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JSharp
2007-10-23, 14:29
I have music files organized on my Windows XP Home hard drive through a database program called Music Label 2008, which I like very much. I have lots of information stored in that database and Music Label will play those music files using Windows Media Player on the computer.

I want to be able to play those music files on my home audio system. Iíd like to click on the music files in the Music Label 2008 database program and instead of hearing the music come through the computerís audio system, I would hear it come out of the home audio system.

Squeezebox seems to be hardware that would do that for me, but I admit very little understanding of this idea. My question is whether I can continue to use Music Label 2008 with Squeezebox to move the music files wirelessly through the home network system on a router to my home audio system? The Slimserver software has me confused because it also apparently catalogs music files but I donít want to use that software. Perhaps this is just a matter of using Squeezebox for the hardware but ignoring the software that comes with it.

John

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-23, 14:37
No, the Squeezebox only works with SlimServer for locally-stored files.

JSharp
2007-10-23, 14:56
Thanks for the answer. I was sure puzzled by that. Do you know of other hardware or another way I can play music files stored on the computer hard drive on my home audio system?

snarlydwarf
2007-10-23, 14:59
Thanks for the answer. I was sure puzzled by that. Do you know of other hardware or another way I can play music files stored on the computer hard drive on my home audio system?

You are leaving out of this specification something you included in the original:



Iíd like to click on the music files in the Music Label 2008 database program and instead of hearing the music come through the computerís audio system, I would hear it come out of the home audio system.

So what you really want is a long audio cable plugged into a second sound card.

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-23, 15:01
Multiple companies, mostly networking companies like Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, etc. offer such devices. There's a reason why no one here uses them - the Squeezebox offers better sound quality and is easier to control. Most of those devices are essentially "long audio cables" or remote soundcards and the control remains with your PC at all times - you want to advance to the next track, you have to go to your computer.

There's also the Apple Airport Express.

JSharp
2007-10-23, 15:18
Mark,
I want the sound quality to be as good as or nearly as good as putting the CD in the audio system's CD player, which is why I assumed a long cable from the sound card to the RCA jacks on the back of the receiver was not the solution. So I do want very good sound quality.

Do you know of anyone that makes something as good as Squeezebox but doesn't commit the buyer to using the software that comes with it? I had originally thought that Squeezebox simply included cataloging software as an option for those who didn't have anything else, much as CD burner drivers come from companies with add-on software that will do all sorts of things you can do with other software if you prefer. Why would Squeezebox make hardware that excludes a customer base that already has software for cataloging music?

John

snarlydwarf
2007-10-23, 15:33
MI had originally thought that Squeezebox simply included cataloging software as an option for those who didn't have anything else, much as CD burner drivers come from companies with add-on software that will do all sorts of things you can do with other software if you prefer. Why would Squeezebox make hardware that excludes a customer base that already has software for cataloging music?

Because what good is the display or the remote if you have to get up, go to a different room (why on earth would you have a noisy PC in your listening room?) to start playing songs?

Why would Slim/Logitech make a device that required you to keep a noisy machine in your living room so that you could control a music player?

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-23, 15:44
Mark,
I want the sound quality to be as good as or nearly as good as putting the CD in the audio system's CD player, which is why I assumed a long cable from the sound card to the RCA jacks on the back of the receiver was not the solution. So I do want very good sound quality.

You will probably get better sound quality if you have a digital out (optical or coax) from the computer soundcard and a digital in at the audio system. The Squeezebox will still be better, you have to get a pretty good soundcard to beat it. A computer's internals are electrically very noisy, you have to have fairly careful (read: expensive) design to overcome it. Companies like M-Audio (Audiophile or Delta series) or EMU, I believe I've heard of others.


Do you know of anyone that makes something as good as Squeezebox but doesn't commit the buyer to using the software that comes with it?

Uhh, if I did, I probably wouldn't be here. ;-) Seriously, what's wrong with SlimServer? You just don't like it or you think it won't work with yours?

