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Digital Audio Essentials by Bruce Fries, Marty Fries

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File Type Associations

Any time you open a file from within Windows Explorer or the Mac OS Finder, the operating system checks to see what program is associated with that particular type of file (word-processing document, JPEG image, MP3 file, etc.). The operating system then launches the program (if it is not already running) and automatically loads the file. For example, if you double-click an MP3 file and iTunes is the default program for that file type, the iTunes program will launch and begin playing the file.

The links between file types and programs are referred to as file type associations. In Mac OS X, file type associations are determined either by a code embedded in the file or by the file’s extension (e.g., .doc, .mp3). In all versions of Windows, only the file extension is used for file type associations.

When you install a program that plays or edits audio, if you don’t specify otherwise, it will most likely assign itself to the types of files it supports. This should not be a problem if you have just one audio program installed. But if you install a second audio program and don’t pay attention, you may find that double-clicking an audio file launches the second rather than the first program.

Why would you need more than one audio program? One example would be that you use iTunes to organize and play your music and access the iTunes Music Store, but you prefer a different program to listen to Internet radio. Or you may use a program like Sound Forge to record and edit audio, and Media Jukebox to play music.

Reclaiming file type associations

If you install more than one player program on your system, you’ll need to decide which program will be associated with each type of digital audio file. For example, if you have more than one MP3 player, you will need to specify one of them to be the default—i.e., the player that will launch when you double-click an MP3 file or play an Internet radio station that uses the streaming MP3 format.

This can be accomplished in several ways, but the easiest method is to use the player program’s feature to set and reclaim file type associations that have been “stolen” by other programs. Following are instructions for reclaiming file type associations for the programs covered in this chapter.

iTunes

To make iTunes the default player for audio files, select Edit (iTunes on the Mac version) Preferences and choose the “General” tab of the configuration window. Check “Use iTunes as the default player for audio files,” then click “OK.” Occasionally you may have to uncheck this choice and then check it again before the file types will be reclaimed.

Media Jukebox

To reclaim file types in Media Jukebox, select Settings Options and choose “File Associations.” Click the “Def” button to associate the default file types with Media Jukebox. Check “Always take control of file types” to have Media Jukebox automatically reclaim file type associations.

Note

To automatically reclaim file types, you must have the Media Scheduler “helper” program running. To launch the Media Scheduler from the Windows Start menu, choose Start Programs Media Jukebox Media Scheduler.

Musicmatch

To reclaim file types in Musicmatch, select Options Settings and choose the “General” tab. Place a checkmark next to the file types you want to associate with Musicmatch. Check “Reclaim media files without asking” to automatically reclaim the file types each time you run Musicmatch.

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