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Convert iTunes Music Library To A Mobile-Friendly Format.

 

 

 

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Convert iTunes Music Library To A Mobile-Friendly Format.
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Audience: For iPod / Windows PC owners with a “smart” mobile (with MMC/SD slot).

Intro:
This is a guide on how to convert your existing (and probably extensive) iTunes music library into a format that you can play from your mobile.

iPod* owners everywhere have probably spent many long laborious hours importing all the albums from their CD collections into the iTunes* music library on their PC.

This is not something you will readily want to repeat from scratch with the Nokia Audio Manager (or equiv.) to get your music accessible from your mobile.

Fortunately, there is an alternative offered through the many different music file conversion utilities available on the 3rd party software market. For the purposes of this guide, we will be using the range of utilties available from dbPowerAMP.com .

First of all, you have to find out what the Target format is for the music files you want to convert.

This willdepend on the type of mobile you own.

.MP3 file format is appropriate for the following mobiles:
Siemens SX1, Siemens SL45, Sharp GX-30, Nokia 6600 (with 3rd party MP3 player), motorola A920/925..

.AAC file format is the preference for the following (although they can all play .MP3 as well):
Nokia 6230, Nokia n-Gage, Nokia 7610, Nokia 3650, Nokia 3300..

.WMA file format is the preference for any of the available windows-based smartphones:
Orange SPV / E200, Motorola mpx200, O2 XDAII..

There are other alternatives like .AMR, and .OGG format (Ogg Vorbis standard), but are less common. (Ogg players are available for the symbian-based mobiles like Nokia 6600, Siemens SX1, Nokia n-Gage ). AMR is a lower quality encoding standard, not likely to satisfy all but the least demanding of music listeners (but it is useful for providing short mono voice recordings on mobiles).

Some mobiles are capable of playing a variety of different music file formats (Nokia 6230 can play .aac, .mp3, .amr)

In this case, if you are not too bothered about the portability aspect of your music, then descending order of preference is probably:

AAC -> WMA -> MP3 -> AMR.

This is because AAC and WMA are both newer compression standards, and so employ a more efficient compression algorithm than MP3, making for smaller files (which means more music on your memory card!). However, if you also want to play your digital music in your car stereo (MP3-CD), in your old MP3 player, and any number of other players, then portability may be more important to you than file size. Then, MP3 may still be the best format for you to convert to.

Fortunately dbPowerAMP Music Converter is capable of converting music files to any of these formats, when combined with the available codecs.

To start:
Open up the iTunes application on your Windows PC.

Select [Edit] - [Preferences] option in iTunes menu.

From the dialog, select the [Importing] tab to verify what standard your iTunes has been encoding with in its music library. The default here is displayed below: (namely AAC to 128kbps). Write down these details somewhere (you will need them later).

Now select the [Advanced] tab and note where the music library is stored on your PCs hard drive. Again, note down these details.

Now, if you haven’t already, download and install the following components from dbPowerAMP.com. dBpowerAMP Music Convertor (dMC) - http://www.dbpoweramp.com/dmc.htm

Various Codecs - http://www.dbpoweramp.com/codec-central.htm
(depending on which standard you are converting from to which target format)

Check out the list of Codecs at:
http://www.dbpoweramp.com/codec-central-mp4.htm
For converting from MP4 AAC (which is the iTunes default), you need the following [AAC to Mp4 & Mp4 to AAC] codec: Click to download.

This will enable you to convert an .M4A file (used in iTunes, iPod, Nero) into a standard .AAC file that can be played by your mobile player (for Nokia 6230, Nokia n-Gage, Nokia 3650 / 3300 )

If you want to convert to .WMA (for a Windows smartphone), then download the .WMA codecs:
http://www.dbpoweramp.com/codec-central-wma.htm

For conversion to MP3, dBpowerAMP already comes supplied with the best MP3 encoder (LAME). Once the dBpowerAMP Music Convertor and all the necessary codecs have been installed, open it up. You will be asked to browse to the music files you would like to convert. Multiple selections can be made here.

In the main application dialog, you get the option of which format you would like to convert to from the drop-down box at the top.

Make your selection according to your type of mobile. Then you will have the choice of some advanced options ( click the [Advanced] button) to set things like the quality of encoding ).

As a rule, for most people, the following bit rates can be regarded as a good quality:

.AAC - 64kbps encoding

.WMA – 96kbps (or 64kbps)

.MP3 - 128kbps CBR

(and if VBR – variable bit rate – encoding is used, 96kbps is acceptable.

NB. Please note that not all MP3 players in mobiles can play the full range of encoding options, from 48kbps up to 320kbps, and CBR ,to VBR).

Once the options are set, then click the [Convert] button.

dBpowerAMP will display a progress bar, and start to work its way through the selected files, writing them to the selected destination folder.

When complete, those compatible music files (whether .aac for your Nokia 6230, .MP3 for your Siemens SX1 etc) can be transferred to your MobyMemory MMC card (preferably via a memory card reader).

All you have to do now is load the MMC card into your mobile and you can take part of your iTunes music library with you if you leave your iPod behind!

For more information on the complicated and technical arena of digital music, check out this excellent series of articles from Spoon of dBpowerAMP: http://www.dbpoweramp.com/spoons-audio-guide.htm

NB. This guide has been written to help those with music stored in their iTunes music library. With little alteration, it should also be useful for people looking to convert digital music files from different source formats, as a similar process takes place. The range of conversion possibilities in dBpowerAMP alone are pretty extensive.

But remember to try and use as a good a quality source as possible for conversion (either the original CD, or a high bit-rate encoding of your CD such as that provided in iTunes music library by default). You can convert down in bit-rate, but if you try and convert up, you will be making a larger file for no quality benefit in sound at all (because with lossy compression, the information has already been lost from the original encoding of the source file).

 

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