Maintaining a Digital Music Collection

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There's been some talk about digital music collections in the past on threads like The Data Migration Thread , but I wanted to start a new thread! dedicated solely to those of us who are actively building up (legally acquired) digital music collections. I'm not talking about buying a CD or LP and then digitizing it, but buying music natively in mp3, FLAC, or some other format. The majority of posters on ILM seem to prefer their music on LPs and CDs, and I definitely see the appeal in doing that--up until very recently, I had to have everything in CD-- but I think there might be a few others who, like me, are starting to purchase most of their music digitally.

Recently, I've decided to go (mostly) digital. The first step in this process has been culling my CD collection. I sold off a chunk of the collection in two batches, and I'm getting ready to sell off a third. My goal is to eventually have as few physical CDs as possible, and I want all of my digital music to sit on two hard drives. Most of the new music I buy is from Amazon mp3, although I'm currently searching for some good online stores that sell everything in FLAC.

I'm doing this for several reasons:

(1) I'm 22, so I'm of the generation that sees CDs as nothing more than a storage medium. I buy a CD, rip it into iTunes, and place it on my CD shelves, where it sits forever.
(2) I have a lot of books, and I'm not a fan of eBook readers, so I plan on acquiring many more books than I already own, and I don't want to maintain two physical media collections.
(3) I need less shit in my life in general.
(4) There's a lot of stuff that's difficult for me to easily acquire where I live, and I've been able to find some stuff that I've had a lot of difficulty tracking down in brick-and-mortar stores on Amazon mp3 and iTunes.
(5) A lot of artists are starting to do the whole LP + mp3/FLAC thing, and I have no desire to start collecting LPs. I think that soon enough more and more artists will start going this route as CDs sales continue to tank.

Is anyone else actively maintaining a digital record collection or planning on doing so? Where are you buying from? How are you storing and organizing everything?

As I said, I'm sure that the audience for this thread on this board is relatively small, but I'm hoping there might be at least a few others out there who are going this route, and perhaps we can get a discussion going.

Reading his posts is like watching The Ring (kshighway), Saturday, 22 August 2009 23:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

i can't even fathom doing what you're doing. seems no stretch of my imagination no matter how great will alow me to even consider the possibility paying for an mp3. sorry!

samosa gibreel, Saturday, 22 August 2009 23:26 (eight years ago) Permalink

Keep all your favorite/best CDs, or yer gonna feel like a chump when that hard drive explodes

Whiney G. Weingarten, Saturday, 22 August 2009 23:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

Much more convenient for housebreakers too, like being able to carry away a whole collection in a binder.

I am using your worlds, Saturday, 22 August 2009 23:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm more interested in how people are organizing large digital collections. Do you just chuck it all in one folder or do you take the time to set things up in an artist/album way? Do you keep multiple CDs as multiple folders or just combine it all? Do you get rid of duplicates or is that too much work? Etc.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

I trust that when you say "two hard drives" you mean one to back up the other. Wouldn't be the dumbest thing to, from time to time, dump everything to a third that you send offsite--back to your parents' house, for example. I'd also make sure you were getting everything at the highest quality possible. What seems good now, won't. And storage will someday be irrelevant.

I just use iTunes, so that takes care of the folders and files. Two external drives (one good quality for constant use, the other, cheaper, to backup the first once a week). I do try to eliminate duplicates, but that can be a lot of work. And also to maintain consistency of names and genres. There are certainly times I feel more like a database manager than a music listener.

But I still can't see getting rid of the originals. Risky. Maybe putting them in deeper storage?

Michael Train, Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:20 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm more interested in how people are organizing large digital collections.

I don't have an enormous digital collection, only about 4000 songs. I organize it in a pretty standard way, I think. A folder for each artist, and then within that, folders for each album, using the format of:

year - album name

Adding the year onto the front can be a hassle if you didn't do it from the start, but once everything uses that format it's convenient because it arranges everything chronologically under each artist.

I also make sure that I have album art for each album, which has come in handy recently with my new iPhone acquisition, since you can flip through your collection by scrolling through album covers.

