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Chris Glushko
2005-03-10, 10:52
--- Phil Karn <karn (AT) ka9q (DOT) net> wrote:
> I don't see much reason to ever use ALE, though it's
> certainly nice to
> now have the ability to decode it if necessary.

and

> then it makes the most sense to keep your
> primary archive in
> FLAC and convert to AAC for the iPod as necessary.

If you are an iPod user and you like using iTunes to
manage your music, wouldn't Apple Lossless be the most
logical choice for your primary archive?

I understand the preference to Open Source, but aren't
you just adding extra work for yourself for nothing
more than to spite apple if you are an iTunes/iPod
user?

Michael Peters
2005-03-10, 12:52
Yes - currently there is not a working flac plugin for QuickTime
(which is needed to manage flac in iTunes)

What I do is rip to flac, transcode via a shell script from flac to
mp3 (lame 192VBR), and use mp3 on my iPod.

iTunes doesn't know about my flac files, but it doesn't need to either.

aac might give me better quality at same bitrate, but I'm not
convinced - and even with faad, aac isn't as well supported generally
- IE I can play mp3 CD's in numerous cars, can't play aac CD's ... so
for me, flac + mp3 is the best combo for archiving/mobile

Phil Karn
2005-03-11, 23:31
Chris Glushko wrote:

> If you are an iPod user and you like using iTunes to
> manage your music, wouldn't Apple Lossless be the most
> logical choice for your primary archive?

Well, it might be -- if you're willing to spend all that precious iPod
disk space on a lossless format. If you insist on lossless even on your
iPod, then Apple Lossless is your only choice.

> I understand the preference to Open Source, but aren't
> you just adding extra work for yourself for nothing
> more than to spite apple if you are an iTunes/iPod
> user?

Well, for one thing I didn't buy an iPod. Even though I have several
Macs and do use iTunes, I bought an iRiver 340 specifically to get Ogg
support. If Apple were to support Ogg Vorbis on the iPod, I'd buy one in
a heartbeat.

That said, the numbers I've seen tend to indicate that FLAC achieves
somewhat better compression ratios than Apple Lossless. Also, FLAC
supports Vorbis-style metatags, which I consider vastly superior to
either MP3 ID tags or the iTunes practice of keeping all the meta
information in a separate massive XML file. I invest a lot of time
getting the metainfo right, especially on classical music, so the right
tag format matters.

Phil

Todd Larason
2005-03-12, 04:57
On 11 March 05, Phil Karn wrote:
> That said, the numbers I've seen tend to indicate that FLAC achieves
> somewhat better compression ratios than Apple Lossless. Also, FLAC
> supports Vorbis-style metatags, which I consider vastly superior

Can you point me to documentation for the Vorbis metadata? I've scanned
vorbis.com and xiph.org, and I'm just not finding it.

> to
> either MP3 ID tags or the iTunes practice of keeping all the meta
> information in a separate massive XML file.

The iTunes practice isn't that simple. For mp3 files, for most things, the
definitive metadata is stored in ID3 tags in the file; the information is
cached in a binary file and reflected in an exported XML file. The definitive
volume adjustment, equalizer, star rating, and start and stop time information
is stored in the binrary file and relfected in the exported XML file. The
"part of a compilation" field is confusing: as nearly as I can make out, it is
initialized from the nonstandard TCMP ID3 tag, and when changed through iTunes
the TCMP tag is updated; unlike all the other ID3 tags, though, changes made
outside iTunes post-import are never reflected inside iTunes.
--
Todd Larason | Half a pound of tupenny rice, half a pound of treacle That's
3500238865/p | the way the melody goes, pop! goes the weasle Half a pound of
UIN: 7559924 | heroin, half a pound of treacle That's the way the story goes,
AIM: AngelBr | out comes the evil

Phil Karn
2005-03-13, 02:22
Todd Larason wrote:

> Can you point me to documentation for the Vorbis metadata? I've scanned
> vorbis.com and xiph.org, and I'm just not finding it.

