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ceejay
2005-11-30, 04:24
Just to let everyone know I've just posted a set of "Beginners Guide" pages in the wiki at http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuide

The reason for doing this is that we've seen lots of requests for more user friendly documentation, especially for beginners. The current wiki, although it has lots of gems in it, doesn't really help people who are just starting out.

This is borne out by the number of basic questions/pleas for help that get posted in the Beginners forum. I can also clearly remember what it was like for myself - apart from a couple of the FAQs which hit the mark, it wasn't really much help.

I've also tried to avoid the idea of just having a list of links off to resources elsewhere on the internet. I think these are valuable as a resource for more detail or "where next", but I don't think beginners are helped by being pointed off in a thousand directions.

The idea of having the wiki in the first place, of course, is that everyone in the community contributes their knowledge: however, I found that the structure of what was there didn't seem to make it easy for people to do this.

So I've taken a unilateral step and JFDI. You will see a basic page that covers "everything" at a high level, and a few other pages with more detail on key topics. You will also see lots of gaps! Some I am aware of and have highlighted: others I don't know about and therefore haven't!!

The content today is obviously just mine. There are many areas where my knowledge is sketchy or I just got bored. There are others where I think I know what I'm talking about, but I may not. In either case, please don't hesitate, just contribute. The main reason for me tackling this much of it was to establish a framework, as I think this is what people may be needing to make it easy to contribute.

Anyway, over to the community. If you think this is a good idea, please dive in and add stuff. A few suggested ground rules:

- if you just want to add a bit, or correct an error, just do it

- if you want to change the structure, or undo a major piece of work by someone else, it might be nice to seek consensus here first

- Lets not try to make this a "Full" documentation... that would be like trying to boil the ocean, and will be impossible to maintain. I've also tried to avoid duplicating what I could EASILY find elsewhere in slim-land.

- wiki won't stop two people opening a file at the same time, but it will only let the first person write back. The second person will be told that the file has already been edited by someone else. If you've only corrected a typo, this is not a big deal, but if you've just lovingly typed in 50 lines of text you might not be happy. I suggest you create text in a text editor and then copy it in. If you are using Windows Notepad don't forget to turn "Word Wrap" off before you Copy.

- There is currently a link into this from the Slimserver page in the wiki. Once this is a bit more mature perhaps one of the Slim folk would consider linking in to it from the Home Page?

Have Fun...

Ceejay

Jim
2005-11-30, 08:40
Good stuff. I personally think some of the items could have been moved to other pages - like you do with some other stuff (it's not just this 1 page he made folks).

A beginners guide will appeal to someone who's thinking of buying a Slim to see how simple it should be, or to someone who wants to progress further than playing MP3's he downloaded from Kazaa - but nobody needs a beginners guide as such providing Slim's out of the box easy as 1-2-3 thing worked. IMHO the main page should really consist of the most common problems with the most common solutions, with all the other things linking off to other pages.

ceejay
2005-11-30, 09:36
Jim

thanks, glad you liked it.

In thinking about how to structure it I was mainly driven by the sorts of questions that come up on the Beginners forum, where its obvious that quite a few people struggle right at the beginning to get their heads round everything. I know I did!

I was also trying to avoid duplicating the FAQ, for two reasons:

1 - we've already got one!

2 - FAQs are only useful once you've formulated the Q's in your head

As for the System working immediately out of the box... well, we all know it doesn't, not because the products aren't great but because there is just so much that people are likely to have to do something with (ripping, tagging, wireless networks...). Its ok if you already know 90% of that stuff, but as you can see from a visit to the Beginners forum, not everyone does.

I also take the point about maybe moving more off to sub pages: the balance here is that

1 - if you push everyting off somewhere else then the main page becomes just a list of links and is unreadable

2 - but if you keep too much in, the main page itself becomes overwhelming (and harder to maintain).

I don't claim to have necessarily got this right first time...

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback, I'm hoping that some of the community will feel inspired to fill in some of the many blanks...

Ceejay

MrC
2005-11-30, 10:15
Ceejay, nice work! I think this is exactly the type of overview and step-by-step that will be useful to beginners. The initial squeezebox/slimserver/networking/java/encoders experience can be daunting for some, and for those that are initiated via softsqueeze, even more so. Your document sets a nice framework for new users to become familiar with the slim paradigm.

I've added a couple of points under softsqueeze.

The slimserver section indicates that the web interface is self-explanatory. I wouldn't go so far as to take that position in a beginners guide - I think this should be flushed out more.

dwc
2005-11-30, 10:45
Thanks CeeJay,

Can somone point me to a beginners guide on using the remote control for different common tasks?

