This topics page (which will be updated periodically) is provided by Ganymede Test & Measurement as an additional customer resource. The idea is to provide background information on a range of issues which are related to music reproduction in the home. It will not provide precise technical data but will aim to help customers understand the basics principles necessary to enjoy the pre-recorded music they have in the form of LP's, tapes and CD's.
The Latest Topic is: Creating a Music Library on a PC
Previous TopicsTopic 1. New Digital Audio Formats.
Topic 2. Loudspeakers.
Topic 3. Negative Feedback.
Topic 4. Pick-up Cartridges.
Topic 5. Record Playback Equalisation.
Topic 6. Digital to Analogue Conversion.
Topic 7. Audio Compression.
- Very easy access and selection of the music which you wish to listen to
- Very easy to create playlists mixing the music from several albums with play time not restricted to CD standard.
- Your music files will be ready for easy transfer to a portable player.
- If you wish to copy your vinyl collection to CD. then putting it on a hard drive may be a more practical option.
- Hard drives do fail so it's essential to create and maintain a backup copy.
- Copying large numbers of CD's or other music onto a hard drive is time consuming.
- PC's are not mechanically quite, so special care is needed.
Things To Consider
When you transfer your CD's to a hard drive you could use wave file format, but this would be very wasteful as a typical CD will contain up to 700M/bytes of data. This means that a 200 CD library will need around 140 G/bite storage.
Some form of compression will be needed and there are many types available, the most important thing to consider is which type best suites your requirements. It is important to make this decision before you commence building the library.
Compression systems available fall into two main types, these are Lossless and lossy.
Lossless is recommended and will reduce the file size by about 50% but without any loss of quality, indeed the original wave file can be re-generated at any time.
Lossy compression reduces the file size to almost any size you wish, but there is an ever increasing loss of quality as the size is reduced. a typical reduction ratio would be around 10 to 1, so a 700M/bite CD will be reduced to 70m/Bites. Monkeys APE and Flac are currently available though Flac is still in development. Both of these programs will encode much more quickly than lossy compression.
MP3 and Ogg-Vorbis are the two main programmes available for lossy compression, MP3 is the older and more commonly used, Ogg is newer and has acquired a reputation for reasonable quality. Whatever lossy compression you choose to use there will be some loss of quality, also you will not be able to go back to a wave file of the original quality. The important thing is to make sure that you can live with this before you have copied to many CD's.
Some of the compression programs such as Ogg. and Ape are available at no cost, but most are sold and will be included in the player programs like Media Jukebox.
When you build a library it is essential to ensure that all your files are properly tagged, this tagging information means that when the files are loaded into any player they will show info. like Album and Artist. This is very useful playing or creating playlists or searching for a particular item.
Your PC should set up for sound, this mainly means that you can rip CDs to produce wav files and that the PC sound card is good enough to allow you to judge the relevant quality of the various compression programmes. An internet connection is essential as this will allow automatic tagging of your CD's.
Media Jukebox is a popular and very useful program, you can down load this on free trial basis. This software will enable you to rip, compress and tag, i.e. as your PC rips the CD it will also convert the format to say MP3, when this is done you would normally confirm that the file name is correct and that the tagging info is correct. The final and most important act will be to save the files to your music library folder.
Programs like Media Juke box will create files and folders in a verity of different ways, the best way to choose you own rule is to imagine how once created you would like to access your music. A typical method would be say Genre-Album-Artist You would create your own genres such as Popular-Jazz-Classical etc. This means that to get to a particular jazz track you would open the library then jazz then album then track, you would be able to play either album or track. In Practice you would use a program like Media Jukebox or WinAmp to play your library files.
A number of players apply strict Copyright Protection, this is intended to stop users sharing music files are thereby reducing sales revenues. The practical down side to this is that these programs will prevent you from making a legitimate back up for your files. It is not sensible to spend significant time building a library without a good back up so make shure that your chosen program will allow this.
Once you have copied around 10 CD's into your library you should make listening tests to ensure that you are happy with both the audio quality and the access to your music..
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