Thursday, 1 May 2014

DSD Master, and Importing into iTunes

Many audiophiles who use iTunes as their principal music library tend to be individuals who accumulate large music collections. I myself have close to 30,000 tracks. However, I have heard from many BitPerfect users who have as many as 75,000 tracks. A friend of mine has close to 7,000 CDs arrayed across many, many storage shelves, so I can see how that would be possible.

When you have a collection that big, your best solution is to store the music off-line, on an external HD or, better still, a NAS (which is my preferred solution). When it comes to iTunes, this naturally raises the issues of whether or not to allow iTunes to copy your music into your Media Folder upon import, and whether or not to allow it to Organize your music fielder for you. Both of those features are implemented as check boxes in the Advanced tab of iTunes’ Preferences menu. When you start off using iTunes, and you have a small music collection, having iTunes do all the heavy lifting for you can be a bonus, but eventually you reach the point where you are no longer happy with the way iTunes does things and you want to do it yourself. Most BitPerfect users - myself included - fall into this camp. There is no way I’m letting iTunes organize my music for me

However, if you are happy letting iTunes do all the organizing of your Music Library, then there are some things you need to be aware of when using DSD Master.

DSD Master has a neat feature which allows you to automatically import the files it has created into iTunes. However, if you have iTunes set to “Copy files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to the library”, you will need to look out for a couple of things. First, if you set DSD Master’s output directory to be, for example, a folder on your Desktop, then after the files have all been created and successfully imported into iTunes, you will have duplicates of each - one in the folder on your Desktop and the other somewhere in your iTunes Media folder. You won’t need both copies, so you can safely delete the original one on your Desktop. Of course, if you specify the iTunes Media folder as DSD Master’s output directory this problem goes away completely.

An interesting thing happens if you choose to check iTunes setting “Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized”. This does two things. First, it organizes the music files in the iTunes Media folder into folders by Artist, and sub-folders by Album. This information is gleaned from the metadata in the music files during the import process. Secondly, it is also liable to rename the files according to some internal Apple logic. At this point, I don’t know what that logic is, but if you are creating Hybrid-DSD files, these will be renamed from “filename.DSDh.m4a” to “filename.m4a”. There will be no loss in functionality, but if you were hoping to rely on the “.DSDh.” to identify the Hybrid-DSD files in future, then this useful feature will be lost.

Thanks to BitPerfect User Eric Tan for drawing my attention to this.