Start here:

http://www.xiph.org/ogg/vorbis/doc/v-comment.html

I decided on Vorbis for my meta data partly because I have a large
collection of classical CDs, and whoever defined the MP3 ID tags
obviously just wasn't thinking about classical music. The Vorbis comment
conventions aren't complete, but they're a big improvement over MP3
tags, and more importantly they're free-format and extensible. E.g.,
when ripping piano and violin concertos I easily added "SOLOIST" tags
even though no software currently pays attention to them. I figure
they're not that important right now, and support for it can always be
added later.

The other convention I strongly recommend when tagging classical music
is to make sure each TITLE tag is self contained. If a work spans
several tracks, I'll include the name of the work in each TITLE comment.
For example, if a CD contains Beethoven's 9th symphony in 4 tracks, then
I'll use TITLE tags that look like this:

TITLE=Symphony 9 - I. Allegro ma non troppo un poco maestoso
TITLE=Symphony 9 - II.Scherzo, Molto vivace
TITLE=Symphony 9 - III. Adagio molto e cantabile
TITLE=Symphony 9 - IV. Presto, Allegro assai

This is important because many classical CDs contain several unrelated
symphonies or concertos, sometimes by multiple composers. You can't use
the ALBUM comment for this purpose, because it really ought to be the
same for every track on the same CD, even if it contains more than one
work. iTunes has a "GROUP" tag that seems to be designed for this exact
purpose, but it's not in the Vorbis comment conventions, no software
supports it, and it's important enough that I wanted something that
would be displayed by existing software like the Slimserver.

Because there's already a Vorbis COMPOSER comment, there's no need to
include the composer's name in the title tags. I use it to contain the
composer's complete name, e.g., "Ludwig van Beethoven". The ARTIST tag
contains just the composer's last name, which I also use to name the
actual directories. (I make exceptions for names like Bach and Strauss,
where there's more than one composer with the same surname.)

The name of the orchestra goes into the PERFORMER tag, the conductor
into the CONDUCTOR tag, and so on. The existing Slimserver software
seems to deal reasonably well with all this except for my nonstandard
SOLOIST tags, which aren't all that urgent anyway.

> The iTunes practice isn't that simple. For mp3 files, for most things, the
> definitive metadata is stored in ID3 tags in the file; the information is
> cached in a binary file and reflected in an exported XML file. The definitive
> volume adjustment, equalizer, star rating, and start and stop time information
> is stored in the binrary file and relfected in the exported XML file. The
> "part of a compilation" field is confusing: as nearly as I can make out, it is
> initialized from the nonstandard TCMP ID3 tag, and when changed through iTunes
> the TCMP tag is updated; unlike all the other ID3 tags, though, changes made
> outside iTunes post-import are never reflected inside iTunes.

Thanks for this description! I've looked at the XML files on occasion,
and I've wondered which files iTunes reads and which it writes. I have
noticed that I can delete the binary database file and force iTunes to
rebuild it from the XML file. You can also blow away the database
entirely and re-import it from an imported XML file. I've done this a
few times after making manual edits to the XML file for various reasons.

--Phil

Phil Karn
2005-03-13, 02:37
Todd Larason wrote:

> The iTunes practice isn't that simple.

Speaking of the iTunes database structure, do you happen to know of any
utilities that can scan a music folder and build the iTunes XML
structure from the tags in the music files (other than iTunes itself,
that is)?

The reason I ask is that I have an Ogg Vorbis plug-in for iTunes that
plays just fine, but it doesn't read the Vorbis tags into the database
when I add an Ogg Vorbis file to the library. I'm also thinking of
writing a NFS "shim" that would make my FLAC archive appear to iTunes as
if it was full of WAV files, and WAV files don't have any metadata at
all for iTunes to import.