Rather than giving up on it, have you tried the beta 7.0 version? There's a lot to like about it, there are many improvements.


I had originally thought that Squeezebox simply included cataloging software as an option for those who didn't have anything else, much as CD burner drivers come from companies with add-on software that will do all sorts of things you can do with other software if you prefer.

No, it does much more than that. It actually powers the Squeezebox - it generates its screen, it interprets its IR commands, it retrieves files for the SB. Without SlimServer, there is no SB. It's much more than cataloguing software, and in fact that isn't really what SS does.


Why would Squeezebox make hardware that excludes a customer base that already has software for cataloging music?

Because as I said above, SlimServer isn't really cataloguing software. It's meant to work alongside your software. However if your software is maintaining a database of all your music data and it hasn't added any tags to your music files, then it's, brutally and simply put, a bad program! No other solution will work with it either. Tags are made specifically for this reason - to be portable across many applications that need that data, and any program that selfishly maintains its own database while not maintaining any tags is doing you a great disservice.

Also note Logitech isn't alone in this approach - without iTunes, the Apple Airport Express' music functions are useless.

aubuti
2007-10-23, 15:46
I had originally thought that Squeezebox simply included cataloging software as an option for those who didn't have anything else, much as CD burner drivers come from companies with add-on software that will do all sorts of things you can do with other software if you prefer. Why would Squeezebox make hardware that excludes a customer base that already has software for cataloging music?
You might be mistaken about what the slimserver software is. It's not really cataloging software at all. The SqueezeBox is a "slim client", i.e., all it knows is how to receive bits streamed from slimserver and feed it into your audio system, plus receive and relay commands from the remote control to the receiver. So you need server software (e.g., slimserver) to feed that music stream to the SqueezeBox. Neither your cataloging software nor WMP can do that.

If your cataloging software writes standard tags, then you can most likely continue using it alongside slimserver. You can manage your library with Music Label 2008, but for streaming to your audio system you would point slimserver to your music library. Note that all of this depends on Music Label using standard tags and standard codecs.

I think one place you might be getting stuck is saying (a) you want good sound quality, and (b) you want to click on a file in Music Label and have it play out your audio system. If you can modify (b) to "select a track using the SB remote" then you're in business.

vrobin
2007-10-23, 15:50
You might need this thing:
http://www.sondigo.com/sirocco/overview

Or (as I do), an good usb soundcard with a long usb cable and short interconnect cable. Personaly, I use this (it's sold as a video acquisition card but audio part is very clean and gives very nice results with foobar2k and software SRC):
http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=205&product=11226
And this: http://www.cardas.com/content.php?area=products&content_id=1&pagestring=Interconnect&product_id=24

But I'm not sure you don't need a squeezebox :). This device is perfect and there's a lot of mean to get it to work with your music cataloger:
- Plugin that sends "play command" to the squeezebox from the cataloger
- Use your data to tag your music files (if they aren't fully tagged yet) and use thos custom tags to browse your music with SqueezeCenter (custombrowse+customtag squeezecenter plugins).

And last, I think that there's a plugin that sends the soundcard output to the squeezebox lying around those forums...

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-23, 15:55
I don't want to sound mean and I apologize if I did, JSharp.

The question is - does your software maintain tags in your audio files, in addition to its database? If it does, you're in luck - there should be no reason SlimServer won't work for you, but you'll still have to select songs to play using either SlimServer or the SB remote.

However if your software does not maintain tags, then as I said, it's doing you a disservice which will make using any other program (not just SlimServer) hard or impossible. iTunes, Winamp, foobar, etc. etc. etc., they all rely on tags.

JSharp
2007-10-23, 16:31
Iím not yet sure there is anything wrong with Slimserver. The only thing wrong with Slimserver that I think I know of is that I cannot use my existing database software with it where I have all CDs listed with tracks, musicians, individual notes, etc. With my existing software, I have a comprehensive database from which I can compile a playlist which I would like to use to transfer the music to play on the home audio system.

