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  #1  
Old Nov 14th, 2007
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Default KEAOS v3.5 - Details on iTunes integration ("Kaleidescape Conductor")

The most anticipated feature of v3.5 is the integreation of Kaleidescape's music system with any Windows-based PC's running iTunes. I have no details on if or when the company will support Mac versions of iTunes.

Kaleidescape Conductor is a Windows application that keeps all (or a part of) your music collection in Kaleidescape synced to iTunes. It is important to note that this isn't 2-way synchronization, it's a one-way path... music in Kaleidescape is available in iTunes but you can not import music into Kaleidescape that you may have in iTunes.

While it is one-way, it's a true synchronization, not an "export" function. (An export implies that once you do it, the connection is broken until you do it again.) Conductor really does keep your iTunes synchronized to Kaleidescape. Make a change in Kaleidescape to your collection, or to a playlist, or add music, and you'll see it in your iTunes in minutes. Delete tracks in Kaleidescape, they're gone from iTunes also. Slick.




OK, so how is it all installed and configured?

INSTALLING CONDUCTOR:

Couldn't be easier - you're actually connecting to your Kscape server and downloading the installer from there. You'll find a link in your web utility on the main screen as well as on the music screen. Click the link, and the software is downloaded to your PC for you to install.



Initial Setup:

Once installed, you'll configure your options in the following two screens:



and then... you wait. And wait. And WAIT... in my case, for about 3 days. And that's for a pretty small music collection - (400 CDs or 5000 songs in my Kaleidescape collection) It's not a huge deal as it just runs in the background and didn't seem to severely impact my PC performance as it did the transcoding. (And of course Kaleidescape functioned just fine during that time.)



So the server and your PC start doing their thing, creating MP3 files on your PC for iTunes to recognize, AND automatically notifying iTunes of the content.

Of course in typical Kaleidescape elegant fashion, everything was seamless... you don't need to tell iTunes anything, (Conductor registers the songs into iTunes via some registration or API function), the songs just start appearing in iTunes. And of course ALL the metadata is there, including Cover Art! nice.

As a little bonus, you now have MP3s of all your music tracks. You can do whatever you like with them... (only complaint is that the names of the files are gibberish rather than nice human-readable form, but the directory structure is readable as album and artist name. Just not the tracks themselves, a minor inconvenience that we hear Kaleidescape is fixing.)

From then on, you'll notice a cool little Kaleidescape icon in your system tray:



It can be double-clicked at any time to check on the importing process or change your settings, or just see the status of Conductor. It should ALWAYS be running to keep your iTunes in sync.

As you see in the options screens, you can select from various sound qualities. The interface doesn't tell you the actual bit rates for each available sound quality, but here's what you're looking for:
  • "Superior Sound" is 320kbps (vbr)
  • "Balanced Sound" is 192kbps (vbr)
  • "Smaller Files" is 128kbps (vbr)
You can even go back and change the quality setting later. Conductor will just dutifully start re-transcoding the files for you and several days later your music collection will be upgraded or downgraded over time.

The whole thing is remarkably easy to use - you set it and forget it. iTunes will just always be up to date... Conductor will keep doing its thing quietly in the background.

iTunes will now have all your music added in, and you'll even have your PLAYLISTS from Kaleidescape brought over and converted to iTunes Playlists.



Notice above there's a new Kaleidescape folder in the Playlists section of iTunes and all your Playlists are converted over. In order!

In summary, this is an outstanding integration by Kaleidescape. Like all their efforts, the interface is incredibly simple, the results and the usability are great. It's amazing to just always have my ipods up-to-date as we add music to our Kaleidescape.

Feel free to ask any questions and I'll try to answer it or get someone who knows the answer.

--josh

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Last edited by josh; Nov 14th, 2007 at 09:09 AM.
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Old Nov 14th, 2007
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Oh, in answer to the question I know you're all going to ask.

