Two Seperate iTunes Libraries in Two Seperate Formats?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Nam Pla, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. Nam Pla macrumors member

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    #1
    I've been reading and searching for help, to no avail, with this one...

    I have an external hard drive which holds all of my music. It is my main iTunes library and is in AIFF (CD) format.

    What I want to do is copy this music and convert it to MP3 (or similar compressed format compatible with iPod) from the external drive, and put it into a separate library on my Mac's internal hard drive in the MP3 format. That way I'd still have my original music in AIFF on the external drive, and a copy of it in MP3 format on the internal drive for moving to my iPod or iPhone.

    Is this possible? Does it make sense?

    Also, is there a better (in terms of sound quality) compressed format than MP3 to use?

    Thx for any help!

    NP
     
  2. bartelby macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #2
    Start up iTunes whilst holding ALT down.

    You can then create a new library. Once you have your 2nd library you can choose which one you use, when you start up iTunes whilst holding down ALT.


    I find AAC better than MP3
     
  3. Nam Pla thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    I'm aware of the alt/option starting of iTunes. Would I then import my original library (from the external drive) and convert to MP3/AAC to a new library and be able to specify the name and location for it?

    Also, if I opened without the alt/option key, would it default to opening my original library?
     
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #4
    When you create your new iTunes library it will be empty.

    When you add songs to this library from the other one, iTunes will convert them to the format that you have specified.
     
  5. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #5
    It opens the last library used.
     
  6. Nam Pla thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Okay, great info so far and thanks! One more thing... Would it also import the song info and album art from my original library? Or would I need to go through that process again? And (okay two more things), I'm assuming I'd have to change some Preference settings in iTunes for it to find the music (on the external drive) and convert it to the compressed format before adding it to the new (internal drive) library?

    Trying to wrap my (feeble) brain around all of this before I take the plunge and give it a go! I transferred all of my CD's to the external drive before making my move here to Thailand, and have no way to recover it (from the original CD's) if something goes wrong.

    Thanks once again, much appreciated!

    NP
     
  7. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

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    #7
    One question, why keep everything in AIFF? It's such a huge waste of space for storing music. You could save a huge amount of space without losing any quality by using a compressed lossless format such as Apple Lossless.
     
  8. Nam Pla thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    I did this a couple years back. Copied the majority of my CD's to a 250 GB external drive (now full) for archiving purposes. I would have preferred to just keep the CD hard copies, but I moved overseas and it just wasn't feasible to take the CD's with me. I didn't want to lose the original quality, so I decided that copying them "as is" (AIFF) was the best compromise at the time. Either there was no Apple Lossless then, or I just didn't know about it.

    Since then I've gotten an iPod and an iPhone, so I thought It'd be good to have my music in the compressed format to use specifically for those devices. But I still want the original quality CD music as well.

    What I'm hoping to do eventually, is buy a 500 GB HD to copy the "original" CD's from the 250 GB drive to. That would give me more room to add (AIFF) CD's if I have the chance. Then I'd use the 250 GB drive to keep the compressed format music on, including some music I can "borrow" from friends.

    Since you've asked, what would the reduction in disc space be with this Apple Lossless format? It's supposed to be around 1/10th (of the original file size) with the AAC or MP3 formats as I understand it. And, is this format compatible to use with other systems or only with Apple hardware?
     
  9. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

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    #9
    You could reduce by 40 to 60 % the size of the original files by using a format such as apple lossless without any loss of quality. If you are concerned with compatibility, FLAC is a good and more widely accepted equivalent.
     
  10. Galley macrumors 65816

    Galley

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    #10
    Depending on the complexity of the music, and whether it's stereo or mono, Apple Lossless bitrates can be as low as 300Kbs, and as high as 1100Kbps. Modern music tends to be in the 800-1000Kbps range. CD audio is 1440Kbps. You can also use the iLounge Calculator to estimate library size.
    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/ilounge/calculator/
     
  11. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #11
    So, say I have re-ripped all my CD's into lossless. Then I've made a new library to put my AAC files for iPhone/iPod. What is the sequence of steps to import AND convert from the mater lossless library into the AAC?
     
  12. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #12
    I've got my ORIGINAL library I ripped into lossless. I made a new library for portability. How can I copy the entire contents of the lossless library into the new one WHILE CONVERTING into AAC compressed format (and will all my info be saved (counts/album art/etc.)?
     
  13. Nam Pla thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    This is essentially what I'm trying to find out. If you get it done, please post your results here!

    In the mean time, I've been downloading my AIFF music onto my iPod/iPhone. They do still hold quite a few songs, but I change them regularly once I get tired of the same stuff. I would think with the Apple Lossless you'd be able to get even more music onto your portable devices, which isn't so bad if you're willing to delete some and add others from time to time.
     
  14. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

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    #14
    I think the only way to ensure you keep all your counts, album art etc is to physically copy the old library iTunes folder and work on that. i.e. open it in iTunes, set your compression preferences, select all tracks, right click and select Create AAC Version. Then delete the lossless tracks (manually, I don't think there's an easy way). So you end up with two libraries, your original lossless one which is untouched, and the new lossy one which still knows about counts and ratings etc. This approach needs lots of disk space, and a lot of manual work. I'm pondering the same thing because I want my iPhone to sync with the lossy library, whereas at the moment all the apps and settings for the iPhone are in the lossless library, and I want to move all that over too.
     
  15. Greenjeens macrumors regular

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    #15
    I would recommend going with the AAIF library and then another Library with MP3 files. Simply because I already tried encoding about 500GB or so in Apple Lossless and the 20% savings isn't worth the the minimal space saving as well as the extra time required to recode an Apple Lossless set of songs BACK AGAIN before burning a CD (using Toast 9 to record a CD). Seems that I use Toast to record most of my CD's. Among other benefits are the ability to save a files as a disc image sdf2 (soundesigner file) to save time burning a CD again.

    AAC may sound good at the minimum of 128 but at higher bit rates, but with 1 terrrabyte drives selling for $100 what's the point in throwing away most of the audio, and getting a version that will show some artifacts and won't hold up on a higher resolution playback?
    At 192 or what I currently use 212 VBR music sounds very good, even on better stereos, PLUS MP3 is universal compression method, so I can play those songs in my car or on a $20 Sansa (requires adding your own micro SD card, no display either) with a minimum amount of conversions and avoiding Apples proprietary control/games and more conversions.

    I am currently in the process of creating 2 libraries. One AIFF and one MP3 212. I have been playing around with creating libraries and learning how they are structured. Itunes Library Manager has some advantages to creating a FREE library with itunes and is not compatible. It looks like a lot of work to create two separate libraries, especially since I have an Apple Lossless version an .aiff version and an MP3 version of many of the same songs. I am only creating an aiff and mp3 version only, but it takes time to convert my older library from apple lossless. Most of my songs are in MP3 format for portable use, but I have found purges of unwanted songs difficult since the automated tools for naming a disc and songs on that disc, seem to rely on having the complete CD for ID purposes.

    And if you are getting a library that is involving many GBs or TB's of itunes song files you should be backing them up, religiously, so for every TB drive purchased for the library you should get the same amount for backup. I bought 2 OWC Mercury Elite Pros dual drive boxes, and put 2 Western Digital Black 1 TB hard drives in each and then configured the 2 hard drives to operate as 1 single drive. Upgrading in small increments while outgrowing hard drive space was a hassle and copying very large drives takes a long time or a very long time on any kind of connection I have had. I'm using fire wire 800 between all my itunes library hard drives. I use "itunes Library Manager" to make copies of the playlists and ratings, all those aspects of the library that are not the actual songs. They are stored under user >Music>itunes itunes library in several fiies including an .xml and artwork file and a genius file which just started showing up. Should have backed up playlists sooner. Itunes started dropping a lot of playlists (starting with the A's) , must have reached some maximum. I have doubts about the ability to reload a very old ITUNES Library Manager File (.itmf) library, if the library has expanded or lots of changes have been made?
    -
    Greenjeens
     
  16. nicolasmasset macrumors regular

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    #16
    Interesting topic. I'd wish itunes would have an option to convert my lossless music to aac when I hook up my iphone! I think the way, I'm going to do it is to just do the right click thing and then make two playlists, one lossless, and one aac. I think that's going to be more convenient than two seperate libraries..
     
  17. Greenjeens macrumors regular

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  18. Greenjeens macrumors regular

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    #18
    Forgot to mention that one of the most useful tools I have found in dealing with multiple copies of the same song in various formats, is too enable "KINDS" in the View options, of iTunes, especially useful sorting the main "MUSIC" library or individual columns for custom playlists.

    To Set up select VIEW > VIEW OPTIONS > KIND> (2nd column 5 down). With KIND enabled to the sort fields, now clicking on KIND will organize any playlist into file types by clicking on "KIND" at the top of the column .aiff, MPEG audio file, Apple Lossless audio file, AAC audi file etc.

    For quickly creating a separate mp3 list without creating another library, use a smart playlist with "KIND" as the single term to differentiate all mp3 files. For instance, use the term, 'kind" + "starts with" + "MPEG". Then check live updating to create a constantly updated MP3 song list.

    For those with multiple formats in their iTunes library, it can become difficult to organize and keep track of songs. Changing from one Itunes Library compression method to another has been a lot of work. I recommend avoiding a lot of extra work by picking more wisely (than I apparently did) in the beginning, when setting up an iTunes library.