ZS69 (Z S), Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

My concern with acquiring material digitally is bad rips - I'm paranoid about downloading something from Amazon and hearing digital noise. I've heard reports of this a number of times; I'd rather make my own rips and have the quality under my own control.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

Z S, do you still buy many physical releases?

Reading his posts is like watching The Ring (kshighway), Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:20 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm more interested in how people are organizing large digital collections. Do you just chuck it all in one folder or do you take the time to set things up in an artist/album way? Do you keep multiple CDs as multiple folders or just combine it all? Do you get rid of duplicates or is that too much work? Etc.

― Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, August 22, 2009 7:03 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark

For right now my shit's all over the place, but I'm starting to work out in my head how I'm going to manage this . . .

I'm considering starting off by organizing by the SOURCE of the mp3. So, if I download something from Amazon, it will go into an Amazon/[artist name] folder. Then I'll copy everything into iTunes and have it copy everything into its own directory structure and sort everything for me.

Reading his posts is like watching The Ring (kshighway), Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

Keep all your favorite/best CDs, or yer gonna feel like a chump when that hard drive explodes

― Whiney G. Weingarten, Saturday, August 22, 2009 6:39 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark

^ This is the plan, Whiney.

Honestly, though, I usually listen to records I love 30-40 times and then I can barely, if ever, listen to them again. Wilco's a ghost is born is my favorite record of the decade, and I've barely listened to it since 2005. By then, my brain's had enough of the record for a lifetime.

Reading his posts is like watching The Ring (kshighway), Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:23 (eight years ago) Permalink

I buy records with pretty much all of my spare money, which isn't much, admittedly. I download everything else.

ZS69 (Z S), Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

I have about 45 DVDs on a spindle, each of which holds about 4.5 GB of MP3s (AACs, actually). I have a desktop iMac with a 250GB hard drive which has about 50GB or so of music on it, and I'm planning to burn all that to DVD pretty soon. I've also got a laptop (on which I'm typing this post) with a similar-sized hard drive, and that one's got about 25GB of music on it at present (because that's the one I import all my promo CDs to, and download digital promos to). I'm gonna burn that stuff to DVD soon as well. How many individual albums does all this add up to? Several thousand, easy.

unperson, Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

my brain's had enough of the record for a lifetime.

Yeah, I feel the same about that Wilco album. Mind you, I've never heard it.

Dom J. Palladino (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:11 (eight years ago) Permalink

stop ripping. bind your cds its totally hot

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

unperson: Do you still buy/collect any physical albums or are you mostly digital?

kshighway, Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:24 (eight years ago) Permalink

Album art is always nice to have, in any form. To me, just collecting mp3s seems really sterile and doesn't have any connection to the process of collecting music. A lot of my best memories of music are of buying it at my favorite local store, or studying the lyrics. My thought process when I think about an album immediately begins with the album cover.

I guess there's nothing wrong with collecting music the way you are, and god knows, just about everyone your age was raised under the same circumstances. I personally never want to stop "collecting" music outside of the mp3 format, although I do realize there will come a day (in the not too distant future) that cars won't even come with CD players.

slagterm, Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

and all your meals will come in tablet form.

Someone left the cape out in the rain (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

Do you still buy/collect any physical albums or are you mostly digital?

I don't keep many individual album CDs around anymore - one tower's worth, which is about 400 or so, plus another couple of hundred slimcase promos and things in weirdly shaped digipaks which I keep in a cabinet. Mostly what I keep is boxed sets, especially archival ones like the Anthony Braxton Mosaic box from last year, or the Miles Davis Complete Plugged Nickel Sessions set.

unperson, Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:32 (eight years ago) Permalink

stop ripping. bind your cds its totally hot

Yes, great idea. This works best if you put similar genres adjacent to each other (e.g., all your M0unt41n G04ts CDs next to your Bright Eyes, Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday). That way once J0hn D. gets you feeling all emo and sad, it's only a single binder page-flip to your Chris Carrabba stuff! Woo!

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

god the saddoes eager to show they've heard of me are out in force tonite eh

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

lool

you! me! posting! (electricsound), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

:'(

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

eager to show they've heard of me

Seriously though -- considering I've been on ILM three years, that was hardly the point.