Things like:

- What is this "flagging" people talk about? Adds a song to a list somewhere?
- How to add a song or album to a playlist that's not currently playing.
- adding songs to current playlist, saving playlist


etc.
Thanks,
Dan

ceejay
2005-11-30, 10:53
DWC - does the stuff in the Help / Remote Control Reference area of the web interface help at all? Specifically on Zapping, there was a good thread on that just a little while ago at http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=18134&highlight=zapping




The slimserver section indicates that the web interface is self-explanatory. I would go so far as to take that position in a beginners guide - I think this should be flushed out more.

Good idea. I found the SlimServer page in the Wiki a bit unfriendly. Any volunteers?

Ceejay

MrC
2005-11-30, 13:34
Good idea. I found the SlimServer page in the Wiki a bit unfriendly. Any volunteers?

Ceejay
I might take a crack at it later. In the meantime, I've updated your BeginnersNetworking guide with wireless security info, and moved your beginners guide to the top of the main slimserver wiki page.

danco
2005-11-30, 14:54
On 30/11/05 at 12:34 -0800, MrC wrote
>ceejay Wrote:
>> Good idea. I found the SlimServer page in the Wiki a bit unfriendly. Any
>> volunteers?
>>
>> Ceejay
>I might take a crack at it later. In the meantime, I've updated your
>BeginnersNetworking guide with wireless security info, and moved your
>beginners guide to the top of the main slimserver wiki page.
>

I put in a couple of Mac items.

--
Daniel Cohen

ceejay
2005-11-30, 15:58
Thanks to MrC and danco for joining in!

I'll probably have a go at "tagging classical music" next, as that's a pet topic of mine... but there are lots of other gaps in there, folks, feel free to join in!

iTunes ?

Ripping programs?

Playlists?

Doesn't have to be a big page - a short sweet paragraph with a link to a really good external reference could be just the thing we need.

Or just throw in your favourite resource under "other resources" at the bottom of each page.

Thanks...

Ceejay.

teanau
2005-12-01, 16:28
im going the infrant x6 route for nas, ought to be here next week, i'll contribute what i discover whilst setting it up to the wiki.

_sam

Jim
2005-12-01, 17:55
Any recommendations for WYSIWYG software/Firefox plugin for editing these Wiki things?

I'm a bit of a Wiki newbie and seeing as I don't have beard never really got into editing Wikipedia :P

Yes, I can edit HTML til the cows come home in notepad, but these tables are a pain in the wiki when it comes to editing them, and as it's for making my life easier on the forums I want to contribute.

ceejay
2005-12-02, 06:35
Jim - no recommendations from me, I'm afraid, I'm using good old Notepad!

In the meantime as promised here is the Beginners Guide to Tagging Classical music... http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToClassical

Now, if someone is feeling really bold, how about a Beginners Guide to Troubleshooting Wireless?

Slightly less tricky, anyone for a Beginners Guide to iTunes with Slimserver?

Or for something really easy, how about adding some of your favourite information resources?

If you're being put off by the thought of wrestling with Wiki formatting, don't be, it really isn't hard. Or just send me some raw text by PM.


Regards
Ceejay

Jim
2005-12-02, 11:21
http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?HowtoBestAudioQuality

"My own personal example might clarify a bit. My CDs compress on average to 300Mb (flac) and about 60Mb (MP3). I have 350 CDs which is approx 105Gb (flac) or 21Gb (MP3). A brand new 200Gb drive cost me GBP75. So for me I've kept everything as FLAC and I'll probably create an MP3 version as well (which is easy as I have the FLAC original). Also it's taken me about 2 minutes a disc to rip them (my time not the computers) ie about 700min = nearly 12 hours. Finally as they are flac if I ever want to convert to a new format I can automate the process without having to reread all my disks."

Author of this see the page for my comments. Also any prices should probably be in US$

Jim
2005-12-02, 11:53
New page (maybe not so much Beginner's). I stole this from another forum if you're a member and recognise it - but don't worry, I did write it on there (see same avatar).

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?TechnicalGuideToFLAC

Listener
2005-12-02, 22:29
> In the meantime as promised here is the
> Beginners Guide to Tagging Classical music... > http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cg...ideToClassical

I looked and have comments. I think there should be a more thorough discussion of what a classical music listener wants to do with the player before you write up a guide.

I've been evaluating player alternatives since the SB1 came out while I waited for the price of four 400 GB hard disks to come down to $ 125-150 each. They are getting there. However, I haven't found player s/w that is satisfactory for listening to classical music.

