I see many posts concerning setting up iPods to behave better with Media Monkey. Here are some things I have learned.
iPods support mp4 and mp3.
Media Monkey supports mp3, ogg, flac, (and some others, but notice mp4 is not in this list). In short...if you want Media Monkey primarily as an iPod tool, then mp3 is the format you'll most likely want to migrate into for all of your music, for reasons of speed and convience. If your heart is set on mp4...look elsewhere...media monkey currently doesn't support this out of the box.
1. Anyone wishing to use any software besides iTunes to manage their iPod should first open iTunes and disable any and all auto-mount and auto-sync functions.
a. Connect your iPod.
b. Open iTunes.
c. In the left most window pane of iTunes click on your iPod.
d. Make sure all of the check boxes are unselected except for:
"Manually manage music and videos"
"Enable disk use"
2. If you want artwork on your iPod, go ahead and enable it in iTunes, even if you are not using iTunes to sync music....it will help avoid problems in the long run.
a. In iTunes click on your iPod in the left most window pane.
b. Select the 'Music' tab at the top of the large window pane on the right.
c. Click the little box by "Display Album Art Work on your iPod" so that there is check mark within.
4. Before doing anything else, decide which applications you want to manage which types of data on your iPod. Below is an example of what I use.
Music: Media Monkey
Movies and TV Shows: iTunes
Text: Anapod and/or iPod Librarian 1.2
Music Videos: Anapod
5. Make a back-up of your current iTunes database and give it a name and location you won't forget. 'File/Export'
Notes about Media Monkey and the iPod. Apple is in favor of the mp4 format. If you've been aquiring music for your ipod using iTunes default settings...there's a good chance some of your music may well be in the mp4 format. Media Monkey out of the box currently does not support mp4. If you have a small collection of mp4 files on hand, you can manage them 'manually' via iTunes, or better yet, convert them to mp3 so that Media Monkey has full control over them. If you have a 'large' collection of mp4 files, then you'll definately want to convert them, or realize that Media Monkey currently (without user tweaks, scripts, and plugins) isn't the tool you want for your iPod. Any music you 'buy' from the iTunes store will most likely be in a 'locked' mp4 format. You will have to rely on iTunes to manually unlock such music and place it on your iPod. A registered iTunes install, and your registered iPod will be the only way such music can be played.
One way to permenantly unlock music you buy from the iTunes store is to use iTunes itself to burn your purchased music into a redbook audio CD (the kind you play in your car or on your stereo), and then 'rip' that disk to mp3 with Media Monkey.
Now take some time to clear everything from your iTunes library that is not related to the iTunes store, is in the mp4 format, or that you otherwise do not want iTunes to touch. Remember that removing things from your iTunes library doesn't 'delete' the file, it only removes it from your iTunes 'library', so if you loose something you need here, you can later find your 'iTunes' folder and add the stuff back in if needed. If you find yourself terribly 'lost', you can always 'import' the library back up made earlier.
6. If you have disk space, or some alternate means of backing up data, back-up your iPod (at least temporarliy). Follow these steps to do so.
a. Open an explorer window for 'My Computer', find your iPod, and open an explorer window for it (either double click, or right-click 'explore').
b. Select the 'Tools/Folder Options' menu of the explorer window.
c. Click the View Tab.
d. Select the radio button, 'Show hidden files and folders'.
e. Select Apply and OK.
f. Now you should see a greyish color folder in your explorer window 'iPod_Control'. Right click this and pull up 'properties'.
g. Uncheck the 'hidden' button and click 'apply'.
h. Select 'apply to folders, subfolders, and files.
Windows will now unhide all the databases, iPod applications, and synced data (such as mp3 files) on your iPod. The stuff in the '/iPod_Control/Music/' folder will have encryptic looking file names and be in strangely but orderly named folders. No worries...iTunes did set up tags for all this music....so any good media manager like Media Monkey can help you sort them out if needed.
i. Drag the iPod_Control folder to your backup media, or use utilties such as Nero, or whatever system you prefer to back-up all of the contents of this folder. While you're at it, browse around and study how the iPod is organized, but don't change anything.
j. Now that you have a total backup of your current iPod, rerun steps a - h to hide everything on your iPod again.
At this point you have everything you need to start all over with managing your iPod...if you accidentally 'loose' anything important, a good media management tool such as Media Monkey can help you locate it and put it back on your iPod, and this time you will have full control over which application manages it, and how and when it will do so.
