Apple has released iTunes 12.5.5 (alongside a Sierra 10.12.3 update). Nothing specifically announced as new except the nonspecific “minor app and performance improvements”. More as it develops.
Kirk and I are both fascinated with Brian Eno’s generative music app, Reflection. So we asked the developer, Peter Chilvers, to come on the show and talk about generative music and his other app collaborations with Brian Eno.
Outboard DACs are a subject that we’ve been meaning to get to and so we invited Chris Connaker of Computer Audiophile to be our guest once again to explain everything we’d want to know about using a digital-analog-converter in an audio system.
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We’re sponsored by WALTR 2: transfer virtually any media files to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, without using iTunes. Save 15% on Waltr 2 with a discount code from The Next Track. Seriously: check out WALTR 2.
Apple has released iTunes 12.5.4, which appears to add support for the new TV app, Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, and other minor fixes.
M3Unify is a simple file managing app that can copy and arrange audio files to a selected folder, volume or portable media. Tracks can be dragged from iTunes or files can be dragged from the Finder. When loaded in M3Unify, a set of flexible exporting options enables you to arrange your music files the way you and your music player want.
With M3Unify you can:
- Copy files of tracks dragged from iTunes or the Finder to a selected folder
- Rename copied files using substitution patterns based on track tags
- Create Album or Artist/Album sub-folders based on track tags
- Export album artwork as “folder.jpg” files, one per Album sub-folder
- Create an M3U playlist
- Format M3U Extended track information using substitution patterns based on track tags
- Optionally convert files to AAC files (or MP3 files via iTunes)
Plus, these features:
- M3U preview
- Track information and Quick Look auditioning
- Uncluttered, easy-to-use interface
- On-board and online help
This latest version adds the ability to drag Finder files; skip conversion if source files are already in the selected format; adds limited pattern matching for sub-folder creation (eg: [year]/[genre]); other enhancements and performace fixes.
We get around to talking about some tagging basics, mostly geared towards iTunes. Kirk reminds me about Option-space bar. I had the chance to mention a few AppleScripts for exporting artwork and my “Smarts” app for managing Smart playlists.
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Essentially—and some might argue for either better or worse—iTunes is a file manager.
In fact, I usually will tell people to just forget about the files. Let iTunes deal with them. Most people will never need to examine the files inside the iTunes Media folder.
OTOH, I do all kinds of twisted things to tags and metadata and I often need to know how that may have affected the location of a file. Or sometimes I’ll need to know if a file is where I think it is or is still named what I thought it was.
This information isn’t handily available (although some Smarties will copy the file path to the Comments tag so it is viewable in the Comments column in the browser window). You can reveal a track’s file using iTunes’ “Show in Finder” command or see its file path in the Info window’s File tab, but this uses up valuable finger time. And the Info window is modal; you can’t run scripts when it’s visible.
So I made this simple stay-open applet that will monitor iTunes and display the file path of the single selected track.
The window is resizeable horizontally and the text is scrollable.
The Display File Path window will float alongside iTunes and whenever a single track is selected—and its file is accessible—the file’s path will be displayed. The displayed file path can be copied as text to the clipboard and the file can be selected in the Finder. There’s also an option to show the file paths of each playing track instead of the single selected track.
Obviously, it’s only useful for occasional special jobs but I’ve been finding it handy when the need has arisen. It’s free to download and use with a donation nag and is available here.
I still like me them Smart Playlists, arguably one of the best features of iTunes. I mostly use them for organizing and sorting purposes. For example, I have a bunch that segregate tracks by various iCloud Status. But I also maintain a handful that I actually play. And sometimes it’s advantageous to refresh them by removing all their tracks and letting them repopulate with different tracks. These sorts of Smart Playlists use “Live updating” and “Limit to” settings in their criteria—iTunes will prevent the removal of tracks from a Smart Playlist if it contains all the tracks from the library that meet its criteria.
Anyway, here’s one new and one updated script to assist with refereshing Smart Playlists:
Refresh Smart Playlists v2.0 has been resurrected from a version I had abandoned. It’s an applet that will display all the user-created Smart Playlists in iTunes so you can select the ones you want to batch-refresh:
Both are free to download and use, but a donation for my efforts will always leave you with a satisfied feeling afterwards.
Kirk and I wanted to find out what writing music for soundtracks was all about and so our guest for this episode is UK composer Paul Englishby. You may not have heard of him but you certainly may have heard his music, which he writes for TV, film, and stage. His latest project was composing the music for a high-tech production of “The Tempest” being staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also does the music for the British TV shows “Luther” and “The Musketeers”, both of which are favorites at my house.