I appreciate that Squeezebox has to have server software to ship the music from the PC to Squeezebox and if itís as good at it as Iíve heard, I would love to buy the hardware and use the high quality server software to get great audio. My only departure from it is to make music selections not from Slimserverís catalog but from my own existing catalog.

I like Aubuti's description of Slimserver and I had thought that cataloging was a secondary feature, but I was afraid that I had to use Slimserverís catalog system if I used Slimserver at all. I will try to find out about tags; I know nothing about them. I will also find out about Music Labelís codecs. I donít really want to select tracks from the Squeezebox remote. I really like the idea of sitting at the computer and creating a unique playlist of tracks for a few hoursí of music.

JSharp
2007-10-23, 16:41
Mark,
No, you didn't come across as mean at all. I'm at that unfortunate stage where I know next to nothing about this topic that you know a lot about and I really appreciate you assisting me. I am reading as much and as fast as I can on the web. I am probably using terms wrong and missing entire concepts that can be very frustrating for others.

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-23, 16:54
OK - can you locate your music files on your hard drive? What is their extension? (you may have to go to Tools - Folder Options - View - uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types")

Then go to www.mp3tag.de/en and if the extension corresponds with its known file types:


* Advanced Audio Coding (aac)
* Free Lossless Audio Codec (flac)
* Monkey's Audio (ape)
* Mpeg Layer 3 (mp3)
* MPEG-4 (mp4 / m4a / m4b / iTunes compatible)
* Musepack (mpc)
* Ogg Vorbis (ogg)
* OptimFROG (ofr)
* OptimFROG DualStream (ofs)
* Speex (spx)
* Tom's Audio Kompressor (tak)
* True Audio (tta)
* Windows Media Audio (wma)
* WavPack (wv)

download it and load a file into it - do the tag fields have any data in them?

JJZolx
2007-10-23, 17:00
If using a particular software package for playback is important to you, then I would say what you want is either a high quality sound card that you can plug into a dedicated music playing PC, or else a USB DAC.

In either case, the "dedicated" PC part becomes fairly important. The typical desktop PC isn't a very friendly beast when placed in your music room. They're usually too noisy, too big. A PC designed to be quiet, maybe with a touchscreen, or else a fairly quiet laptop are your best choices. If you go with a laptop, then a USB DAC is really the only solution.

JJZolx
2007-10-23, 17:04
Iím not yet sure there is anything wrong with Slimserver. The only thing wrong with Slimserver that I think I know of is that I cannot use my existing database software with it where I have all CDs listed with tracks, musicians, individual notes, etc. With my existing software, I have a comprehensive database from which I can compile a playlist which I would like to use to transfer the music to play on the home audio system.

You can use 3rd party software to build and save playlists. SlimServer can work with standard playlists (which are just lists of file names). The two areas where this approach may not be ideal are:

1) The file paths may have to be edited to work with SlimServer.

2) You can't create these playlists on the fly, as you would in SlimServer. In SlimServer you can browse, play a track, add one from here, browse some more, add another track, etc. If you build a playlist outside of SlimServer you'll need to save it as a file, then tell SlimServer to rescan your playlists before it will "see" the new one.

JSharp
2007-10-23, 17:49
Mark,

No, there is no information in the fields from the wma files. I take it I am up against another hurdle and one which shouldn't be the case, as you say.

Were I to save tracks from CDs as wma files, is there is way to add the tag information in that process? I still have CDs to add to the hard drive.

John

Brian Ritchie
2007-10-23, 18:14
From what I can read here:

http://www.codeaero.com/music-label/index.html

I suspect that Music Label 2008 does work with tags. At least, the blurb says, "... It can also scan your drives for digital music files." which I doubt would make sense unless it could read tags; and if it can read them, it would be pretty silly not to write them as well. (Hmm!) In the "tour", it claims to be able to fill in incomplete tag data (using CDDB), though whether it modifies the original files, or just squirrels the extra info away in its own DB is not clear.

