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marnie6771
2007-07-22, 09:34
Dear all,

As I had originally started to encode all my classical cds with the intention of broadcasting them through a Shoutcast radio station, I found that the following tag info worked for me very well:

Artist:
Berliner Philharmoniker / Herbert von Karajan

Album:
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Title:
I. Allegro con brio
II. Andante con moto
III. Allegro
IV. Allegro

Now that I have discovered the bliss of using the Squeezebox I am beginning to have problems with the way I tagged my cd's. The trouble is that when I have several performances of the same work (i.e. albums with the same name), the Squeezebox/SlimServer shows the following

album (year) from artist (performance 1), artist (perf. 2), artist (perf. 3), artist (perf. 4) etc

That is already very bothersome, but then I want to play one of these albums and press -> on the rc and then I'm getting all the tracks from all the albums!

Does anybody know whether it is possible to let the Squeezebox or Slimserver show it like this

album (year) from artist (performance 1)
album (year) from artist (perf. 2)
album (year) from artist (perf. 3)
album (year) from artist (perf. 4)

Any help would be appreciated!

Many thanks in advance and kindest regards from

Marcel
The Netherlands

pfarrell
2007-07-22, 10:03
I found that the following tag info worked for me very well [snip]


Now that I have discovered the bliss of using the Squeezebox I am beginning to have problems with the way I tagged my cd's.

Does anybody know whether it is possible to let the Squeezebox or Slimserver show it like this



Since the SlimServer is open source, anything is possible, and it may be easy.

What you are finding is the hard cold fact that tagging is an inexact art. Most tagging tools are aimed at pop/rock and do poorly, terribly, or worse for classical music. Actually they are bad for almost all types of music that is not rock. They do pretty terrible jobs on jazz as well.

You should check out the ripping forum, that is where a lot of us exchange complaints and ideas about how to address this.

This problem is what pushed me to get involved with the development of the 6.* system, which uses a database rather than relies solely on the tags.

Listener
2007-07-22, 11:21
I don't think that SS / SB is the best choice for classical music but there are some things you can improve.

Some suggestions:

1. Try out the Custom Scan and Custom Browse plugins for SS. Defining a menu sequence like Genre/Composer/Album/Artist/Track Name might solve some of your problems.

2. Use a file format that lets you define custom tags beyond the minimal ID3 tag set that the MP3 file format uses. Flac and Ogg use a very flexible format for tags.

3. Get a tag editor that allows you to edit any tags you want (Mp3tag at http://www.anytag.de/ is one free tag editor. I use J. River Media Center 12. It provides secure ripping, great support for classical music tagging and playback. ~$ 40)

With these tools, you should be able to solve your problem.

A rant: The mainstream system of tagging was designed with no thought for supporting the needs of classical music playback. Now most ripping s/w, online tag databases and players are stuck in that rut. As long as the rest of the system doesn't support anything beyond the lowest common denominator, there isn't much value for a developer of one component to fix the problem.

As a user, I'm forced to decide whether to accept some sets of unsatisfactory kluges forced on me by the current system or to develop my own satisfactory solution for playing classical music. It took some research and experimentation but I didn't settle for kluges.

Bill

ceejay
2007-07-22, 13:54
See here for some general suggestions: http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToClassical

More specifically, Slimserver will NOT like the fact that you have, as far as it is concerned, several identically named albums. This it does not like.

This is why I put some elements of the unique identification of each recording within the album name: so in my personal system it would be:

Symphony 5 in C Minor, Op 67 - Karajan - Berlin PO

If I had more than one recording by the same set of artists, I would probably put the year at the end, though this hasn't happened to me yet!

I also have "Beethoven" in both ARTIST and COMPOSER, "Karajan" in CONDUCTOR and "Berlin PO" in BAND. You can use the MusicInfoSCR plugin to pick up these tags and display them how you want while playing.

You could also choose to put the Year in the Album title, of course, though that alone may not be enough to make all names unique.