My wife and I share tastes in music: classical, broadway shows and showtunes and swing and early jazz. Any solution needs to be usable by her as well as by me. Perhaps 60% of our collection of ~ 1500 CDs is classical music and probably 75% of the listening is for classical music. Finding a solution that really works for classical music has been frustrating. And I can't take the plunge buying stuff until I have something that is usable for us.

I've concluded that you need to tell the user how to rip his CDs, how to tag them, how to name the individual files, how to store them on his hard disks, how to set up his Squeezebox and Slimserver and finally, how to find and select files using the Squeezebox or the web interface. Someone who has a collection of classical music knows what he wants to do but he needs documentation to tell him how to accomplish that with a Squeezebox and Slimserver.

Let me describe what I'd like to do when I listen to classical music:

Normally, I want to play all movements of a piece of classical music in the right order. I want spaces between movements where there were spaces on the CD. If there was no space between movements on the CD, I want no space introduced. This can be very disconcerting to have a break in the sound when the orchestra is playing or a singer is singing.

I want to select one version of the piece of music to be played - a particular conductor, orchestra, soloist, etc and have all movements played on the basis of my one selection of the work as a whole.

I want the work played to the end ONCE. I don't want SB/Slimserver to start over and play it again. I don't want the player to jump to the next track in the library either.

I might like to queue up several works to be played by selecting each whole work. If I use some sort of smart playlist feature, I want it to work by selecting an entire performance of a work to play next.

I sometimes want to hear an individual movement in a work. I had that flexibility with CDs and I don't want to lose it.

I sometimes want to listen to an entire CD's contents from beginning to end even though it contains more than one work. It is more often the case, that I want to listen to one work on a CD and not to the other tracks.

Sometimes a work will be split between two CD's in a set. I want to have all the tracks making up the work grouped so that I can select the whole as a whole.

If I like a piece of music, I wind up with more than one performance. Usually, I will have performances by different conductors, orchestras, soloists but sometimes I'll have more than one performance with the same performers recorded at a different time. (For a piece I really like, I might have a dozen recordings.)
I need both Composer and Soloist/Conductor/Orchestra information.

When I select a work to play, I want to pick a particular performance. I want to select a composer first, then a particular work (Beethoven's fifth piano Concerto), then a Soloist and Conductor and Orchestra. If there are still multiple performances meeting these criteria, I would probably be able to use the CD album title to make a selection.

Sometimes, I might start with the Conductor, soloist or orchestra.

The ArkivMusic.com online music store is organized in a way that works for me buying music and would work in selecting music to play. (See http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/main.jsp.)
I click on composer and the website shows me a list of works by that composer. I pick the work from a list. If there are too many individual works, they are grouped by type (soloist and orchestra, chamber works, etc.) and I pick the type of work first. After I pick the work, the website shows me a list of soloists in one column, conductors in another column, orchestras in another column and record labels in another column. I could start with a conductor and choose composer, work, etc in later steps. A very nice interface.

----
I've been trying to use Softsqueeze and Slimserver along with iTunes, Foobar and MusikCube players. I try to see how to prepare my music library with the following choices:

1. Do I rip an entire work as one file or with one file per CD track? If I rip an entire work as one file, I preserve the right gaps and I can play the work or add it to the queue as a whole. Maybe I can use a cue file to retain information about individual tracks but I don't know how a player handles such a file unless it is clearly documented. I may lose the ability to play an indiviual movement if I rip the entire movement as a single file. On the other hand, if I rip each track as a separate file, I may have problems preserving the spacing between movements and I will probably have trouble selecting an entire work as a unit for playing or queueing.

2. What text do I put in what tags?

3. How do I store my files in folders?

4. What scheme do I use for file names?

5. What setup choices do I make when I install the player s/w?

6. What commands do I use to select what I want?

7. How will the system work when I've ripped 1500 CDs and added them to my library? Will the player software still be robust and responsive? Will the interface still allow me to select what i want to play quickly and easily? How do I arrange things to keep it working well?

I'm willing to be flexible in how I rip, tag, store and name files. However, I need good documentation on the player to understand what will work for me. The way the player s/w works determines the right answers for the questions and the whole set of answers need to be fit to make a usable solution to the classical music problem. For some players, there may not be a reasonable way to use them for classical music.

I din't find the "Beginner's guide to tagging classical music"'s simple recommendations to be useful. (Using the
"Album" tag to identify a piece, the "Artist" tag to identify the composer and the "Title" to identify the movement.) You need to retain the Conductor, Orchestra and Soloist as a basis for selecting what to play. I thought most of the rest of the guide was on target but the guide doesn't provide a coherent set of answers to the questions I listed.