It looks as though being able to handle "digital music on your PC" is something of an adjunct to its main purpose, which is to catalogue ALL your music, whether digitally stored or not. There are hints that only mp3 is supported, though the blurb might be using "mp3" as a generic.

I think you would have to look deeper into the documentation (there doesn't seem to be much available without downloading the trial version) to determine how it interfaces to the player. Can you choose which audio player it uses? If so, then it's probably generating a playlist file somewhere then pointing the player at it. (Even so, as has been pointed out, getting from this to something ready to play in SlimServer is still a lot of work - not that I've ever tried!)

There are examples of fairly separate tools that can be used to control SlimServer, e.g. MusicIP (though I've had no end of trouble trying to get the connection to work in that particular case!) so it's not entirely impossible that someone could do the same for ML2008. But I suspect that it would have to be the designers of ML2008, and they may not consider this a high priority.

-- Brian

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-23, 18:17
Hmm, bad news then.

WMA files can contain tags, but now you are faced with the job of getting them in. It's obviously way too difficult to do it manually. There are a couple of automated tools (MusicBrainz Picard?) and I thought some Windows Media Player users commented that WMP adds tags automatically?

How are your files named? If they are named "Artist - Album - Title.wma" then Mp3tag can derive tags based on this. See http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?Mp3tagGuide , the "Recovering Tag Data from Filenames" section near the bottom. At least this you can do in only a few minutes even with a large collection. Mp3tag can also derive tags from folder structure, so if your files are arranged like "artist/album" that will work as well.

You should at least put in Genre though, and you may have to do that manually.

JSharp
2007-10-23, 18:28
Many thanks again for all your help. I have a lot to learn yet. That is a disappointment.

John

JSharp
2007-10-23, 18:31
Mark,
Where should that tag information be coming from? I insert the CD and save the files as wma files. The database software queries the Gracenote library for information. I am just wondering at what stage that tag information gets inserted. Seems like it should be associated with the tracks on the CD originally and get transferred with the file to the HDD.

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-23, 18:50
It's probably maintaining all the data in its database - it should be able to write the tags.

Poke around in the program settings, any program like that ought to be able to save the data as tags, and if you're lucky, you may be able to coax it to write all its existing data out as tags too.

st2lemans
2007-10-24, 02:49
> (why on earth would you have a noisy PC in your listening room?)

I keep mine in the kitchen, but monitor, keyboard and mouse in the living
room. No noise that way!

Tom

Ur[s]uS
2007-10-24, 14:35
Mark,
Where should that tag information be coming from? I insert the CD and save the files as wma files. The database software queries the Gracenote library for information. I am just wondering at what stage that tag information gets inserted. Seems like it should be associated with the tracks on the CD originally and get transferred with the file to the HDD.

I went hunting for an answer - but see that you got it already on the ML2008 forum.

http://www.codeaero.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1253

JSharp
2007-10-24, 15:03
ursus,

I didn't get an answer from the Music Label forum. I really am curious where the tag information should be coming from. Should it be on the CD from which I have copied the music and saved it as a wma file or in some other format? Should it come from Gracenote when I query that database with the CD in the computer player for information about the CD? If that doesn't happen, is the tag information supposed to come from a software program for cataloging the music files?

And I am still wondering why tag data is important to Slimserver.

Thanks,
John

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-24, 15:11
I really am curious where the tag information should be coming from. Should it be on the CD from which I have copied the music and saved it as a wma file or in some other format? Should it come from Gracenote when I query that database with the CD in the computer player for information about the CD?

There is no information on the CD other than the music itself.

A computer-based application always has to get data from somewhere else, in this case Gracenote.


If that doesn't happen, is the tag information supposed to come from a software program for cataloging the music files?

What ML2008 has done is it's added all that data to its database, but it has not written any tags and will not until the software is updated from what that forum post says.


