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Uno! Dos! One, Two, Tres--Fly Me to the Moon

So. I have mentioned here in this Tohu Bohu on a couple of occasions that I have a lot of music on my hard drive, something close to 15,000 sides. This is my primary music station, this external hard drive. For a few years it was hooked up to a computer that was running iTunes; the computer was almost always on and playing music, and would perform other duties as required. In addition, we own an iPod and three off-brand mp3 players, which we largely used for exercising or yard work or such. We eventually acquired an iHome station for charging the iPod and playing music in a room the computer was not, which worked quite well, except…

Most of this digital music was not acquired through iTunes. I ripped my CD collection over a period of years, using a variety of software tools (and a variety of computers, come to think of it). Almost all of the files are mp3 files, rather than the native iTunes format, which was deliberate. I still store files as mp3s whenever I can. Not that I adore the mp3 format, as I know little about the different ways of storing things, but that was the format that seemed to work across platforms. And, after a while, it just made sense to add files as mp3s because all the rest of them were mp3s. And iTunes doesn’t have any problem playing mp3 files.

But the iPod does have a problem playing mp3 files, or at least it has a problem playing some of them. Or parts of some of them. There are lots of songs that start and then suddenly end twenty seconds in. Or eighty-two seconds in. It seems to be consistent —that is, certain songs never play properly and certain songs always play properly. Songs that don’t play on the iPad play just fine through iTunes. There isn’t any obvious pattern, nothing that would be easy to sort and pull out. Not, for instance, all the songs on a particular album, or all the songs ripped on a particular day, or in a particular folder. Just some of the songs. Quite a few of them, actually. Enough so that any time I am listening to a mix for more than an hour or so, I am likely to find one that skips. If that’s correct—one an hour or so, something in the range of six percent, or almost a thousand files.

Of course, I don’t know if that’s an accurate count, as I don’t tally the times the iPod skips. And since I am shuffling tracks, there isn’t an easy way for me to see what the last song played was; by the song has skipped, it is too late to grab the iPad and look at the track. Often the song has played for long enough to identify, so I could, in theory, write down the information, but (a) that ain’t convenient, and (2) what would be the point?

The point, I suppose, is that (from some internet research) the solution for this skipping business is to re-rip the files in question. I could identify the files, find the CD (I suppose I should re-alphabetize my CDs, which are currently filed by when-YHB-last-brought-them-in-from-the-car-and-dumped-them-in-one-of-the-bins), re-rip the specific file or the whole album, and see whether the thing was cranky again. Or if I turn out to be too lazy to dig up the CDs, I could just burn audio CDs of twenty of the files (because, remember, they work fine on the computer) and re-rip them from that audio CD. Which would probably work. Most of the time. 95% or so, would be my guess.

I am not doing that.

So. My next solution is to invest in an yet another cheap off-brand mp3 player, because those seem to have no problem at all playing my mp3s. None. Never skip a file. Just music. Of course, they don’t sync up nicely, and I can’t bring across my playlists, and there are a handful of other irritations, but none of those are anywhere near as irritating as this music skipping thing.

But before I do that, I wanted to ask—y’all listen to music, right? Does this problem seem familiar? Do you have something like what we used to call a stereo? Do you just listen to the cloud?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I haven't encountered this problem, but one thing you can do is convert files from one format to another. It might be interesting to try converting MP3 to WAV and back to MP3 again, for example, just to see if there was something weird about the way the original file was encoded.

I remember hearing something about the MP3 format having some patent issues or something, back when I first started ripping my CDs, so I've used OGG format for all of mine. I haven't bothered to convert MP3s that I've bought subsequently (e.g. from Amazon), so I have a mix of things now. But they all generally seem to work; but I pretty much only ever play them with one particular Linux player. (QMMP in the unlikely event that you (or any other Gentle Readers) are curious. :^)

Converting files would probably be quicker and less wasteful than burning and ripping, but the problem is still identifying the hundreds of files and then dealing with them individually. Not to mention potentially losing any information I have on them--rating and comments and genre and so on. But the real problem is that identifying the offending files and dealing with them at all will be hugely time consuming, when the only benefit is that I could play them on the iPod.


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