Note that if you do go for any wholesale changes in your tags, you should be able to use Action Scripts in mp3tag to do your whole collection at once.

As Bill (Listener) says, you have to make some choices: not much of the digital music world was designed with classical music in mind.

Ceejay

marnie6771
2007-07-23, 13:09
Thank you all for your advice on this. I am now thinking about leaving the ´system' I have used until now intact. Instead of adding performers to the album tag, I now consider making playlists of all albums. In the playlist name I can put composer, work and performers automatically, and I will be able to distinguish between different performances. The only question that remains is: will I be able to search playlists, like I can search albums? Could this be done with the custom browse plugin? And are these plugins difficult to install?

By the way, I use dBpoweramp 12.2 Power Pack for secure ripping to FLAC, which works reasonably well for me. I occasionally use mp3tag e.g. for renumbering multi-disc operas. Do you think I should switch to J. River Media Center?

Kindest regards from

Marcel

marnie6771
2007-07-23, 13:29
As I reread the reply I just posted I noticed it may sound a little stubborn not wanting to change the way I use the album tag. This has two reasons: firstly, I can very easily work with Winamp for radio broadcasting if I leave the album tags the way they are.
And second, I see the whole operation of converting my collection to Flac as an opportunity to make it more accessible. When you have 3000+ classical cds, a lot of music will never surface when you're looking for it because its composer shares a cd with one or even more other composers. So a disc with the Grieg and Schumann Piano Concertos will only be played for the Grieg because it was phisically filed with the other Grieg titles, for example. My idea was to finally have a real library of classical music in which every minute of music was easily traceable. The best thing for me would be a real database with the music 'attached' to it, that would also be searchable through the Squeezebox, but I am afraid I am not clever enough to achieve that; I studied musicology, not programming computers...

cheers,

Marcel

snarlydwarf
2007-07-23, 13:45
I am confused...

If you have two "albums" (real or virtual) named the same thing, but in different directories, doesn't it seperate them? It should, I think: it does if the albums have different artists but the same name. (This is how SlimServer tells the ten thousand titles named "Greatest Hits" apart.)

If for some reason it combines them even if in different directories, I would think that would be a bug. (Though fixing it may be problematic... a lot of people complained about the 'different directories is a different album' logic.)

amcluesent
2007-07-23, 13:48
CustomBrowse installs fine; the developer has also written up his ideas on how to use it to support a library of classical music.

IMHO there is a need for a WORK tag which occupies the position "between" the ALBUM and TITLE. Although some would say ALBUM has no place in classical music. However, as there is no agreed tag standard for classical, I'm not going to go out on a limb and invest the time in setting up WORK, OPUS etc. in mp3tag, CustomScan, CustomBrowse to make it work on my setup :(

Have a look at the demos of the Fortuna Classical Maestro for ideas ;-)

Listener
2007-07-23, 14:49
By the way, I use dBpoweramp 12.2 Power Pack for secure ripping to FLAC, which works reasonably well for me. I occasionally use mp3tag e.g. for renumbering multi-disc operas. Do you think I should switch to J. River Media Center?


I use both J. River MC 12 and dBpoweramp R12.1 for ripping.
For classical music there is a tradeoff.

- dBpoweramp R12.1 rips much faster using a drive that reports C2 info than MC 12 or EAC Test&Copy secure mode - ~3 to 3 1/2 min. for a CD with 70+ minutes. (I haven't found that the classical CDs I'm ripping are likely to be in the AccurateRip database so that doesn't help much.) The AMG tag database seems to be somewhat more consistent than MC 12's YADB database. However, Composer and work name are inserted into Album, Artist and track title tags in unuseful ways. So getting enough tag info to make good file names takes longer than ripping itself. Doing the rest of the tag editing in MC 12 is an annoying and stressful task.

