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  1. #1
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    How to get high-quality flac tags and album art without jumping though to many hoops?

    I have spent the weekend ripping 200 CDs (600 left to go). I ripped them as flac, using "Easy CD-DA Extractor", letting it retrieve album info from freedb, figuring I'd go back in and use another tool )Tag&Rename, Album Cover Art Downloader, etc) to add album covers later. I am now discovering the "joys" of freedb and various other tag sources, the wide variability in tag quality, and how labor-intensive this task is, especially compared to using WMP to do the ripping and tagging. What has become clear is that, for whatever reason, WMP has access to much better data sources than most of the other tools I've found (I've tried Tag&Rename, mp3Tag, Abander TagControl, and Album Cover Art Downloader). I've even done some side-by-side tests, CDs that give all my other tools heartburn in terms of getting good tags and album art, have no troubles getting high-quality tags and art in WMP with virtually no effort required.

    Still, I'd like to keep my music files as FLAC if possible - but a primary requirement for me is to have accurate tags and album art for my 800 CDs.

    I've tried using WMP to read my flac files, using the illiminable plug-in, figuring that perhaps then I could use WMP to get the tags - and discovered that this plug-in allows WMP to play flac files but doesn't read/update the tags. I have discovered that if I convert the files from flac to wma lossless, WMP then retrieves the tags properly - though I prefer not to go that route if I can avoid it.

    Is there any way to get high-quality tags and album art for flac, without going through an insane amount of work? Is there a better/different ripping tool I should be using?

  2. #2
    Senior Member bernt's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the great guides - I've been looking for a decent Godafther tutorial like this one.

    These links should be made a sticky post for posterity, IMO.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=bernt]For tags use The Godfather and the AMG patch./QUOTE]

    Thanks ... this tool does a better job than anything else I've tried, though still a bit more manually-intensive than I would like. The ability to use allmusic.com is a big plus, the tag data was great for the files I tested.

    I have to say though, that Windows Media Player still makes this process easier ... with every music file I've tested (converted from flac to wma lossless, carrying over the tags) WMP was able to find the correct CD on the first try, and update both the track info and the picture with a single click. It is too bad WMP doesn't understand/update flac tags ...

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Jon]
    Quote Originally Posted by bernt
    I have to say though, that Windows Media Player still makes this process easier ... with every music file I've tested (converted from flac to wma lossless, carrying over the tags) WMP was able to find the correct CD on the first try, and update both the track info and the picture with a single click. It is too bad WMP doesn't understand/update flac tags ...
    May I ask why you dont want to use wma with the sb? I have now ripped about 50 classical cd's for testing to flac and wma and I also felt that wmp does by far the best job in retrieving correct info for the not so popular discs. So I am leaning towards ripping with wmp at the moment.

    peter

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=)p(]
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon

    May I ask why you dont want to use wma with the sb? I have now ripped about 50 classical cd's for testing to flac and wma and I also felt that wmp does by far the best job in retrieving correct info for the not so popular discs. So I am leaning towards ripping with wmp at the moment.

    peter
    Sure. My original reason for choosing flac over wma was because, after reading a whole bunch of forum posts on the subject, I decided that flac has a SLIGHT edge over wma in terms of (very long term) future viability; I am hoping to only rip my collection once in my lifetime, and choosing an open-source lossless format seemed like a slightly safer route than choosing a proprietary lossless format. Not that I have any concerns about Microsoft and WMP going away ... but nobody can predict what they might do to their format in the future.

    Also, after some initial testing, I found that I could rip CDs faster in flac versus wma lossless (I should point out that I am running on a somewhat CPU-challenged Sempron-based PC). Though in retrospect, the ripping tool I am using will do an automatic eject of the disk, but will not automatically start ripping when a disk is inserted , and WMP allows both ... so to change disks it takes me 2 clicks and a few seconds of waiting with the tool I am using, versus "insert CD and walk away" with WMP, so the ripping time difference is probably a wash when you look at the end-to-end process.

    It was really a tossup for me ... and I chose the flac side of the coin.

    My current reason for wanting to remain on flac, ideally, is because I have now ripped 200 CDs in that format, and I prefer not to re-rip them. Even if I convert them to wma lossless (which I estimate will take my CPU-challenged PC about 8-10 unattended hours), I will still need to retrieve the tag and album cover data in WMP one CD at a time (though it is really just one click to retrieve the data and one more to save it, in most cases). So, if WMP or some other tool could do a good job of dealing with the tags and album art, sticking with flac might make my life a bit easier.

    At this point, I am pretty certain that I'll be migrating everything to wma lossless ... there is no question that WMP will make this task easier, and will provide better data, in the long run.

    Knowing what I know now, if I were starting from scratch and had a large collection, I would choose WMP and WMA lossless unless I could find a tool that supports flac and does an equally good job of ripping, encoding and tag retieval to what WMP can do.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Jon for your elaborate explanation

    I already have ripped hundreds of cd's from my popular cd's with wmp to wma over the last week and then cleaned them up with tag&rename. That went very well.

    The only reason for me not using this combo for the classical cd's would be if the quality of the rips using eac/flac would be better. There is a lot of confusing stuff on the net about eac being the superior ripping solution...

    peter

  8. #8
    Senior Member funkstar's Avatar
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    Asside from the openness of FLAC< the other advantage is that it is handled natively within the Squeezebox, so the server does not have to transcode to WAV for you to play it. This also means you can FF and REW your tracks, transcoded files don't have this ability.

  9. #9
    Senior Member autopilot's Avatar
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    For future reference. Rip to FLAC with EAC, playback with Foober2000 (or slimserver and a Squeezebox of course) and Burn CD's using Burrrn. It does not get any better than that, accept maybe the album art issue - i need to look into this soon myself...

    So now i have all my music ripped, tagged and organised just they way i want it - what is the easiest method of download the album art for them?
    Last edited by autopilot; 2006-01-23 at 17:14.

  10. #10
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    I, too, use EAC to rip to FLAC. I've been using MediaMonkey to download album art. I don't think you can do it "automatically", but otherwise I'm quite satisfied. If you don't like the album art that MediaMonkey finds, you can drag/drop your own image.

    Quote Originally Posted by dangerous_dom
    For future reference. Rip to FLAC with EAC, playback with Foober2000 (or slimserver and a Squeezebox of course) and Burn CD's using Burrrn. It does not get any better than that, accept maybe the album art issue - i need to look into this soon myself...

    So now i have all my music ripped, tagged and organised just they way i want it - what is the easiest method of download the album art for them?

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