iTunes has come a long way since the emergence of the iPod and the idea of having 1000 songs in your pocket. Even the iPod is a thing of the past now. Yes they still exist out there, but any serious audiophile has something a little more worthy of their high-resolution music library. Enter the Digital Audio Player. DAPs are a FAR cry from what iPods used to be, and today they're basically (WAY) more powerful versions of smartphones today without the cell service. There's one name above all that needs no introduction. They invented the portable system - the Walkman, and completely revolutionized the music industry because of it. Of course, we're talking about Sony. In fact, Sony is still making Walkmans today, and with the latest technology they're some of the best sounding portable music boxes on the market.
It's no surprise that iTunes remains a popular library/organizer, especially if you are entrenched in the Apple ecosystem like many are. To boot, Apple has started offering high-resolution files for any iTunes purchases, making it a great and easy way to incorporate hi-res files into your library. The unfortunate thing is that Apple hasn't developed a true successor to the iPod, and most manufacturers like iBasso, Astell&Kern, and Sony aren't integrated or user-friendly with iTunes or Apple-formatted music. Apple also puts DRM on your purchased music, making it one step harder to get your music outside of the Apple ecosystem.
Don't fret! It's not impossible to get your Apple music on your Sony device. We'll walk you through all the necessary steps so you can get your Apple tunes on your not-iPod.
It's important to note that if you use iTunes as your primary music library, you'll likely have two different types of audio files on there: those that are purchased from iTunes and those that are not. The great thing about iTunes now is that they offer high-resolution files and versions to everything that you purchase on the platform. Any music purchased from iTunes is going to be protected by digital rights management, or DRM. DRM technologies govern the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works, as well as systems that enforce these policies within devices (from Wikipedia). So anything you have purchased on iTunes has DRM included that will prevent the file from being modified - protecting information such as the metadata and other file attributes. Essentially you cannot use a proprietary iTunes file format and have a non-Apple product read the file - like a Sony DAP music player.
That being said when you're working with transferring files from a PC or MAC, if you have DRM-protected music, in almost all cases you'll have to remove the DRM before you can edit or convert the music file to another format. There are a ton of programs out there that will do this, but for the sake of this tutorial, we'll go ahead and pick Tunesbank. Tunesbank is a great program for removing DRM and also converting files. To be sure, Sony players do read the proprietary Apple file format AAC, but if you have a file type that is not supported by your Sony player then you will have to convert the file to a compatible format.
Audio Formats Supported: AAC (Non-DRM), AIFF, ALAC, DSD, FLAC, HE-AAC, Linear PCM, MP3, WMA (Non-DRM).
iTunes and Transferring Music Files
If you're familiar with Apple then you know that once you plug in your iphone or ipad to your computer and start up iTunes, you can easily sync your library and update the music on your device. Unfortunately it doesn't quite work the same way with an Sony player. The Sony DAP will not be recognized by iTunes the same way your iPhone or iPad will. You'll still need to open the program to get access to your music however.
On either a Windows or MAC computer simple plug your Sony device in with the USB-A to USB-C cable. Once the Sony DAP is connected you'll have to unlock the device (if it is automatically locked), and you'll see the following screen (right) allowing you to either simply charge the device or set it up for data transfer. Since we are looking to move some music over to the player, select the bottom option for "File Transfer" and press "OK." You now have the music player set up for data transfer.
Now the Walkman should show up under your computer's drives as "WALKMAN" (as seen below).
You'll see the amount of internal storage come up as the device shows as a hard drive in Windows. Double-click on it to open the file directory of the DAP. As you can see above, you'll want to place the music you will transfer into the folder labeled "Music." Sony includes a lot of pre-made folders for various media types. Being primarily an Android-heavy I/O, customization is great you can do much more than just music.
Unlike an iPhone or iPod that has its own device sync window inside iTunes, you'll have to manually select the music in your iTunes library and click and drag it to your Music folder on the Walkman music player. Keep in mind that Sony only reads specific file formats (see above), so if your music is not one of the compatible file types, it will not be available for playback. The file itself will still show up in your storage, but the player menu will not be able to read it. Now in some cases iTunes will not allow the user to click and drag directly to the window of the music player. That's okay. Simple drag it to a place like your desktop where the music is then copied, and you can then cut and paste from your desktop to the music player folder.
Ideally, when you copy the files over to the music player the metadata will carry over as well, regardless if they are individual files or if you keep them in organized folders. You can always use a program like JRiver to sync and manage the metadata of your music. For more information on that, head over to our blog about using a program like JRiver HERE.
One last thing: after the music files finish and you DAP is stil connected to your computer, you will not find the new files visible on the player. Once you disconnect the DAP from you computer, the tracks should be visible for playback. If they are not, try rebooting the music player once disconnected and they should be visible afterwards.
Transferring Music with a MAC
When it comes to transferring music using a MAC computer the process is exactly the same as Windows. Plug in your device, the window should pop up showing the exact same file format and directory. There, you can click-and-drag or copy-and-paste your music from iTunes directly into the music folder. The same parameters apply here too when it comes to file formats, but the good thing is that Apple-compatible formats like AAC and WAV are compatible with Sony too, so transferring non-DRM AAC, WAV, AIFF, and MP3 should not be an issue.
Converting Music Files to Different Formats
You'll need the same things for transferring from a Windows computer: the latest version of iTunes, the 3rd party conversion program (in this case TunesBank for example), the Sony player, and the USB cable. Keep in mind that first you'll need to remove the DRM from the file if you want to convert it. This program can also help you do that along with the file conversion. Here's a quick step-by-step guide on how to convert and then transfer music:
(The 3rd party program doesn't have to be TunesBank - it can be any 3rd party program that can convert and remove DRM from protected Apple music. We're just using TunesBank here as an example. Keep in mind that each program's instructions might differ slightly from the following.)
When converting music files to different formats:
Step 2) Add your music to TunesBank. The "Librarys" tab at the top is where you'll find your music to select for conversion. You can select individual songs or select "Batch Conversion" to select as many songs as you want. You can also create playlists in iTunes to batch the desired music together for an easy selection in TunesBank.
Step 3) Choose your output formatting. Under the Output Settings below the music selection, you can adjust the format/codec, quality, bitrate, sample rate, the output folder, and the file name.
Step 4) Begin converting your music. Simply press the "Convert" button to start the process. You can also head back to the music library and add new files to the queue for conversion. Once TunesBank is finished, you can click the "Finished" tab and click "View Output File" to see the newly converted music in the output location you selected.
Step 5) Connect your Sony player to the computer with the USB cable. Now you can copy and paste or click and drag the newly converted music from your TunesBank file location to the Sony directory. Once the files have completed transferring you can eject the music player from your computer. Remember, you will not be able to see teh transferred files until after you disconnect your player. They should then be available for playback.
If you have any questions about transferring music files to your Sony DAP music player, feel free to reach out to us or leave a comment. Happy listening!