The Big Rip Part 2

26 Aug 2007|Lee Shupp

As you probably recall, I have started the Big Rip, converting my entire CD collection into 256 Kbps mp3s on a network hard drive. My original plan was to rip all of my CDs, starting with roots music that I use as a musician, then going to catalog rock, jazz, world and vocal and dance music.

Current size of music folder on network hard drive: 5 Gigs

I’ve encountered quite a few annoying little problems, and have developed some workarounds.

Neither the Zune player nor the Windows Media player will rip songs and play the CD at the same time, without very annoying skipping on the playback of the CD. This happens very consistently in the same two spots: as the rip hits song 2 or 3, song 1, which is playing, completely fritzes out. Likewise, when the rip hits the last two songs, the song playing fritzes out, no matter where it is in the order. This is a major drag because listening to my CDs is the only possible pleasure that can come from ripping them.

A colleague, feeling sorry for me, sent a useful link for those of you who may want to outsource ripping: Pacific rip. Thanks Denise! They charge a dollar a CD to rip your stuff and put it on an iPod. They even guarantee quality and album artwork. Not a bad deal! I’m going to pass though, for two reasons. First, I’m really digging listening to my old CDs. Second, I have so many CDs that I would pay a small fortune. Since I like to listen to music while I work (right now, Dave Alvin), I can simply rip and listen while I’m on my PC, which is most of the time. I’ll get there eventually, and listen to lots of good music along the way.

Then there is the problem of duplicates. If you accidentally rip the same thing twice, you get every song on an album twice, so that when you play the album on your mp3 you get déjà vu really quickly, hearing every song twice in a row. Even worse, on the Zune and Windows media players, you can’t simply show and delete duplicates the way that you can on iTunes. This is a bug that should be fixed soon. You should be able to delete duplicates, and have some choice about what gets deleted, i.e. “keep the highest quality” or “keep mp3 files,” or “keep most recent.”

There is the problem of scalability. Once you go past 30 Gigs in your mp3 player’s library, you are forced to either delete the CD that you just ripped from the library, or delete something else to make room for it. To get around this problem, I’m ripping CDs that I want in my Zune library using the Zune player, and using Windows Media player to rip music that I want available on my PC, but not on my Zune. I have a folder called “mp3 256 Kbps” for my mp3 songs, and another folder called “mp3 256 Kbps back” for my bigger collection. This leaves the problem of when and how to merge everything into one place, but I’m leaving alone that for now.

Another problem of scalability is that Windows Media player is getting really slow as my library gets bigger. The Zune player is slowing down, but seems to be doing better than the Windows Media player. Which makes me wonder: how big are media players designed to scale? 30 gigs of music? 50 gigs? 100 gigs? I guess I’m going to find out!

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