iTunes Performace - Smart Playlists (Is Live Updating Slow for you too?)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by grrr223, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. grrr223 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #1
    Is there an easy way to update your Smart Playlists if you leave "Live Updating" UNCHECKED?

    Here's my problem:

    It can take 5-10 seconds or even more for the spinning beachball to stop everytime I make a change to a song's ID3 tags. (Less time for changes to the rating, more for changes that also get written to the actual song file).

    Now, I have a new 1.25 Ghz 15" Powerbook with 1 GB of RAM running the latest versions of Panther and iTunes (iLife). Apple can't possiby except this to be acceptable behavior on such new hardware.

    So, why could this be happening?
    1. I have 11,000 mp3s But I didn't think this should make THAT much of a difference, all updating an ID3 tag does is change text in your music library (an XML text file) and also in the song file. Then it occured to me...
    2. I have over 250 Smart Playlists And all of them are set to "Live Updating." I'm assuming this means that every time I change a tag, it has to update ALL of my smart playlists to see the song all of a sudden belongs to one of them or not.
      [/list=1]

      So my thought is that I'd change all of my Smart Playlists to NOT Live Updating, but since I do actually want them to update, I would then need to find a fast way to update all of them.

      Any suggestions. or anyone else even having this problem: )?

      Thanks in advance
     
  2. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #2
    your bottleneck is your hard drive speed. it only write the changes as fast as it change read the file in and write out the change. you are basically stuck. you could get a 7200 rpm hard drive which would increase your performance greatly. if you have 11,000 songs what do you expect?
     
  3. grrr223 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #3
    Thanks, that makes sense, my music libary .XML file is about 20 MB at this point.

    But are you also implying that the smart playlists are causing it to be slower? After all, if I were simply updating tags on a song, the amount of data written to the hard drive is so minimal as to not even worry about it, but if it has to do that 200 times, then it becomes much slower?

    On a related note, my powerbook's hard drive is only 5400 RPM. I just bought a 7200 RPM 250 GB external LaCie FireWire 800 hard drive, do you think my performance could improve if put my music library on the external drive because it's higher RPM, or would the FW800 limit the speed?

    Soo....short of getting a faster hard drive (can I even do that for my powerbook, or did I already do that with the external drive?) Do you have any suggestions for improving my iTunes performance?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #4
    yeah exactly, speicifically have to write the update 200 times to the hard drive is the slow down.

    hmmm...that is a good question. i'd have to look at the benmarks on that specific drives versus the PB 17 5400 rpm drive. my cut tells me that it isn't going to much improvement because the price you pay for the external drive is the time its to travel down the firewire and through the bus.


    a faster internal hard drive will give a noticeable increase in total computer performance. not mention it will help it you read/write speed which speeds up your itunes problem. you can search these forums. i have seen serveral threads on the topic. i heard the hitachi travelstar 7k60 are getting good reviews. i only saw reviews on pc performance but maximum pc review of it gave it a 55% increase over a 5400 rpm hitachi drive. i am not saying you will revieve a 55% increase, but your system as a whole will be faster.
     
  5. grrr223 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #5
    Thank you :) I will look into it.

    So unfortunately, nothing I can just do to itunes to make things faster, short of getting rid of my smart playlists.

    Grrrrrr.
     
  6. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #6
    Why, may I ask, do you need/have 250 Smart Playlists?! :confused:
     
  7. tiktokfx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    DC Metropolitan Area
    #7
    It doesn't have anything to do with iTunes. The whole writing of ID3 tags (later versions that support longer areas), for some reason, is painfully slow on anything. Changes to ID3 tags of earlier versions is almost instant, but v2 ID3 tags must have to recalculate the entire mp3 file or something. God knows what. But it sucks, and it's not just iTunes.
     
  8. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #8
    well they could just have written that section of the code crapply.
     
  9. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #9
    1. take a deep breath
    2. think
    3. post
    :D
     
  10. grrr223 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #10
    Unfortunately, yes I do make use of my 250 smart playlists

    I make very extensive use of AllMusicGuide.com by copying the Style and Tone information into the comments section of every album I rip into iTunes.

    On one hand, the styles are just more specific genres, but since you can only have one genre per song (without creating a million nonsense genres), in order to replicate browsing by "Style" I just create smart playlists for each of them (and there are over 100 that I listen to).

    It's the only way I've come across to get to these things on my iPod since you can't create as specific playlists on the go as I could in itunes just using the "Search" field or somethingl ike that.