I don't know when this software will actually be released for users. But if past beta cycles are an indication, it's usually around a month from the end of the beta period (today). Will let you know if I hear more.

--josh
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Old Nov 15th, 2007
AC88 AC88 is offline
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This is excellent stuff!

With over 1,000 CDs in my system and growing though... I don't want to replicate all of them into my PC... So, how comprehensive will the "Music from Collection" capability be? Would I be able to manually select which albums to sync onto the PC, and alter that collection freely/periodcally?

And what is the purpose of "None of my Music"... why would someone want to use Conductor, but sync none of their music?
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Old Nov 15th, 2007
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It's very simple and comprehensive. With 3.5 you have music collections, just like we've always had for movies. It's slightly different than a mix list... collections hold whole CDs only.

You would set up a collection like "For Dad's iPod", and add the albums you want to that collection. Collector would only bring over music in that collection instead of your whole library. You use the web interface to drag the album names into that collection - it's very easy.

hope that helps,
--josh
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Old Nov 15th, 2007
Croptop Croptop is offline
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If you want single tracks (or multiple tracks but not the entire album) in a Music Collection, you can create a mix album with those tracks and then put the Mix Album into the Collection.

In addition to the web interface, you can add albums to your collection via the on screen display. When you bring up the album detail, you'll notice a new menu entry called "Add to Collection".
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Old Nov 15th, 2007
JerryL JerryL is offline
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very cool!
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Old Nov 15th, 2007
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Music Collections are super-cool, you can also add an artist or genre to a music collection. I created a collection called "Sync with iTunes". I then added the genre "Soundtrack" to my collection via the movie player. Conductor sync'd all my soundtracks, I purchased the soundtrack to "Little Miss Sunshine" after the fact, imported it on my music player and it automatically was sync'd via conductor because it is part of the "Soundtrack Genre" I didn't have to manually go in and add it to the collection. Like I said, super-cool.
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Old Nov 15th, 2007
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Great points - as others have pointed out, the new Music Collections can do far more than I initially thought. And it makes them a completely different thing than the Movie Collections.
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Old Dec 10th, 2007
iansilv iansilv is offline
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does it support apple lossless?
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Old Dec 11th, 2007
ejfiii ejfiii is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iansilv View Post
does it support apple lossless?
let me handle this one. It doesn't handle AAC since the music is ONLY going FROM the Kscape server to ITunes. You HAVE to burn the music to the SERVER and then it will sync with Itunes.

I hate to be that one guy at the party that ruins it for everyone, but I have to speak up. KSCAPE knows my opinion on this too so if they read this I'm not too concerned. In my experience and knowledge inside and out of our industry I cannot think of one person I know (including clients, friends and family) who would get ANY use out of this feature. Every person I know who uses ITunes already has an Ipod or five and a ton of music in iTunes. So this one way synchronization would be worthless to them as it would be to me.

Sure, going forward they could burn a bought CD onto the kscape and the music will appear in their itunes, but what about all the music already in ITunes. I have one client who we just finished up a HUGE system for that has 38,000 songs in ITunes. It is impossible for him to use KSCAPE for music so he got a ARQ with Netsync and after about 4 weeks all his songs in itunes were synched to his music server with two versions - high bitrate for the server and low for itunes - INCLUDING PURCHASED AAC ENCRYPTED SONGS FROM ITUNES STORE.

I am the biggest KSCAPE supporter there is in our industry and will continue to do so going forward. My only hope is that this one way sync with iTunes is a science project first attempt at them writing an iTunes interface and we will eventually see two way integration. Until then KSCAPE music is only for certain few clients who have music on store bought CDs (finishing up one of those installs now).

Don't bother pointing out the pitfalls of going from iTunes to server - I know them all. But Kscape should have the engineering muscle to make it happen in their typical simple way. If ARQ can do it with much fewer resources, my fingers are crossed that KScape can too.

Sorry to be the downer, but I had to say something from the other side of the fence.

Cheers all,
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