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iTunes and MPEG4


Whacked

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OK, so I decided to try out iTunes.

I bought a CD and downloaded it and unfortunatly for me, the songs are in MPEG4 format.

 

That means I can only play the songs using iTunes or Quicktime. Real Player v10, Media Player v10 or Creative Soundwave doesnt support that format. I primarly use Creative for playing my CD's converted to MP3s.

 

Using iTunes burn to CD feature just created a playlist in txt format. totally useless for what I want to do. cant play it in my truck, cant take it to work and listen to it there.

 

searching for file converters and I get a selection of converters but they wasnt $25-50 otherwise only good for 5 min of media or leaves a watermark on video (the freeware-trial versions).

 

If I buy that software so I can convert the MPEG4 to MP3 (so I can play it anywhere) doesnt really guarantee anything. When Napster resurfaced awhile back, I bought a couple songs and discovered that Napster encodes the MP3's so that it will only play on a PC that has Napster installed. Thus I cant burn & listen to them in my truck or take them to work. Total waste of time and money to me. I shouldnt have to buy additional software to listen to my songs. I probably should have just gone down to Best Buy and buy the actual CD instead of using iTunes.

 

and I dont use a Mac, or iPod. after this i'm loosing faith in Apple products in general.

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I'm not sure if this will work, but its definately worth a shot. Download this free program called "audacity" (search for it on google, it'll be the first link listed). Open the song in the program, then you can use it to export the file as a .wav or a .mp3 . You may wanna give that a try...
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Okay, I'll see if I can help clarify some things real quick here.

 

First of all, MPEG4, by itself, only specifies various codecs to be used for compression of audio in an MPEG4 file, or an AVI container with MPEG4 compatible audio and video streams. For instance, an MPEG4 file can contain audio compressed in a variety of formats, including mp3. AC3 (think DVD audio) is also part of the standard. AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) is part of the standard, and that is what iTunes Music Store files are compressed with. There are also others.

 

Now, arguably the nicest audio codec that is part of the MPEG4 standard is AAC (not to be confused with AC3, mentioned above), and lots of software supports AAC. It was developed by many of the same people that developed MP3, and it is was designed to be the successor to MP3, and do everything MP3 did, only better and in a smaller file size. It's not as widely supported as it could be, and technically any program that is FULLY MPEG4 should open them just fine.

 

Now, here's the catch. Like any other commercial online music download service, the files are copy protected. Apple wraps the AAC files in a DRM (digital rights management) that makes it a "protected AAC file". This makes it impossible to open with other software, without removing the DRM (which free software of dubious legality can do), making it a "plain" AAC file. Most every online music service uses some form of copy-protection DRM to prevent people from freely copying and distributing music files.

 

Apple's iTunes software DOES allow someone to burn those songs to a normal audio cd, that will play in just about any cd player. Simply make a playlist, and click burn. It's pretty easy, and I do it all the time, with iTunes purchased songs and regular MP3s alike, even mixed together. You can burn an identical playslist of purchased music up to 7 times before iTunes cuts you off, but all you have to do is change your playlist slightly and you can continue burning the songs. Individual songs can be burned as many times as you like.

 

When you use an online music service, you are locked somewhat into specific programs and copy-protection schemes. I don't see this going away, and it's not something that Apple is doing "differently". Apple's DRM is actually rather tame compared to some others out there, and gives you a decent amount of freedom with burning your files.

unkownroadband.com - step into the unkown :-)
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Originally posted by Ford Prefect:

Low Tech way about it:

 

Burn onto CD-RW as audio files.

Rip audio CD into mp3 files.

Erase CD-RW.

Repeat.

 

Will that work?

 

ATM

If you want to convert the songs into MP3 (legally), yes that works fine. I've done it several times. However, whenever you transcode an audio stream (change it's codec and format), you will introduce some quality loss. Personally, I can barely tell the difference, but it is more apparent with some songs than others. Like I said, though, I've done it several times myself.

 

A true audiophile would scoff at the suggestion of converting compressed formats like this, but then again a true audiophile wouldn't want to use compressed music in the first place, most likely! :D

 

Concerning the poster's original concern about regular audio cds, I want to stress that iTunes can MOST CERTAINLY burn REGULAR AUDIO CDs from purchased music files. If you want to make MP3 CDs, though, you need to convert the format, as no mp3 cd player I've ever used can read copy-protected files of ANY KIND.

unkownroadband.com - step into the unkown :-)
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Originally posted by hags-the guy with the gun-2k:

A true audiophile would scoff at the suggestion of converting compressed formats like this, but then again a true audiophile wouldn't want to use compressed music in the first place, most likely! :D

Seems to me that a true audiophile would be off buying the vinyl. :D

 

ATM

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Audacity trick doesnt work.

iTunes Burn to CD only creates txt files, not audio files. even changing the preference to MP3 didnt work.

 

I ended up callinga Mac-addict friend of mine to get his input. still nothing so far.

 

made a playlist, put the songs in there. tried to burn it and I get the message, none of the files in the selected playlist can be burned.