    I just took a quick look, and Applescript doesn't support Smart Playlists AT ALL, which means that the only way that I could update all my playlists, would be to manually click on each one, get info, and recheck the "Live Updating" checkbox. :(


    On a related note, I don't think it has as much to do with the programming of ID3 tags as much as XML. I understand a lot of the benefits of XML stem from teh fact that it's just a text file, but that's also one of it's biggest drawbacks. It takes a long time to load and access a 20 MB text file...apparently. But why? A 20 MB photo doesn't lock up my computer for over 10 seconds. Handling 12,000 records in a database doesn't even make even a desktop app like Microsoft Access blink, i just don't get it!

    I forget what the limit on Library size was, I think it was something like 32,000 songs, and they lifted that in itunes 4, God, i can't even imagine how slow itunes is with 3 times as many songs as I have now....Grrrrrr.
     
  11. tiktokfx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    DC Metropolitan Area
    #11
    Re: Unfortunately, yes I do make use of my 250 smart playlists

    I assure you, it's the ID3 tags. ID3 v1 tags are much quicker to modify, but less feature rich, than v2.2+. iTunes defaults to using the later version tags because of the enhanced depth of tags available; v1 tags, amongst other things, do not support adequately long strings for song/album name and so forth.

    This is empirically verifiable; WinAmp, which is what I predominantly used on my PC before getting my laptop, can edit both v1 and v2 tags. Writing v2 tags takes much, much longer than writing v1 tags.
     
  12. tiktokfx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    DC Metropolitan Area
    #12
    Re: Re: Unfortunately, yes I do make use of my 250 smart playlists

    I also highly suspect that iTunes keeps it's local copy of the library open and resident in memory; for example; selecting 20 songs in an album, and group modifying their x out of y track count to have y = 20, happens almost immediately as it gets copied to local information. Then, when inputting the actual track number for each song, ie 1 out of 20, both numbers actually get written to the file, which ends up taking 5-10 seconds.
     
  13. grrr223 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #13
    Well, Thanks guys, that all makes sense (unfortunately).

    Does it have anything to do with the fact that the tags are all stored at the beginning of the file, and the latest version tags are variable length and the older version ones are fixed length?

    Grrrrr, oh well, I wish this would just work, all in all it seems remarkably un-Apple-like. I mean, I understand that they're a hardware company and want people to buy faster machines, BUT I DID THAT?!? They should have adopted some method that allowed for better performance. In the grand world of 40 gig iPods that we now live in, and that apple leads, 10,000 songs isn't out of the question. It shouldn't take 10 seconds to update an ID3 tag on ONE song!!!

    Have a nice weekend everyone.
     
  14. tiktokfx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    DC Metropolitan Area
    #14
    Yeah, it's a bit aggravating to fix the ID3 tags.

    There's a nice set of iTunes scripts out there somewhere that are a big help for automating things. Just set things up and let em run overnight on all the songs.
     
  15. grrr223 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #15
    How would you automate updating them?

    I currently use several scripts from Doug's Applescripts such as:

    Albumize selection
    Remove n characters from song name
    Proper capitalization

    Stuff like that, please let me know if there are ways to enter the data somewhere so that they can be updated later
     
  16. grrr223 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #16
    This is depressing

    Well, iTunes is still slow, possibly even slower, and I still think it is the smart playlists. I think it is a sad state of affairs when searching for a solution that I find my own post from FOUR (--edit FIVE --) @#$@#$ years ago!!! and the situation has not gotten any better.

    I now have about 35,000 songs and probably a few more smart playlists, but I was wondering how other people deal with this. I love using itunes to LISTEN to music, but I am wasting my life trying to use it to add or update my music library.

    I have since gone through 2 new macbooks, and I'm writing this on a new 2.4 Ghz Core2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM, and it is still slow as anything.

    Since the iPod doesn't let you sort by year for some reason, and due to my continued use of Allmusic.com tags for style and tone, I have a lot of smart playlists. Is there any way to temporarily disable live updating with Applescript or anything? Any way to make adding new music or tagging songs bearable again.

    Thanks for your help, maybe 4 years has allowed the world to solve this problem.
     
  17. bslaght macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #17
    I agree!!!!

    I have noticed it seems incredibly slow over the last little while. I have been googling but have found no good solutions. I only have about 1500 songs in my Itunes and updating any ID3 takes for friggin ever. I a running a iMac 2.4 Core 2 Duo with 3 GB Ram. iTunes 8 and Leopard. It is stupid slow adding songs, updating ID3's or even updating artwork.

    Please someone...fix this, Apple, MP3 peeps, anyone.
     

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