I found a Slimserver option to add Composer tags to the Artist entries in the database but that makes the lists I have to scroll through much longer. And while Slimserver provides some support for other tags, I haven't found a way to use them in the way that Artist and Album tags can be used from the Squeezebox or the web interface. The guide does not discuss what you can do with other tags beyond the basics.

I've been experimenting with Softsqueeze and Slimserver to try to find a set of answers to the questions I listed. I haven't found it to be easy and I don't have a reasonable solution yet. I'd hate to give up on the SB/Slimserver package because it offers promise of good sound, good support for open standards like MP3 and FLAC and the ability to work with things like AAC and ALAC when it is needed.

I've been lurking on this forum since it was a mailing list. I have collected some good information but I'm disappointed in the advice given about classical music. So I'd like to suggest that we start with a good problem description before we write up a solution. I've described what I'm looking for and perhaps other classical music listeners can describe what they need.

Bill

ceejay
2005-12-03, 03:06
Hi Bill

Many thanks for the considered feedback! I agree with your summary of requirements, they are pretty much what I had in mind. The Slimserver/Squeezebox is fairly easy to set up to do all of those things EXCEPT that smart selection by conductor/etc is less than ideal.

I'll just address a couple of the easier points:

- Gapless - yes, you're right to highlight this as a requirement. However you don't have to go the single file/cuefile route - FLAC, properly ripped, will do this just fine. Equally, if you go the single file/cue sheet route you can still play a single movement if you fancy (Slimserver works out that it is a "track").

- grouping the tracks/movements correctly together to make a piece (eg symphony) is also, I agree critical. This is why the "Album" recommendation is key. If you set up the 4 movements of a symphony to be one album then slimserver will find it very easy to play that album for you

- listening to a whole CD is made easy if you use the recommendation to put one CD in one directory - then you can use the Browse Music Folder function to play it (although the pieces might not come out in the same order - this depends on careful track naming)

I appreciate your request for a fully detailed scheme for all of this. There's a dilemma waiting for us (me!) here though: if I write up one of doing it and say "do it this way" there will be lots of people who have equally valid ways who might disgaree. Which is better will depend on subtleties in desired usage.

The way I'd thought of which might address this - its come up in another context as well - would be to write a "This is how I did it" example, which leaves it open to others to contribute their own. Would that be helpful?

The last point is a bit more fundamental: any guide can only describe how to use the system as it is, not how we'd like it to be. And its fair to say that I've not yet seen a perfect system for dealing with the complexities of Classical Music playing, there is a certain amount of kludging going on here. There may well be a case for a separate thread asking for more/better functionality!

In the meantime I'll have a go at bringing some of your comments and suggestions into the Guide as it is.

Thanks again for the feedback!

Ceejay

ceejay
2005-12-03, 03:30
http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?HowtoBestAudioQuality

"My own personal example might clarify a bit. My CDs compress on average to 300Mb (flac) and about 60Mb (MP3). I have 350 CDs which is approx 105Gb (flac) or 21Gb (MP3). A brand new 200Gb drive cost me GBP75. So for me I've kept everything as FLAC and I'll probably create an MP3 version as well (which is easy as I have the FLAC original). Also it's taken me about 2 minutes a disc to rip them (my time not the computers) ie about 700min = nearly 12 hours. Finally as they are flac if I ever want to convert to a new format I can automate the process without having to reread all my disks."

Author of this see the page for my comments. Also any prices should probably be in US$

Jim - I agree about the possible misunderstanding that a reader could take from this - but I don't think you are disagreeing with the author, just asking for a little clarification. In that case, why not make a change yourself?

I've noticed several minor amendments and clarifications have been made by various people on the stuff I've written, and I'm delighted to see it!

BTW, GBP75 = US$135 approx (today!). And yes, I agree that as a general rule US$ is the appropriate universal currency to use...

Ceejay

Listener
2005-12-03, 14:07
> Many thanks for the considered feedback!

Thanks for responding quickly and positively.

> The Slimserver/Squeezebox is fairly easy to set up to do
> all of those things EXCEPT that smart selection by
> conductor/etc is less than ideal.

I'm not sure that I would rate the Slimserver/SB so high. Maybe when it is better documented, it will seem more useful to me. Without the Slimserver setting to add Composer tags to the Artist list, I don't think that Slimserver would be useful at all. However, I want to browse Composer first and the Conductor and Soloist at a later step.

One example. I've tried playing a work from Softsqueeze with the following commands: Browse Music,Browse Artists, Beethoven, Coriolan Overture, Softsqueeze then displays "5. Overture Coriolan Op. 62". I click the play button and the track is played. Then it starts again. If I select a work with more than one movement, display the first track and click the play button, the tracks will be played in order but then they are played again. I've looked for some way to change this behavior and haven't found anything yet.