Phil

Michael Peters
2005-03-13, 02:53
On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 01:22:21 -0800, Phil Karn <karn (AT) ka9q (DOT) net> wrote:
> Todd Larason wrote:
>
> > Can you point me to documentation for the Vorbis metadata? I've scanned
> > vorbis.com and xiph.org, and I'm just not finding it.
>
> Start here:
>
> http://www.xiph.org/ogg/vorbis/doc/v-comment.html
>
> I decided on Vorbis for my meta data partly because I have a large
> collection of classical CDs, and whoever defined the MP3 ID tags
> obviously just wasn't thinking about classical music. The Vorbis comment
> conventions aren't complete, but they're a big improvement over MP3
> tags, and more importantly they're free-format and extensible. E.g.,
> when ripping piano and violin concertos I easily added "SOLOIST" tags
> even though no software currently pays attention to them. I figure
> they're not that important right now, and support for it can always be
> added later.
>
> The other convention I strongly recommend when tagging classical music
> is to make sure each TITLE tag is self contained. If a work spans
> several tracks, I'll include the name of the work in each TITLE comment.
> For example, if a CD contains Beethoven's 9th symphony in 4 tracks, then
> I'll use TITLE tags that look like this:
>
> TITLE=Symphony 9 - I. Allegro ma non troppo un poco maestoso
> TITLE=Symphony 9 - II.Scherzo, Molto vivace
> TITLE=Symphony 9 - III. Adagio molto e cantabile
> TITLE=Symphony 9 - IV. Presto, Allegro assai
>
> This is important because many classical CDs contain several unrelated
> symphonies or concertos, sometimes by multiple composers. You can't use
> the ALBUM comment for this purpose, because it really ought to be the
> same for every track on the same CD, even if it contains more than one
> work. iTunes has a "GROUP" tag that seems to be designed for this exact
> purpose, but it's not in the Vorbis comment conventions, no software
> supports it, and it's important enough that I wanted something that
> would be displayed by existing software like the Slimserver.

There are issues in other areas - for example, some CD's will have
more than one artist - U2 for example, the album Rattle and Hum.

It has a song that is both U2 and BB King.

If you properly lable the artist as U2 and BB King, then the song does
not show up in a listing of just U2 unless you specify "artist
includes U2". Then on the same album there is "Freedom for my People"
which isn't U2 at all, and then there is Jimi Hendrix "star spangled
banner" introducing a song of theirs. And there's "still haven't found
what I'm looking for" which is U2 and that gospel choir. That album
really messes up ID3 for accurate tagging and proper display of songs
when you want to see what you have by "U2"

There should be one tag for artist that is the displayed artist, and
another tag for artist that is used for the primary artist on the CD -
in the above example, U2.

I also wish there was a release date in addition to the regular date.
The regular date is suppose to be when the song was recorded, but a
release date would be really nice to have for songs that have been
remastered and then released again - some artists (I believe Rush and
Zeppelin, for example) have had their songs remastered multiple times
- initial mastering for when the vinyl was released, a digital
remastering when they first went to CD, another digital remastering
when digital remastering vastly improved, etc.

It would be really nice to have those dates available, with the date
tag for the song being that of the original recording.

That can be done easily enough with vorbis comments like what flac
uses, it isn't so easy with ID3 tags.

Supposedly (or so I've been told, never tried) mp3 can be put in an
ogg container and have vorbis tags used with it - but few players
would know what to do with it, so it isn't done. Same thing with mp3
in mpeg4 container (which lame is allegedly considering as an option
for the future - or so I've heard, not from lame - but from forums
etc.)

--
http://mpeters.us/

Phil Karn
2005-03-13, 03:23
Michael Peters wrote:

> There are issues in other areas - for example, some CD's will have
> more than one artist - U2 for example, the album Rattle and Hum.

