iTunes 9.1’s Down-Convert Feature is a Game Changer

I use a 160Gb iPod Classic at work. It has all my music on it. I decided a while ago to “go lossless” and have ripped every new disc as Apple Lossless ever since. I’ve also upgraded a number of previously ripped discs. The result is that I’ve had to drop all music videos from the sync as they wouldn’t fit and I’m down to 10Gb free.

Enter iTunes 9.1 with the “convert-to-128-Kbps-for-any-iPod” feature. This simple feature, long missing from iTunes, has completely changed my iPod plans this year. I was considering buying a second Classic but didn’t like the idea of splitting the library. The whole charm of the big Classic is to take your whole library with you, one of the key tenets of the original iPod. Now I don’t have to buy another Classic. If Apple releases a bigger Classic this year, it won’t be as compelling as it once was.

That leads me to my next point: this simple feature could have an impact on the iPod line-up this year. This may be the year that the Classic iPod is discontinued. Apple’s got the perfect excuse. You’ve got this compression feature now, so you can squeeze everything onto a smaller device. For the minority like myself who deal in lossless files, we can get everything onto a Classic. Why should Apple continue the Classic in the face of this?

I should mention that I’m probably not a conventional user. I can play music at work. While I appreciate quality, I wouldn’t know the difference at work because the music is played at a low volume through average speakers. Therefore, this feature is perfect for me. I can pick and choose which devices should have down-converted files. For instance, I wouldn’t down-convert on my Nano because that’s something I listen to exclusively through headphones.

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4 Responses to iTunes 9.1’s Down-Convert Feature is a Game Changer

  1. tunegardener says:

    No, they are converted on the fly and exist only on the device. Of course, this affects sync time, especially on a big Classic!

  2. Gary says:

    Is there a knock on effect on local diskspace from doing this? I have a pretty full 250Gb HDD on my MacBook and I’d be reluctant to down-sample if the files were going to be duplicated somewhere on my local HDD.

    • tunegardener says:

      No, the files are down-converted on the fly and no local storage is needed. This means that when you first fill your 160GB Classic, it takes some hours! But from there on, if you’re only adding some content occasionally, it’s not a problem.

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