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View Full Version : Most elegant way to manage multiple trees



totoro
2006-12-23, 15:43
I've seen threads on similar issues before, and my current ideas are based on these. But the solution I have is _very_ brute force and kludgey, so I thought I'd see what others do.

I've been doing everything in apple lossless using itunes. Using inguz eq (which I love), I get the clicking at the beginning of tracks that others have noted with sb/slimserver in general. So I've decided to transcode all of my music to flac, and maintain a separate tree of mp3s of all of this music for my ipod.

I'm transcoding now using dbpoweramp: the only yuckiness of this is that my album art tags are lost in the process, so I'll have to redo them.

My understanding of the way others do this is that they use EAC to burn new music, and something like dbpoweramp to do the transcoding, with something like foobar2000 to manage things subsequently.

This will clearly work, but seems inelegant to me. Is there some other application that will combine the burning/tagging/tree management, a la itunes? Also, what is the best way to manage two parallel trees?

Finally, is there a way to get EAC to create the same sort of directory structure that itunes does? I couldn't seem to get it to do this. Or is this something I can get foobar to do?

Thanks for any help.

aubuti
2006-12-23, 19:05
If you want to transcode from Apple lossless to flac, I can't help you. For new rips (and re-ripping older tunes if you choose) EAC + Flac is a good choice. When setting up EAC you specify the parameters that determine both the tags (aka Vorbis comments) and the directory structure. The Slim Devices wiki configuration guide for EAC covers this nicely. http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToRipping

Maintaining parallel trees is actually pretty easy. Robin Bowes has written a very nice, and free, perl script that does the job. It's called flac2mp3.pl logically enough. It has a command line interface, and you just specify the source (flac) and target (mp3) parent directories, and it will produce an mp3 directory with exactly the same structure as the flac directory. It has some nice options, like letting you specify the mp3 compression parameters, or just updating the mp3 tags after you've updated the flac tags, etc. I don't have the link handy, but search on this forum (or www.robinbowes.com) and you'll find. Be advised that there are at least 2 or 3 scripts called flac2mp3.pl. The others may be fine, but I definitely have no complaints with Robin's.

If you need to do any subsequent tag editing, use a dedicated tagger like mp3tag (my fave) or tag&rename or foobar2000. Having 4 tools to do the work really isn't that inelegant, and the individual tools are really good at what they do. How many good mechanics use Swiss army knives?

totoro
2006-12-23, 22:18
I disagree on the elegance issue. ITunes does a perfectly adequate job on the burning/tagging/album art finding/file management front (it's just too bad they chose to go with a proprietary format). Sort of a devstudio/eclipse vs vi/gdb thing, I guess :). As I age, I seem to like ides more and more.....

This setup fine for me, but I don't think I'd want to tell my mom to do it.

I couldn't get foobar or tagtuner to manage my directories the way I'd like, but I'm sure there's a way to do it.

As far as the burning goes, I think there's some FUD around this. Earlier this year, I wrote a little app that would read in two directories, generate an md5 of each file's contents, and complain if any of the md5s for matching files were different.

I then ran this on 2 directories consisting of 20 cds each, one done by burning from eac, the other transcoded from apple lossless via dbpoweramp. Once I got the flac levels right on both, I got no differences. Clearly there will be some sometimes, but.....

Anyway, thanks for the help. I guess now it's just time to find a tagger I like, which hopefully will do what I want with the file structure without too much hassle :)

aubuti
2006-12-24, 11:26
Well, different strokes for different folks. I find file management on iTunes a catastrophe, and do directory management at the OS level, which makes the most sense to me. Your needs differ. The main thing is, as you no doubt realize, that if you've decided to go with flac then iTunes is resigned to being an irrelevant alternative.

There are plenty of good taggers out there, especially on Windows platform, and many of them are freeware or shareware. So try them out, and good luck. And for new rips, really look closely at all of EAC's options, because it lets you set up directories and filenames just about anyway you want with the command line options it passes to flac.exe.

totoro
2006-12-24, 16:37
For new rips, eac is the way I'll go. I guess my big hurdle is getting a tagger I like.

The transcoding is kind of a pita, but I only have to do it once, and then I don't have to worry about the owner of the format suddenly adding drm or something :).

I don't want to manage the file structure by hand, since I'm sure I'll end up being inconsistent. It looks like some of the taggers out there will do that, so that's what I'll go for.

Maybe there should be a sticky thread somewhere where people can list their favorite taggers. Seems like there's an embarrassment of riches there.

aubuti
2006-12-24, 19:57
Re the sticky thread, there's a good list on the wiki http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToTagging . Of course, the ripping/encoding/transcoding/tagging forum here is another excellent resource, although it doesn't have a sticky thread on that.

