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Monday, September 29, 2014

Ripping music to my NAS device


I am a newb to ripping, to devices, to Apple, to portable music...well jsut about everything except how to use ancient ole Windows.

And I'm trying to downsize my possessions, so I'd like to digitize all my music and toss the CD's and their cases.

My research started here.

Once I read through the choices, I decided to try ripping one CD to Apple Lossless, just to see if I could play it from my NAS device in a Windows computer. I wanted to try this first because I want the music to stay as high quality as possible, and I want to use my NAS device in three ways:
  1. Storage place for all my ripped CD's.
  2. Place from which to directly play music
  3. A place from which my kids can copy music to their devices, which tend to be more Apple than Windows.
So I tried googling how to rip with Apple Itunes, and flailed about until I found this procedure. I have no idea if it's efficeint:

  1. Insert CD in drive of my Windows computer and open Itunes.
  2. Itunes should ask me if I want to import the CD into my library. I say yes. 
  3. Watch the progress and wait for the chime.
  4. Now select all the songs, and copy them to the folder of my choice on my NAS device. I found I had to create a folder containing the name of the album.
Once done, I saw that the filetype Apple created for me is .M4A. I googled to see whether m4a is indeed lossless, and it is.

I realize right away that organization is going to matter. But I don't really know how best to access my music from the NAS device.

So now I need to focus in on first things first. Even if I get the organization wrong, that's not a nightmare. What WOULD be a nightmare is to rip the music into the wrong format, as I'm expecting this project to take several months to complete.

Next I decided to see if I could play songs through the Webaccess feature of my Buffalo NAS device. But I couldn't figure out how to select more than one song at a time so I decided to download "webaccess for windows pc" to see what that would do. I couldn't figure it out so I'm abandoing webaccess for now. This is the second thign I couldn't do from webaccess. The first was to play movies.

So back to playing music from my NAS device. I now seem to have these songs in Itunes, but I dont' want that, right? Now I'm realizing I've gotten entangled with Itunes, when all I thougth I was doing was using Itunes to rip. So now I want to get away from itunes. So I'm starting over.

I find mediamonkey and try that.

Discoveries:
  1. When I try to play multiple m4a's from my NAS device in Ubuntu, I get a choice of playing the songs in "Videos" or "Rhythmbox." But I seem to be able to play only one song at a time in Rhythmbox, and found that the "Videos" choice works the way I expected.
  2. To use mediamonkey, I had to download the codec for m4a, and it was a trial, so I may have to pay for the codec. 
  3. If I try to play the songs from the computer on which I installed mediamonkey, I seem not to be able to choose a different player when I right-click on the song. But I can change the default easily enough with the Windows setting "Set associations." I was just surprised that there was no "open with" option.
  4. However, if I try to reach the NAS device from my other computers (including win7, win8, and ubuntu) I can choose the player I want to use. 
  5. I'm getting a chromebook, so I googled whether I can even get to the NAS device with my chromebook, and found out that currently chromebooks do not support local network storage. However, there's big demand for this function. Also I learned that Chromebook does not come with a media player, but I'm guessing I can find one.
Tentative conculsions:
  1. I can get from mediamonkey the codec that I want. This seems the most versatile for my intended purposes I outlined at the beginning of this blog.
  2. I don't know at what point I will have to pay for a license for mediamonkey, but it's only around 50 bucks and I've already determined this is worth it for what I'm getting. The codec pack is $12. So far, I haven't paid for either.
  3. Mediamonkey does a nice job of setting up the folder structure by artist, then album, then songs.
  4. I tried webaccess again with the songs I placed on the nas device using mediamonkey. This time, for some reason, I was able to select multiple songs. But all that does is open each song in a new browser tab, and then they all play at the same time. so enough of webaccess. I guess webaccess is just a play from which to access media, but not actually use it.
I'll write another post with my actual procedures for using mediamonkey.

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