My iTunes Music Server

Posted: April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

My iTunes Server
Updated November 2009

Thanks for visiting. You may also be interested in my music and my blog.

I’m a sound-quality snob. I studied music production in college, own a pair of Genelec 1037 studio monitors and I work at a company that makes high-resolution hardware for audio production. It is safe to say the idea of listening to music encoded with lossy compression is repellent to me. A few years ago, it dawned on me that MP3 is not about sound quality, it is about convenience. At the time, I was dragging CDs back and forth from home to work every day, trying to figure out, in the morning, what I might be interested in listening to that afternoon. I decided to start leaving copies of my CDs, in MP3 form, on my work computer.

This was before iTunes and the iPod. I encoded with a freeware converter, and the quality was abysmal. There was horrible amounts of transient smear and aural fatigue would set in after an hour of listening. Some types of distortion, I don’t hear, but feel after prolonged exposure. iTunes came out later, with better MP3 encoding quality and direct support for portable solid-state MP3 players. This was perfect for me because I walk to work everyday.

The first iPods came out and, although loading my MP3 player every time I left work at night was getting old, I waited until I could get a cheap refurbished iPod. By this time, I had encoded a significant portion of my CD library. I upgraded once again when the 3G iPods came out – opting for a second-generation (2G) 20GB iPod – but still, this only represents a portion of the total encoded library I had available.

It literally took years to encode 40GB of my CDs. I did a little at a time, and eventually ended up with 700 of my favorite CDs which could play uninterrupted for nearly 30 days without repeating a song. Whenever I bought a CD, it went first into the computer to be encoded. CDs went home for ‘appointment listening’ where I could listen to the uncompressed CD on my fancy monitors.

Over time, I became more and more enchanted with how iTunes changed the way I consumed music. I found myself listening to a wider variety of music because it is all equally convenient. Shuffle play is the great democratizer.

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