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Music Sample Downloading

You may not need this advice, but I can't help myself. Some anxious music lover may be in distress - and why should we be surprised. There are so many weird things that can happen with computers and the Internet, so let's get all the information we can for the most interesting web-cavortations.



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Accessing and Storing Audio Files :

Streaming and Downloading.

Steaming is the most popular because the music virtually starts playing straight away. It is like turning on your radio. You listen while it plays from "some distant location".

In the streaming process, a very small text file with a file-extension of *.m3u downloads in a couple of seconds and your computer system reads the data file with instructions to the player to access the underlying mp3 and play it as though it was on your computer. This means the whole file does not have to download before you can play it.  .......... A "ghost" copy of the mp3 "slowly" forms in a hidden system folder.... But after you have heard the stream, the "ghost file" may disappear - usually if the publisher wants you to make a financial contribution for his work.

The Windows Media files with the *.asx extension, (more about files extensions here) tells the Windows Media player how to connect to the server to get the media file being requested. This means that it contains a URL that points to the server and the file that the user wants to play. The *.asx files are in fact a sort of "shortcut".

Original recordings are made in an uncompressed *.wav format and when they have been mastered, they are converted into *.cda format on a music cd. They are practically like the original but are "smaller".

Usually computers are pretty fast in these days; post 2009, and an actual media file download can occur pretty fast indeed and so plays automatically as soon as the download is completed, using a player on your computer that is associated with that media file. On fast systems this rapid downloading is practically as good or is virtually the same as Streaming. 

But if you want to end up with a sample or song file on your computer for later enjoyment, you need to know more... 

Having the mp3 music file referred to with a playlist file with a file extension, for example of *.m3u or *.asx (there are others), the song just streams immediately.

If a download link is provided directly to the *.mp3 file then you have permission to download it and save it wherever you want to. There is a lot more I could say about this but this will get you there for now.

Mp3s used to be easily saved or retrieved from the browser cache, but new "security measures" intended to prevent the listener from retaining a permanent copy of a song on the computer for later use is by giving you an m3u text file that doesn't actually tell you anything (like you can't read it) but which the computer can work with.. and when you have listened to a file, the system may delete any trace of the file, that could have been retained for later plays.

Of course there are always ways around all of this... Experience will be your teacher.

About quality of music files

The point that the MP3 format is a "lossy file format" and thus is poorer quality, might not be known by listeners who wrongly judge the quality of a song - especially if it is playing in 128kbps or less. In a higher quality bit-rate mp3 file, it is quite noticeable what is missing from lesser bit-rate files. When you hear the 192kbp files it is most noticeable.

Of course, if the music is good, listeners who prefer to get the highest quality recording can find it only available on the original CD. What real music buff would settle for less? The daunting step these days seems to be in making the decision to become a paying customer.

Poor quality music is easily accepted as there is so much music available these days - and so many sources of "over stimulation", that it is only a true music lover that chooses to get the best quality for themselves instead of settling for "second or third rate". Investing in something that really gives you what the music is now capable of with the level of digital editing and mastering these days, the aim is for a "super experience", and there are many artists who are now providing that. I hope to follow in their footsteps and will do the best I can with continuous upgrades of each song and album as I go along.

Where possible, downloading a music file from the net to your computer is really good havingness. You can play a file over and over and include it on a playlist (particularly using Winamp) or save it to CD or DVD. Where and how to save files can present some challenges but 'we keep learning'.

To access an audio file on your computer, double-click on the music file itself and it will open the program that plays it. You may need to 'associate' a player program for a particular type of media file.... Or open the Player of your choice first and then trek for the music file yourself.

Finding Media Files -

To find to your music or audio files that have gotten misplaced or are just deposited all over the place, do a 'search' as follows....

With Windows XP:   Left click on the start button. Click on "search" and then choose "files and folders".

Choose either 

1) "pictures, movies and video" and tick the "music box" and hit "search".


2) Click "All files and folders" and specify music files such as *.mp3, *.wma, *.wav, *.flac or even *.ra.

Once they are found select files in a same location and copy or cut and paste them to a desired folder.

