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How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

I have a library that is a mix of lossless (ALAC) and lossy (MP3) files. In order to fit all my music files onto my phone I make MP3 copies of the ALAC files and give them the extension "alac.mp3". This way I can copy just the mp3 files to my phone but keep the original lossless files in my library.

Here is my problem. I have an old iPod classic and am trying to copy my library onto it using iTunes. If I have an ALAC version of a track I want to sync that version, but if I don't I want to sync the MP3 version of the track.

It is possible with iTunes to sync specific file types using smart playlists, but I cannot see a way to copy MP3 files if and only if there is no ALAC version already.

Does anyone have a good solution to this problem? Thanks in advance for your help.

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #1
If you make separate folders for ALACs & MP3s you can select which folders to include in the iTunes library.    I think there's a way to have multiple iTunes libraries if that would help.  

Personally, I wouldn't keep ALAC & MP3 duplicates in the same folders anyway.   (You might have to delete everything from the library and start-over).

Or, you could have more than two folders.  i.e.   You could have "duplicates" or "no duplicates" folders.

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #2
If you're on Windows you could use foobar2000 for to select only the lossy or lossless files in your collection and then you only need to run the batch converter twice. I'm in the same boat and that's how I've been dealing with it.

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #3
If you make separate folders for ALACs & MP3s you can select which folders to include in the iTunes library.    I think there's a way to have multiple iTunes libraries if that would help.  

Personally, I wouldn't keep ALAC & MP3 duplicates in the same folders anyway.   (You might have to delete everything from the library and start-over).

Or, you could have more than two folders.  i.e.   You could have "duplicates" or "no duplicates" folders.

Thanks for your reply. Why would you personally prefer to keep ALAC and MP3 duplicates in separate folders?

I currently keep MP3 duplicates in separate folders, but within the same library. E.g. within "C:/Music/The Beatles" I have "Rubber Soul [alac]" and "Rubber Soul [mp3]".

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #4
If you're on Windows you could use foobar2000 for to select only the lossy or lossless files in your collection and then you only need to run the batch converter twice. I'm in the same boat and that's how I've been dealing with it.

Thanks for your reply.

I do currently use foobar2000 to batch convert my files, but I don't understand how that can solve my problem. Namely iTunes being unable to distinguish between MP3 duplicates that were converted from an ALAC file, and MP3 files that are the only version of that track that I have in my library?

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #5
Quote
Thanks for your reply. Why would you personally prefer to keep ALAC and MP3 duplicates in separate folders?
Just to keep things "organized" and to avoid getting mixed-up and playing (or converting) the wrong file, and maybe to help avoid the problem you're having.  ;)      (But, I don't actually have an ALAC or FLAC "library".)

A lot of people keep a FLAC or ALAC "master archive", perhaps on a different hard drive, and then they have MP3 or AAC files for "everyday use" or "mobile use".




Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #8
I have three libraries (1) a lossless (FLAC) library, (2) a lossy *only* library (mp3 and m4a), and a lossy copy library (mp3s created from FLAC).  For example,

c:\music\flac\the beatles\Abbey Road\.....
c:\music\lossy\the beatles\Abbey Road\....
c:\music\lossycopy\the beatles\....

For my home music server, I point it at the "flac" directory and the "lossy" directory (lossy files for which I don't have FLAC copies).

The "lossycopy" directory is not used at home at all, but is used on my portable devices (iphone, ipod, etc.).   On these devises I load from a library which contains both the directories "lossy" and "lossycopy".

Sound complicated, but actually very easy.   If I acqure a FLAC version of an album I previously had in only lossy, I simply delete the album from the lossy directory.  I occasionally update the "lossycopy" directory by running a batch conversion of my FLAC directory and creating mp3 files that go into the lossycopy directory.  I use dbpoweramp for this, and it is smart enough to only create mp3 files from my newly added FLAC files; it doesn't try to make mp3 copies where these already exist from a prior conversion.


Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #9
There are symbols that are quite rarely used in tags, and can be used to differentiate. It depends on platform, on keyboard layout and on locale - and on software, as some identify different glyphs (akin to case-insensitivity).

US-International keyboard has keys for symbols like `¨´~§^ that are maybe not so much used in metadata (check out! You may have to replace accented spaces by primes or smart quotes or whatever). Also, £ and € never got the popularity of the $. So if M: is your music drive, you can put your losslesses in M:\£\, lossies (without a lossless original) in M:\€\ and transcodes in M:\§.

Or you can put the originals in M:\£ and name them
a lossless: M:\£´\Black Sabbath {1980} Heaven and Hell ´\
a lossy M:\£`\Black Sabbath {2016} The End `\
and then for a lossy copy: M:\§\Black Sabbath {1980} Heaven and Hell §`\ 
(I use curly braces for years because ([ ]) so often appear in metadata.)

Then searching for £ brings up all except mirrors, § all transcodes, ´ all lossless, ` all lossies.
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #10
The itunes sync manager has an option that will automatically convert higher bitrate songs from your library to a user-specified lower bitrate and format. If I remember correctly it is near the bottom the the sync management. It won't put the converted song on your computer but they will be on the phone.

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #11
The itunes sync manager has an option that will automatically convert higher bitrate songs from your library to a user-specified lower bitrate and format.

Indeed, that is the right way to do it.
It's called transcoding, converting on the fly while syncing to a portable.
No need to have a lossy and a lossless version of the same track
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

 

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #12
The itunes sync manager has an option that will automatically convert higher bitrate songs from your library to a user-specified lower bitrate and format.

Indeed, that is the right way to do it.
It's called transcoding, converting on the fly while syncing to a portable.
No need to have a lossy and a lossless version of the same track

This isn't what I was asking. I want to put the lossless files on the iPod as they are.

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #13
This isn't what I was asking. I want to put the lossless files on the iPod as they are.
Sorry for my mistake. Foobar2000 has a UI element "Media Library Search". You can create a temporary one going to View -> Layout -> Create Scratchbox. Click anywhere in the box and select Media Library Search, it's about 1/2 way down the list. In the search bar type (or paste in)
Code: [Select]
%codec% IS MP3 AND NOT %filename_ext% HAS alac.mp3
Those should be all the mp3 files excluding your "alac.mp3" extension assuming none of your filenames naturally ended with alac because of the track title or something.
You can use Ctrl+A to select all and simply drag and drop them into a new playlist in itunes.

Re: How to manage a library that is a mix of lossy and lossless filetypes?

Reply #14
To filter for lossy/lossless files you can also use this two searches in Media Library Search:

  • "$info(encoding)" IS lossy
  • "$info(encoding)" IS lossless

Please note the double quotes around $info()...
Cheers!
Sergio
M-Audio Delta AP + Revox B150 + (JBL 4301B | Sennheiser Amperior | Sennheiser HD598)

 
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