AMG often produces very long tag values that lead to very long path+file names. dBpoweramp truncates these during the rip which causes duplicate names between tracks. So it puts up a dialog box asking if you want to overwrite the previous file. At that point I have to abort the rip and revise the tag values. Lousy design, poor coding, inadequate testing. Poor documentation too.

I've seen one case where dBpoweramp ripped a track, listed it as accurate but playback produced a sizeable very audiible glitch. No glitch when I ripped with MC 12 or with dBpoweramp using a different drive. Disturbing for what is billed as the most secure ripper around.

There is also an extremely annoying bug in the disk ejection logic. The program ejects the CD and then closes the drawer again. This wipes out all the information about the rip just completed.

dBpoweramp feels buggy and unfinished. When I use it, I watch it carefully. I hate having to clean up the tag values from AMG and I hate re-editing the tags in MC 12. Watching the CD being ripped at high speed is great fun though.

- MC 12 rips at about 3.5 to 4 X on the same drive. I wind up entering tag info by hand but MC 12 lets me get it right the first time. It also provides shortcuts like drop-down lists of existing tag values that let me avoid typing tag values in many cases. The ripping itself is drama free. All in all, much lower stress than using dBpoweramp.

I'm undecided which program I'll use going forward. I've finished ripping my collection so I'm ripping 3-10 CDs in a batch as I buy them. In your position, if I had a drive that reported C2 info reliably, I'd try to use dBpoweramp for awhile.

Bill

pfarrell
2007-07-23, 18:42
A rant: The mainstream system of tagging was designed with no thought for supporting the needs of classical music playback. Now most ripping s/w, online tag databases and players are stuck in that rut. As long as the rest of the system doesn't support anything beyond the lowest common denominator, there isn't much value for a developer of one component to fix the problem.



A well justified rant, IMHO.
The initial ID3 tags were invented by NullSoft, when they made the (or one of the) first consumer friendly ripping programs. They were a bunch of rock-heads, and so they had tons of subtle distinctions between types of rock that sound identical to my old fogie ears. And one 'genre' for all of classical, ignoring the fact that some of use consider romantic quite different than baroque, etc.

I expect it will be a slow process to get the tools up to speed on 'genre's other than pop of the last century.

marnie6771
2007-07-24, 13:54
Dear all,

A big thank you for your thoughts on the problems I encountered. It seems now that placing albums with the same name in individual directories does the trick for me. The Squeezebox now behaves exactly the way I want it to. And what's more: thanks to your remarks about plugins I ventured into installing the custom browse plugin, which was indeed very easy. Until now it seems a very handy feature! So now it's back to ripping cds and fiddling with all the different options in the software! I will continue reading the messages in this forum and hope to be able to help others in the future.

Again, many thanks and kindest regards from The Netherlands,

Marcel

marnie6771
2007-08-07, 16:02
Dear all,

I am now ripping my classical collection at full speed; I have upgraded my dBpoweramp Powerpack to 'Reference', so that I have more possibilities and even faster ripping times.

The method I use now is to make a directory for every composer (Composer tag). In that directory there is a subdirectory for every work (Album tag). Therein is a subdirectory for every different performance (Album Artist tag).

This seemed to work exactly as I wanted: whenever I search for an work (Album), the SqueezeBox lists all performances of a work.

Now that the collection is growing, I notice a very disturbing thing: Some (not all) performances are listed together by SlimServer as if they were not in separate directories. These are all very different performances of the same works. I have looked at it very closely and I can't discover why SlimServer does this.
Apparently it does not have anything to do with the amount of performances I have; it is equal for 4 performances as for 15. For one work it chooses to combine 3 performances, for another 4. It seems it does this at random.

I include 4 documents with the details for 4 different performances of the same work, 2 of which (Mengelberg and Rattle) are put together by SlimServer. The other two (together with 12 others) are listed separately.

Does anybody know a solution for this?