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

dude it's all love I was just rezingin please unsad that face

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:59 (eight years ago) Permalink

How good a sound quality/how great a breadth would an on-demand music service have to be in order to consider doing away with having a digital collection at all?

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 23 August 2009 04:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

I can't really hear the difference between a well encoded mp3 and a FLAC, even though I've had the opportunity to use some pretty heavy audiophile equipment in the past...tin ears, I guess. so as long as it's 200+ kbps I'm fine, which both Amazon and iTunes do now.

what are you gonna do when iTunes moves to this rumored 'Cocktail' format?

my biggest problem with a digital collection is all the metadata. do you add the lyrics? when do you feel the need to add a composer? what if you can't find a decent scan of the album art bigger than 150x150 pixels? etc.

tony dayo (dyao), Sunday, 23 August 2009 06:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

We've got about 80gb of music on this iMac, which runs three iPods - an 80gb classic that sits on the Zeppelin, my 1gb shuffle, and Em's iPhone. It's not backed up anywhere at the moment, because we've only just migrated to this machine in the last week. We've got an external HD that'll take it all. The vast majority of it is backed up next door on a couple of thousand CDs though, and most of our listening is probably still off CDs. I've bought a few dozen songs from iTunes, mainly b-sides, odd old singles, and things that I'd not want a whole album or compilation of. I guess those are the only ones that really NEED backing up. Everything's just organised via iTunes; I'm pretty anal about covers & tags & things. I don't think we'd ever go totally digital; just yesterday I bought The XX album on CD. I love CDs too much. But then I'm 30.

Sickamous (Scik Mouthy), Sunday, 23 August 2009 07:38 (eight years ago) Permalink

for all you guys backing up to CD/DVD, be careful: Up To 10% of CD-Rs Fail Within a Few Years

tony dayo (dyao), Sunday, 23 August 2009 07:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

I've got pretty much my entire music collection in digital form on a 500gb hard drive (with another one as backup) for iPod purposes - however I only really buy singles digitally rather than whole albums. This is partly because I like the physical object and partly 'cos the CDs I do still buy are mostly very cheap secondhand/bargain bin ones so it's cheaper just to rip from the disc. That said, I've got rid of/have boxed up to get rid of 350+ CDs this year, basically things I've gone off. I moved earlier this year and I've got slightly less room in the new house which certainly spurred me on and I'll be honest, it feels really good paring things down (I still have loads left though!).
The main reason for me buying CDs over vinyl was portability - I've always done a large portion of my listening on the move and I had a CD walkman up until a few years back. However I've started replacing some CDs with vinyl for home listening and I intend to buy more nof my new music in vinyl form (really grateful to those labels who include a download coupon with the record). I could never see myself only having a digital collection and nothing else - I'm sure I'll hang on to lots of my remaining CDs for as long as they can be played.

Gavin in Leeds, Sunday, 23 August 2009 09:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

(really grateful to those labels who include a download coupon with the record)

Seconding this.

I think I'm at 8 or 9TB of digital files now split evenly between audio and video and I'm probably going to go to some sort of desktop RAID 5 set up once the next generation of 2+TB drives become common. I'm more concerned with having a decent file system that can handle all that and a metafile indexer/cataloger that won't collapse when I hit it with that size of data.

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 23 August 2009 22:56 (eight years ago) Permalink

Even if i was goin digital, I think I would throw all my CDs in storage or somethin

Whiney G. Weingarten, Sunday, 23 August 2009 22:59 (eight years ago) Permalink

I mean, amassing a bunch of files isn't really "collecting" anything anymore is it? It;s like saying you collect pokemon

Whiney G. Weingarten, Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

For those who are on PC, Mediamonkey is the only place to go.

J4mi3 H4rl3y (Snowballing), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

"I mean, amassing a bunch of files isn't really "collecting" anything anymore is it? It;s like saying you collect pokemon"

If you have a file that isn't readily replaceable/accessible (like say something dubbed off a rare public access TV performance that only you have a VHS copy of), then it takes on more of the properties of something tangible/loseable like pokemon cards, but my thinking is that music services will increasingly make obsolete any need to keep a file or file backup at all.

