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Discussion Starter #1
So, I took advantage of some freebies from Futureshop and their bonfire music store, which is a front for Puretracks.

Anyway, the files I bought are WMA with digital rights protection (or whatever it's called). According to the license, I can burn it to cd three times and download it to a portable music device three times.

However, my ipod doesn't support wma, and I can't seem to convert the songs from wma to mp3. What am I missing here? Is there some magic Windows media converter that I need? Is that the cyberlink or intervideo thing?

That really pisses me off that I have to pay MS (or anyone) an extra fee to play my legally obtained music on my ipod (on which I also paid an extra "we assume you steal music so we're gonna levy a $25 tax on it and make you pay that, regardless of how/where you get your music" fee. :evil:

Anyway, if someone knows a free way to get this accomplished, I'd be most appreciative. Or if you can confirm that indeed, the $10 MP3 xpack thing is software I need, then I'll give in to the "man" and do that. I'd just hate to pay the $10 and then have it not work.

I also tried importing and converting via iTunes, Xplay, JRiver Media Center, and none of them would do it.

Thanks,
Mike
 

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Burn it ot a CD (playable in a CD player) and rip it as you would any disk ?

Never tried it, does the copy protection carry over?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
tat2 said:
Burn it ot a CD (playable in a CD player) and rip it as you would any disk ?
Never tried it, does the copy protection carry over?
Yeah - that's what I ended up doing. No copy protection goes through - however, I lost all the tags, so I end up having to re-tag everything. :cry:

And then, I figure re-inflating a .wma to a .cda then back to an .mp3 - probably lose some significant quality along the way.

Microsoft sucks!!! :evil:
 

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Why is this Microsoft's fault? Puretracks is the one who chose to use the WMA format.

Yes, there are converters that you can use with Windows Media Player. Do a search on Google.
 

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Any converter is going to expand the file to it's full size, then compress it back again, so there will be no difference in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
rstratton said:
Why is this Microsoft's fault? Puretracks is the one who chose to use the WMA format.
Because they're the ones whose Digital Rights Management won't allow you to convert a wma to mp3. Looking at xplay's website (btw, if you have an ipod and windows, this really is the best software - I like it even better than iTunes), "Some WMA files (mostly purchased music) contain copy protection that prevent conversion into MP3 files. Such WMA files cannot be transferred to your iPod."
To me, that's MS's heavy-handed tactics in action.
Any converter is going to expand the file to it's full size, then compress it back again, so there will be no difference in the end.
I had never really thought that through like that - the algorithm that compresses a file is reversed to "inflate" it, right? So the audio CD that results from a reconstituted wma or mp3 would be just as "pure" as the original from which the wma or mp3 was ripped (?)

Back to my quest: anyone know how to preserve the ID3 tags when you burn the audio cd from mp3 or wma files?
 

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Nuje,

Going from WMA to CD and to MP3 will give you slightly different sound. The reason is all lossly sound encoders use a difference sound model and toss out different parts of the music. Also, you may inadvertantly re-encode in joint-stereo from stereo or vise-versa. There may have been an emphasis or bias flag set in the original that will not get set in the re-encoding. MP3 encoders are numerous and the quality ranges from poor to excellent. Some are better at low bitrate encoding and others are better at high bitrate encoding.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I know what you're saying is true, Jake. I just don't understand why it doesn't work like data file compression.

If someone sends me a word file that is zipped, and then I extract/open it, then send it back to them as a RAR file, and they then open that - it's still all the same file, with nothing missing.

Any ideas? Just curious.
 

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To paraphrase some info. on How Stuff Works:

Most compression programs use an algorithm which removes duplicate information (such as text) but creates an "index" that permits the de-compression process to re-insert that information into the correct places. The net effect is a smaller file.

MP3 compression, however, discards extraneous information. The file is smaller, but the information just isn't there to be re-inserted into the inflated file during de-compression.

About compression | About MP3s
 

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Nuje, there is such a thing as "lossless" compression for audio files too. Such a thing exists in Windows Media Audio even. But the files are still quite large, or compressing in size by maybe 50% or so if you're lucky. Otherwise, all other modes of MWA and MP3 toss out information that is deemed 'inaudible' by the CODEC and the given compression rate. This information can never be recovered.
 