With many thanks in advance and kindest regards by

Marcel

marnie6771
2007-08-07, 16:07
sorry, the attachments went wrong. Here they are as one zip file. Hope this works...

vrobin
2007-08-07, 16:36
I'm not sure but at first glance, it could be that for slim server, every mp3 in the collection that share the same "album name" is considered as being the same album, wherever the files are separated in the folders.

Using the album tag for the work and using this very same name for several differents albums cause slimserver to consider all files being the same album (quite logic indeed).

Could this be your problem?

If I trust the attachment, this is your problem... welcome again in the hell of classical music library management ;)

erland
2007-08-08, 00:59
I'm not sure but at first glance, it could be that for slim server, every mp3 in the collection that share the same "album name" is considered as being the same album, wherever the files are separated in the folders.

Using the album tag for the work and using this very same name for several differents albums cause slimserver to consider all files being the same album (quite logic indeed).

SlimServer is smarter than so, it doesn't just look at the album tag to detect if a song is the same album as a previous scanned album.
It also looks at:
- Compilation flag
- Disc number
- Track number
- Directory

However, when looking in the code, the logic is quite complex, it is also affected by the "GROUP DISCS" setting in "Server Settings/Behavioiur".



I notice a very disturbing thing: Some (not all) performances are listed together by SlimServer as if they were not in separate directories.
The first thing I would do is trying to change the "GROUP DISCS" setting and see if it makes any difference.

If this doesn't help, you might want to try to remove the disc tags from the files. If I interpret the code correct it will work so that if the track doesn't contain any disc tag it will always check the directory to detect if the album is the same or not. However, this will obviously get you into trouble if you have multiple disc recordings, for these you obviously want to disc tags.

In some situations the duplicate check is done on disc number, in other situations on directory and in some situations on both. As long as the check include the directory you should be fine, but this only happens if no disc number tags exist (if I have interpreted the code correctly).

If the duplicate check doesn't include the directory there is an extra safety check that results in that there will always be unique albums if the the same track number exists on the duplicate and the duplicate besides this also is in another directory. The "GROUP DISCS" setting will affect how this last extra safety check is performed or not. This extra safety check will lookup one duplicate album from the database to check against, so if you have more than two albums with the same album title and disc number I would imagine that the behaviour can be a bit random depending on which album it gets from the database.

vrobin
2007-08-08, 01:26
I knew about the disc grouping feature as I use it, but I thought that as we're in an itunes era where every mp3 file is put in the same directory, the directory information was totally unused to the profit of tags.

I'm glad to hear that SS is smart enough to use both at the cost of complication... it seems that there could be a simple solution to marnie's problem.

marnie6771
2007-08-08, 16:28
Thanks for your prompt replies. I just came home and I have to go to bed, so I don't have time to try what you suggest now, but I will certainly tomorrow. I'll keep you informed!

marnie6771
2007-08-11, 09:32
Dear all,

The last few days I have been experimenting with the pointers you gave me and it seems removing the 'Disc Number' tag from all the FLACs did the trick for me. They were all on '1/1', so I do not really care about not having it.

I started with changing the GROUP DISC setting, but that didn't give a different result. I also tried moving about titles into other directories or let them stand alone, to no avail either.

Then I tried disabling the compilation tag. I am sure dBpoweramp includes it because Slimserver shows it when I look into the details of a title, but apparently that is the only software that is able to show it. MP3Tag does not show it (at least not for native FLAC tags) and with the explorer extensions from dBpoweramp I could not see any reference to it. I have tried everything, even EasyTag under Linux, but I could not find a program that worked for me. Anyway, that was not the thing that caused me the headaches, so I not complaining.

Many thanks again from The Netherlands,

Marcel

ian_uk
2007-10-27, 12:19
but I thought that as we're in an itunes era where every mp3 file is put in the same directory,

<RANT ON>Who ever came up with that, needs their head looking at.
I mean 50,000 mp3's in one folder, the mind boggles. That's why we don't chuck everything in one very big cupboard, we'd never find what we wanted, quickly. Folders/directories are there for a purpose, use them for want they are meant for.<RANT OFF>