For example, netflix users wouldn't bother to "collect" movies they've seen on netflix, at least not with any great frequency. (though there's supposedly some pirate group that prides itself on having backed up the entire netflix catalog)

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

i don't really consider my digital music a "collection" per se, it's just me tunes

i could (and will) quite happily be all-digital in the future. i'll probably hang on to most of my cds, boxed up and stored away, more than anything else because it's not worth the time or effort trying to sell them.

you! me! posting! (electricsound), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:29 (eight years ago) Permalink

my digital vs hard copy purchase ratio is about 9 to 1 at the moment. i think i've bought less than 50 cds this year.

you! me! posting! (electricsound), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:30 (eight years ago) Permalink

well but this is what begs the really interesting generational divide question. what is your collection? a series of hard-evidence signifiers about experiences you've had & can have again at will, tangible evidence of those experiences - or is your real collection the experiences themselves, and the physical collection something of an old-fashioned proof that will no longer be necessary in the future/present? nb I am from the previous gen so for me I gotta have some physical token to feel like I "own" something. but I don't think that's the only way to conceive of "ownership," and I suspect that different conceptions - no less valid - will replace/have replaced "our" conception. it's like: I don't save ticket stubs or collect/trade shows, but I do have a collection of live music experiences - that collection is the experiences themselves. digital collections are considerably more tangible than those, right?

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

xpost w/philip btw

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

"Honestly, though, I usually listen to records I love 30-40 times and then I can barely, if ever, listen to them again."

I cannot for the life of me fathom feeling this way about "records I love".

Alex in SF, Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

At age 45, my big paradigm shift was when the artwork and liner notes shrank from 12" to 5", so I find myself strangely blasé (perfectly happy, actually) about the shift from 5" disc to digital file.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

Pardon my grammar. I'm 45, not my paradigm shift.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:54 (eight years ago) Permalink

w/r/t generational divide, I don't believe the next generation will be so alien as to maintain a digital collection against an endless buffet that makes that collection obsolete when making personal top-ten lists does all the signifying one needs (and is an activity well-enjoyed cross-generationally)

so maybe this kind of digital album collecting as if they were physical albums will be a weird hiccup peculiar to just this moment in time.

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:56 (eight years ago) Permalink

i can appreciate good artwork as much as the next dude but i've pretty much always listened to music the same way - compiled the best songs into whatever format i was working with at the time (tape, cdr, playlist) and listen to that, completely separate from the original artifacts. so artwork is really something i only ever looked at if i wanted to know who the producer was or something. frankly some records i appreciate more for not having the shitty artwork.

internetkonnektivität (electricsound), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:56 (eight years ago) Permalink

i have a car and that is mostly why i buy cds

winston, Monday, 24 August 2009 04:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

Honestly, though, I usually listen to records I love 30-40 times and then I can barely, if ever, listen to them again. Wilco's a ghost is born is my favorite record of the decade, and I've barely listened to it since 2005. By then, my brain's had enough of the record for a lifetime.

How old are you? I found that after about 10 years, I bought a lot of albums I previously weeded out by favorite groups. Now that I'm digitizing my collection, it's not as big a deal. I'm still keeping 60% of my CDs. I'm ripping in FLAC with dbpoweramp, correct some tagging and make playlists with Mediamonkey, and listen in three rooms with Squeezebox. I will be able to fit everything on my 6TB NAS server with room to spare, and have everything backed up twice, one on extra drives at home, another at work. It's nice to be able to have access to everything at work.

I think it's crucial to use lossless files. You can easily convert them to another format with a batch converter without losing anything. Buying CDs is still the cheapest option, because you can get deals on them new and used for under $10 each. $1 to $2 a song for FLAC is just not an option. The CDs you don't want to keep, you can sell, and end up spending only $2 to $5 on the music.

