The Treehouse + The Cave


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Friday, January 14, 2005

Full Mixes

One of my biggest complaints about iTunes, is that it has such lousy support for full DJ mixes. If you've bought a mix CD containing tracks that play seamlessly on a standard CD player (due to zero-second gaps between songs) they will inevitably gain annoying pauses between tracks when you play them back on either iTunes or an iPod.

Until Apple adds a way to eliminate the gaps, the only option (and their official suggestion) is to re-rip your CD as a single track. The biggest limitation of which, is that you cannot pause the track, play another album entirely and then come back to your mix where you left off (the way you can with Audiobooks, for instance), a feature that is really useful on a 74-minute song. And that's not to mention all the valuable metadata you lose if you take 30 songs and make them one (but that's another debate).

To help alleviate some of the frustration, I offer OSX users this work-around:

1. You'll need to start off with a AAC of your full mix. You could do it Apple's way and re-rip your CD (which presumes you own the CD in the first place), or you could splice together a bunch of songs using this Applescript. You can avoid this entire step if you download your mixes as unified files. Please note however, if you have your unified mix is formatted as an MP3, you'll need to convert it to AAC using iTunes built-in converter.
2. Once you've got a unified AAC, run this Applescript to make your track "bookmarkable". Effectively, you are turning your mix into an Audiobook.
3. Remove the book from the iTunes library (do not delete from the hard drive).
4. Find the AAC file in the Finder and change its extension from .m4a to .m4b.
5. Import the new .m4b file into iTunes and sync with your iPod.

After that, you should be all set. All your mixes will play gap-free and will be bookmarkable, making for a half-way-decent user experience until Apple gets their shit together and listens to the torrent of complaints coming from beat connoisseurs worldwide.

If you'd like to add your voice to the cacophony as I have, you can drop Cupertino a line here.

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