Converting podcasts to a better(!) bit rate

Discussion in 'iPod' started by Bedawyn, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Bedawyn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    #1
    Usually, I delete podcasts after having listened to them, but it's not infrequent for me to want to save a particular episode of a podcast. However, I don't want these saved episodes to show up in the podcast list; I want them to show up with the rest of my spoken word tracks. Ideally, I'd love them to show up in the Audiobooks library section, but since almost none of my spoken word tracks show up there, and I don't want to risk losing quality by converting my mp3s to AAC, I'll settle for them showing up in the Music section with the rest of my Spoken Word genre. (At least until someone at Apple figures out that the Spoken genre is a better indicator than file type of whether something is music or an audiobook. *rolls eyes*)

    So, I finally sat down to move some of these saved eps out of the podcast list into the music library. The first step in this is to convert the files to mp3s (even though they're already mp3s) to avoid iTunes continuing to treat them as podcasts. The first thing I noticed was that, contrary to other users' experience, this was the ONLY step needed to make iTunes stop treating them as podcasts. Okay, great, I figured. Maybe 7.0.2 had fixed the stupidity that had previously made this require several annoying steps. Then I noticed this:

    The new converted mp3 was listed with a much higher file size and bit rate.

    Now, my import settings are set to automatically use VBR, but how on earth can it get a 196 bit rate out of a file that was originally only 128?

    Any idea what's going on here? The episodes I'm saving frequently have less-than-hot audio quality, so I'm really worried about losing what little they have. But I also don't have time to re-listen to every single episode trying to figure out if it really has lost quality if the iTunes bit rate info is unreliable.
     
  2. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #2
    Just think of it as pixels in a digital picture. In photoshop you can open a picture that is 180 pixels per square inch. If you change the image size to 300, it doesn't make the picture "better", but breaks up the bigger chunks of pixels into smaller ones thus making the file size bigger because there is more information of the same thing.

    This does not increase the quality, it only makes the file bigger by adding more information.
     
  3. bdj21ya macrumors 6502a

    bdj21ya

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    #3
    I was really impressed by the way you answered that without the least bit of smugness. Maybe I'm just in a smug mood.
     
  4. Bedawyn thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    #4
    But doesn't this decrease the quality? I'm definitely a word-person rather than an AV person, but I know if you try to view a pic at a size bigger than it was intended for, the result is poor resolution. And I was under the impression you lost at least a little bit of sound quality any time you converted a file, regardless of what to or from.

    At least your post explains why I've occassionally run into lower-bit-rate files that I could swear sounded better than the higher-bit-rate versions of the same files.
     
  5. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #5
    I honestly don't really know about the amount of quality lost, but you will always have a loss in quality with each generation of the file. I've never dealt with this in the sound world so I don't know, but I'm guessing it is not a huge difference.

    LOL
     
  6. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #6
    You don't need to reconvert the files if you want to keep them around.

    Find the file in Finder/Explorer, and move the MP3 file to another folder ouside your iTunes library. Return to iTunes and delete the podcast. Go back to where you moved the file to and drag it over to iTunes.

    It'll now be in your music library with no change in quality.

    If you want them to show up as Audiobooks, you'll have to convert them to AAC and make the file an M4B.

    B
     

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