On iTunes 3: Third Time is the Charm

by James Duncan Davidson

Amid all the ruckus (both good and bad) from MacWorld NY this year, I find myself happy that iTunes 3 cleans up my one big complaint--the gap between tracks that makes itself heard on mix discs and classical music. There were a couple of possible fixes that Apple could have taken for this problem. The one they chose to implement was the ability to combine CD tracks into one MP3 when ripping.


I'm glad to say that this works easily and as promised. No more gaps (or skipping, as they say). Combine this with a fix that appeared for the iPod long track battery drain problem that showed up a while ago, and I now have a happy pair of ears.


As far as the other new features in iTunes--namely SmartLists, play counts, and Audible.com support--I've heard some people ask "What good are they?" However, I like them. I never could get around to sorting my music into playlists and putting some programmatic smarts into playlist creation sure does help. And I'm just now venturing off into exploring what can be done with Audible.com files. Several friends have been enjoying listening to books on tape (and CD) lately, so now I'm giving it a try to see if I like it as much as they do.


One last major improvement: The visualizer now runs at frightengly fast speed if you let it--at least on my GeForce 3 equipped PowerMac. I had to enable frame-rate limiting to 30 frames per second. 50-60 frames per second is just too fast. Not that I'm complaining of course. And I haven't tried it on my now old school TiBook with its puny ATI Rage video chipset as it's been tied up for other purposes.


Of course, iTunes isn't done yet. I'm looking forward to seeing Apple integrate support for the the new MPEG-4 AAC format. I'd also like to see support for Ogg-Vobis--though I'm not holding my breath. Bottom line: iTunes 3 is a solid update that addresses the last major problems with the product. It's all frosting on the cake from here.


What do you like or dislike about iTunes 3? Are you using SmartLists and the like?


6 Comments

bsletten
2002-07-22 10:22:34
Inter-song gap
I may be misunderstanding what you are complaining about, but the pre-iTunes 3.0, you could eliminate
the gap by selecting "Gap Between Songs" "none" on the Burning preferences panel.


That was the *FIRST* thing I needed to figure out how to do when I started to use iTunes.


Perhaps you are referring to something else though.


I like the new version too.

bsletten
2002-07-22 13:29:44
Inter-song gap
Never mind.... just read your more detailed explanation... different problem.
anonymous2
2002-12-04 05:27:18
itunes gap
its all very well importing a continuous mix album as one track, but that eliminates the option of skipping through various tracks within the mix.
And it's not just dance mix albums, there's plenty of standard rock albums that blend between tracks.
I couldn't believe the problem when i found out - specially as apple claim it to be 'the worlds best digital music player'
400 for an ipod that can't give me a continuous stream of tracks. Very very annoyed and frustrated.
anonymous2
2003-04-27 21:02:20
iPod long track battery drain
Hi,


In the text you mention a fix to this issue. Could you direct me to that fix please ?


Cheers,


Andy

James_Elliott
2004-05-01 15:58:40
itunes gap
Indeed. The only system I've yet seen that can cope with this completely properly is the one I built for myself several years ago. Slant automatically detects when there is audio in the inter-track gap, and will rip and encode as many tracks as needed into a single file to ensure smooth playback. But it keeps a record of where the logical track boundary is, so that you can listen to individual tracks even if they're found in the middle of a large file, and displays the proper title and timing information while you're listening.


Of course, it also lets you associate more than one artist with a track, or associate the same track with more than one album if you want to save disk space and have a lot of "best of" albums with identical recordings on them.


All of these things make the files too much of a challenge for iTunes to cope with, unfortunately.

vannessa taylor
2006-03-15 16:45:40
im trying to download music to my ipod but its not letting me i tried 2 downlod the cd to my computer but it keeps messing up what should i do im trying to get some songs