Monday, May 31, 2010

MP3 Jukebox CD’s

It’s Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, and it’s time for road trips, pool parties and backyard barbeque's. Are you prepared? Are you ready to rock the house, or the car?

I am, and I’m gonna show you a no fuss way that you can be, too, using just a single CD.

It’s an easy thing to dock your iPod and fire up a playlist, so you’re probably saying; Meh.., who needs CD’s? Well, here’s the rub; sometimes you just don’t want the added hassle of connecting and protecting your iPod. You’re in a rush to be on the road and you don’t want to have to deal with the connecting, fiddling, disconnecting and stashing of your MP3 player. Or maybe you’re bringing music to a friend’s backyard bash. You know someone will end up messing with your iPod as the night goes on, plus you may be way ready to leave long before the party is over, and there’s no bigger buzz kill than turning off the tunes mid-song at a party so that you don’t have to leave your iPod behind, plus there’s no way to slide out unobtrusively in this scenario, and we’ve all needed to do that once in a while…

The answer is to create an MP3 Jukebox CD. You can fit approximately 160 songs in MP3 format on a 700MB CD-R disc and have 10+ hours of uninterrupted music. Most of today’s auto and home CD players are now capable of at least MP3 and WMA playback, and some of the higher end models support additional formats. All you need to do to create one is to copy your MP3 files to a blank CD-R in data format. Most burning software will actually have an MP3 Jukebox option. Sonic, Nero, iTunes, all have it built right in. With iTunes, you’ve probably got your favorite playlists already created, so it’s a piece o’ cake. The burning process only takes about 15 minutes to boot. At any given time, I’ve usually got a couple ready to go, and they’re custom tailored for all situations. The ever evolving “Party Mix”, the more sedate “Don’t Harsh My Mellow Mix”, you get the idea. The possibilities are endless.

One thing to remember when using iTunes to make your CD is that none of your iTunes purchased music is downloaded in MP3 format. The MP3 Jukebox function will still work, it will just skip over any M4p/M4a/AAC files in your playlist. You can either let it, or you can convert the file formats to MP3. If you’re gonna convert, ALWAYS make a copy of the original first, because what you strip out in the conversion process can’t be put back. When I rip music from CD’s into iTunes, I always select the MP3 format just for this reason, and when I purchase songs from the iTunes store, I always create a standard audio CD backup of them, and that’s what I use to create the MP3 copies. I usually close iTunes and rip the songs back in as MP3’s to a different folder using Media Player, that way my iTunes library isn’t bloated with repeats.

The other thing to note is that different players read and organize the folders on data CD’s in different ways. When I burn a playlist to CD in iTunes, my Bose Wave presents and plays them back in alphabetical order ie: AC DC, Allman Brothers, etc. When I pop the same CD into one of our car players, they play back in the original playlist order, which is what I prefer as sometimes I put a lot of effort into the mood and pace of a playlist. Not a huge problem though. If the device starts playing back alphabetically and that’s not what you’re in the mood for, you just hit the mode button on your player and select shuffle disc.

So, it’s an easy and painless way to have your music for the ride, the party, and as an added bonus, you can leave the CD behind as a little thank you gift for your host’s hospitality when you do finally bug out.

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