So now that we have this vehicle, a 2006 Toyota Sienna, with an MP3 player, the need increases for MP3 versions of iTunes music. For the greatest control (but least convenience), the move is to play the iTunes songs through SPDIF and record them as WAV. These WAV files are encoded into MP3s in Sony SoundForge.
I really can’t blame this on disinformation gangsters, but for some reason my assumption was that the Apple iTunes format was lossless and had a ‘huge’ sample rate. No, in fact the sample rate at 99¢ is only 128kbps—and the audio format “protected” AAC, a lossy format. Meanwhile, in SoundForge my ongoing habit (from ripping CDs) is to encode at 256kbps. So my SPDIF recordings of iTunes went blindly into the same workflow.
But before these MP3 encoding issues were addressed, there was the preoccupation of getting SPDIF recording to work with my new Dell Inspiron 6400. The old 8100 shipped with a “VGA out” connector that had an SPDIF connection. The new 6400 did not. So we can be generous in the face of Dell’s cost-cutting lack of generosity and ‘assume’ that most customers did not use this VGA out connector and therefore it is a ‘waste of money’ to ship it by default. It follows that I had to throw down 20 bucks for this connector with no real guarantee that it would work with my system. There was no guarantee because: