View Full Version : What's your MP3 workflow?

2006-08-28, 05:09
I've realised that whenever I add new music to my library, my workflow has become quite involved. My library is stored on a Mac Mini, which is where SilmServer runs. I have a laptop PC, and I find it more convenient to rip on this than on the Mac.

On PC:
- On PC, rip CD to MP3 using LAME (192kbps VBR)
- Permit iTunes to maintain directory structure
- Edit any obvious CDDB errors in iTunes
- Normalize volume to 89db using MP3gain
- Transfer files to Mac Mini (iTunes directory)
- Delete iTunes directory - ready for next rip session

On Mac:
- Remove all listed tunes in iTunes (keep files on drive). I'm trying to avoid duplicates here, and keep the iTunes db clean. Perhaps a redundant step?
- Re-add iTunes folder to iTunes (incuding new files)
- Rescan new and changed music in SlimServer

I think that's it.

Interested to hear of others' routines...


2006-08-28, 05:59
I also do a few steps to get the music the way I want.

From Laptop (WIntel):
- Rip CD with dbPowerAmp to FLAC Lossless format straight to my Music share on my NAS (QNAP) device
- Edit, clean, download additional info and download cover-art for tags using MP3Tag. I like to use Discogs for Dance Orientated Music and AllMusic for Classical and most otherstuff, if neither have the CD info then I use Amazon.
- Get Slimserver to do a re-scan
- Ready to listen to the music and check tagging in Last.fm

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-28, 06:20
I spent some time streamlining the process to be as automated as possible:

- correct any freedb errors in EAC. Mostly this is capitalization, spelling and genre errors. i DON'T knOw whozE ENTRING thiz inframation inTO FreeDB butt It's RELLy anoYYing. :-)
- rip, encode using MAREO.

MAREO really does all the work. It simultaneously encodes in FLAC and MP3, also running MP3Gain on the MP3 copy.

As long as EAC doesn't indicate any errors, I don't have to touch it.

I use the FLACs in SlimServer, the MP3s for a portable device.

2006-08-28, 06:41
I just rip with EAC to FLAC then get my artwork with Album Cover Art Downloader.

I have never really have any problems with the tags EAC generates.

Sometimes trancode to OGG or MP3 for portable use with Foobar2000.

2006-08-28, 06:49
Rip to flac with EAC.

Tag/rename with The GodFather using Allmusic plugin and download cover from Amazon.

Physically restruct and move the files/folders to Slimserver directory with The GodFather Organize tool.

2006-08-28, 07:23
Rip CD using EAC, encoded using FLAC

Place CD in drive

Proofread & correct freedb information

F4 to 'Detect Gaps'

Action > Create CUE Sheet > Current Gap Settings...

Create artist folder on local drive
Create album folder beneath artist folder
Save the CUE sheet to the album folder

Shift+F6 to 'Test & Copy Selected Tracks Compressed'

(while ripping) Go to allmusic.com and download cover.jpg to album folder. Occasionally do a Google image search if cover art can't be found at allmusic.com.

(while ripping) Edit CUE sheet to reference .flac files instead of .wav.

Open folder in Mp3tag (using right-click in Windows Explorer). Run series of Mp3tag Action Groups to:

Add Artistsort tag
Add Albumsort tag
Add Compilation tag (0 or 1, added to all albums)
Add additional Artist tags to all or some tracks (optional)
Add additional Genre tags (optional)
Add Disc tag (multidisk albums only)
Add Discc tag (multidisk albums only)
Add Albumartist=Various Artists (compilations only)

Move the artist/album folder to its final destination on the file server.

Occasionally there's a bit more work in Mp3tag, particularly when dealing with a compilation or odd tracks with contributing artists, as the Artistsort must be set according to whether the artist is a person (last name first, first name last) or a group (delete leading articles) or multiple artists (no artistsort tag can be set).

2006-08-28, 07:40
(while ripping) Edit CUE sheet to reference .flac files instead of .wav.

What is the purpose of a CUE sheet?