And I am still wondering why tag data is important to Slimserver.

That's how SlimServer and every other software player (Winamp, Windows Media Player, foobar, iTunes) gets its Artist - Album - Track - Genre, etc. info. Without tags, SlimServer can try to guess these things based on file and folder structure (artist/album/title.wma or artist-album-title.wma) but if that file and folder structure isn't there, SlimServer has no way to tell who the artist, album, title, genre etc. is. Nor will any other software player.

Incidentally SlimServer is fairly unique in that it can guess tags based on file and folder structure, but if you don't even have that, it can't tell the files apart. You'd have "1 albums with 5267 songs by 1 artists" - the one album would be "No Album", the songs would be called by their titles, and the artist would be "No Artist". Not workable.

pfarrell
2007-10-24, 15:19
Mark Lanctot wrote:

> There is no information on the CD other than the music itself.

Close, some CDs have CDTEXT data, usually track names. And recent CD
players can display it.

But in general, Mark is correct. The simple Album/artist/track title
information is not there.

JSharp
2007-10-24, 15:51
Does Slimserver or any other player need to know the track name for purposes of displaying that information? Does it need the tag information for any other reason? If I were to choose a track saved on computer that had no tag information but to be played through Slimserver, would Slimserver still play track but show no meaningful information in its display?

John

snarlydwarf
2007-10-24, 16:05
Does Slimserver or any other player need to know the track name for purposes of displaying that information? Does it need the tag information for any other reason? If I were to choose a track saved on computer that had no tag information but to be played through Slimserver, would Slimserver still play track but show no meaningful information in its display?

My CD player in the car plays CD's of mp3's... useful for cramming 10 hours of music onto a disc. It reads tags for display.

Slimserver wants (but does not need... more below) tags for display and sorting. How do you know what album "01 Track01.flac" belongs to? What else would you want it to display on your screen? If you are content with the display looking like poop (ie, "Track01.flac") and with confusing browsing ("why is everything filed under unknown artist? It should just KNOW this!"), then, sure, skip tags... but that would, well, suck.

Tags are intended as being a cross-player method of passing information about the contents of the file. Whether it is WMP, or iTunes or Slimserver or my ancient PJBox, tags carry at least the album, artist and track so all of them know what it is... It even passes to my car stereo what it is playing.

Slimserver -does- have a "Guess Tags" function that lets it guess tags, but it requires you be very precise in your naming and organizing especially if you want it to handle anything more than Artist/Track/Album. Genre, Year, Composer, Band are very useful for some collections and trying to get those all crammed into path/file would be icky.

JSharp
2007-10-24, 16:34
I agree that it would look a lot better if the display accurately displayed and I would prefer that. My concern was whether the absence of tags would prevent Slimserver from working at all.

radish
2007-10-24, 19:49
I agree that it would look a lot better if the display accurately displayed and I would prefer that. My concern was whether the absence of tags would prevent Slimserver from working at all.

Strictly speaking, no it wouldn't. You would lose a lot of the useful browsing & searching functionality but if you could somehow figure out which file to play it would play just fine.

JSharp
2007-10-24, 20:16
Radish,

In some ways, your post brings me back to the beginning of this thread. I just read the entire thread again. I think some poorly expressed statements I made may have left the wrong impression. I understand the general concept that SB needs SS to run, like Client for Microsoft Networks is needed to access resources on a Windows network. I never meant to say that I didnít want to use SS for its resources to transfer sound files from the computer to SB to the home audio system. I understand that SB relies on and MUST have SS to operate. But I also understand (I think) that SS has a catalog feature from which the user selects the sound files to be transferred. What I want to do is use a different catalog as an overlay to only that part of the SS software from which I can select the sound files and then rely on SSís expertise to move the sound files to SB. To continue the analogy, rather than use Windows Explorer to surf the necessary Client for Microsoft Networks, I would use a third-party utility which is more powerful and full-featured than Windows Explorer. But in using that analogy, I donít mean to offend SS and suggest that it is not powerful. I want to use the separate catalog software only because I like it and have many music tracks cataloged there with the same tracks (mostly jazz) being played by different groups of musicians. I can select the same song by different groups of musicians or the same musicians but over different time periods and listen to the differences. Itís really not a huge desire, but if it can be done, Iíd like to do it. Certainly, I could maintain the catalog software I have for its information, etc., and then turn to SSís catalog to choose the songs. Maybe thatís what I will have to do.

