Can I make iTunes recognize an RCA device?
June 5, 2004 8:47 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to change the way Windows XP handles an external device (mp3 player). My RCA Lyra is dealt with as an external hard drive, so that I can only add files to it by copy-pasting (or drag and dropping) but not through the iTunes "export" feature. How do I change how Windows treats this device?

I've tried to see if there's anything I can change in the Device Manager, but there don't appear to be any options. Uninstalling and then re-installing the device doesn't help. I am the administrator on the computer, and I have the most recent drivers. Help!
posted by nprigoda to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
I don't think iTunes does what you want it to do.
posted by riffola at 9:15 AM on June 5, 2004

iTunes only works with iPods, by design. So... no joy, unfortunately.
posted by cheaily at 9:37 AM on June 5, 2004

Of course, there's nothing preventing you from dragging your iTunes library folder (containing all your music) to the Lyra... what exactly do you want to do that this does not do?

(The Export function doesn't do what you think it does, I don't think -- it just writes an XML file containing information on the songs in your library.)
posted by kindall at 9:40 AM on June 5, 2004

Response by poster: Okay, what I'd like to do is export songs in a playlist as a lower quality mp3 than currently is stored on my hard drive. I know there's got to be a way to do this easily, and I'd rather not have to use music match jukebox (no offence intended), but in order to do it, my device needs to be recognized as more than just a drive, right?
Thanks for the replies so far, I may have to use something other than iTunes. Or perhaps buy and iPod? Oh wait, I'm a grad student! That's out of the question!
posted by nprigoda at 10:25 AM on June 5, 2004

Response by poster: Oh, and the reason for wanting the lower quality is to fit more than 20 songs on the teeny card in the player currently. It sounds like I may be out of luck.
In order to salvage the question: how do you change the way that XP deals with an external device after you have mistakenly made the wrong selection with the "always choose this option" box checked?
posted by nprigoda at 10:30 AM on June 5, 2004

To answer your original question: I don't think that XP would treat your device as anything _but_ a removable drive. XP doesn't have inherent built-in support for "MP3 devices", given that they (generally) behave in different ways.
posted by cheaily at 10:47 AM on June 5, 2004

Best answer: Just a thought, but Windows Media Player might support the Lyra in the way you're looking for. There should be options in WMP for exporting to the device in a lower quality than the original file.
posted by shinynewnick at 1:57 PM on June 5, 2004

Well, you can convert any song in your playlist to another format (including a lower bitrate) just by choosing the desired format in the preferences, selecting the tracks you want to convert, and then picking Convert Selection from the Advanced menu. This, however, will leave you with two copies of the track in your library, and you have to make sure you copy the smaller ones to the device, not the original ones, and then delete them from your library if you don't want to keep them. iTunes won't "thin" your files on the fly as they are copied to your player, even if your player is an iPod.
posted by kindall at 10:02 PM on June 5, 2004

Check out Media Center. Besides being an all-around great piece of software, it will indeed convert your files to a lower bitrate (or even a different format) on-the-fly if you like as you transfer them to your portable.

I got a 20GB Dell Digital Jukebox as a gift (it's no iPod but it's nice to have anyway) and you're supposed to use it with a special Dell version of MusicMatch (which I think is horrid) and the documentation says that's the only way you can move files to the portable. It can be used as a portable hard drive but if you copy music files to the device in that mode the player won't recognize them as music files. Luckily Media Center works perfectly with this player.

Another cool thing about Media Center is the built-in media server -- I have about 50 gigs of music at home on my hard drive and I have the media server running. At work I run Media Center, connect remotely to my server, it downloads an index of the files in my library so it looks as if my music is right there on my HD at work, and it streams my 192kbps MP3 files beautifully (you'll need broadband for this of course).

Free 30-day trial, $24.98 after that. Best 25 bucks I've spent in a long time.

While I'm ranting, it drives me crazy that iTunes and MusicMatch don't appear to offer an Artist/Album/Song hierarchical treeview of your music files, unless I didn't play with them long enough to discover how to set this up. In MusicMatch the best I could get was clicking on the artist and seeing a list of all the files from all of that artist's albums together, sorted by album perhaps but I think that's lame. In iTunes I couldn't see a way to do better without setting up little custom groups or categories or playlists or whatever they are for each album. Media Center lets you define multiple custom treeviews of your library (e.g. Genre/Artist/Album or Genre/Decade/Artist/Album or whatever you like) and everything gets sorted automatically for you provided your files are tagged properly (check out Tag and Rename for that task).
posted by boredomjockey at 3:28 AM on June 6, 2004

Best answer: Windows Media Player will definitely transcode at transfer time. I used to use it with my 32 MB player so it would hold a few more songs. It doesn't keep the transcoded version around afterwards.
posted by smackfu at 10:42 AM on June 6, 2004

iTunes and MusicMatch don't appear to offer an Artist/Album/Song hierarchical treeview of your music files

In iTunes, click the big Browse button in the top right corner of the window. You can select an artist in the left pane, then an album in the right pane, and see just the songs from that album in the bottom pane. Or you can see all songs on all albums from a given artist, or all songs and artists on a given album.
posted by kindall at 11:44 AM on June 6, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks a ton! I'm going to use WM Player, which seems to have a good interface for doing this. I must say, I'm sad to see that iTunes has let me down!
posted by nprigoda at 5:26 PM on June 6, 2004

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