Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quick iTunes AAC to MP3 Conversion

Some time ago Lavie and Alvis upgraded their cellular phones to Samsung Sync's.

Overall they have performed very well.  The ladies like the large main screen and they come with quite a lot of custom themes.  The buttons are large and have a tactile rubbery feel.  I was considering upgrading my older Nokia 6102 to one, but never was able to get a good deal, and I found texting on the Samsung too different from the Nokia.

(Alvis somehow damaged the front mini-display on her phone.  It doesn't look cracked but the LCD doesn't display anything but a wicked lightning-like streak across it now.  The primary display is still working fine, however.)

One of the reasons the ladies wanted the Sync was that it was able to play MP3 files.  Since it accepts a 1GB SIM card, they could load a lot of their favorite tunes onto it.

Back when I got my first iPod and was ripping CD's into iTunes, I just accepted the default iTunes format of .AAC without thinking.  Now, all our songs are in that format. Unfortunately, the Sync didn't support that format. MP3's only.

That left me with having to convert their selection choices into MP3 format somehow, before I could copy the files onto their SIM sticks.

I created a special "cell-phone" playlist for each of them in iTunes and had them copy their chosen selections into them.

I figured I would have to burn them to CD, then re-rip them into MP3 format, but that seemed like a lot of work and a waste of media.

I did find NoteBurner which is a fascinating ($) program.  It allows you create a virtual CD to burn/rip songs to convert them without using physical media.  However, while really cool, it was a bit pricey just to move some songs onto a cell phone.

Then I found a beautiful solution...for free.

BonkEnc

BonkEnc is a freeware product that allows you to rip CD's, encode audio, and convert a multitude of formats.

It has a nice GUI, and is very easy to pick up and use.  It is very fast (on my system) as well.

Download either the "installer" file or the plain-zip file and get it on your Windows system.

Run the application, then launch iTunes.

I use playlists to organize collections of music, but you could do the same directly out of your iTunes music library listing...

Now comes the really hard part...ready?

  1. Select your playlist in iTunes.
  2. Select the song-files displayed (any/all) in the detail listing.
  3. Click and drag/drop them into the main window of BonkEnc. They should all appear and be added in.
  4. Select the "Options" and tweak as needed.  I've found good success in using the BladeEnc MP3 Encoder.
  5. Set your Output directory (make sure you have enough drive-space).
  6. Click the "Play" icon to begin encoding.

When done, just go into the Output directory and copy the MP3 files to your SIM card as needed!

What impressed me most was not only how easy and quick the process was, but the fact that it preserved the song info-tags.  When the SIM card with the copied files was inserted into the ladies' Sync's, the song titles and information was displayed.

Note: BonkEnc won't work around any DRM songs you have purchased through iTunes store.  If you want to work with those, I think you will still need to burn those to a CD then re-rip them to get around the DRM.

BonkEnc and iTunes: A very nice and very simple partnership.

And the ladies 'be jammin!

--Claus

2 comments:

The Guru said...

Good to know, I've been dabbling a bit in iTunes. Really haven't had a need for anything in MP3 format since WinAmp will handle the M4P files. I guess I am one of the few people who use a cell phone just to make and receive calls. I don't text and this model doesn't play music.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment of BoncEnc and have been using it for sometime. Another choice to consider is myFairTunes, a freeware package that will convert your iTunes from ACC to M4a which most Mp3 players can handle. I have purchased all of my iTunes so why shouldn't I be able to play them on any player? I am operating out of Linux Ubuntu most of the time and one of the last items I needed to make the switch from Windows was playing my tunes in Amarok. I converted and I'm now listening to all the songs I purchased from iTunes in Linux. DRM doesn't just keep you from sharing songs, it keeps you from enjoying the songs you paid for on other players. My hope is DRM will continue to fade away! I'm posting this as Anonymous for RIAA security reasons - HA! Don't give me up, Claus...