In short, I know that I NEED to use SS with SB and I WANT to use SS and all of its features (because it gets such great reviews), EXCEPT I want to use a different software from which to select the music. It seemed originally to me as though SS would not care whether I used its music browser or my own, but it sounds as though I have to use its catalog system. And then the complication of tags arose.

I know we are at the ďbeat the dead horseĒ stage in this thread and if everyone is tired of it, I understand. I have learned and appreciate all the advice I have received. Iíll eventually get something to work.

John

radish
2007-10-24, 21:30
Oh I quite understand what you're trying to do, and I don't doubt that it would be possible to integrate the two apps in that way. I just don't think it's very likely to actually happen - it would be a lot of work and to be honest it seems like a pretty niche requirement. The suggestions you're getting from people are just trying to offer alternative solutions which might work well for you. If you're 100% set on using your existing software though, i don't see how you'd get it to work sensibly without someone doing some development for you.

erland
2007-10-24, 22:17
John, if you like to make the combination of Music Label 2008 and SlimServer to work as you like, it would probably require some development work. It might be easy or it might be hard, it all depends on how open Music Label 2008 is for third party development.

Some solutions that might work:

1.
Extend the Music Label software so it sends a signal to SlimServer with the tracks you have selected to play. SlimServer has several programmatic interfaces to receive this information already today, so changes would only be required on the Music Label side. The natural choice would be to use the SlimServer CLI interface. All this either relies on that the Music Label developers implement this or that Music Label is possible to extend with plugins. In case Music Label is possible to extend with plugins, you can do it yourself or get some third party developer to do it for you.

2.
If the Music Label database has an open interface, it would be possible to build a SlimServer plugin that read information from the Music Label database. This would probably require a lot more work than solution 1 mentioned above, but it wouldn't require any changes on the Music Label side assuming it's database already has an open interface. The solution would result in that you would get the information stored in the Music Label database into the SlimServer database, you would have to select what to play from the SlimServer/SqueezeBox interfaces but you could browse by the Music Label data. So if you really want to select what to play from Music Label, this is not a working solution.

3.
If you are running Windows, you could install the Wave Input plugin in SlimServer. This will make it possible to play tracks in Music Label but SlimServer will pickup the audio from the sound card in the PC and transfer it to the SqueezeBox. I'm not sure how a low quality sound card in the PC will affect the sound quality from the SqueezeBox in a scenario like this. The advantage of this solution is that it wouldn't require any development work. I think this solution was mentioned earlier in the thread.


Solution 1 and solution 2 is already today used by another external catalog software called MusicIP, so we know solutions using these concepts will work. It just requires some development to get it up and running. The iTunes integration in SlimServer is another example that uses the solution 2 concept, where the iTunes database is read from a SlimServer plugin.

Mark Lanctot
2007-10-25, 05:37
John:

SS is needed to pick and choose tracks to play on the SB - so you do need to know which track is which and unless you have tags or your folders are organized a certain way, you won't know.

As I indicated, SlimServer will say "1 albums with 4677 songs by 1 artists" where album = "No Album" and artist = "No Artist". It'll make choosing tracks very difficult indeed.

SS will still work but choosing tracks will be next to impossible.

There is some hope - can ML2008 make playlists in .m3u format? If it can, there's a chance SS can use them. However it's not a certainty, SS is picky about how it wants playlists formatted, there's no guarantee that they'll work.