When I'm going through the menu steps, it is hard for me to know what I'm choosing. I have 2 Beethoven Symphony 3 recordings in the library. After I select Beethoven as the artist, I scroll to Symphony 3. There are two entries displayed with that text (I don't know whether it is the album or a folder name.) To pick the one I want with Savall conducting, I have to select one with the right arrow, showing the first track and then press the down arrow to get artist information. None of this is documented and I'm just blundering around trying to figure out how things work and how I might accomplish what I want.

> - Gapless - yes, you're right to highlight this as a
> requirement. However you don't have to go the single
> file/cuefile route - FLAC, properly ripped, will do this
> just fine. Equally, if you go the single file/cue sheet
> route you can still play a single movement if you fancy
> (Slimserver works out that it is a "track").


Successive tracks without gaps are not the norm but they do occur. Any solution has to work correctly preserving gaps and in avoiding creating gaps where there were none on the CD.

I think you probably want to turn off crossfade and such effects at the minimum.

It isn't clear from the documentation what is done with cue sheets and how they will affect what you see in a list of albums, artists, etc.

> - grouping the tracks/movements correctly together to make a
> piece (eg symphony) is also, I agree critical. This is why
> the "Album" recommendation is key. If you set up the 4
> movements of a symphony to be one album then slimserver will
> find it very easy to play that album for you

I don't understand playlists on SB/Slimserver at all. I know that on iTunes, they appear to be a single level thing - a collection of tracks.

I think your answer is the sort of advice a user needs.

> listening to a whole CD is made easy if you use the
> recommendation to put one CD in one directory -
> then you can use the Browse Music Folder function
> to play it (although the pieces might not come out
> in the same order - this depends on careful track naming)

This needs to be spelled out in detail. Since using iTunes to rip and tag is supported by Slimserver/SB, the situation needs to be discussed for that case (where iTunes may control the directory layout.)

> if I write up one of doing it and say "do it this way" there
> will be lots of people who have equally valid ways who might
> disgaree. Which is better will depend on subtleties in
> desired usage.

I agree that one size won't fit all. For example, I have few opera recordings and don't listen to opera much at all. I don't have the natural understanding of what an opera listener would want to do.

> The way I'd thought of which might address this - its come up
> in another context as well - would be to write a "This is how I
> did it" example, which leaves it open to others to contribute
> their own. Would that be helpful?

Yes! In the main document, put a single short paragraph of description of the purpose and strength of that personal system and links to the detailed description. I think one person needs to edit the "This is how I did it" examples so that they can be compared and contrsted easily by the reader. Some information about the size of the writer's music library, what kind of music is in it and how he or she listens would provide good context. "This is how I did it" needs to link the tagging, layout and file naming schemes to the use of the SB or web interface. And no "mine is best" bragging.


> any guide can only describe how to use the system as it is,
> not how we'd like it to be. And its fair to say that I've not
> yet seen a perfect system for dealing with the complexities
> of Classical Music playing, there is a certain amount of
> kludging going on here. There may well be a case for a
> separate thread asking for more/better functionality!

It was my intent to describe what I wanted without restriction for two purposes: 1) to get more documentation of using the existing product and 2) to create an awareness that some changes may be needed in the product. Especially in its user interface.


> In the meantime I'll have a go at bringing some of your
> comments and suggestions into the Guide as it is.

Thanks for making the effort. I'm at the point where I have pretty clear ideas on what I want but not much understanding of how to get it.

Bill

gorstk
2005-12-03, 14:23
Listener wrote:

> One example. I've tried playing a work from Softsqueeze with the
> following commands: Browse Music,Browse Artists, Beethoven, Coriolan
> Overture, Softsqueeze then displays "5. Overture Coriolan Op. 62". I
> click the play button and the track is played. Then it starts again.
> If I select a work with more than one movement, display the first track
> and click the play button, the tracks will be played in order but then
> they are played again. I've looked for some way to change this
> behavior and haven't found anything yet.

On the squeezebok remote press repeat until it says 'repeat off' on the
player. I think softsqueeze also has a repeat button.

Most web skins also have a feature to turn this on/off

Listener
2005-12-03, 16:33
> On the squeezebok remote press repeat until it says 'repeat off'
> on the player. I think softsqueeze also has a repeat button.

Thanks. Softsqueeze has a repeat button and it works as you described. After I posted my previous message, I poked around and found that I could turn off repeating from the Softsqueeze Settings menu too.

A step forward.