With Windows 98:    Left click on the start button. Click on 'find'. In the 'Named' field, type [*.wav] or [*.ra] or [*mp3] (without the brackets) -and set the 'look in' to where you suspect the files might be. Hit 'find now'. You can double click a sample file and it will activate a player and you can listen away.

Incidentally. You can do the same for *.avi movie files or *.gif or *.jpg picture files etc.

File Management -

As I am mainly using windows at the moment, and would like to create separate texts for Linux on this website, I shall be talking mainly in the case of a Microsoft Windows platform at the moment.

There is a certain skill that develops in managing files on a computer. Of course the basic method is with Windows Explore. 

When ACDSee came on the scene it produced a series of excellent file manager versions which was an evolution and an expansion on the basic facility of the windows explore accessory. But it has evolved into and seems to be focused on photograph handling. In my opinion it has become a very different style of software to what it was only a few years ago. The new program style is ideal for management of photos and pictures, but my love affair with version 3223 which is more a file manager and viewer, is a position I wish to hold onto. The only programs that compares slightly, that I am familiar with is a rare old program called Commander or Ashampoo's Photo Commander.

The latest version of the ACDSee program I have found to work best for me is version 3223. It is the fastest, smoothest most versatile picture and directory viewing and file management program/tool I have discovered so far. Versions after that: something seems to have gone all wrong and it has gotten too complicated for me....

The official website for ACDSee is HERE, but you will not find V3223 there now.

So as they do not sell or deal with it any more, I would like to see what you think of it too. Download version 3223 by searching for the version on GoogleExamine it and tell me what you think. If 'no go' . Go here.

I hope all this has been of help.


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 Player Tips and Suggestions :

Windows Media Player :

The version of Windows Media Player after 6.4 [the Classic Player] will play MP3s, Wavs and if you get the codecs, others also. I have not personally liked versions of Windows Media Player later than 9 'til Windows 7 came along. It had been getting too complicated; taking control away from the user in subtle ways, so that version 11 is barely related to earlier versions. On Windows 7 the media control system is pretty fine, but if you want the max in control there is always Windows Media Player Classic to rely on. It will play mpg, avi, mp4, flv and those Macintosh player files... [he he] so long as you have installed the K-Lite Codec Pack.

As I was not happy with Vista in the least, I stayed with WinXP as it was and still is a really good workhorse, and so long as I hold onto the collection of reliable programs that do the work I want to do with the maximum of control, I could see no reason to "upgrade".... But I tried Windows 7.

I have installed it on its own partition and on boot up, I can choose Windows 7 or "that earlier version".....

It looks and feels very classy, but many traditional navigation functions have been thrown out for a set of less direct ones, and though I thought it looked as though many of my XP programs would not run on it, I have found they do.

I have found that some recently designed programs that are identifiable as in the win 7 design mode will not run properly on XP. But experience has shown that each operating system has its benefits so I switch from one to the other depending on mood or the task at hand.

I had the impression that win 7 OS was the "laziest" windows OS yet... and it seemed clear that Microsoft still refused to give back to the User the choice of how the computer is to be used through OPTIONS. Yes. Options. But you get used to it and in some ways it is very smooth. When I get over my anger that it doesn't cope with some earlier hardware and forces one to buy "updated technology", or find that historically superb hardware items are not supported , then you'll be able to have a civilised cup of tea with me again.

RealPlayer :

You can also use the new RealPlayer or later, which will not only play MP3s, but can stream them as well.  I am not very involved with the *.ra format these days. The player has become complex and too pushy for me.

MusicMatch :

It is necessary to mention this evolving player which has been around for many years as a very worthy product indeed. MusicMatch. Personally I believe, for me, it is not as user friendly as Winamp as a player, but it has noticeably better stereo and tonal response. It has features that has made it very popular with musicians, such as its remarkable ability to covert Wav files into MP3s, and update name tag information... and do so very quickly and well. Version 7 was very stable, but I am concerned that after that now we have a typical case of trying to do too much and dropping out what was good before - like evolving into something quite different... A case of losing the gills and growing the wings.

Winamp :

To listen to the MP3 files, I suggest you download MP3 Player Winamp for Windows, and there is a Winamp for Mac also. These can play Real Audio and other types of sound files too.

