Music storage: system or external?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NewEyesOpen, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. NewEyesOpen macrumors regular

    Mar 9, 2009
    West Virginia
    Hey all,

    I recently moved my music collection from an external hard drive to my system drive on my macbook pro. I did this because the music wouldn't always save to the external and would get scattered between the external and system drives and got really frustrating.

    Where and how do you guys store your music? Is it going to be any harder to move the music back onto the external in the future or should I leave it on the system and forget about it?
  2. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    I just store it internally. Having a 1TB drive helps
  3. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    I really like lossless music and SSDs, so external it is for me. Assuming your using iTunes, there are no problems if you just move your music folder to the external drive. I simply moved the whole iTunes Library to my external drive.
  4. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    I have most of my music on my server, as long as I'm home I just access it thru iTunes sharing. I do have some music on my MBP, about 100GB, but I couldn't fit my entire iTunes library on it.
  5. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    Did you have iTunes copy the music to the iTunes library? It sounds like you may not have had this option checked.

    I host all my iTunes media from a 1.5TB external and have had no issues since migration.

    DO one poster stated...just copy over your Library from one drive to another. Follow the link from GGJstudios to do it properly. Essentially, you start up a new iTunes library folder in a new location and then let iTunes copy over your files. The other way could lead to a loss of music/files. I did it that way and for some reason, iTunes lost 'contact' with probably 40% of my files! (The dreaded '!') I know some people have just copied the folder over without issue, but why risk it? Do it correctly, as recommended by Apple.

    Again, should have no issues with iTunes saving to the external if you have that option to copy files checked.
  6. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    I don't want to hijack the thread, but do you think you can hear a difference between a 256kb recording and a lossless one?
  7. Perrumpo macrumors 68000


    Jul 12, 2008
    For a while now, I've had my iTunes Library on my Time Capsule. There were some frustrations with this at times, but the way I have it setup now is very smooth.

    As mentioned, sometimes files would get copied to the local drive instead of the external. This would happen when the Time Capsule was not mounted prior to opening iTunes. iTunes would then create a new iTunes Media folder on the local drive since it thinks its missing. Since you can't expect yourself to constantly remember to mount before opening iTunes, the use of aliases comes in quite handy.

    First, you're going to want to leave your iTunes folder on your local drive and ONLY move the iTunes Media folder that is located within it. This ensures that all of your preferences and iTunes information remains intact no matter where or how many times you move your library, "iTunes Media". Be sure to point iTunes to the new location of your iTunes Media folder.

    Also, my Time Capsule's hard drive is protected. I was sure to allow my Mac to remember this password in order to connect to it without prompting for a password each time so that iTunes could connect when it needed to.

    Next, and this is the important bit, is to create and alias (shortcut) for your iTunes Media folder. Once you've moved your iTunes Media folder to the external drive and pointed iTunes to it, create an alias of the iTunes Media folder in the iTunes folder that's on your local drive. This prevents files from being copied to your local drive accidentally.

    Now when I open iTunes without first mounting Time Capsule, iTunes will try to point to the local drive, find the alias, and force the Time Capsule to mount in order to connect to its Media folder.

    Note: Even if iTunes does not force the network drive to mount, it will not copy anything to your local drive as long as you have that alias. It simply will not copy anywhere or be able to play your files until you mount the network drive. As soon as your drive is mounted, iTunes will automatically be able to find anything. No re-pointing it, no unwanted local copy.

    If you ever decide to move your iTunes Media folder back to your local drive, simply delete the alias in the iTunes folder on your local drive, move your iTunes Media folder there, and point iTunes to the new location. Your iTunes will look exactly the same because you left the other folders in the iTunes folder on your local drive.
  8. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    You might be sorry you asked, but here it goes. I've done some ABC tests on a few songs with a decent, but not super nice set of headphones. I did my tests on several different songs considering their lossless bitrates, varying from low to high, and depending on the song I can tell a difference all the way through 320 Kb/s CBR. The differences mostly manifest themselves first in the sound of the cymbals, although occasionally in the bass as well. As a bass player this is pretty important to me.

    With songs that have a high lossless bitrate In these I can tell the difference at 256 Kb/s VBR and 320 Kb/s CBR. And I can differentiate between lossy encoded copies.

    With songs that have a medium lossless bitrate I can distinguish the lossless up to 192 Kb/s, but distinguishing the lossy encoded copies apart is a bit dicey.

    With songs that have a lower lossless bitrate I can't really distinguish anything at all.

    So considering these tests and the headphones I have (I don't always plan to have medium grade headphones/speakers) I've decided it's best to keep my music collection in lossless format, this way when I do upgrade my hardware I won't have to worry about upgrading my music library as well and I can transcode it to any format I want at any time.

    For a while I was monkeying around with keeping both a lossless and lossy versions of my library to keep more songs on my iPhone, and considering the differences between lossy and lossless were mostly minimal. But it became a bit too much to coordinate so I'm just sticking to lossless and rotating albums through the iPhone now.

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