---- album title
I've been experimenting with Browse Artist again. A few discoveries: The Disk # tags get appended to the album name
as "(Disk 1 of 5)" for example. And if I tag two different performances of Beethoven's third symphony with just the words "Beethoven: Symphony 3" the movements of the two different performnces will be jumbled together when I select the album name. And if the album info is two long to fit on the SB screen, I have to wait for it to start scrolling and scroll to the end of the album title before I make a selection. This gets to be very slow and painful if you have to go through a long list.

Based on what I know now, I should remove the Composer name to keep things short and allow me to jump into the list by typing the firts letter of the album name. (type "S" for symphony on the remote.) I should appreviate the work name (Sym. rather than Symphony.) I should put some conductor info in the album title so that I can select the right performance. For example, I might tag one performance as "Sym. 3 - Savall" and another as "Sym. 3 - Szell". And I should remove the disk number tags unless they are really meaningful. (Or maybe there is a server/player option to control what is displayed with the album tag.

I'm working with a library of perhaps 50-100 CDs rather than my full library of 1000 classical CDs and 500 other CDs. When I have 12 albums listed for Beethoven's Sym. 3 and a similar number for 8 other symphonies, 5 piano concerti, etc., it will get to be unbearable to scroll through perhaps 120 album titles to pick the one I want to listen too.

I've also experimented with the Browse Music Folder approach. I used iTunes to rip most of my library. iTunes made its own choices on where to store things and it was not very consistent. Some CDs got stored in directories by artist, then album title but some got put in compilation directories named by compilation/album title with part of the artist tag appended. I'm aware that you can set tags for the CD in the drive before you rip separate from setting tags for the ripped tracks in the library. This may affect where iTunes stores ripped tracks.

If Browsing by Music Folder is to be useful to someone who ripped hs collection with iTunes, some clear instructions will be needed.

I have another library with mp3 files arranged in a directory hierarchy by composer/work/conductor or soloist. I'll see if I can get Slimserver to find that directory and seem what I learn.

Bill

ceejay
2005-12-03, 16:45
Hi again

glad you've got "repeat" sorted out.

I'd be careful with taking the composer out of the album name. Suppose you have recordings of both Beethoven and Brahms Symphony 1, conducted by Karajan. So you go looking for music by Karajan and find two "Symphony no. 1" - which is which?

I'd strongly recommend having an Album name along the lines of:

Beethoven Symp 1, Op xx - Karajan - Berlin Phil - 1978

The last bit being the recording year which would only be required where you have more than one. Yes, you'd have to wait for a little scrolling, but the most important data is coming first.

This will stop different performances beig jumbled up.

I can also recommend the use of the Lazy Search plugin for finding things quickly.

I gather you are using iTunes to rip to MP3. This is IMHO a VERY bad idea. You can't, AFAIK, get proper gapless this way. I would strongly recommend using EAC to rip to FLAC - you will also get better audio quality this way.

I will be writing these and other gems into the guide when I get round to it - maybe tomorrow night.

In the meantime I've been looking into the issues around searching by composer etc and will be posting a separate query on this one.

Regards

Ceejay

gorstk
2005-12-03, 16:55
Listener wrote:
>>On the squeezebok remote press repeat until it says 'repeat off'
>>on the player. I think softsqueeze also has a repeat button.
>
>
> Thanks. Softsqueeze has a repeat button and it works as you described.
> After I posted my previous message, I poked around and found that I
> could turn off repeating from the Softsqueeze Settings menu too.

Not a problem.

> ---- album title
> I've been experimenting with Browse Artist again. A few discoveries:
> The Disk # tags get appended to the album name
> as "(Disk 1 of 5)" for example. And if I tag two different performances
> of Beethoven's third symphony with just the words "Beethoven: Symphony
> 3" the movements of the two different performnces will be jumbled
> together when I select the album name.

This is becuase slimserver does not know what order to play the songs.
It will play them in order of the track flags so...
1. from verion a
1. from bersion b
2. from version a
2. from version b
.....etc

> And if the album info is two
> long to fit on the SB screen, I have to wait for it to start scrolling
> and scroll to the end of the album title before I make a selection.
> This gets to be very slow and painful if you have to go through a long
> list.

1. decrease the 'scroll pause' time which is defaul at 3.6 sec *
2. use smaller text on the display (press the size button)
3. put the important info at the start of the title

* in the web interface --> player settings --> display tab --> scroll
pause --> change the values to suit you (I use 1 second)


>
> Based on what I know now, I should remove the Composer name to keep
> things short and allow me to jump into the list by typing the firts
> letter of the album name. (type "S" for symphony on the remote.) I
> should appreviate the work name (Sym. rather than Symphony.) I should
> put some conductor info in the album title so that I can select the
> right performance. For example, I might tag one performance as "Sym. 3
> - Savall" and another as "Sym. 3 - Szell". And I should remove the
> disk number tags unless they are really meaningful. (Or maybe there is
> a server/player option to control what is displayed with the album
> tag.

