Posts Tagged ‘mp3’



I like playing guitar along with my hifi.  It often means I have to figure out the key of the song or tune. That’s OK, and while I have done dozens of songs in my collection, I still have zillions of MP3s not done.  I can listen to a couple of hours’ worth of stuff in D major for example.

But the thing I dislike the most is when a track is between keys — off pitch. Eugh!  I use to correct this by ear using Audacity, this can change the pitch yet keep the beats per minute the same — but the trouble with that is the preview is just the starting few seconds, and on some tracks the music proper doesn’t start for quite a while.

Now I have found Platinum Notes — a great bit of software.  It fixes the volume and audio graphs (clipping etc), and tweaks the whole track to the nearest proper pitch key.  It makes the mp3 file size jump to about double, but what a difference it makes!  It doesn’t overwrite — it makes a new audio file adding _pn to the filename.  All you do is delete the original later, and remove the _pn to be good to go. It really is worth doing, and is a LOT easier than doing this stuff my ear.




I get asked a lot about favourite free media software, so I thought I’d do a post article on the subject. At the very least, it records the here and now and might provide laughs in years to come.

To begin, let’s say you wanted to download albums, books, or movies on the peer-to-peer network.  There is a nice wee free (and open source) bit of software called uTorrent (micro torrent).

It is really easy to use, you fire up the program and then use the search panel, it opens your browser at a torrent site. You select the torrent you want, agree to use uTorrent to download the torrent, and it downloads your selections in the background, resuming if you break continuity or even switch off.

Sometimes torrent downloads are in a strange format.  There might be several files that comprise a RAR compression.  What you do here is find the actual *.rar file in amongst the list, and simply right click and select “extract here” if you have 7-zip installed.  The result is a single *.avi file.  You can now bin all the other files.

Now that you have an *.avi movie file, you might want to make a DVD disc that can be played on home and car DVD players.

This needs DVD Flick, and open source bit of free software that converts the file and burns the movie — with customisable menus.  I have used various other ones, some better, some worse, but they have now gone by the wayside by introducing charges. They were only free long enough to get you hooked.

Sometimes you just want to copy *.avi files as data files, either as a back up or with the intention to play on a laptop or some-such.  To quickly copy data files (and that means anything from *.avi files, and *.mp3 files to *.jpg and *.gif files), simply use the free and open source InfraRecorder software.

A great way to surf the web is to use Firefox’s tabbed browser. It is free and open source too.

You can customise this browser in all sorts of ways using the free plug-ins. A good plug in to get is Video download helper.

So now, when you are watching a video on something like YouTube, you can download the file.  The Download Helper can be configured to download and convert to a suitable format (the original YouTube format is *.flv).

On the other hand, you can just get a video player that can handle just about any format… VLC.

This can also make *.mp3 files from videos (separating off the audio from the movie), and even take snapshot stills of movies, or turn home movies taken with the camera turned on its side.  Seriously, it does AMAZING things, yet it is free and open source.

VLC is so much better than Window media player; it plays very odd formats and you can even slow down playback — which is great of learning guitar licks from youtube clips.

Hope this list helps someone out there! Enjoy!




Organising music for media players of various types can be difficult, especially when dealing with databases online.

I have always used the same, basic system for years.

I don’t really care much about underscrores, capitals, or anything too fussy. This means that there is a lot of leeway.

Each file (track) I name like this:

  • 1 – key- name of track – artist.mp3

In Mediamonkey I use the mood tags for the song key so I can group tracks by key signature, but I still need the key in the file name for my phone and mp3 players that don’t go on tags.

When I have not worked out the key, the track/ file will look like this:

  • 1 – name of track – artist.mp3.

As I said, I don’t care very much if the artist is David Bowie or Bowie or David Bowie.  Life’s too short; it is only a file name.  As long as the ID3 tags are consistent, everything is fine.

I know for sure that grouping artists by surname is rare, but I don’t care; it makes more sense to me to have surname/first name. If the artist is known by one name, I’ll use that.  For groups, I think it crazy that so many people would file “The Who” under “T” — along with all the other groups beginning with “The”.

My preference is to name albums/ folders like this:

  • artist surname, artist first name (album name, year, record label);
  • GROUP, The (album name, year, record label).

I downloaded MusicBrainz Picard tonight.  It’s opensource and free, and it is strongly recommended by the followers of the Lifehacker site who voted it into their review listing.

I am going to play around with this to see if I can tweak things to save me some bother, or maybe to help me organise things.  I seriously doubt that it will be of use with respect to keys, but it might tolerate surname/ first name and move “the”.  We shall see…!