11 October 2005

2 MP3 or not 2 MP3.........

On the turntable: "It's Only Money, Part 1" by Argent (album: "In Deep")

I am faced with a gargantuan challenge, folks.

The iPod bug has bitten. A perfect storm has arrived:

1) Our '04 Honda Element - whom we lovingly call "Psychedelic Milk Truck", or "The PMT" for short - has an 1/8" AUX input into which one may plug an external audio device, e.g. a cassette player (the in-dash radio has just CD), or ... an iPod. What a brilliant idea. Wish the other automakers - Toyota included - would consider this!

2) Our new '05 Honda Civic Hybrid - upon whom we have yet to bestow a nickname - doesn't have an AUX input (the '06 models, however, do). Remedy? A $55 device which plugs into the head unit's CD changer port, and contains female RCA jacks. This device tricks the in-dash receiver into thinking it's a CD changer. Through this small box one may feed sound from an external player through the car's speakers.

3) Seraphim and I drive 80 miles round trip each day to and from work. I drive ~750 miles round trip each month to Alabama for visits with my 13-year-old kid. Having an iPod (or reasonably equivalent instrument with a similar function) for the journey would be pretty damn cool.

4) The prices have come way down on the larger players, i.e. those which can hold as many as 5,000 songs.

5) Some of the models also contain color screens and are able to display JPEG photos. Seraphim has longed for something like that to easily show off her cake pictures (my Luffly Wifely One® is a "sugar artist" on the side).

So, I think it's a done deal that after Christmas - or perhaps my birthday (February) - that we'll take the plunge and join the iPod revolution.

Which brings me full circle to "gargantuan challenge."

An iPod (heretoforth used to describe any MP3 player, regardless of nameplate) needs one thing in order to play music: MP3 files!!

Where will those come from? Easy: my music collection. That's the only easy part.

The hard part? Said music collection, built piece by piece over decades, amounts to approximately 1,200 compact discs (I bought my first CD player on August 6, 1986 - take that useless trivia and shove it down your optic nerves).

But wait, there's more. I also possess close to 1,100 LPs. You know, those big 12-inch black discs with grooves. And if I have to explain that one to you, you'll be certainly befuddled by the number 45. Got a few of those, too. A bit over a thousand single reckids, to be exact.

[Large, you say? It's all relative. Funny, I love seeing the gasps and "GAWWWWWWWW!!!"s and overall shock and awe of people when they see my music collection for the first time. Knowing full well that MY collection ain't nothin' compared with some others I've seen. In other words, I've done my own share of gasping and "GAWWWWWWWW!!!"ing.]

Mind you, not every cut of every album would merit a spot in Talmadge's MP3 Emporium. Apart from a small amount of overlap, there's also the reality of some discs - while containing songs I like - also featuring those I detest.

To give you a fer-instance, I like "Ro Ro Rosie" or "T.B. Sheets" on an early Van Morrison anthology. But if there was some way I could make that disc forget it also contains "Brown-Eyed Girl", I would. If I ever hear that song again, it'll be too soon for me (yes, a song with baggage ... long story, just ask and I might be tempted to answer. Maybe.).

What I'm faced with, dearfolk, is converting what'll amount to THOUSANDS of songs - from multiple genres - into MP3, if I'm gonna put an iPod to great use. If I own one, I don't want to be shuttling songs in and out. I want the whole enchilada, baby! The trouble with my present system of anticipating my musical moods - and pulling CDs for trips to fit - is I sometimes get a hankering to hear something while driving on the Eastern Bypass in Montgomery, Ala., roughly 340 statute miles from my record collection. To use a well-worn phrase, that sucks.

I have finished converting all the A songs - CD, LP and 45. One letter down, and 25 to go. Okay, the letters E, I, N, O, Q, U, V, and X could be knocked out in an evening. But B, M, S .... hooooo boy, those'll take weeks.

Can I do this? Seraphim and I plan a trip to Arkansas late in February, and if possible I'd like to have this project finished and be able to give a new iPod a road test to remember. All my favorite songs, in shuffle mode. Yeeeeeeeah.

Oh, and lest you're disturbed by the singular pronouns, Seraphim is considered in this project. I know what she likes ... her tastes in music are amazingly eclectic as well (probably more so than mine; while she hardly bats an eye when I'm deep into a late '60s Moody Blues/Pink Floyd/psychedelic/acid/underground mood ... she enjoys listening to current-day hit music, a genre for which I hold about as much fondness as my parents did for what I listened to growing up).

In other words, as long as I don't let Glass Tiger's 1986 hit single "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" anywhere near that iPod, I'll be fine. Right, Seraphim? ;-)

I have that on a 45. I'm surprised it hasn't come up missing........

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "1 down, 25 to go" Gleck

1 comment:

bolivar said...

Mr. Gleck,
I, Mr. S, face the same situation. I enjoy making CDs of MP3 files (I have 12 hours of Yes on one MP3 CD - everything from the first album to 1991's "Union"), & I have contemplated taking the iPod plunge myself. I am in the process of turning my LPs into CDs. One of the beautiful things about doing this, for the most part, is that, in the 1960's & 1970's, LPs ran an average of 35-42 minutes. I can put two complete albums on one CD! And transferring them to MP3 files is no problem. The problem I have with MP3 CDs is that they will play on my computer in the order I arranged them in. On a regular CD player that plays MP3 files, they play back in alphabetical order. Now, this is fine when you are dealing with strictly singles artists, but with bands that make concepts a huge part of their niche (see the Moody Blues, Yes, the Who, Tangerine Dream, David Bowie, Neil Young, & countless others), this may pose a problem. If there is anyone who can provide a solution to this problem, let me know.
I have finished my "A"'s, now I am working on my Bs. This may take a while - Band, Beatles, Bee Gees, BOA, BOC, Buffalo Springfield, Byrds, Buffett, Bowie, Butterfield, & I have to put Joey Bishop "Sings Country Western" on a CD as well. The As were bad enough - Abba, Akkerman, Allmans, Argent, Asleep at the Wheel, Kevin Ayers - but I think that the Ms will be the worst one - Moodies, Mahavishnu, McLaughlin, McCartney, Mangione, the Miller Bros. (Roger & Steve), Mountain, Mott, and a ton of MJQ. And I have to put "Mrs. Miller's Greatest Hits" on CD as well, since no one else, including Capitol Records, will. This should be fun!
Mr. Gleck, I have known you for 20 years, & you have never let me down. So, if you break down & get an iPod, let me know how it does for you, & I may invest in one myself.
On my turntable right now: side 2 of John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band", with possibly the greatest love song of all time: "Love".

Ciao for niao -
Mr. Bolivar Shagnasty