Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
Location: California

uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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Feel free to dig through the Deep Freeze for more, but stuff dated before mid-March 2005 is still formative and impressionistic, and not really worth the effort.

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I grew up reading Robert Christgau, Village Voice, and Lester Bangs, Creem, Punk, various others.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005
 

Technical Ecstasy

Black Sabbath: Technical Ecstasy (1976)


Here's the technical set-up.

I'm a medium-tech type of guy; I don't need the best, fastest, or most powerful, but I don't like junk either. If I were buying a car, I'd probably look at a Nissan Maxima. Not quite an Infiniti, but better than a Sentra.

I have a cheap emachines running Windows XP. I have a 120G hard-drive, of which 60G are music files. (About 17,000 titles at present). The files are all mp3 or wma.

I was using Windows Media Player 10, but like anything you get from Microsoft, it does the job but without pizzazz. So I switched to J. River Media Center (http://www.musicex.com/mediacenter/index.html). It isn't free; $24.98 after a 30-day trial, but well worth it.

The selling point for me was the ability to view visualizations/light show and album cover art simultaneously in full-screen mode, something Windows Media can't do. Plus, everything that is an add-on in Windows Media: label printers, tempo analysis, smart playlists, playlist exporter, etc. are all built in to Media Center.

If you can't spring for it though, Windows Media Player 10 is good enough.

For downloading, I am partial to Limewire. There's a free and pro version (I got the pro, but it doesn't seem any different from the freebie), it does not come bundled with spyware/adware (anymore-- older versions did), and I've found literally every song I ever wanted except for about two dozen, all out of print.

Others swear by the competitors, like Kazaa, Morpheus, eMule. I've looked over the big ones, and always go back to Limewire.

For speakers, I have a $99 set of Altec Lansing 6-way, from Best Buy.

For music research, finding albums, track listings, etc., All Music Guide cannot be beat. It has everything, in all genres, very complete. You can search artists by genre or subgenre, influences, mood, anything.

When searching for album art for the Media Center display that isn't automatically uploaded by Media Center itself (usually because it is too obscure, out of print, or a bootleg), I use trusty old Amazon. For the really rare stuff, you can usually find pics at ebay. And when all else fails, fansite or artist homepages are good places to look. In the case of live or bootleg tracks with no cover at all, I'll use a tour poster picture from ebay.

The most intense visualization plug-in I've found is G-Force (http://jriver.soundspectrum.com/) from Soundspectrum, which blows away any built-in visualizations on any player.

Those are the basic tools of the hobby. More later.
 
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