I'm listening to more of my music more often now that I can play it simultaneously in multiple rooms. Living with someone else the past couple years, I had stopped listening later at night because she goes to sleep earlier. Now I can put on some closed headphones and have access to the whole collection from bed on the Duet remote.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 24 August 2009 13:38 (eight years ago) Permalink

i mean, one of the biggest obstacles for me re: digital is that iTunes keeps changing how it organizes things.

Like for a while it was just artist/song/album and then with a recent update you can put files in one pile while labeling it another with "sort by." Also my iphone used to recognize "sort by" so I'd sort all my compilations by "#" so the errant comp tracks just show up at the end. The new iPhone update no longer recognizes "sort by" and my iphone tracks are now a shitty jumble again.

Who knows what iTunes will change to? Or even if we'll be using itunes in 10 years?

patti lmaonnaise (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, 24 August 2009 13:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

where we're going, we don't need iTunes

tony dayo (dyao), Monday, 24 August 2009 13:45 (eight years ago) Permalink

iTunes is just a ID3 tag editor isn't it (at least for mp3 files) and it's such an 800 pound gorilla that I'm sure whatever player we'll be using in the future, Mp3-O-Matic 5000 or whatever, will definitely be "iTunes compatible"

the Album Artist field is such a life saver w/r/t rap albums...and Sort By is great for those who catalog by last name, among others

tony dayo (dyao), Monday, 24 August 2009 13:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

but completely useless for people that use iphones

patti lmaonnaise (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, 24 August 2009 13:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

I had to put a couple hundred in the basement, still sticking with jewel cases for now. It's nice having a large house in a cheap market.

I should probably go through them in a cull, and try to get whatever meager store credit still applies, but I have the room so maybe I'll just wait for the mythical CD value/nostalgia spike that's sure to happen any decade now

sleeve, Monday, 12 June 2017 18:01 (four months ago) Permalink

maybe I'll just wait for the mythical CD value/nostalgia spike that's sure to happen any decade now

hahahah - i think the same thing!

sarahell, Monday, 12 June 2017 18:04 (four months ago) Permalink

The Death of the CD Binder

the ghost of markers, Monday, 12 June 2017 18:07 (four months ago) Permalink

I would not store my CDs in binders if I had enough CDs to store in a binder.

the ghost of markers, Monday, 12 June 2017 18:10 (four months ago) Permalink

agreed

sleeve, Monday, 12 June 2017 18:10 (four months ago) Permalink

http://www.hipsterrunoff.com/2010/05/ode-to-a-fallen-bro-of-a-product-the-cd-binder.html

404 Not Found

nginx/1.4.6 (Ubuntu)

sarahell, Monday, 12 June 2017 18:20 (four months ago) Permalink

I moved overseas three years ago and we sold everything we'd had stateside, including all 3000 cds or so. We just went with an auction house and I have no idea how much we got and I never want to know. I'd ripped them all so the music never stops but it was a stark moment.

droit au butt (Euler), Monday, 12 June 2017 19:49 (four months ago) Permalink

nothing more 2002 than a CD binder full of CD-Rs

erry red flag (f. hazel), Monday, 12 June 2017 20:20 (four months ago) Permalink

Still got several of those. Backed up a lot of early mp3s I got that way and when I finally imported them into my HD, they all held up.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 12 June 2017 20:22 (four months ago) Permalink

mp3 CD-Rs have had long lives for me, but mp3 DVD-Rs have definitely not. A lot of those became unreadable within 5-6 years.

or at night (Jon not Jon), Monday, 12 June 2017 20:55 (four months ago) Permalink

I don't have any binders, but I do have several spindles of CD-Rs and DVD-Rs full of music. Long since imported to the external hard drive, so I should probably just get rid of them.

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 12 June 2017 21:07 (four months ago) Permalink

Still have my 2 giant CD binders with my old collection (need to rerip, last time I ripped them I went straight to 320kbps and I need lossless to truly make them obsolete)

BTW my burned CDs are now to a point where they're beyond their life cycle and degraded to the point where the first couple tracks are all glitched. Like all of them.

octobeard, Monday, 12 June 2017 22:18 (four months ago) Permalink

Still got several of those. Backed up a lot of early mp3s I got that way and when I finally imported them into my HD, they all held up.