BTW SS is free - you can download it and try it out right now.

Ur[s]uS
2007-10-25, 13:39
ursus,

I didn't get an answer from the Music Label forum. I really am curious where the tag information should be coming from. Should it be on the CD from which I have copied the music and saved it as a wma file or in some other format? Should it come from Gracenote when I query that database with the CD in the computer player for information about the CD? If that doesn't happen, is the tag information supposed to come from a software program for cataloging the music files?

And I am still wondering why tag data is important to Slimserver.

Thanks,
John

http://www.codeaero.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1253

The developer of ML2008 is saying that they will soon allow you to write the information in the ML2008 database directly into the tags in the MP3 track. You cannot do it now, but you will be able to soon. It's a pretty important feature and I would be surprised if they are not genuine about this.

The problem is that ML2008 is a catalogue database first, a music player second, but will become a tagging client third and a music ripping client fourth.

I think you have gotten the gist by now, but for the sake of completeness (in general):

- Imagine, the CD to hold just music and the inlay card to hold information that helps you choose what music to play (artist, album, track titles, sleeve notes etc.).

- The digital music file holds just music, until you write Tags into the MP3 file using a tagging client. (Your ripping client might do the tags for you instead.) You can write Tags to fill in all the information on the inlay card of your CD.

- Choosing music with CD involves reading the inlay cards - or spines at least. Choosing music with digital music files involves reading the Tags.

- As you create the digital music files, you will have opportunities to write these Tags, querying Gracenote, Musicbrainz, FreeDB, Amazon - it all depends on the software that you use. Even if the music ripping client does not do this to your satisfaction, there are many many tagging clients dedicated to getting your tags right. Personally, I like and use alot MP3Tag and Tag & Rename.

- I don't know how you have ripped your music, but it seems you have not been writing Tags to the files. You have instead been writing all the useful inlay card information into a single catalogue database. I see that ML2008 allows you to associate the catalogue with digital music files. This is like taking all your inlay cards and putting them in a single booklet, taking all your CDs and putting them in a pile, leaving a string connecting each CD to its inlay card. This works perfectly well when you have access to the catalogue database. If you do not have access to the booklet of inlay cards, you are left to guess about the music you are choosing. If you change where the CD is stored, the string breaks. The good news is that the inlay cards are in a booklet and you can - in the future - use that information to write Tags into the digital music files. The developers of ML2008 are intent on providing this function. Keep the pressure on.

- The relevance to Squeezebox and Slimserver is that Slimserver is most user friendly when it has Tags to read or to guess (and it can only guess them if the file structure has the information e.g., Album/Artist/Track.mp3). It works best with clean tags. It does not care how you catalogue, how you rip, how you tag - it just wants to read the inlay cards associated to the files. This makes it easy to navigate (by arist, album, composer, year, genre etc.).

- There are ways to link ML2008 and Slimserver, see Erland, but it would be much easier to get the tags into your digital music. It will open other possibilities - including using the same files in your portable MP3 player (or phone) or similar. These portable devices are removed from your catalogue (or inlay card booklet) and so will need tags to show you what they are playing. It may also free you to choose other catalgouing, ripping, tagging programmes - if you ever wanted to change. Not saying you should, just that it would make it easier.

I hope that helps ! Welcome to the madness !!

brockers
2007-10-25, 13:44
ML2008 uses Firebird 2.0.3 as the database back end according to

http://www.codeaero.com/music-label/ne_guide.htm

so some access via perl may be possible with

http://sourceforge.net/projects/dbi-interbase/

but it might require a running firebird server (although I think this could be done using the instructions in the first link) Probably more effort than is required as ML2008 can export at least some of the data out in other formats. Or if the developers get their tagging working soon you might not need to bother trying to get at the database directly.

As I am lazy I would probably wait for Code Aero to sort out the tagging issues rather than try and get into their database layout and work out how to import the information to the Slimserver database and it's probably different layout.

