MP3/ACC ID Tag issues (iTunes / PS3) – Part 1

This isn’t a guide or how-to article, it’s really just an informational blabber (in two parts), but maybe it will stir some thinking/experimenting with an old friend or two.

While messing around with my PS3 as an AAC/MP3 encoder, I quickly realized it doesn’t pull Art info etc. However, even if it did, I wouldn’t advise using the PS3 as your main ripper/encoder, as it’s always easier to replace standard PC DVD drives vs. a PS3 Blue Ray drive. 😉

Over the years I’ve moved from app to app and codec to codec (Audio Grabber, Lam3 via CLI, batch processing, EAC, dbpoweramp, linux tools with Lam3, OGG and so on) always looking for a great rip/encode combo. It’s funny, I swore off iTunes for encoding funtions until they starting using better versions of an MP3 encoder etc, I also stayed away from AAC, not because it’s not good (as it’s VERY good) but there was so  few players (car/mobile) that could play them (except iPods) etc. Well…..years passed and lots of things started supporting AAC, so I moved to AAC a year or so ago.

Now days, I truly do love iTunes ability to encode AAC/MP3’s (plus managing my iPod Touch) and supposedly Apple supports and uses the standard tagging functions for MP3 ID Tags, well…..at least that’s what it looks like and feels like except for one little minor flaw I found recently.

However,  keep in mind, unlike MP3’s, the AAC group has never set an industry standard as far as tagging goes, but Apple implemented a pretty good format on their own.

ENTER PS3 and Windows Explorer issues:

I know (as everyone else) Sony is notorious for their own ways of doing things, and I couldn’t get any of my AAC or MP3 IDTags to show up 100%, after much research and cussing Sony out, I realized the PS3 does actually support the Industry standard ID3 tags for MP3’s…..it’s just iTunes doing something different in the tag (or headers etc). So why does my Black Berry and so many other devices read the iTunes encoded ID tags properly? I guess everyone just makes their device able to read any minor deviance’s from the norm, so users don’t suffer? Hmmmmm

Well, so back to EAC/dBpoweramp (using Lam3 – I go for some testing). Guess what…using the same IDTag v.2.3 that iTunes says it’s using, my PS3 and every device and player I have (including iTunes) reads my tags just perfectly. So does this show that iTunes STILL doesn’t 100% use the ID Tags correctly? Maybe…..

So why the fuss….well I HATE people screwing with standards!!! You should be able to take an AAC/OGG/MP3 between any device/player and have no issues! (at least with MP3’s for now)

This leaves us with a few options (if you really give a hoot), re-tag our iTunes? Move back to a ripper/encoder like EAC etc. or just don’t worry about it.

Well……I’m looking at moving back to MP3/LAME encoding using dBpoweramp, and using VBR with extreme presets (I.E. 200+ VBR with JS), EAC is still very nice, but is having issues under windows 7 (yes, I’m using 7 to manage my music). I love Linux and I believe in the true value of the open source movement, but Ogg is in the same position AAC was several years ago (limited players etc).

So for now, I’ll boot into Windows for my iPod Touch and BB.

Things to check out:

EAC (free ripper/encoder/tagger supporting Secure/AccurateRips) –
http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/

dBpoweramp (payed ripper/encoder/tagger supporting secure/ AccurateRips):
http://www.dbpoweramp.com/

Hydrogenaudio:
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org

Recommended LAME Complies
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=LAME

LAME Home:
http://lame.sourceforge.net/

Up next….maybe I can get my AAC tags to show properly across everything, if so, I might shift right back to AAC. ;0)

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