That's how I stored my why ess I treasures from back in the day.

wtev, Monday, 12 June 2017 23:01 (four months ago) Permalink

I'm at... four binders, five, something like that? the real answer is I'm at something like four binders and then a giant-ass box that never seems to get emptier no matter how much I rip

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 01:34 (four months ago) Permalink

Stuff on my wishlist that is only available or affordable on digital: some Art Zoyd/Zaboitzeff, some Foetus albums, some Jarboe albums, some Trance To The Sun albums, a Fauns album, most Silvania albums, most Jute Gyte and a bunch of dungeon synth (which is mostly on cassette as their only physical media).
There's probably going to be a lot more.

― Robert Adam Gilmour

what art zoyd are you looking for

Frank Ocean is the Ultimate Solution (rushomancy), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 02:05 (four months ago) Permalink

The Phase/Inquiets disc and maybe a few others.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 02:21 (four months ago) Permalink

ok, yeah, the only one i have is the 2cd of the first three.

Frank Ocean is the Ultimate Solution (rushomancy), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 02:51 (four months ago) Permalink

Nativ Vita

This is a tablet designed specifically for audio library management/playback. Up to 4TB of storage, mutli-format (inc. 24-bit) playback and output, multi-room management, etc.

$1,600 and no on-board DAC ???

A swing and a miss, unless you're a rich bitch.

bodacious ignoramus, Thursday, 15 June 2017 01:10 (four months ago) Permalink

tablet/brick, rather

bodacious ignoramus, Thursday, 15 June 2017 02:16 (four months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

I don't have a smartphone and my 160 gb ipod classic only has about 10gb of space left. I was thinking of getting a 128gb ipod touch. I've spent years building up playlists in itunes so I'd rather just use a device that's compatible with that database.

My question is: how much of a pain in the ass is it to manage your music library across two devices? For anyone that already does it, how did you decide to split your library? Do you just split the music up alphabetically, A-M on one, N-Z on the other? I was thinking of putting podcasts and audiobooks on one and having one strictly music, but that'll probably only save me about 25gb.

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Friday, 1 September 2017 10:09 (one month ago) Permalink

Another thought I had was splitting up my library by year of release, but then I'd run the risk of splitting artists with vast catalogs across two devices.

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Friday, 1 September 2017 10:12 (one month ago) Permalink

I started using the HTC 10 as an mp3 player a while back (it doesn't need a sim to run, it works just like a very handy tablet) since it has a great sounding 24 bit dac.

Anyway, should you at some point want to exit the Apple eco system, the HTC 10 supports up to 2 TB (!) of external storage, and perhaps there'd be advantages in having your collection on micro sd cards instead of built-in iPod memory

plenty of decent music player apps, also it ofc supports Spotify or your streaming service of choice

niels, Friday, 1 September 2017 10:35 (one month ago) Permalink

after experimenting with having my ipod classic modded (bad idea) i got a cheap laptop i lug around for my music library. it's working out well for me so far.

The Saga of Rodney Stooksbury (rushomancy), Friday, 1 September 2017 13:34 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah that's what I do these days for DJ stuff, along with a 3 TB external. I have a Cowon O2 for headphone/bike/jog, all I really need now is a car stereo that can play FLAC via USB

sleeve, Friday, 1 September 2017 14:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Rusho please expound on what went wrong with the modding? I was waiting to hear how it went as I'm contemplating the same.

Germane to this revive: I've read about an adaptor that lets iPhone/iPad read from micro sd cards via the lightning port. Does anyone know if it's possible to play audio files from a micro sd WITHOUT bringing them into the iPhone/iPad's actual storage? Or: can something like iOS VLC bring files over and play them and then delete them from device storage when done? Using my iPhone as a music player has been out of the question because of storage constraints but I'm wondering if micro sd access can work around that

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Friday, 1 September 2017 14:40 (one month ago) Permalink

Rusho please expound on what went wrong with the modding? I was waiting to hear how it went as I'm contemplating the same.

― harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon)

ipods weren't actually built to sync 50,000 songs and tend to freak out when you try to do it

The Saga of Rodney Stooksbury (rushomancy), Friday, 1 September 2017 16:26 (one month ago) Permalink

Is that using rockbox firmware or...?

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Friday, 1 September 2017 19:40 (one month ago) Permalink

Problem with most Android/iOS music players is that they aren't really built for 50.000+ song libraries, and nobody seems to test this use case.

I've tried most players around, and there's performance problems everywhere, shoddy management of compilations and 'album artist', lots of players can't quick-scroll by first letter which means endless manual scrolling etc.

I'm still looking for a good player where all the library browsing is text-only, so no thumbnail caching that slows down scrolling, wastes screen space, and eats up multiple GBs in cache space. I mean, album art is nice to have in the Now Playing screen, but just parse it when it's queued please.

But the pickings are slim, large-scale local media management is a dead end it seems.

Siegbran, Friday, 1 September 2017 19:56 (one month ago) Permalink

My iPod Classic (80GB) is in the process of dying, and I don't really know what to do next - simply get another one, or try and adopt the phone model. I use it mainly in the car these days, with a Monster cable that allows me to play through the radio. Is there a similar setup for Android?

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 1 September 2017 20:18 (one month ago) Permalink

I use iSyncr+Rocket Player on Android

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Friday, 1 September 2017 20:23 (one month ago) Permalink

But the pickings are slim, large-scale local media management is a dead end it seems.

i refer you to the sonos thread and my ongoing issues re their 65K track limit a limit set by hardware not software.
i.e. sonos have decided to dump local media management for streaming.
apparently people are not meant to have large local archives anymore in this age of spotify.

mark e, Friday, 1 September 2017 20:25 (one month ago) Permalink

How much of a pain in the ass is it to manage your music library across two devices? For anyone that already does it, how did you decide to split your library?

It's a pain shuffling things between two devices, for sure, but not terrible depending on the paradigm you choose. I used to do it with an iPod and a small Sansa player. I couldn't fit everything on them so I had to make some choices - I kept my favorite stuff on the iPod and a combination of the past years acquisitions and compilations on the Sansa. The pain was migrating stuff from one to the other, it was a constant chore deciding what to take off the iPod in favor of something new to add. On the other hand, it did force a rigorous approach to pruning your library, focusing on the very best and avoiding the hoarding that so easily comes to maintaining a digital library.

That approach ended when I embraced a single device solution (Android phone) and set up my own streaming solution (BubbleUPnP).

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 1 September 2017 21:49 (one month ago) Permalink

Tell me more about this HTC 10

How does it support up to 2TB of external storage? There are no cards larger than 500GB are there? Or do you mean you can hook it up to a USB hard drive?

Also it seems like it's not actually in production anymore. I see used listings and alibaba.com which, no.

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Friday, 1 September 2017 22:03 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, iSyncr and Rocket Player here too.

Siegbran, Friday, 1 September 2017 22:34 (one month ago) Permalink

I'm writing this on an HTC 10 since I ended up using it as a phone, bought it for cheap with a crack in the screen, but it's a fairly expensive phone (settled on it after endless net searching trying to find out which phone had the better DAC)

It's very much for sale in Denmark so I'm surprised if it's not readily available on the American market. You can find threads about it on some audiophile forums.

Anyway, the 2tb thing is apparently the max capacity - but no, you cannot at the moment get an SD card that size

I don't have 65000 mp3s but for the sake of ilxors I would be willing to download a lot of music and test indexing

It really sounds great (DAC wise), and even before I put in a sim it was great to be able to dl Spotify albums and listen on the go

I seem to recall Marshall did a killer DAC phone too

niels, Saturday, 2 September 2017 08:06 (one month ago) Permalink

...been using sansa clip + for some time now but looking for something to handle flacs into the hi-fi -- thinking fiio X3, cowen and onkyo look interesting....

bodacious ignoramus, Saturday, 2 September 2017 16:47 (one month ago) Permalink

I love my Cowon but get the O2 model, the interface/touchscreen is much better than the smaller ones

sleeve, Saturday, 2 September 2017 16:57 (one month ago) Permalink

O2 is old model -- Plenue, maybe?