I hope you at least try slimserver and softsqueeze to see if you like the way it works whilst waiting for the tagging function to be released.

Regards
Andrew

JSharp
2007-10-25, 18:03
I downloaded Slimserver and took a look at it. It has a handsome interface with lots of white space which is easy on the eyes. The available information is nicely laid out and easy to read. It can browse by various categories such as genre, artist, track name.

It doesnít show who are the musicians and what they are playing for each track, which is kind of an important topic in jazz. There doesnít seem to be any way to customize the information so as to add notes about the CD, or the record label, or URLs that have information about Coltrane and his Giant Steps album, for example. It doesnít appear possible to correct the data provided for the CD. It gives you good, fundamental information, but I think you are stuck with that.

I donít want to sound like I am carping or finding fault with SS. I am not at all and it looks very nice and presents good information. I am only noting the limitations and regretting that thereís nothing more the user can add. It looks like we all get the same information.

At a minimum, it seems as though I could use Squeebox for the pleasure of listening through my home audio system to all of the music stored on a hard drive. I can continue to store the information I want about the music in my choice of software, identify those songs I want to hear and then open SS to find the artists, titles and tracks and create a playlist. Iíll just use two applications to accomplish the task. Someone here already suggested that idea and I can see how it would work.

Erland offered some encouragement. It sounds as though developers may already be thinking and implementing ways to make external software work through SS. Maybe in a year my problem will have been solved.

I really havenít been ripping much music at all. I havenít been interested in listening to music on the computer and until about the day that I first posted, I hadnít explored whether it was even possible to listen to music stored on a hard drive through a home audio system. As I am sure everyone noted, I dived into this forum with my original post knowing next to nothing about this process, but I learned a lot (learned enough to know that I donít know nearly enough, which is a good start) in short order. The music I have ripped has been through Nero which doesnít seem to access a very complete database and so I have manually added artist name and individual track names, which has been fine for the few CDs I have entered. Now the idea of manual entries with so many CDs is daunting. On this laptop I have been using to communicate with the forum, I donít have Nero and so for the first time used Windows Media Player to rip a CD to this hard drive to check out how SS would show it. WMP seemed to do an adequate job and saved the information in the way I have done it, by artist name, CD title and individual tracks. It saved the files in .wma format, which I think is okay. I originally thought I would save them in .wav format, but jeez those are large files, and I have read that .wma format is pretty faithful to playing the music as it would off the CD directly.

I almost think I know better than to ask this, but is there a better program than Windows Media Player for ripping? And is there a file format that is preferred over .wma?

aubuti
2007-10-25, 22:00
Have you visited the Slim Devices wiki Beginner's Guide (http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuide)? It has tons of useful user-contributed information.

As for not being able to add or change tag information in SS, that is by design. SS is meant to stream your music, not rip, or tag, or do anything else. I rather like the fact that it never modifies my files, which is something I can't say for other audio software, especially iTunes.

SS *will* show you information such as who is playing what on what tracks, but only if you already have it in the tags, and they are the correct tags. The metadata that SS presents is only what each user has in the tags in his library. It's not at all the case that "we all get the same information." If your tags are detailed and mine are a mess, I get a mess and you get the details.

If you are going to rip your CDs, you only want to do it once, so I strongly recommend a compressed lossless format. wav is lossless, but not compressed. wma comes in both lossless and lossy flavors. mp3 is lossy. My preference, and those of a lot of other SB users is flac (Free Lossless Audio Codec). It's lossless, so it preserves all of the data in the original CD, bit for bit. It's compressed, so the files are typically 35-50% the size of a wav file. That's still big, but hard drives are dirt cheap. If you want smaller files for a portable player, it is easy to transcode your lossless files to a more compact, lossy format like mp3 or wma. Finally, SB natively supports flac, so you don't need to waste any processor cycles transcoding, plus you can FF and RWD tracks.

Check out the wiki, it will explain all this and much much more.

Enjoy!