iTunes data integrity question

2006-07-08

in Geek stuff, Music

I find that a small number of the songs that I have in iTunes have become mysteriously truncated: suddenly coming to an abrupt end somewhere between twenty seconds and two minutes before the song is over. These are songs that worked properly before. In total, less than one in thirty songs are affected, in my estimation. Even so, in a library of 3786 songs, that’s a non-trivial proportion. In particular, Bob Marley songs seem to be vulnerable for some reason. Of the small collection I have, more than half have been thus clipped over the course of the last few years. I don’t know if this is simply corruption due to entropic increase in my hard drive, or whether something more complex is at work.

Is this an issue anybody knows anything about? Google has not been forthcoming with information from other people similarly affected. The problem is especially annoying because it is difficult to remember exactly which songs have been affected, and thus to replace them. Also, most of the CDs from which my iTunes music was generated are back in boxes of mine in Vancouver.

PS. This is definitely not related to the option in iTunes to have songs end before the track normally does (useful for cutting applause off in live tracks, or removing annoying band chatter before and after songs).

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan July 8, 2006 at 1:57 pm

There is some plausibility to that, but I would expect only metadata (play counts, play times, ratings, etc) to pass from the iPod to iTunes.

R.K. July 8, 2006 at 1:52 pm

You’ve had three iPods fail on you, right? Two with toasted hard drives?

If corruption took place, I am betting it was there, then got transfered to your HD when it synced the music.

Milan July 21, 2006 at 6:50 pm

This article by Ken Rockwell says some really interesting things about iTunes.

I don’t know much about him, but Tristan swears by his advice. On the basis of Rockwell’s recommendation, I have changed my importing settings from 192 bit AAC to 128 bit VBR AAC. He describes it thusly:

128 kbs Variable Bit Rate (VBR) AAC : My Choice For only about a 5% penalty in file size I use variable bit rate encoding for better quality. This lets the coder use more bits when it has to. I set this under PREFERENCES > ADVANCED > IMPORTING > Import Using & Setting > Custom, and then check “Use Variable Bit Rate Encoding (VBR).” Apple has this pretty well hidden. I leave the rest at default of 128kbs, auto and auto. VBR sounds better for the same file size. As far as I can see the only reason Apple doesn’t default to this is for compatibility with old iPods. Having a new iPod Nano, no problem! I couldn’t hear any defects. 128kbs VBR AAC sounds the same as my CDs. Any defects I heard were accurate reproductions of flaws in the original CDs.

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