In that case I'd just use a different ARTIST tag for each track, just as
for a compilation album like "Greatest Hits of the '70s". Unlike the
ALBUM tag, which really ought to be the same for every track on the same
physical CD, there's no reason that the ARTIST tags all have to be the
same. If a particular track is a joint effort of several artists, then
just list them all in the ARTIST tag for that track. Both iTunes and the
Slimdevices databases do a pretty good job of indexing all this stuff so
you can find what you want, and that's what really matters. That leaves
just the question of how to name the directory that contains the album
directory; iTunes' use of "Compilations" is as good as any.

The Vorbis COMPOSER and PERFORMER tags give you even more indexing
flexibility, if you need it. I don't usually bother to set the COMPOSER
tags on popular music, but some songs are *so* widely covered that it
makes sense to do so. E.g., I must have a dozen different versions of
Dave Mason's song "Feelin' Alright" by a half dozen different
performers: Dave Mason, Grand Funk Railroad, Joe Cocker, Three Dog
Night, Traffic, etc.

Phil

Jay Sissom
2005-03-13, 15:17
Hello, I'm using 5.4.0 of the server. I reinstalled it on a new
server and now neither of my slim devices have the menu option for
Browse Playlists or Browse Music Folder. The web interface does.
When I go to player settings/Menus I see the following stuff. This
tells me that I should be seeing Browse Playlists right? Browse Music
Folder isn't an option at all though. Can someone tell me how to make
these show up on the player?

Thanks
Jay


↑ ↓ × Now Playing
↑ ↓ × Browse Music
↑ ↓ × Search Music
↑ ↓ × Browse Playlists
↑ ↓ × Internet Radio
↑ ↓ × Settings
↑ ↓ × Plugins

Inactive menu items:
+ Browse Albums
+ Browse Artists
+ Browse Genres
+ Browse Songs
+ Games
+ Screensavers
+ Search For Albums
+ Search For Artists
+ Search For Songs

Todd Larason
2005-03-14, 05:02
On 13 March 05, Phil Karn wrote:
> Speaking of the iTunes database structure, do you happen to know of any
> utilities that can scan a music folder and build the iTunes XML
> structure from the tags in the music files (other than iTunes itself,
> that is)?

No, I don't think I've seen such a thing. It really doesn't look like it
would be hard to do, though.

> The reason I ask is that I have an Ogg Vorbis plug-in for iTunes that
> plays just fine, but it doesn't read the Vorbis tags into the database
> when I add an Ogg Vorbis file to the library. I'm also thinking of
> writing a NFS "shim" that would make my FLAC archive appear to iTunes as
> if it was full of WAV files, and WAV files don't have any metadata at
> all for iTunes to import.

Another option would be to run a server which speaks iTunes' sharing
protocol. I haven't paid much attention to this space since doing the initial
work figuring out the protocol, so I'm not sure if any of the pre-packaged
servers would do quite what you want. The perl module 'Net::DAAP::Server'
might be a good place to start looking, or daapd[1].

[1] http://www.deleet.de/projekte/daap/daapd/index.html
--
Todd Larason | Obligatory 'blog: http://molelog.molehill.org/ | UIN: 9311600
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A feature is often a bug with seniority. -- Chip Salzenberg

Phil Karn
2005-03-16, 02:49
Todd Larason wrote:

> Another option would be to run a server which speaks iTunes' sharing
> protocol. I haven't paid much attention to this space since doing the initial
> work figuring out the protocol, so I'm not sure if any of the pre-packaged
> servers would do quite what you want. The perl module 'Net::DAAP::Server'
> might be a good place to start looking, or daapd[1].
>
> [1] http://www.deleet.de/projekte/daap/daapd/index.html

Thanks for the pointer.

I'm trying to figure out, though, why we need yet *another* network file
system protocol, this one just to share music. Is there some essential
functionality in DAAP that I can't somehow provide over NFS, AFS, SMB or
even http?

Or is this just Apple up to its old tricks? Maybe I was wrong when I
thought that with Mac OS X, Apple had finally seen the wisdom of
building on open platforms.

Phil