Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Music - ie"

I've heard the word "foodie" tossed around in conjunction with my name before and I have to admit that people are probably right. I wonder though, since I've gotten my new computer (which can actually run multiple programs at once, unlike my old one), if people will start using the word "music-ie." Ok, so its not a word (yet) but I would like to think it refers to some form of music snobbery.

How did I get to the point that I want to be a music snob? Well it all started as I prepared to update to the aforementioned new computer. I was transferring all of my music files over to an external hard drive and I started to notice the different file formats. I started to wonder whats the difference between MP3 and M4U and MP4 and WMA? So I googled music formats. There weren't that many good online articles that could help me out. So, I struggled to figure out what it all meant. I knew that some file types were propriatary (only worked with some software/hardware) and I also learned that some types were "locked" or secure tags. In other words, a company (in my case Apple) had attached a little file that locked the music down and forced me to use only certain types of software. As I found out, it also limited what I could do with my music.

I began to think of the Sony debacle a few years ago. The Sony company tried to hinder music sharing back then by placing multiple "layers" on a CD. Those multiple layers could be read by a CD player, but computers didn't naturally read through them. This effectually made the CD quality poorer on a computer and made ripping difficult.

While I was digging through the online archieves I kept finding one word repeated...dBpoweramp. So, being a good little "gen Y-er" I googled that too. Turns out dBpoweramp is a pretty comprehensive CD burning/converting/ripping software tool. I began learning about "codecs" and the difference between lossless and lossy file types. At about this same time I was looking into wireless music players and found one by Logitech that caught my eye - "Squeezebox." I happen to really like Logitech products and kept researching their networked WiFi player. I found it worked naturally with a codec (file type) of FLAC. I immediately said to myself... "Don't give me no FLAC son!" Sorry, bad joke. Anyway, this post begins the series "Music-ie" where I will attempt to share my new found knowledge of the music ripping and encoding world. I'll go through the different codecs out there, what players they work well with, the difference between lossless and lossy formats, the benefits of both and how you can be a music snob in general.

I know that there are many out there that are probably bigger music snobs than me. Please comment on areas that you are knowledgable about and we can have a great music forum of fantasic snobbery... made available to regular folks like you and me :-)

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