There is a 'show artist with albums' option (web interface --> server
settings --> formatting --> show artist with alobums). But I am not sure
if this shows the composer or not?

Listener
2005-12-03, 20:51
ceejay> I'd be careful with taking the composer out of the album name.
> Suppose you have recordings of both Beethoven and Brahms
> Symphony 1, conducted by Karajan. So you go looking for
> music by Karajan and find two "Symphony no. 1" -
> which is which?

ceejay> I'd strongly recommend having an Album name along the lines of:
> Beethoven Symp 1, Op xx - Karajan - Berlin Phil - 1978

Your example is a good one. If I have the server add Composer tags to the Artist tags, I'll be coming to the second stage of the browse in two different ways: 1) I've selected the Composer and don't need to display it but I probably need to see the Conductor/Orchestra/Soloist in the album title. or 2) I selected the Conductor/Orchestra/Soloist and don't need to see that in the album title but I need to see the Composer.

If I put both Composer and Conductor... into the Album title, it is likely to require horizontal scrolling to distinguish things. And typing the initial letter may not help if I've already selected on that tag.

ceejay> I can also recommend the use of the Lazy Search plugin for
> finding things quickly.

I don't see it on the list in server settings/ plugins. I'll look that up. I have discovered that I can type one letter to jump to the appropriate part of the list.

ceejay> I gather you are using iTunes to rip to MP3. This is IMHO a
> VERY bad idea. You can't, AFAIK, get proper gapless this way.
> I would strongly recommend using EAC to rip to FLAC - you
> will also get better audio quality this way.

I'm mostly making MP3 and AAC files rather than ALAC or FLAC because I'm in an experiment phase and I don't have room on my laptop. When I see a decent solution, I'll be in the market for a Terabyte plus of storage. I did make an effort to install and use EAC. Having to track down the correct versions of EAC, LAME and the FLAC encoder is a pain. Trying to get the right info on using them is a pain. My favorite piece of advice is the usual reply when someone asks how to produce FLAC files from EAC: the person asking is directed to a writeup on producing MP3 with EAC. I set it all up and produced FLAC files with no tags and meaningless file names.

I've read hundreds of threads about EAC versus other ripping s/w and understand the issues. (I spent 30 years writing low-level software such as network node code, real-time kernels, device drivers and Windows kernel software.) I'm looking for a well-thought out product and not a major hobby project.

ceejay> In the meantime I've been looking into the issues around
> searching by composer etc and will be posting a separate
> query on this one.

I saw it. You are moving fast.

Gorstk> This is becuase slimserver does not know what order to
> play the songs.

I understand now. When I ripped and tagged these two performances, I didn't know how Slimserver would use the tags.

It does lengthen the album list to put composer and artist into the album tag.

Gorstk>2. use smaller text on the display (press the size button)

Good idea. No more lines than before by more characters per line.

Gorstk>3. put the important info at the start of the title

Well, as I discussed above, what's important depends on what you have already selected.

----
As I try things out and discuss what I'm finding, I get more convinced that the series of decisions I discussed earlier in the thread are closely connected and need to be documented as a whole.

Thanks again for the responses from both of you.

Bill

ceejay
2005-12-04, 10:51
Bill

As promised, I've updated http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToClassical to cover some of the points you raised.

I suspect I still haven't gone as far as you want, which I think was a full step-by-step guide to doing everything. I'm holding back from that because one of my original criteria for the BeginnersGuide (which I still think is right) is to try to stop it becoming a full users manual - this would take too long and would create a maintenance nightmare.

Regards

Ceejay (and also hope to see you in the other thread about the future use of COMPOSER/etc)

Listener
2005-12-04, 17:25
> As promised, I've updated [the Beginner's GuideToClassical]
> to cover some of the points you raised.

I've read it. I think you can covered good points and plugged a big hole in the SS/SB documentation.

A comment about choices for album name and title. I think the choices depend on how much classical music you have. I am not sure that your recommendations will scale well to a library or 1000+ classical CDs. I might have a positive recommendation in a couple of days.

Browse Music Folder is a definite option for finding music in a large collection. I build a hierarchy of directories with MP3 files from various sources. I'm just getting starting trying it out with SS/SB. This hierarchy is MyMusic/Composer/(type of music)/work/(performers). The bottom level directory usually contains one music file per movement.