7. Eject your iPod and start up Media Monkey.
8. Point Media Monkey to the backup /iPod_Control/Music folder of your iPod that you made on your hard drive/CD-ROM/Etc. Merge and manage this into your dream sync-list as you like. Get rid of duplicates, spiff up your tags, add artwork if you wish. Media Monkey is extremely powerful in this respect...allowing you to easily arrange and manipulate things to your taste. Note: unless you've attempted to install some mp4 plugins, or edited some of the scripts, MediaMonkey will only report file types it understands...so you won't see your mp4 files...hence the seperate list in iTunes (at least for now).
9. In Media Monkey go to 'Tools/Options' and select
'Portable/Audio Devices' in the left window pane of the dialogue.
10. Make sure the iPod plugin is checked, and double click this to open its options. If for some reason the iPod plugin doesn't show up...you might need close the Monkey, plug in your iPod, and reopen Monkey. Just don't follow through if Monkey asks at this time to 'do anything to your iPod. Cancel out for the time being.
11. Choose the Syncronization Options tab at the top of the dialogue.
Where it says, "Delete Tracks that aren't in the auto-syncronization list from the device expect folders" Check this box and add the following path in the corresponding blank:
This helps insure that Media Monkey will ignore in all respects any sound files that go with your iPod games (most of these come with lots of 'wav' or 'aiff' sound clips that you'd rather Media Monkey ignore in all respects. Usually it will anyway if the folders are properly hidden....but as you learn more about the iPod and hacking your way around in it...it can accidentally get exposed....so add that path...it'll help avoid problems.
Also check 'confirm deletion'. This way the Monkey will never delete anything from your iPod without you knowing it, and clicking through that it's okay to do so. This is essential early on...and perhaps nice to disable once you're on to how things 'sync' with your setup.
12. Now in this same dialouge, click the top tab "Device Configuration".
Check iTunes style folders (this is optional actually, but I recommend it).
Also Check "Trim file and/or path name length to 31" Again, this is optional, but I recommend it.
Choose the radio box, "Update database based on newly added tracks".
This will speed things up quite a bit. Besides, for database 'repair' or 'rebuilding', I recommend using iTunes itself, or something like Anapod. More on how to do that later.
13. Go to the Auto-Syncronation list setting tab at the top of this same dialogue. You have LOTS OF OPTIONS on what you want the Monkey to Sync, and how.......think it out and set it up as you like.
14. Now use Media Monkey to 'sync' your iPod.
15. Click on the iPod icon in the right window pane of Media Monkey. Browse and see if it looks like you iPod has the stuff on it you really want, and make sure that you didn't end up with duplicates 'two copies of everything'. If you did get two copies of 'everything'...then you need to sync again, and this time let the Monkey 'delete' things that are not in the sync list.
16. Now close the Monkey and open iTunes.
17. Double check at this time that iTunes is set NOT to sync your Music and Videos. Right click on your iPod icon in the left window pane of iTunes and select 'sync'. iTunes is going to spend quite a bit of time spinning and grinding as it looks for things like volume leveling information, artwork, gapless information, groups, and a number of other things that it expects to find for every music file on the iPod. If it doesn't find what it's looking for...it'll set-up the proper null entries in the iPod's internal databases, and also make general repairs so that hopefully all things iPod show up in the correct iPod menus when you're using it.
18. Now manually drag stuff you buy from the iTunes store onto your iPod. If you wish to manually manage a small mp4 collection from iTunes, you may also do it from here. Just remember to always keep 'manually sync music and video' checked on your iPod, and you'll be safe. If you want items in any of your iTunes libraries on the iPod, just drag them in. If you want them deleted from your iPod, click on the relevant icon under Devices "The name of your iPod"/Music, Podcast, or whatever in the left window pane of iTunes and then you will see what is currently on your ipod in the right window pane. You may delete things from the ipod in that window on the Right.
19. You may use iTunes to sync your podcasts, movies, tv shows, games, photos, contacts, and notes, and it will not mess up the Media Monkey sync list....especially if you sync by location (I.E. all files in C:/Music/MP3.MediumBitRate/ ).
Once you have set up iTunes so that it doesn't touch things it shouldn't, you can regularly open iTunes to grab your podcasts, Movies, TV Shows, etc. Simply set up these libraries as you wish and drag the relevant files to the iPod. Right click your iPod and select 'sync'.
Once you are happy and content that things behave as you like, and all systems are stable, reclaim all that space used making the 'back-up' of your ipod if you like....delete it.
I hope this helps some folks out there.