bodacious ignoramus, Saturday, 2 September 2017 17:08 (one month ago) Permalink

no, something with a rectangle screen like the M2, not a square screen:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NJG61D2/ref=psdc_1264866011_t3_B00N7A9U5Q

sleeve, Saturday, 2 September 2017 17:51 (one month ago) Permalink

ok - probably more versatile than the FiiO, probably better alltogether...

bodacious ignoramus, Saturday, 2 September 2017 17:57 (one month ago) Permalink

Can that thing take high capacity micro sd cards (128, 200)? And can it browse via folders without relying on metadata?

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 2 September 2017 18:46 (one month ago) Permalink

dunno about the former but any folder structures I drag and drop into my O2 are navigable, tags are displayed but you see folder icons as well.

sleeve, Saturday, 2 September 2017 18:51 (one month ago) Permalink

I've absolutely loved my Pioneer XDP-100R, a dedicated Android-based music player with very high-quality components for excellent sound--and the most important factor to me, two MicroSD slots. It sounds amazing playing FLACs, so I keep a few dozen albums on the inboard 32GB. But with (2x)256GB MicroSD, I'm able to keep several thousand of my albums with me at all times at VBR V-0 or CBR-320kbps mp3, which sounds good enough to my ears. The Pioneer player is good for playing FLACs and high-end files like that. I then use the GoneMad player app for everything else, and it's excellent--a lot of customization, browse by folder and/or by metadata, etc.

The player looks like what a stylish small smartphone would've looked like if they had existed in 1986. So it's a bit thick, compared to a modern phone, but it's actually quite comfortable to use, and has dedicated hard controls and an analogue volume dial so you don't have to turn the screen on to use it. I got it at $300 and found it a steal, and it's now at it's now at $270 on Amazon.70 on Amazon.

https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/StaticFiles/PUSA/V5/Home/High-Resolution%20Audio/xdp-100r_360.jpg(I got and prefer the raw aluminum version)

For phones that work as great music players, I'd highly recommend you pick up an LG V10. It has a dedicated (and reputable) DAC, it takes MicroSD, has a replaceable battery, and it's built like a tank, with steel rails down the sides and a rubber back. I've used one every day for two years and it looks brand-new.

Soundslike, Monday, 4 September 2017 12:39 (one month ago) Permalink

That looks like Deckard would use it.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 4 September 2017 13:29 (one month ago) Permalink

Ha! That's it exactly--it's a smartphone released by Atari in Los Angeles in November, 2019 to take to the off-world colonies. . .

Soundslike, Monday, 4 September 2017 13:43 (one month ago) Permalink

soundslike, what is the battery life like on that pioneer thing? You had me at 2x micro sd

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Monday, 4 September 2017 19:42 (one month ago) Permalink

It seems great. I've never run it down, because I recharge it like a phone ever night, or often keep it plugged in at my office. It doesn't have a lot of apps, but I stripped it of everything I could uninstall except the stock software player. I mostly turn off wi-fi, keep the screen off when not needed, play mp3s per the above, not flacs, but I'd guess from use on travel I get 15+ hours? Maybe it can do more--I've never worn it down. It's not going to get the time that a Cowon or whatever gets, because of the big screen, can do Bluetooth, etc. but much longer than a phone.

Soundslike, Monday, 4 September 2017 20:36 (one month ago) Permalink

Damn that sounds kind of ideal for me

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Monday, 4 September 2017 21:54 (one month ago) Permalink

the picture makes it look bigger and heavier than it is ... but yeah, totally portable and would fit in my purse.

sansa riff (sarahell), Tuesday, 5 September 2017 02:08 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, it's totally pocketable--much smaller than most modern phones in footprint, just thicker. I even like the little "bumpers" on the top and bottom, which I assumed I'd remove--they help make pulling it out of a pocket easier, and I use the top one to hang it on a hook at my office when I'm using Bluetooth.

Soundslike, Tuesday, 5 September 2017 03:56 (one month ago) Permalink


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