Sirius > DishDVR > iMic > iTunes > iPod

In my Monday Musical Notes bit, I threw out the notion that I could probably get my favorite Underground Garage tunes onto my iPod through the Sirius channels on Dish Network.

So today at lunch, I decided to give it a shot. Guess what? It works.

For those of you who found The Wisdom searching for something like [+sirius +ipod +"dish network"] and for anybody else who”s geeky enough to care, here”s how to make this particular magic happen:

- My setup is: DishDVR (721); Mac Mini; Griffin iMic (with Griffin”s Final Vinyl audio recording software; iTunes and a big boy iPod.

- The tasks: 1) Record a few hours of Underground Garage, which is part of the Sirius broadcast on Dish Network”s audio channels. 2) Output the recorded audio to the Mac. 3) Record the audio on the Mac. 4) Bring the recorded audio into iTunes. 5) Sync to iPod.

Task 1 (Recording Sirius): Pretty straight-forward. Dish allows me to record the music channels just like I would regular TV. The Dish feed includes the standard Sirius display of song and artist (this is important later).

Task 2 (Output to the Mac): Using the second set of outputs from the DishDVR, I ran standard RCA audio cables from the DishDVR to the iMic. The iMic came with an RCA to minijack adapter that I used for the connection.

Task 3 (Recording on the Mac): Final Vinyl will record from any audio input (in WAV) and gives you the ability to automatically cut tracks based on dead air and all that. But for my purposes (getting individual tracks with artist and song title) I”m cutting one track at a time and editing out any bits of previous or next songs I happen to pick up. My desire for artist/song information means I”m working a manual, hands-on process. I have the Mac Mini and DishDVR running on my 44″ DLP TV in split-screen mode, and I simply fast forward through the Sirius recording until a song I want shows up (remember, I”m seeing the artist/song information on the DishDVR screen). When I find something I want, I back it up to the beginning, hit record on Final Vinyl and let the song play. When it ends, I hit stop and clean up any intro/outro mess with the Final Vinyl editor. You fellow old people may remember this basic technique from the days of making cassette recordings of LPs.

Task 4 (Getting in to iTunes): Pretty simple; I just drag the file Final Vinyl saved into my iTunes playlist. It”s then converted and copied to my iTunes folder. Once it”s in iTunes, I edit the track information to drop in the artist and song name (as well as an album tag of “Sirius Grabs” so I can find it later on the iPod). I wish Final Vinyl would let me edit the track tag to save a step, but no luck there. I might look for another free recording app that lets me do this.

Task 5 (Syncing to iPod): Well, duh. Happens automatically when I connect the iPod to the Mac Mini.

I did a test recording of three tracks at lunch, and the playback quality on the iPod is pretty damned good. Obviously in stereo and pretty much sounds like what I get straight from Sirius.

I know some of you may be thinking this is very labor-intensive. And it is. But a couple of things to note:

- This is “weird” music I”m recording; stuff like Hawaii Mud Bombers and Boss Martians that is hard to find in the regular world. So the value of getting this hard-to-find stuff justifies (in my mind, at least) the labor.

- I could simply let Final Vinyl capture a big chunk (say an hour or two) of Underground Garage and cut up the tracks automatically – or even just create one big file ala Podcasting – to further automate the process, but I find value in having artist/song information on my files, so that also justifies the labor. Ideally, I could get the artist/track data out of the DishDVR as well, but that seems unlikely.

So that”s my latest little project. It worked pretty much on the first shot, which is rare.

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