Add Artistsort tag
Add Albumsort tag
Add Disc tag (multidisk albums only)
Add Discc tag (multidisk albums only)
Add Albumartist=Various Artists (compilations only)

Can you explain (for the thickies) what is the purpose of the above Tags, where they are used what effect they have?

Many thanks,

2006-08-28, 08:11
What is the purpose of a CUE sheet?
A CUE sheet is generally used for burning a CD, giving the proper gaps and indexes to the burned CD. The non-compliant CUE sheets that EAC creates can only be used by a handful of burning programs (EAC, Burrrn, and PlexTools, IIRC). Burrrn, which I use, can burn directly from FLAC files, which is why I edit the CUE to reference the .flac file. It makes burning a CD copy to throw in the car stereo a very simple operation.

Can you explain (for the thickies) what is the purpose of the above Tags, where they are used what effect they have?
ARTISTSORT controls the sort order of artist in SlimServer's artist (and in 6.5, optionally, album) listings. I use this mostly to enable doing lastname first, firstname last sorting of individual artists.

ALBUMSORT isn't really necessary. I remove leading articles the same as SlimServer would. I just choose to do it in the tags instead. Occasionally I'll find some reason to change the sort order of an album that isn't based on its title.

COMPILATION may or may not be necessary on non-compilation disks, but on actual compilations, it's a real good idea. SlimServer has had a zillion problems figuring out compilation (Various Artists) albums on its own - and these bugs have a nasty habit of returning. Explicitly adding the COMPILATION tag seems to cure 99% of the problems.

DISC is the disc number of a disc in multidisc set. I don't believe there's any other way for SlimServer to detect or number multidisc albums. It's necessary if you want to group the discs together in album listings and have the tracks ordered correctly - otherwise you get a track #1, then track #1, track #2, track #2, etc.

DISCC (Disc Count), the last I've seen isn't absolutely necessary for SlimServer. I include it for completeness, and because it's easy to add for the small number of multidisc albums in my library.

The additional GENRE and ARTIST tags are for organization. SlimServer handles multiple tags for both of these pretty well. An album can easily be found under two or more genres. Similarly, an artist that appears in a duo on one track on someone else's album can have that album listed when you do an artist search.

2006-08-28, 08:28
Throw CD into *nix workstation (NetBSD), open a shell.

Type "ripit --year XXXX" (inserting the year as appropriate - FreeDB doesn't supply this information).

Wait. ripit script extracts using cdparanoia, encodes with LAME (options -b32 -V0 -mj -q1) ultra high quality VBR files, then runs mp3gain across the entire directory (so the whole album) using album gain, don't clip.

Using ID3-TagIt, sanity-check the tags for capitalisation etc. Where more than one version of the same track exists on a CD (eg different mixes) enter the name of the mix into the ID3 comments field. I only use ID3v1.1 tags at present, so abbreviate the title if necessary.

Save any changes to tags and move all encoded MP3s to /pub/mp3/incoming on the media server. Either wait until midnight or run the update script manually. All files will be moved out of the incoming directory and into the correct directory for that artist, creating the directory if it doesn't exist. If the title, artist and comment tags are the same as an existing track then that file will be replaced by the new version.

The entire MP3 directory tree /pub/mp3/* is then scanned, with all the ID3v1.1 tag data being stored in a MySQL database. Once scanning is complete the update script "kicks" SlimServer into doing its own rescan then builds an M3U file for each complete album (for WinAmp), as well as creating symlinks for each album /pub/albums/<artist> - <album title>/<track no> <title>.mp3 and inserting a JPEG of the album artwork into the folder if one exists. If I want to make an MP3 CD (or DVD) I can then just burn these folders to the CD as-is.

Sounds complicated but it all works pretty much automatically. The update script runs at midnight, checking if there's any files in the incoming directory and aborting immediately if not (when run from cron).

2006-08-28, 08:39
inserting the year as appropriate - FreeDB doesn't supply this information

Weird - it does for me.

2006-08-28, 09:08

Thanks for the explanation. I can see setting a compilation attribute as a good idea as well as disc and number of discs.

