sorting MP3 and ALAC m4a files in library

I'm at a dead-end with a problem that perhaps others have experienced before...and if not, it's undoubtedly a problem that will be coming soon to many digital music adopters.

My collection lives on a NAS RAID drive, and it's pretty rigorously organized. But it's divided into two separate file types.

The first 'collection' is DRM-free MP3 files ripped at 192kps, which was the highest resolution I could rip at when I started amassing my collection. This is the 'old' collection, dating from the days when drive space was expen$ive.

The second 'collection' is the 'new' stuff, all of which is ripped as m4a (ALAC). This collection started growing a year or so ago, when drive space became nearly free.

The bad news is that all of the files share the same root directory. The good news is that no folder contains co-mingled file types...that is, for example, the folder Todd Rundgren/Something_Anything, contains either 100% mp3s OR 100% m4as.

Now that I'm at the point where I have finally ripped a large enough lossless library, I'd like to find a tool or automated process that will allow me to locate all of the folders containing mp3s in order to remove them.

Doing it manually is just too labor-intensive...there are something close to ten thousand folders to search.

So is there a piece of software, or an automated process, which I could use that I haven't yet found? I'd prefer a mac solution, but pc would be ok, too.

Thanks in advance for any insights you can share.
I'm not sure if this will help, but I'll give it a try....

It sounds like you are trying to create two separate "libraries" for MP3, and the other for ALAC....? I also assume you are using iTunes since you are using ALAC? Correct me if I'm wrong....

If you can create one iTunes library with all the files, iTunes will let you view them by "file type". Then you can drag and drop those files into respective folders and create two libraries. You'll need some HD space for the transferring. If you are not using iTunes, most other music software will let you view and categorize the file by type as well.

Also note the the newest version of iTunes automatically allows all the files to be converted to 128AAC for all iPods, iPhones and iPads, so the need to keep a separate library for compressed files isn't needed, even though I wish Apple would allow the compression to be adjusted....maybe in the future....

I hope this helps....
hello Hello (a fine song by Mexico 70, btw);

Thank you! I am indeed using iTunes to rip (an ocean of Apple products are a side-effect of my line of work), but because the collection's footprint is so large (~200gig), the files themselves live only on the NAS. It would crush all but my biggest workstations, which are all busy anyway. Even pulling the metadata is an all-day long affair.

Meanwhile, Sonos is manhandling the actual files in daily playback. It's awesome - I love it - but it's not a tool for manipulating files.

So any machine I use to rip is looking at/holding only the metadata. And since that's the case, deletions don't really happen on the drive; they're just deleted in the local view of the library.

And to the extent that's not true, and I guess more to the point, since iTunes is such a lame piece of software, and because this is such a big and irreversible step, I'd just be plain afraid to pull the trigger with it. I never really have the sense that I have a clear view of my files, nor with what's happening with them, in iTunes. Call me paranoid, but there it is.

I'm hoping for a bit of file-management software, or maybe a way of thinking about the workflow using Automator, which would give me both the speed to get it done, and the confidence to actually push the button.

This is one of perhaps many reasons why an EAC/PC-centric approach might have served me better...
200GB is not much music and should be able to be handled by iTunes with no problem. I have over 2TB of music in an iTunes library, and have been able to separate them into three separate libraries. AIFF, ALAC and iTunes Store purchases. iTunes libraries can be on internal, external and network drives.

The other two programs that are good for ripping and archiving are EAC (as you mentioned) and dBPoweramp. Don't be paranoid. Just make sure you have a master backup and take it one step at a time.

This also brings me to a recommendation I have for anyone archiving and retrieving music files....don't get in a big hurry. Take a deep breath, take your time and don't expect it to be done overnight. It's your music, it will be there tomorrow and the next day. Take it in steps and have fun with it. Just make sure to have proper backup and stay organized. Most of the problems I see with music libraries is people getting in a big hurry.

I hope this helps....keep me posted....
I'm reading your request a bit differently... like you're looking for software to compare files and move files. If so, look at a program called Beyond Compare. It's great for comparing Libraries of 1000's of files. I keep a NAS Music Server (40,000 files) and two hard drives with identical files as backups. Beyond Compare keeps them all in Sync.
Paul, thanks for the info. I thought I might be off on what Soundgasm wants. I'm curious as well because I am always organizing and working with massive music libraries, and any tools that make it better and easier are on my radar.
both you guys, great advice -- thank you.

I didn't think I'd need to do this, actually...but sure enough, most (but interestingly, not all - what's up with that?) of my 192kps MP3s sound horrible compared with the lossless files.
I might not fully understand your situation, but the Apple OSX has a FIND function where you can specify "by file extension". It will quickly, as in seconds, locate specific types of files. You can then move or delete them.
Glad it helps, give the software a try, it has a 30 day free trial. It saves a lot of time.

I just got a Sonos ZP-90 a few weeks back... into a Benchmark DAC. With properly ripped FLAC files it sounds very good. However I was totally amazed at the variation in file quality, some really bad. The best files seem to be from newer CD's (last 5 years), ripped to FLAC files with dbpoweramp CD Ripper with their AccurateRip setting.

Also, there is a software calibration procedure on their website that is worth following... much better results. Rips a CD in under 2 minutes.

FWIW: With OSX and iTunes I convert lossless files to mp3 for transfer to a digital music device. The original lossless files remain along with an mp3 copy of file. After all the music is transferred to the device. I sort my entire itunes library by "kind" and delete all the mp3 files.