Maybe you'll find a tagger that does it just the way you like, but I find that even with good tagging software, directories and tags usually require a certain amount of manual intervention to get things right. The reference database is critical, and I've found freedb to be a bit quirky -- MusicBrainz gets good reviews, and you should definitely check it out.

totoro
2006-12-24, 20:22
It looks like I can deal with the godfather ok. Tried a few others and didn't like them.

Thanks for taking the time to help me.

Finished the transcoding. Now I just need to redo the album art, and I'm all done :).

totoro
2006-12-24, 20:24
Re the sticky thread, there's a good list on the wiki http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToTagging . Of course, the ripping/encoding/transcoding/tagging forum here is another excellent resource, although it doesn't have a sticky thread on that.

Maybe you'll find a tagger that does it just the way you like, but I find that even with good tagging software, directories and tags usually require a certain amount of manual intervention to get things right. The reference database is critical, and I've found freedb to be a bit quirky -- MusicBrainz gets good reviews, and you should definitely check it out.

Freedb is beyond quirky. For classical music, it's almost always wrong in numerous ways. But at least it gives you a starting point.

For the directories, I just want something that will create a consistent file structure given the tags I set. Seems like the godfather will do that ok.

aubuti
2006-12-24, 21:11
Agreed re freedb and classical: at present it's useless. I had forgotten about The Godfather, but from what I've heard it is probably your best bet. I've downloaded it, but never tried it out.

Cheers!

totoro
2006-12-24, 21:30
I do have a question about album art (I posted it on the ripping forum, as well).

The godfather has an option to attach art to the files. I tried this, and it didn't work.

I then tried sticking a file called cover.jpg in one of my album directories. It showed up when I selected the album, but not when I
selected the artist or tried viewing the albums as a gallery.

Is there something other than sticking this file there I need to do?

Thanks again for your help.

JJZolx
2006-12-24, 22:20
I then tried sticking a file called cover.jpg in one of my album directories. It showed up when I selected the album, but not when I
selected the artist or tried viewing the albums as a gallery.

Is there something other than sticking this file there I need to do?
You need to do a full library clear/rescan before SlimServer will pick these up and display them in the gallery views.

totoro
2006-12-24, 22:31
You need to do a full library clear/rescan before SlimServer will pick these up and display them in the gallery views.

Ah. Thanks. I probably would never have figured that out, and then it would have magically "fixed" itself for me at some point, leaving me completely befuddled. :)

Has anyone tried using the latest flac with slimserver? Would using this to embed the artwork be effective?

JJZolx
2006-12-24, 22:38
Has anyone tried using the latest flac with slimserver? Would using this to embed the artwork be effective?
They've added support for it in the SlimServer 7.0 alphas, but are holding off on adding it to the 6.5.1 nightlies. Perhaps when 6.5.1 has been released it may be added to the 6.5.x nightlies.

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=30847

JJZolx
2006-12-24, 22:59
I'm transcoding now using dbpoweramp: the only yuckiness of this is that my album art tags are lost in the process, so I'll have to redo them.

My understanding of the way others do this is that they use EAC to burn new music, and something like dbpoweramp to do the transcoding, with something like foobar2000 to manage things subsequently.

This will clearly work, but seems inelegant to me. Is there some other application that will combine the burning/tagging/tree management, a la itunes? Also, what is the best way to manage two parallel trees?

I use a similar approach as others have mentioned.


Rip using EAC and encode to Flac, adding the basic tags. I create the folders manually. For me it's quick and nearly foolproof and you often end up dealing with characters that Windows doesn't permit in folder names, so I prefer to deal with those as they happen.


Immediately afterwards, I retag all the files in the album using Mp3tag. Right-clicking the album folder in Windows Explorer and using a context-menu selection to get into Mp3tag is quick. I add things like ARTISTSORT and COMPILATION tags to all albums. Takes maybe 30 seconds for the typical album, but compilations can be time-consuming.

A tagger like Mp3tag is essential after you've ripped the folder for tasks like correcting typos after you discover them.


I mirror the Flac directory tree to mp3 using a VBS script that I've written. Runs in the middle of the night and only transcodes files that have been modified or are new. File and folder names are identical in both trees (with the exception of the music file extensions). The script also copies cover art, should it be needed. Using this approach, I don't even maintain the second (or third, or fourth, if I wanted) tree of files - it's completely automated.


You _can_ get EAC to create more than one type of audio file during the ripping process by using an application such as MAREO. I find that there are big disadvantages to doing that, though. First, the ripping process is slowed down quite a bit when you encode to a lossy format. The Flac encoding that I do during a rip takes just a couple seconds. Second, since the tags passed by EAC are incomplete, then it would mean retagging both versions of the album afterwards.