I use Method 2 as described in How to use multiple iPods, iPads, or iPhones with one computer: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1495
I create several playlists and select which playlists I want on each device. Several playlists end up on all devices while others are only selected for one device. I keep one playlist strictly for "New Stuff" and I drag songs into or out of this playlist as my mood changes.
I don't ever check or uncheck items except holiday songs when the season passes.
Thanks for the tip Jim - I am actually already trying to use method 2; but it isn't perfect.
Here's an example. I have an iPhone4 (32Gb) and an iPad2 (64Gb). I have 70Gb of music...
So my current solution is to use a 'master list' for each device, i.e. I have lists called "All iPad Music" and "All iPhone Music", each synced to the relevant device. In addition, I have various playlists that play collections of certain types (e.g. film music, rock, favourite tracks etc.), and I sync these to each device as well. this ensures that the playlist is fully synced on the devices I want it to sync to. It also means I can do things like adding only my favourite tracks from certain albums to the iPhone music list, so that when I look at the album on the phone I just see those tracks, not the whole thing.
Fine. OK. So the other day, I decided that MP3 wasn't good enough and I wanted to re-rip all my CDs to Apple Lossless format (I've been working with audio a lot recently and my ears are getting fussier!). Hmmm... this is getting rather scary rather fast! How on Earth can I keep a lossless version on iTunes for the iPad and an MP3 or AAC version (depending on the importance of the music) alongside it to sync to the iPhone? That would get very confusing very fast.
Maybe the forthcoming iTunes technology might solve this for me? I hear they are planning to allow different quality versions of music on different devices. However, I gather this is only for iCloud. I have a lot of music I bought on CD, not via iTunes. Will Apple still allow me to sync this at different qualities? Or will I have to pay to upload it to the cloud first? How does that all work?
I'm full of questions, I know. Sorry!
If you have a lot of hard disk storage available to iTunes, you could rip your CDs as Apple Lossless and then create an AAC or MP3 version of those tracks you want on your iPhone. This document explains iTunes conversions: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1550. iTunes does not delete the original when converting to another format, so your music library will have both versions.
To avoid confusion when creating your playlists, view the music libnrary sorted by kind. If you don't have a kind column, use the iTunes View menu > View Options to add it.
I don't think iTunes Match will help you do what you want. iTunes matches your songs at 256 kbps AAC. Songs you upload (those without a match) can be any format that iTunes can handle. Check it out here: http://www.apple.com/itunes/itunes-match/
Thanks for the link Jim.
By chance I got some other advice today as well, from someone I work with. He pointed me to this:
It looks like exactly what I need. I have selected "Convert to AAC 256kbps" on my iPhone's summary page in iTunes, and it's rather good; you instantly see the memory map change to reflect the new usage. I recovered about 1.2Gb of space by converting just what I have in lossless format so far. Hopefully this will mean that I'll be able to do what I need to do.
One thing I've noticed is that it doesn't seem to generate the extra copies in my iTunes lists, but presumably instead makes 'invisible' ones that I don't see, just for the iPhone sync (or perhaps converts whenever a song is synced?) Neat!
Of course I forgot to mention another obvioius solution. You can rip your CDs as Apple Lossless and let iTunes convert them to 256 kbps AAC during the sync process to your iPhone. Connect your iPhone, select it from the iTunes "Devices" list and go to the Summary pane. Check the option to"Convert higher bit rate songs to 256 AAC". The conversion takes place during sync and doesn't delete the original file or leave an extra copy in your library. The converted file goes to your iPhone. This greatly increases the time required for the sync procress, but may be the best alternative for you.