I think Winamp is the most versatile and user friendly player I have come across so far. A single song or the entire contents of a folder as "the folder" can be added to the play-list, (even with drag & drop) . And the special visual effects.... Wow!

With your MP3s sorted into folders, Winamp can load many hundreds of files-names to the play-list at the click of a button. They play till the end of the list or cycle through indefinitely by setting the loop option on. A whole list can be linked to by making a playlist file with the file extension *.m3u

Making a Playlist File :

This is the key to streaming.

To create a playlist file, have a number of music files you want to create a playlist of, visible in the playlist editor area, using drag and drop or the Add button on the bottom left of the editor.

Select the Manage Playlist button and a dropdown will reveal the Save Playlist option. Select it and save the playlist with a name at a place on the computer where you access your music files. When you double-click on the playlist file which is given the file extension of m3u, winamp will add the list of songs associated with the playlist into the editor and stat playing them.

If the playlist is made from files that are on the computer, the *.m3u file will access them. If you want to have an *.m3u that access files online then you have to copy the url of the file and create a playlist *.m3u of it. The m3u can be on the computer and it will play the files online or it can be posted online and will stream the audio or music files it refers to.

Winamp Skins :

Download some skins to make your player look really classy on the computer desktop. My favourite skin is made by...

topaz.gif (1527 bytes)  Topaz Designs by Kelly Mc Larnon - Wow!... but it was for an earlier version. It works almost completely for the later player versions but I am hoping the author will up date it someday. I haven't been able to find it available on the usual places... so I'll pass it on for Kelly.

Just put the "skin" zip in the Winamp "skins" folder and it will work when you make adjustments to the preferences.

For more on winamp skins go here and here and here.

Collecting Olde Skins :

I would be interested in collecting selected "old winamp skins" that just don't seem to be available on winamp website any longer. Please email your suggestion to me if you have something "olde world" or "ancient world" looking to fit any version of winamp.

For more on MP1, MP2 and MP3 players go HERE.


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Listening to Diarbe MP3 Music files

1)   CD Albums Pages
2)  The Off-site Pages
3)  The Playlist Pages


While Online:   Online Broughton MP3 Playlist.htm

Use the  Online Broughton MP3 Playlist.htm page as an interface to stream the Broughton music. Each MP3 music file presented on that page is setup for you to stream or download the file.

While Offline:   Offline_Broughton_MP3_Playlist.htm

Keep the MP3 music files downloaded from my site in a folder named, for example, "music".... or use the WinXp's  "My Music" folder.

1)  Put the downloaded files into a folder you name "Diarbe Music".
2)  Save a copy of the Offline_Broughton_MP3_Playlist.htm in the Diarbe Music folder.

Now while offline, you can use the htm-page as an interface to all the music saved in the Broughton folder. Simply click a selection (the arrow) and you can listen to the music samples. Add a link to the page in your Favourites Folder.

C:...\My Music\Diarbe Music\broughton_mp3_playlist-off.htm
C:...\My Music\Diarbe Music\newbreeze.mp3
C:...\My Music\Diarbe Music\epily.mp3

To use the Offline_Broughton_MP3_Playlist.htm as an interface to the Broughton music, the downloaded Offline_Broughton_MP3_Playlist.htm page and the mp3 files must be placed in the same folder - perhaps called Diarbe Music folder. Perhaps create a shortcut to the playlist and place it on the desktop.

If the mp3 songs have been downloaded and you do not put them in the same folder as the Offline_Broughton_MP3_Playlist.htm, the links on the page will draw a system default error page. (You just use the back button to return to the Playlist page and correct your mistake.)


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Valuable Links to a world of CD and DVD Recording Data :

I have often been awe-struck at what I can learn from thoughtful and generously provided reams of information that make my life worth living; made available to me on the Internet. I have decided to share the links to as much of this information I can imagine you might like to know about. I am continuously learning about "multimedia" and I am confident that the more I learn, the more I realise there is to learn. I am blessed to live in this day and age where I am "a witness to this chapter in Man's evolution." I hope you enjoy your journey too.

This source is about CDs - what they are, how they are made and differences about them, etc. - burning ambitions/

About Optical Disks -

About the well known Compact Disk -

An overlooked body of information about the preservation of optical disks -


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