This page deals with media related stuff that did not fit in elsewhere. I might shuffle, cut and paste things later, be aware, and as such this page will be more or less permanent under construction...
There's definitely some assembly required.
table of typical network ports and some remapping options to avoid conflicts.
Note to self: need to update and complete this table one of these days...
If you're not into Apple you typically deal with three audio file types:
WAV is the (old) standard Windows audio file format. It's rarely used for music. Just convert it as fast as you can :-) It comes in many sample sizes and bit rates.
WMA is the newer standard and may contain DRM. Unless you have DRM'ed music I see little need to use it. Convert to either FLAC or MP3.
FLAC is a lossless format, which results in large files, but with probably the best quality possible. Be prepared to invest in harddisk space.
MP3 again comes in many flavours. MP3 is a lossy file format, ie. music converted to MP3 is loosing some information. How much information is lost depends on the compression.
MP3 comes in two flavours: CBR and VBR. CBR stands for 'constant bit rate', VBR for 'variable bit rate'. In principle, a VBR file can be smaller than a CBR file with the same quality. Note that some (older) MP3 kit has troubles playing (certain) MP3 VBR files. All modern hardware should be fine.
Each person is different, and thus the acceptable level of compression differs from person to person. As a rule of thumb, the higher te bitrate, the better the sound quality. I have been using the following bitrates myself:
are different encoders around, and they seem to result in different sound
quality. I'm not an expert in these matters, me myself I haven't investigated,
so I dunno' :-)
Some encoders offer different encoding levels, ie. although the resulting file has a specific bitrate, the sound quality of that file can still differ from one encoded with a better (or worse) algoritm. Many encoders have settings, like 0 for best to 9 for worst, or the other way around. Check such options carefully.
If you're ripping CD's I suggest to use whatever is the best algoritm, especially when using CBR320 or VBR190. Ripping is (hopefully) a one time event, so why not do it right the first time? I could hear the difference between some low quality and high quality conversions of the same source material.
You don't need MediaMonkey. In fact, I can think of quite a few good reasons not to use it. As an alternative you can use MusicBee, which is free and easier to setup.
I wrote a little application myself called SQB to simplify transfer of files and export of playlists to MP3 players (including flac to mp3 conversion). You can find it here.
However there's one thing it does quite well: sync your music to other devices and convert it on the fly. If your original music library contains FLAC and your MP3 player can only handle MP3's then MediaMonkey converts your files on the fly. In other words: they are copied / converted without first having to convert from FLAC to MP3 (thus you ending up with multiple different versions of the same song) followed by manually copying to the external device.
MediaMonkey isn't free, and it isn't 100% stable...
Setting up an external device
You can mess up MediaMonkey by setting up or removing a device. If that happens you have to uninstall MediaMonkey, and then delete any remainders manually, otherwise the 'bad' setup will show up again.
I found it easier to set things up manually before plugging in the device. When identifying devices you might want to give each device its own unique name. Unfortunately I've run into USB sticks with the same 'unique' ID thus confusing MediaMonkey, so now I relabel / rename my sticks to something like MP3_ONE, MP3_TWO etcetera.
Here's how I set up a 32GB USB stick called MP3_ONE for my car. I've limited things to MP3 CBR256 / VBR190, and want to convert anything higher or incompatible to VBR190. I also want to grab a random subset of my whole music collection and copy it to the USB stick whenever I request a 'sync' (using MediaMonkey 126.96.36.1991):