I don't suppose adding additional tag properties will cause Slimserver any problems? I like the AllMusic extended information that I can add with MP3Tag such as Review (imported to comment property), Style and Mood?


2006-08-28, 15:22
my workflow:

1. booting into windows, rip cd with "eac" to flac
2. tag mit "mp3tag"
3. download cover art from "amazon/discogs/google"...(or sometimes even using my scanner, if no coverart found on the net)
4. move files to my music archive (extra harddisk of my pc)
5. update slimserver
6. listen...

...(7.) converting flac to mp3 (on demand for my portable mp3-player or creating a mp3-cd for my car stereo)
using a script (on a linux console or windows-cygwin), which converts flac to mp3 using lame ("alt-preset standard") and also tags the mp3s.

every week or so:
backup my music-archive harddisk to a second external usb-Hardisk

if EAC takes too long (scratched cd)
booting into linux, ripping with grip, tagging with easytag


2006-08-28, 23:33
Rip with EAC
Clean up tags and download album art etc. with Tag&Rename
Convert to MP3 using flac2mp3.pl
Embed album art in MP3s with Tag&Rename
Copy FLAC files across to my TS-101s music folder
Copy MP3 files across to my TS-101s MP3 folder
Copy MP3 files across to my Archos AV500 100gig
Copy some albums over to my SonyEricsson W800 and delete others off there to make space.

2006-08-30, 19:45
- Rip to FLAC via EAC (including basic clean up of freedb tags -- been meaning to try MusicBrainz instead)
- Grab album art (usually Amazon or allmusic.com)
- Run apply_replaygain.pl
- Use mp3tag to set Artistsort, plus any remaining clean up of FLAC tags
- Copy over to "debianized" LinkStation that runs slimserver
- Run flac2mp3.pl to generate MP3s for laptop & MuVo
- Use foobar2000 to set replaygain on MP3s
- Use mp3tag to embed album art and clean up any mp3 tags
- Copy MP3s to laptop music directory, and read into iTunes
- Copy MP3s to mp3 folder on LinkStation
- Every so often backup LinkStation to external USB hard drive

2006-08-31, 00:54
Put cd in drive, fire up MMJB. Rip it at 160. Listen to it. Thats it - love the simple life !

2006-08-31, 06:03
Yeah, maybe some of us need to get out more often.....

2006-08-31, 11:56
1) Music comes from CDs (ripped with CDEx > MP3 at 192 VBR) or Emusic.
2) Mp3Tag to make sure the tags look okay.
3) plugin my iRiver and my backup drive, copy the music to both.
4) connect to my linux server and move the music to it.
"I spent all me tin with the ladies drinking gin,
So across the Western ocean I must wander" -- traditional

2006-08-31, 12:12
Yeah, maybe some of us need to get out more often.....

That's partly my point. If all I want to do is listen to tracks - spelled correctly, and at approximately the same volume - it's an in depth process.

2006-09-11, 07:21
Fire up EAC. Confirm/Edit tags *before* ripping.
Rip CD and create MP3s with LAME.
Analyze with MiP and add data to tags.
ReplayGain data to tags with foobar.
Add Album art (folder.jpg)
Move to music directory.
Scan for New or Changed music with Slimserve.

2006-09-11, 09:40
1. Rip disc to Windows XP laptop with EAC
2. Use the MusicBrainz Picard tagger to update the tags and rename the files/folders
3. Run MP3Gain Album gain on the folder
4. Allow MusicIP's MusicMagicMixer to perform analysis on files and archive analysis within file.
5. Copy files to FreeBSD box on home network
6a. Enjoy tunes from Slimserver and MusicMagicServer running on FreeBSD box.
6b. Enjoy tunes from Windows MusicMagicMixer using FreeBSD Server as a "Device"

Note that once MusicIP gets their MusicMagicServer to include Exclusions (no analysis on podcasts, please!) and Watch Folders, I'll probably just hop from step 2 to step 5. I can set up a Cron job set up to run MP3Gain on new files right on the FreeBSD box, and MusicMagicServer would do the analysis on new files right on the FreeBSD box. In the meantime I copy them over to FreeBSD all set to go.