More iTunes Stuff

Tuesday 13th December, 2005
Carrying so much iTunes content recently, it almost needs it's own category.

In another recent article, I wrote that the iTunes automatic volume levelling is rubbish. I was a little bit unfair as, it turns out, I was using it properly. There was me thinking that all I had to do was turn it on with iTunes and it would handle the rest...wrong!

It turns out that one has to turn it on at the iPod end too. Hidden away in the 'settings' menu on my iPod is an option name 'Sound Check'. No help provided, just on or off. It turns out that if set to on then it sticks to the volume settings that iTunes decided upon. Now it's enabled, my levels seem much much better. As my iPod spends most of it's time hooked up directly to the 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio system in my Lexus, this is a vast improvement.

Also, another improvement, I've sussed out how to make my 'smart' playlists a bit smarter. Previously they were set to select all tracks in a pre-defined category up to the limit of my iPod size in a random way. It was truly random, but then never updated. Now it's set to update them based on the ones I've not played in a while. Essentially, every time I listen to a track it's removed from the iPod and replaced next time I synchronise with iTunes.

I previously ruled out any options based on the date a track was last played, because I thought it didn't work properly. It turns out that, again, I just didn't fully understand how it works. The 'last played' flag is updated not when you play a track, but when you finish playing it. You have to listen to the whole track. So if you hit the skip button 4mins into November Rain, then it doesn't count...now I know. Shame it doesn't just count 10secs or something.

Not I just need the option to delete tracks from my music library directly from a playlist. I rate all my 'bad' track with a one star rating. This allows me to have a smart playlist called 'trash' that easily displays all these bad tracks. Unfortunately, ones I've got a nice list of them, there's no actual way of deleting them all together...useless.

  1. 1) AJP Said: (14/12/2005 13:13:23 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Gaps between tracks

    Ben,

    I've loaded on an ad-hoc basis a couple of hundred hours of music on a machine at work. I listen to a lot of live albums and classical music. These are often recorded as a single piece of music, but split on the cd into tracks. When played on CD there is no gap in the music and the music flows from one track to another. However, when played via iTunes or computer (Real and Media Player etc.) there is a gap between each track. This very annoying. Especially on live albums like R-H-C-P live at Hyde Park { Link }

    This has a fantastic Intro that builds to the 1st track Can't Stop ... oh but it does stop for a second before Can't Stop, and ruins the flow of the music.

    For home I'm investigating the Sonos system (as recommend by you) and I'm impressed but before I make the move away from CD's is there any way to get round this gap between music tracks?

    Cheers

    AJP

  2. 2) AJP Said: (14/12/2005 13:37:44 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Workarounds

    I've just been told there work-arounds:

    { Link }

    { Link }

  3. 3) Ben Rose Said: (14/12/2005 14:42:13 GMT) Gravatar Image
    More iTunes Stuff

    AJP,

    Live albums and classical pieces that have track markers with no break are a problem with many electronic systems. You've seen the iTunes workaround, but this isn't really going to help you with Sonos.

    The good news is that Sonos will handle uninterrupted playback. This can be done using FLAC, which is another audio codec like mp3, wma and aac. As with all the other, sonos supports this and...should you rip an album in the FLAC format...it apparently plays back uninterrupted.

    I've not tested it myself, but it wouldn't be difficult to do.

    As for Sonos, I'm only down the road if you'd like a demo...happy to oblige.

  4. 4) AJP Said: (14/12/2005 15:45:48 GMT) Gravatar Image
    More iTunes Stuff

    Ben,

    Thanks, I might take you up on that offer in the New Year.. eventually its the wife I've really got to convince. ;-)

  5. 5) Keith Milner Said: (15/12/2005 13:12:59 GMT) Gravatar Image
    More iTunes Stuff

    Yes, I can confirm that FLAC plays back without gaps between tracks on Sonos.

    -- Keith

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