Everything You Wanted to Know About iPods, But Were Afraid to Ask

It’s hard to see what all the i-fuss is about until you own an iPod. Also, Apple did its damndest to overexpose both iPod and U2’s new album to the point where you don’t want either one simply for sheer spite.

However, for music lovers, it truly revolutionizes the way you listen to music. Having books and books of CD’s that weigh 10lbs each, and having to change discs in and out (as silly as it sounds) greatly hinders access to all of your music. I’m now listening to music I forgot I had from years ago simply because it’s right there, right now.

There’s also the misconception is that it’s only a “walkman” type device. Nope. The ability to hook it up to your home stereo and car makes it ridiculously easy to play whatever you want, wherever you want. I think one of those speaker systems you dock it into would be great for an office.

The car connection is so far the only snag in iPod’s panty-hose. I have the Griffin iTrip FM modulator. Remotely connecting thru 87.9 on your radio, this works great in rural areas… but get into the thick of a metropolis, and it can sound like a badly tuned FM station. There is an alternative, the tape-cassette adaptor, but newer cars (like mine) don’t even offer tape players anymore! BMW has pioneered the ability to directly connect iPods to the car’s stereo. Also, car headunit makers (Kenwood, Alpine, etc) are beginning to make iPod accessible units. I just wish they’d put simple outlets like RCA-adapters on the front of headunits… problem solved.

The only laborious part is the downloading of all your CD’s to the iPod. You basically just have to get in the habit of while working on whatever at your home computer, keep shuttling discs in and out. Try to do 10 a night or so. Eventually, it’ll get done. I’ve got about 350-400 CD’s and I’m about 3/4’s done. Also, try to keep your all your library on one computer. It’s a pain if you break it up over two or more. Dave’s method of getting an external drive for all the music files is a good idea if your PC doesn’t have the room. That way, when you get a new computer, it’s easy to move.

By the way, I’m up to 3400 songs and 16MB used. I’ll probably have about 4500 songs and 20MB when I’m done, making me wonder why I opted for the 40GB in the first place. At least I’ll have lots of room for the future. Let’s see who can get the biggest total!

Playlists become KEY when your count enters the thousands. It’s also incredibly easy to make a playlist (just drag-n-drop), so creativity is rewarded! (I have a “Rainy Day” mix, how gay is that?)

Be sure to check out the Music Store in the iTunes software. Once you have your account set up (with CC info), it’s a great way to pick up that hot new song on the radio for just 99cents. Gone are the days of buying a $14 crappy album because of a one-hit wonder. The “power search” button is great, and almost everything imaginable is on there. Everything, ironically enough, except for the Dave Matthews Band! hahaha… (they signed with Napster 2.0, dumbasses) However, DMB has started a new program called Live Trax, where they release a live concert about once every other month or so (hopefully more frequently in the future). They offer it in CD form, or as a digital download for a reduced price… perfect for iPod owners. I highly suggest this latest release, which includes 3 new songs slated to be on their next album.

Also, the most comprehensive site for iPod users is the iPodLounge. It has everything… reviews, tutorials, troubleshooting, products, forums, etc, etc…

Other tips I can think of:

– Be sure to run the battery down to completely empty at least once a month. The previous 3 generations of iPods’ biggest complaint was battery life. They seem to have fixed it on the 4th generation iPods (4G), but it still needs help.

– Keep it covered! There is a way to fix scratches on the plastic window in front, but not on the aluminum plate in the back. I think it’s made of a new metallic-butter compound. Pretty, but delicate.

– Much like a car is only as good as the tires it runs on, an iPod is only as good as the headphones you run them through. The standard earbuds are servicable, but if you are looking to upgrade, this is a GREAT website that explains everything, as well as offering the best prices around: http://www.headphone.com. Last summer, after years of pining, I finally picked up a pair of $200 Sennheiser’s for $150 from that site. Sennheiser is the best, IMO, with Koss coming in a close second. The sound is unbelievable. You’ll want to go back and re-listen to every album you own because you hear things you never did before. Good headphones are still the best way to truly replicate music. You can spend $10,000 on a home system and not get as good sound as you can from a $300-$500 pair of Sennheiser’s.

– Pay attention to your importing quality. AAC is definitely the way to go, but you might want to consider upping the quality on favorite CD’s. It burns at 128kbps automatically, which is fine for most music and necessary to get the most out of your storage space. However, on your favorites, you might want to bump it up to 192 or 256 kbps for even richer quality. If you want exact CD-quality, iTunes can even burn at 320kbps. Just remember to turn it back to 128! Otherwise, you’ll be wondering why you can only fit 2000 songs on your 20GB iPod!

The only thing I haven’t been able to find out is how to upload say MY music from my computer to someone else’s iPod when they dock on my station. I tried it once, and my computer was like… NOT! I have heard there’s a way to do it, but haven’t searched the forums on ipodlounge yet. I’m pretty sure an iPod-to-iPod sync is probably impossible.

One thought on “Everything You Wanted to Know About iPods, But Were Afraid to Ask

  1. I must admit – I thought the iPod was just another MP3 device, but the prospect of putting the whole darn CD collection on a single device coupled with the ideas of playlists and shuffle is overwhelming…I’m giddily copying my CD’s onto my device now…wooo-hooo!
    next may be the audiobooks (geek alert!)

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