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it has been a while, hasn’t it? (Shame on me, I know…)
But let’s cut to the chase, I’m writing this post (and I’m planning to write a few more, but more on that another time) because I have a little spare time on my hands right now.
Now, what’s this post about? Since my portable music player (a Cowon iAudio X5, 60 GB storage, more than you could ever need (or at least I could ever need) for your music) lately had a hard time recognizing the ID3-Tags of newer mp3-files I decided to check out alternative software for mp3-players and I stumbled across rockbox, a open source software for various mp3-players.
Now what is so great about it? Well first of all, it recognizes my files! But it also gives me full (or at least much more - and that is a thing to say with the iAudio X5) control over my music-player. It supports not only mp3 but also (and this is nice because much other softwares don’t) ogg and flac, it provides various ways to view your data, has a built in calculator (hell, if you want to you can even install doom on it) and there are some gorgeous (and functional) themes out there to make your player’s interface a pleasure to the eye. And the best: It’s easy to install and remove if you’re not convinced. So try it out.
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I am going to review some excellent live bootlegs, therefore I have decided to explain some things about live bootlegs and I’ll also talk a little about lossless audio files (and converting them into more handy types).
Live bootlegs are recordings of live music shows/appearances, they are recorded by fans with equipment of varying quality. In most cases live bootlegs are not explicitly allowed or even forbidden, but in some cases (like Jason Mraz) the artist himself encourages bootlegging, and also allows the distribution of bootlegs through the web.
Where do I get live bootlegs?
You could try googling, or just go to archive.org.
Now what’s the deal with these odd audio formats (such as Flac or Shorten) you might ask:
Well, let me put it this way. If you record a piece of music, you will get a file of about 30-50 MB at size. This is the raw audio data, and it is called “lossless” because all the data recorded is in that file, nothing has been lost. Then there are lossless compressions, that means the file size of an audio file is shrunken without any actual data being lost. SHORTEN or FLAC for example are such audio formats, the file size with these should be around half of the uncompressed audio file.
You can also compress an audio file with a “lossy” audio format, that means in order to decrease the file size some of the data will be deleted (this will be sound you can’t actually hear with your ears, because the frequency is way to high (or low)), that way you can achieve an audio file with about one tenth of the size of the original lossless, uncompressed audio file.
Now, as I said, bootleggers distribute their recorded music as lossless audio files (they do that, so that the quality of the files won’t degrade through sharing) but for most people these files are way too big, so you will want to reduce their size by converting them into a lossy audio format. (Also most portable music players won’t be able to play lossless audio files)
There are several free and open source applications for various operation systems that can do that for you, here are some. If you run into troubles, need more help or other programs, don’t hesitate to write a comment and I’ll look into it. Because so far I’ve only worked with soundKonverter (I, almost exclusively, use Linux).