The popular free PC-based music player WinAmp is idea for use with our downloads, as it supports FLAC and MP3 fully, and a degree of cue-sheet support can be quickly and easily added with a free plug-in. WinAmp can also be used to transfer tracks to an iPod, and is often easier to use in this respect than iTunes.
FLAC or MP3 for an iPod user?
This is a question we get asked from time to time, and the answer really depends on your likely use of the download in the months and years to come.
For iPod and PC speaker use only we'd normally recommend the MP3 download. As you're likely to use compressed tracks on an iPod anyway there seems little point in paying a little extra for the uncompressed files only to apply similar compression to that we've already applied to our MP3s. However, do bear in mind that storage space is growing relentlessly, and the era of everything needing to be compressed for portable music players like the iPod may be brief. In a few years' time you may wish you had an uncompressed recording such as a FLAC download.
For iPod and regular hi-fi use we suggest you audition the regular FLAC files - WinAmp is much better at getting FLAC files onto an iPod than iTunes.
For iPod and high end hi-fi use we suggest you sample 24-bit FLAC files - though you won't get the benefit of any extra resolution if you choose to play these back on an audio CD player (which is locked to a maximum 16-bit resolution), they do offer the maximum possible fidelity from our recordings. Remember - you can always reduce the quality of a recording to fit a particular player if you have to, but you can't create audio information that's no longer there. Once again, WinAmp will handle any conversion issues here.
Importing MP3s to WinAmp and an iPod
1. Split the MP3 if required, using the MP3+Cue system and a cue splitter to generate individual tracks. Note that where recordings are continuous this may cause short gaps between tracks during playback (this is a side-effect of all lossless compression and why we sell 'long' MP3s only). See track splitting guide here. At present this is necessary if you want individual tracks on an iPod.
1a. For WinAmp Cuesheet playback only download and install the WinAmp plug-in Cue Player from here - then simply open Cue files into WinAmp - it'll create virtual playlists from a single MP3 without the need to split into individual tracks. Right now this simply shows as a list with no album artwork, and you can't use it as a source to transfer to an iPod. Note too that you may have to place the files in a folder that's not too buried inside other folders! (Let's just say there are a few bugs yet to be ironed out on this one...)
2. Import the MP3s into WinAmp by selecting File/Add Media to Library... and selecting the folder containing your MP3 file(s) - WinAmp will catalogue everything within that folder (and subfolders if you wish)
3. Transfer the MP3s to your iPod by right-clicking and selecting Send To: then selecting your iPod device.
Importing FLACs to WinAmp and an iPod
WinAmp will happily play FLAC files in both 16-bit and 24-bit format (though you'll probably have to edit playback preferences within the player's preference menu to enable 24-bit replay).
1. Import the FLACs into WinAmp by selecting File/Add Media to Library... and selecting the folder containing your FLAC file(s) - WinAmp will catalogue everything within that folder (and subfolders if you wish)
2. Transfer the FLACs to your iPod by right-clicking and selecting Send To: then selecting your iPod device. The first time you do this you'll need to set the required file compression paramaters (file type, bitrate) within WinAmp's Preferences menu under Media Library/Portables/Transcoding.
Importing Cover Artwork
1. Open the music page at Pristine Classical in your web browser so that you can see the cover artwork on your screen
2. Right click on the cover and save the pictures as "Folder.jpg" in the same folder as your MP3 of FLAC file(s). Note that our more recent releases have artwork embedded in the MP3 and FLAC files themselves so this should not be necessary.