I only use the (type of music) level if I need to split the works in smaller sets. The performers directory name has a concatenation of whatever tags is appropriate for the work - conductor_orchestra or soloist_conductor_orchestra or quartet name.

I think that Browse Music Folder has promise and folder organization might be discussed at more length and in terms of the reason for it: to split browse lists into more manageable lengths.

> I suspect I still haven't gone as far as you want,

I think that a good user's guide is needed. I agree that it is reasonable for you to avoid it.

I think I said earlier that the choices made in ripping, tagging, storing and naming files were linked to the UI mechanisms available in SS/SB. I think a bit more explanation of why your recommendations are important would be good. Right now, these isn't much documentation about what happens at each step of browsing. Telling beginners why they are tagging things as you recommend and how they will select music using those tags would help a beginner alot.

You stress consistency. I found that however much I tried to be consistent, I would make some mistakes. Some words on cleaning up your tags would be useful. I've found that tracking down mistakes isn't trivial.

I think that recommending a tag editor program that is viual and capable and saying that there ar elots of other choices would be helpful.

Thanks for making the effort. It is worthwhile in itself and I appreciate your taking the further step to talk about modifications to the SS/SB to better handle classical music.

Bill

ceejay
2005-12-05, 00:55
Hi Bill, glad you like the improvements.

Just a couple of points:

(1) I'm rather sceptical about the use of Browse Music Folder as a mechanism for finding music. I do use it myself occasionally, when I know exactly what I want, or when I want to play a whole CD. But the use you've described has some drawbacks:

- you're not making any use at all of the tagging information.

- it feels relatively hard to change (you have to use a file manager to make changes)

- you've just lost the ability to play back a whole CD, which was one of your original requirements!

- you've made it very hard to make mass changes to a "tag" (which has now become a directory name)

I think this will lead you to a fragmented file system, not at all what you want for 1000 CDs.

(2) Scaling - ok, my classical collection isn't nearly as big as yours, about 250 CDs so far, but I'm not seeing any signs of scaling problems in usability. If I know what I want (a particular symphony) I can go straight to the various choices and pick one. If I don't know what I want, I can browse in various ways (admittedly not conductor or band yet!!). I find I use the browse by Genre a lot, especially now I've carefully set up multiple genres on all my classical music.

(3) Tag program recommendation - see the BeginnersGuideToTagging!
Personally I use mp3tag, it is good at making bulk changes to groups of tags. Its not ideal in the Genre field and just a little fiddly for the "extras" (like conductor). I'm still waiting for someone to point out something better. Finding tag errors is usually just a question of looking at the lists (of artists or albums), the discrepancies normally leap off the (web) page.

Ceejay.

Listener
2005-12-05, 15:52
I understand that organizing music files solely by directory structure is awkward. Right now, I'm exploring the possibilities.

> (2) Scaling - ... but I'm not seeing any signs of scaling
> problems in usability.
> If I know what I want (a particular symphony)
> I can go straight to the various choices and pick one.

Well, my usual situation is that I know what I want but it takes way too lomng to get there with the SB and remote.

> If I don't know what I want, I can browse in various ways
> (admittedly not conductor or band yet!!). I find I use the
> browse by Genre a lot, especially now I've carefully set up
> multiple genres on all my classical music.

Multiple classical music genres will help me but I'll still be left with 100 plus Beethoven symphony performances, 100 plus Mozart Concerti, 150 plus Haydn Symphonies or 70 plus Haydn string quartets when I get to the stage where I'm browsing albums.

> (3) Tag program recommendation - see the
> BeginnersGuideToTagging!

I looked at all three programs recommended. I understand that Composer, Conductor, etc. aren't useful right now but if the browsing facilities in SS are extended, they will be useful.

mp3Tag - doesn't display Composer or Conductor in the main list or those properties in te left pane. It does show all the tags if you click on View/Tags. Hard to use it tofix problems though.

Tag&Rename - supports coomposer, conductor and orchestra as far as I can tell. For some reason, composer isn't listed as one of the %n values you can use for file <-> tag operations.

Godfather - seems to support composer but not conductor or orchestra.

I think recommending a tagging program that supports all the tags we want to browse is important. That's why I raised the issue.

Bill

ceejay
2005-12-05, 15:58
I think recommending a tagging program that supports all the tags we want to browse is important. That's why I raised the issue.



Trust me, I'm not holding back on a recommendation for a (nearly) perfect tagger - I really don't know of one! Mp3tag isn't too bad for fixing problems even with the non-preferred tags like "Composer" - you can select an entire directory of files (or several, joined together temporarily), and check or fix the value of the Composer (or any other) tag.

But its still fiddly, I agree, so if you find something better be sure to let me know!

Ceejay.