flac) - many computer based audio players - winamp for example - will recognize and play these files on your computer

    there are also simple conversion programs (mkw audio) that can convert these files into mp3s and .wav files very easilly

    However .shns and .flacs are much much bigger than mp3s and take up much more space

    (for example, 2 discs of a Grateful Dead concert I downloaded as a high fi (128 kb/s) mp3 was about 300 MB - the same concert in .shn - while a superior compression - was 1000 MB)

    more information can be found about all these issues at etree.org

    additional information and tons of free and legal concerts can be found at http://www.archive.org/audio/etree.php

    But the bottom line, if you are just looking for a quick and easy way to convert audio cds to electronic formats to be saved on a hard drive (200 GB external hard drives now sell for $100 or so) that can be quickly transfered to a portable digital player, mp3s, transfered at no less than 128 kb/s will suffice for all but the most demanding ear

    again, there are probably lots of free software packages out there, but MediaSource does what i need it to and what I think you need it to as well
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2005
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Thanks for the info, I think I've settled on ripping my CDs to my hard drive in MP-3 format but then using SonicStage (Sony) to burn CD-Rs in ATRAC. I can get 25-26 CDs on one CD-R this way and they sound fine to my ears. This gives me the best of all worlds (for me). I have them stored in MP-3 for future compatibility. I can get a ridiculous number of CDs on a single CD-R. And SonicStage allows my to skip track to track and CD to CD, compared to i-tunes (without an i-pod) which doesn't let me skip CD to CD.
     
  4. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I take it you are listening to your CDs strictly on your computer? I'm assuming ATRAC formatted music doesn't play on ordinary CD players (other than a Sony perhaps)

    There's no "perfect" technology out there right now - all have drawbacks and its all about finding out what works best for you like you said

    The popularity of the Ipod is being fueled by people who don't understand the technology and are defaulting to that

    That's dropping the prices of equal or better offerings like the Zen Xtra - which, unlike the Ipod uses a replaceable, fixable laptop hardrive

    My 60 GB player allows me to take about 600 CDs worth of music with me everywhere (I wanted to eliminate the clutter of CDs in my car entirely), and the price is half of that of the Ipod, with equal or better sound

    Since the Zen Xtra is last year's model (and then some) the price is only going to drop more -
     
  5. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    The reason it works for me is I happened to buy a Sony CD player last year. I just needed a new CD player and this one was the one I chose. I had never heard about ATRAC but when I looked into it, it turned out to have better compression than MP3 which is when I got interested. I won't be able to play the discs in my car unless I get a Sony/ATRAC player but I can just listen to the actual CDs when I'm in the car.

    Thanks for all the other info, I need to get better educated on all this. I'm a little slow when it comes to keeping up with new technology ;)
     
  6. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I think really all it comes down to for you is whether you are willing to put the work into converting to ATRAC when you know that it is a Sony Only format and is not supported by other systems.

    It could very well become the BetaMax of audio compression and you would then need to convert your files over to Mp3 or a different format

    But since you're already well down that path, here's a few links that might help you with any ATRAC related issues

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATRAC

    http://www.infoanarchy.org/wiki/index.php/ATRAC3

    If you're fitting 25 albums on one CD you must be recording at 64 kb/s - which you seem to prefer if only to fit more music on a CD

    But for your Mp3s on your computer I would absolutely recommend keeping them at 128 kb/s so you have a quality digital version to back up your actual CDs
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2005
  7. Michael

    Michael Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    Kind of like windows :D

    The Zen Xtra uses a Fujitsu and the iPod uses a Toshiba, but are essentially the same hard drive. And is replaceable in either. As well as the battery. The iPod also plays AAC encoded files that have better compression and sound quality than MP3.

    Best price I see is $300. Apple's 60 gig Video iPod is $399. And has a 1 year warranty. Nomad has a 90 day warranty and I've heard there have been problems such as the audio jack not working shortly after the 90 days.
    I've also heard complaints about the sound quality on the Zen, but better headphones would take care of that. And there are complaints that the software on it is awful. Not much you can do about that. I think people just have to look at exactly what you're getting spec for spec (iPod is also half the weight of the Zen Xtra) and read reviews from people who have owned and used the items. No matter what you're buying.
     
  8. Michael

    Michael Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    I recommend 192 kb/s. The file is only slightly larger and I think there is a noticeable difference in the bottom end between a 128 and 192 kb/s file. IMO.
     
  9. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I think you can send your Ipod backt to Apple for a new hard drive (at a cost of about $200) but I didn't see screws on the backs of any of the 3rd or 4th Gen Ipods I was looking at... so if one can replace the HD (not to mention the battery) easilly one's self I was not aware of that

    Replacement laptop HDs that these use are actually pretty affordable if you are a do it your selfer, and the Zen comes apart quite easily

    Likewise with the headphone jack - its an exceptionally simple solder job (why they didn't do a better job in the factory I don't know) and you can actually get them quite cheap on ebay with this easilly fixed problem

    I got my 60 GB with a 90 day warranty through Creative's EBay store for $199 - half as much as a new Ipod would run

    I find no problem with the music playing application software on the Zen - and the sound quality is as good or better than the Ipod

    In fact, the firmware it runs on is updateable (unlike Apple's I believe)- effectively you can re-build your own Zen and download all the software you would need from the company

    Apple seems to want to hold people hostage for new hard drives, new batteries, firmware problems etc.

    The Zen is FAR from perfect however - just seemed to me like I'd hedge my bets better at half the price of an Ipod with something I could fix myself

    Completely agree with you about 192 kb/s - the bottom line is that 64 kb/s sucks
     
  10. Michael

    Michael Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    Glad you're happy with your Zen. But, FYI the iPod has clips that hold the back plate on. It is fairly easy to take off by placing a the tip of a small screwdiver between the front and back plates starting at the top and working around. Then the hard drive and battery are unpluggable and as easily replaced as in a tower. And it snaps back together. I've done it.
     

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