Audiobooks and iTunes

Suppose, dear reader, that you are an idiot. You have ripped a stack of CDs to AAC, and have dropped those CDs in the mail to be returned whence you rented them. You then decide to be cute and use YAMB to combine all of the M4A files into one big 5-hour file. All goes well, and you can see the cover art in iTunes and Foobar2000 and all is right with the world.

Then you go to copy the file to your iPod and notice that iTunes thinks it is 36 seconds long. And you deleted everything but the one big file. Moron.

Here’s how to recover from that:

  1. Download faad2 and neroAacEnc.

  2. Open a command line console (cmd.exe), and set it to a low priority with the Task Manager.

  3. Run something like this:

    faad.exe -o - "inputfile.m4b" | neroAacEnc.exe -if - -of "outputfile.m4a" -br 64000 -lc -ignorelength
  4. Re-tag your file with MP4Box or neroAacTag or AtomicParsley.

If you want to add chapter marks, even if they are just at spaced-out intervals:

  1. Download MP4Box from the GPAC project.

  2. Create a text file:


    Etc, etc.

  3. Run something like:

    MP4Box.exe -chap chapters.txt -ipod file.m4a

Anecdotally, I've found that while the chapter tagging of MP4Box works well, the other metadata tagging isn't always seen by iTunes or foobar2000. I've had to run another set of tags via neroAacTag, and those seem to work. It's convoluted, but still easier than trying to juggle a bunch of hour-long files.

By Rick Osborne

I am a web geek who has been doing this sort of thing entirely too long. I rant, I muse, I whine. That is, I am not at all atypical for my breed.