Labor Day

As I posted a few days ago, I’ve been thinking about the way I listen to music a lot lately. I have a rough plan sketched out to consolidate a lot of my music collection, then copy it to a USB hard drive and listen to it with a small Raspberry Pi device that’s connected to my main stereo.

I’ve completed the first part of this plan, which was to merge the iTunes libraries on my Mac and PC. I had looked at a few possible ways to do that, and settled on SuperSync. I bought a two-seat license to it, and installed one on my Mac and one on my PC. I didn’t actually run a full merge of the two libraries. Rather, I found all the full albums that were on my Mac but not my PC, and copied them over to the PC. So now the PC definitely has a copy of all the full albums that I’ve either ripped from CD or bought from iTunes (or Amazon or wherever else). My full music library is around 50 GB now. (That’s just music, not video.) So that’s pretty substantial, but not out of control.

I would recommend SuperSync to anyone else needing to do something like this. It’s fairly easy to use, and I didn’t have any problems connecting the two computers over the network and transferring files between libraries.

So now the next part of the plan is to rip some CDs. I’ve ripped a fair number already, whenever I had a CD that I wanted to listen to on my iPod or iPhone. But I have hundreds of CDs that I haven’t ripped.

When I started thinking about this, I remembered that I had a ridiculous number of CDs in the trunk of my car. With my old car, I had a six-CD changer in the trunk, and I used to buy a lot of music in MP3 format from emusic, then burn regular audio CDs, and listen to them in the car. So I just kept tossing CDs into cardboard boxes in the trunk. And sometimes I’d take some regular CDs out to the car, then they’d wind up in those boxes in the trunk and never get back inside the house. Well, when I got my new car, I just moved those boxes to the trunk of the new car. But I have an aux jack in this car, so I can just plug in my iPhone. I do listen to CDs in the car occasionally, but all those burned CDs in the trunk have really become just dead weight.

So instead of doing something normal and fun for Labor Day, I decided to clean out the trunk of my car and go through all those CDs. Most of the burned CDs went straight in the garbage. The regular CDs are getting tossed back in with my main CD collection.

I also remembered that the single-disc CD player in my current car can play MP3 CDs. I’d always meant to try that out, but never got around to it. So I decided that I could put together a much more focused CD collection for the car, with just MP3 CDs, so each CD could have a half-dozen albums on it. And I also figured that I could start on some more CD ripping too, maybe ripping some of my favorite old CDs, then consolidating them on MP3 CDs.

So I started this morning, and now it’s almost 3pm. I made ten MP3 CDs total, and I even went out to the car and double-checked them to make sure they were playable. (And they are!) So I’ve got maybe 60 hours of music, which ought to keep me out of trouble for a while. (And, yes, I could have just loaded all this music to an iPod or something, but the nice thing about the MP3 CDs is that I can use the regular controls on the CD player to control things, instead of having to fumble around trying to deal with an iPod. Also, I don’t have a working iPod, and I don’t have enough room on my phone to load a lot of music, and I have an ample supply of blank CD-Rs. So this way works better and doesn’t cost me anything.)

Overall, I’ve now got another 20 or 30 CDs ripped, I’ve organized my collection a bit more, and I’ve cleaned out the car a good bit. So that was worth doing, though if I have to tell anyone at work tomorrow what I did on Labor Day, they’re going to think I’m a nerd and/or an idiot for wasting a perfectly nice day.

By the way, I stuck with iTunes for the CD ripping, tweaking my settings a bit so I’d be getting fairly high-quality VBR MP3s. I still want to try dBpoweramp, but I don’t think I need it. Recently, I had been allowing iTunes to rip CDs with its default settings, but that leaves me with AAC files instead of MP3 files, and my car CD player can’t read AAC’s. (I was pretty sure it wouldn’t, but I checked and verified that it can’t.) So now I’m going to be sure I rip only to MP3.

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