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Originally posted by Whacked:

Audacity trick doesnt work.

iTunes Burn to CD only creates txt files, not audio files. even changing the preference to MP3 didnt work.

 

I ended up callinga Mac-addict friend of mine to get his input. still nothing so far.

 

made a playlist, put the songs in there. tried to burn it and I get the message, none of the files in the selected playlist can be burned.

Is there any way you can take a screenshot so we can see what's going on here? I'd like to see these error messages, and I'm not entirely sure what's going on here. I'll post some screens myself so you can see what I'm doing, in case that might also be of some help.

 

We'll get this figured out, dammit! :thu:

unkownroadband.com - step into the unkown :-)
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Alright, a visual guide. Now, though I'm on a mac, the windows version should be similar enough to this that these pictures will at least make sense.

 

Check this setting first:

 

http://homepage.mac.com/hags/itunes-prefs.jpg

 

Make your playlist so it looks like this. I've used only purchased music for this list:

 

http://homepage.mac.com/hags/itunes-playlist.jpg

 

Then click the "Burn Disc" button in the upper-right-hand corner and you'll be prompted to insert a blank cd:

 

http://homepage.mac.com/hags/itunes-insertdisc.jpg

 

Then you'll be prompted to confirm your decision:

 

http://homepage.mac.com/hags/itunes-startburn.jpg

 

After all this is done, you should get a nice audio cd that you can play in just about any cd player.

unkownroadband.com - step into the unkown :-)
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based on what Ford Perfect said,..

 

I managed to get them burned onto a CD in cpa format (only 1KB size for each song). then managed to get windows media player to read them and ripped as MP3 to a different location.

 

seemed to work, lost all the info associated, like song name, genre, artist, album, etc.

 

at least I have them in MP3 format now. problem is, every time I try to burn them back onto a new CD as MP3's, it reverts back to the cpa format.

 

what a pain in the ass. next time, i'll just go to the store and buy the damn CD instead of trying to download it.

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Hags: that was the first thing I did. no dice.

under the preferences, I even selected MP3 CD instead of Audio CD.

 

One thing tho, under Importing under Preferences. The Import Using is set to AAC Encoder. Could that be the problem? should I change it to MP3 Encoder?

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CDA format means "CD Audio". This is the standard CD format. The files that appear to be 1KB are NOT the actual music data. Those are just markers that your OS puts there to show you what tracks are on the disc. The actual audio data is HUGE compared to the size of an MP3 or AAC file (10 times bigger, actually). Now, basically, you converted the songs when you burned them and you got a normal CD. WMP was able to read it, like any cd, and you could then rip the songs into MP3 format, just like any other cd. Why you can't burn now, I don't know. Also, when you make a "normal" cd with normal CD Audio, you WILL lose song title and artist data. That information is NOT included on 90% of CDs, and has to be looked up on a database like the CDDB. That is how WMP or iTunes can find the names of tracks when you insert a commercial CD.

 

You only want to select MP3 disc as your desired format if you want an MP3 CD. That means that the disc will NOT play in most cd players, since you're putting MP3 data on the disc, not actual CD AUDIO. The advantage of making an MP3 disc is that you can fit 10x more mp3s on a cd than songs in standard CD Audio format. The downside is that only special MP3 CD players will play the discs. Also, most MP3 CD players only play .mp3 files, so .aac, .mp4, .wmp, etc. will not work on those discs, even if you have an MP3 CD player and choose that as your format.

 

Now, the encoder in iTunes is what format you convert CD Audio into when you import songs off of a CD. I usually use MP3, simply because it's a bit more compatible than AAC, and because I have an MP3 CD player. If I were you, I'd use the MP3 encoder. That option, though, has nothing to do with burning standard CDs, though.

 

Another thing to check is that if the CD you got that WMP could read SHOULD work in any CD player. Everything about the disc you described sounds like it's a legitimate, regular Audio CD. Assuming that it's a properly burned Audio CD, and if it still does not work in a regular player, then there could be one of two things going on. First of all, if you use a CD-RW, many CD players cannot read CD-RWs, no matter what format they are in, and you need to make another copy, this time on a standard CD-R disc. Also, a very small number of cd players are unable to read CD-R discs, as well, and will not play a burned disc, no matter what format it's in. If that's the case, than you have a crappy CD player, and not much can be done.

unkownroadband.com - step into the unkown :-)
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well, the CD-R and MP3 players can be scratched off the list of whats wrong.

I used the same stack of CD-R that I used in previous burning, and those MP3's and CD-R play just fine on the MP3 player in my truck.

 

This is frustrating like hell. No reason why I cant burn to CD. using either my DVD burner or CD burner. same problem. even tried a DVD-R, no dice.

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  • 2 months later...
Thanks for the info hags2k! I just downloaded iTunes this past week. One of my mates emailed a file to me, and I've been buying some songs from the store to practice with. I like it real well...next thing is to get enough money for an iPod! Or a Sadowsky 24/5!!!!! GAS Attack! Or a Lakland.

Vince

 

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." ~ Pablo Picasso

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