    I recommend a dual .aiff library and mp3. This is the most flexible itunes library I can think of unless another lossless, fully compatible non- Apple standard can be found.
    You can always re-record a bit perfect copy to ANY OTHER FORMAT LATER, from any lossless copy, without degrading the music. SO if you value that idea at least choose one lossless format.

    As I have said before, I don't think the amount of time spent encoding and re-encoding and other limitations worth the space savings using Apple Lossless (you will only notice this re-encoding lag using Apple Lossless, AFAIK, on an older slower Mac or using Toast).
    Committing to Apple lossless compression for ~20% space gain, isn't worth the trouble and deeper involvement with an Apple proprietary format, now that storage is so inexpensive. Inexpensive almost everywhere except on an Ipod.

    An MP3 file can be made into discs that can be played universally in most DISC MEDIA PLAYERS and with higher bit rates quality is excellent. Apple AAC is just a pain to deal with, for what I feel is a very small benefit at the lower bit rates, which anyone who valued sound quality wouldn't choose for a compression standard the first place. A very small space gain for having to deal with an iPod/iTunes only format. Heck MP3 's plays fine in an ipod. Even Apple upgraded Library downloads from the abysmal 128 bit encryption. An embarrassment IMO.

    The "Kind" view column is VERY useful in telling apart files that could contain nearly the same info except for format and file size. I use to use file size but it is much less precise.
    The category "Kind" along with highlighting (CMD +A) similar itunes song files and then sorting by NAME again, displays ALTERNATING BLUE(highlighted) & WHITE text, for CD's that have an MP3 copy of the songs and solid white text indicating that those songs don't have another mp3 copy and need to be added to a bulk mp3 conversion, to run at slow times.
     
  19. Nam Pla thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    So, if I'm understanding from all of the comments here, it is just not possible to simply create another library in a compressed format from a current library in lossless format.

    Seems that the ideal case would be for Apple to fix iTunes to allow each individual session of copying music from the library or playlist to a device (iPod/iPhone), to be formatted with the desired codec at that time. And without affecting, changing the format of, or adding (the newly formatted files) to the original library.
     
  20. nicolasmasset macrumors regular

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    #20
    I agree.
     
  21. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Re: the AIFF v. ALAC argument, aside from the size difference (I tend to most my albums take up about 300mb in ALAC, versus 500mb+ in AIFF, multiplied by 3000 that adds up to about 600 gigs of saved space), main my reason for choosing ALAC over anything else (FLAC, monkey, etc.) is the metadata support. AIFF only allows a few tags (song, artist, album, year, genre, composer, track number, disc number. I think that's all) while ALAC has full support of all the metadata tags in iTunes (20+ fields). Flac can do tags, but they seemed a real mess, with not all players recognizing all tags and such. It just seemed too big of headache.

    As for how I'd tackle the conversion of AIFF to lossy... I'd duplicate the whole AIFF library, open it as a new library, select all, convert to AAC (or mp3), let it go at it for a couple days. When it's done sort by kind, select all the AIFF, delete (move to trash), and then move the library to your internal hard drive. It will retain all the metadata you have entered, playcounts, etc. Aside from taking a while it should be pretty easy.
     
  22. Nam Pla thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    Apple iTunes Feedback

    Someone posted this link in another thread: www.apple.com/feedback

    You can offer them suggestions for enhancements to iTunes, and other feedback. I made the case for offering a convert-on-the-fly feature in a future iTunes upgrade. Maybe if they get enough comments on it they'll consider it.

    To create a playlist of music I want to copy to my iPod/iPhone (from my lossless library), then compress it as it copies to that device, would seem to be a simple feature to add and would easily solve my problems.

    It was worth a shot... ;)
     
  23. c-Row macrumors 65816

    c-Row

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    #23
    I don't know if Doug's iTunes Library Manager has the option to encode already existing files (AIFF) into another managed library (AAC), but maybe it's worth a try.
     
  24. cro1100 macrumors newbie

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    Oct 5, 2009
    #24
    another way to manage this situation

    I know this is a late response to the party, but i'm trying to pull this off right now. There is a solution for those who have mixed file types to create full library. First, list all of your music by type. 2.) Create new mp3 files for all of these. 3.) Now here's the key re sort all the music by "Date Added". All of the music you just "shadow copied" into mp3 files should now be separated out on the top. 4.) Now delete all these files so you can add them separately to your new library. 5.) Once those are all gone, resort your music by "Kind". Now simply copy all these songs to wherever you're storing your new library.

    I think this works. Personally, I already had everything in lossless, so I didn't have to go through this.
     

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