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Nuje,

Imagine that before you sent the word file you removed a few words that did not change the meaning of the sentence (like a's and the's). Then I try to insert a few a's and the's to make it sound complete again. Next I decide to remove a few commas and send it back to you. Is the file different?

John
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I guess I was just envisioning that mp3 compression worked similarly to data compression - replacing repeated strings of data with "place-holders" - instead of the removing of "unnecessary" data.

Thanks for the clarification. So, did anyone come up with a way to preserve the ID3 info when I convert to .cda on CD; or do I just have to re-enter it (I'm resigning myself to the latter, I think). Now, if only we'd get some lousy weather here on the West Coast so I'd have an excuse to stay inside and get all my songs done (just kidding :D Keep the mid-to-upper-20's, clear skies, light breezes off the ocean and lack of 'skeeters coming).

And btw, I didn't know this was possible growing up on the prairies, but we're sitting here (as on most evenings) with both doors wide open, no screens, and no (that's right: absolutely ZERO!) mosquitos, flies, or anything else. . . . OK, maybe the occasional fruit fly buzzing around the bowl of cherries (from our backyard tree), but that's all. Life is good! :D
 

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Nuje said:
Why is this Microsoft's fault? Puretracks is the one who chose to use the WMA format.

Because they're the ones whose Digital Rights Management won't allow you to convert a wma to mp3.
That is the whole point of DRM, no matter whose DRM/media format Puretracks chose to use on their tracks.
To me, that's MS's heavy-handed tactics in action.
Again, it is the essentially the choice of Puretracks (or whomever the track retailer is), to use DRM. They just happed to choose the M$ solution. Stepping back one, the track owners (the record companies) are probably the ones insisting on DRM fro Puretracks et al. If you want to throw blame around, toss some at Apple's way, for not including WMA-DRM in their player.

You might say M$ could have been heavyhanded in having Puretracks choose their format, bit I have no idea that is so, so I won't imply that.

Back to my quest: anyone know how to preserve the ID3 tags when you burn the audio cd from mp3 or wma files?
The right CD burning software will make an entry in the CD table (not on the CD itself, just a file on your computer.) You might be able to do CD-Text, but few players support this.
 

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I took a look at PureTracks when they first came out and decided it was completely worthless, unless you like to spend all your time converting files and burning cds to be able to rip back to mp3. At least iTunes gives you the ability to play back on 3 separate computers, and the licence can be transferred from one machine to another. With the wma 'protection' you have it tied to the PROCESSOR!!! So if the computer goes belly up or you want to upgrade, all your previously purchased music is now electronic junk. I buy cds for the rights and 'hardcopy', then rip them and stuff them in a box. I use a streaming mp3 server to listen to my collection from any computer with winamp (like from work), or just play back over the digital out to my receiver using winamp when at home. Planning on an iPod one of these days to take it all on the road.
 

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wma - audiocd -mp3

I too, recently starting buying music online from Puretracks (via Bonfire/Futureshop)

I too was frustrated with not being able to play the Music on my Palm Tungsten E as a wma.

It plays on my computer via Musicmatch Jukebox, but won't burn from there.

My first purchase was the Barenaked Ladies Xmas album ($7.99), and I ended up burning it with RealPlayer v10. to some CD-R's I had kicking around. I then used MM Jukebox to rip to mp3, and retag them. However, for some reason, the tag ID had a slightly different track #'s than the order from the album I bought at Puretracks.

My 2nd purchase was a single track, the Maroon 5 single 'She will be loved'. I knew I didn't want to 'waste' a whole CD-R for one track, so I investigated CD-RW's. I had a formatted blank one from my 1st 4x CD burner /486 era. Realplayer was able to 'clean' (erase) the disc and burn the single to it. Jukebox was able to read the disc, super-tag it (much easier than manually tagging it) and now I have an mp3 of it.

I just bought Veritgo- U2 this week, and did the CD-RW thing....

Realplayer came with my Palm TungstenE, and is the basic version.

Jeff, I didn't realize that the DRM was tied to the processor for wmA's, but you're saying it's different for iTunes?

(BTW, there was a promo thru Paypal that if you signed up for iTunes, you could get 5 free songs.... turns out after I signed up, it's only for US residents..... :( )

.....Firefox doesn't seem to work with bonfire for previews......

P
 
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