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petes
2007-12-06, 20:47
I own a custom a/v install company and just picked up a Squeezebox from one of our suppliers on evaluation, looking for a product like this that would be easy and inexpensive for our customers. What I've found after playing around with it for a few days at home is that is indeed inexpensive, but not exactly easy. What I seem to be having the biggest problem with is getting it to accurately reflect what is really in my music library. My library isn't anything huge and exotic - Less than 50 albums and fewer than 500 songs. No i-tunes. Basic, vanilla, WinXP My Music folder. I have it organized as each album being a separate folder in My Music. The thing that's driving me crazy is that when I do a scan it just doesn't find everything, and then it does some really weird stuff with some of the albums it does find - e.g. I have one Suzanne Ciani album that was ripped from a cd. SB for some inexplicable reason has decided that six of the tracks belong in the album 'Pianissimo' and the rest of the tracks belong in an album 'Pianissimo (Disc 1)'. Doesn't find another album at all by the same artist that was purchased online. Is there some particular problem with purchased tracks? I have several others that are not being found, either.

I've scanned through some of the posts and found what seems to be a number of folks having similar issues. Is there a fix for this, or does the average user need to be a bit of a geek?

Thanks...

JJZolx
2007-12-06, 21:08
For the Suzanne Ciani album, you must have some tracks with ALBUM tags of 'Pianissimo' and some that say 'Pianissimo (Disc 1)'. If you ripped this album then you likely used some automated means to tag the files, perhaps pulling the information from an online database. A lot of those databases have inconsistent data, such as differnt album names for tracks within the same album.

One unfortunate aspect of SlimServer is that it will read tagging information with often disturbing precision, requiring extreme attention to detail in tagging your library. I suspect that for the majority of user libraries, what you're going to see in SlimServer will be a mess.

We used to have an mp3 library on a server at work. Everyone tossed in their mp3s, usually complete albums, sometimes tagged well, usually not. We'd browse the folders in Windows Explorer, queue up tracks, play albums. Worked great. I unleashed SlimServer on that same library and what I ended up with was completely unusable.

petes
2007-12-06, 21:40
Jim -

Thanks for the quick reply. At this point in time I don't remember how the files were tagged - probably via some automatic online deal - just don't remember. Having said that, how does one check the tagging to see if that is the problem? Also, wouldn't downloaded, purchased tracks come with tagging already? As I mentioned, it doesn't look like any of those are being found.

Pete

radish
2007-12-06, 21:53
Tagging: http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToTagging

As for downloaded stuff, assuming you mean iTunes it won't work - the DRM Apple so usefully add to the files make them incompatible with anything non-Apple.

Skunk
2007-12-06, 22:26
He already said no iTunes, but don't flame me because I just had a baby. Just kidding DrNIC.

Just open the file in mp3tag [ http://www.mp3tag.de/en/ ], select all the tracks, right click->remove tags, then use the Tag Sources option to do another automated database lookup and correct any inconsistencies manually. About 6/10 on the geek-o-meter.

ceejay
2007-12-07, 00:33
Re the downloaded files - its not just the iTunes store that adds DRM, many other download sources will do the same. Not playable in slimserver without doing geeky stuff.

Ceejay

amcluesent
2007-12-07, 01:26
>I own a custom a/v install company...<

Chances are your customers would expect you to rip all their CDs and have accurate meta-data in the tags. Have you looked at the suppliers of robotic CD loaders which use subscription-only tag databases?

>Also, wouldn't downloaded, purchased tracks come with tagging already?<
Quite a few don't. But Slimserver is pretty smart, if there are no tags it'll try and decode the directory structure and file name into artist, album etc. You may have a naming system it can't parse. Or the tracks have DRM

>does the average user need to be a bit of a geek?<
No, just need to RTFM!

petes
2007-12-07, 07:40
OK - the more I learn about this, the goofier it seems to get. Downloaded mp3tag as suggested. Looked at the tags on Pianissimo, since that's the album I mentioned originally. Every tag was identical (other than track name and number - no 'Disc 1' anywhere to be found), but I cleared them anyway and re-did them from the amazon.com link. They don't look any different than they did before, but SlimServer treats them differently now. Still splits the album into two, but decided to drop the (Disc 1) from the second. So now I have 'Pianissimo' with 6 tracks, and 'Pianissimo' with the remaining 8 tracks.

Goofy thing number two: When I'm on the home page, the little line at the very top tells me that my library contains 57 albums with 379 songs by 42 artists. When I switch to the album listing, it tells me that I have 57 albums with 379 songs by 85 artists. ???

Goofy thing number three: My album list showed up two albums titled 'Collection'. I thought at first that it had split another album, but then found that one is by Dave Grusin, the other by Spyro Gyra. Interesting thing about both of these, though, is the detail line that SlimServer shows when you select the album. With the Dave Grusin one it shows 1 album with 11 songs by 5 artists, and with the Spyro Gyra one it shows 1 album with 14 songs by 7 artists. I looked at both of these with mp3tag, did the extended tag thing, and for the life of me, I don't see anything that looks out of whack.

Goofy thing number four: Some albums just don't show up anywhere. Mostly (I think) purchased tracks. Thought maybe at first because they were WMA, but then found a lot of other albums that are WMA that SlimServer did find.

One more goofy thing: In the album view it tells me that I have 57 albums and that it's showing me Items 1 to 53 of 57. How do you get to 54 - 57? There's no next page button or anything that lets me move off of the 1 - 53 page. How do you get to the rest of the list?

Skunk
2007-12-07, 08:26
Not sure if it will help, but you should try to 'clear everything and rescan' the library.

To get to items 54-57 I think you have to click a letter of the alphabet at the top rather than a next button. You might try setting it to display more in Server Settings->Interface-->Items Per Page, to see if they'll show up without changing pages.

amcluesent
2007-12-07, 08:35
>I looked at both of these with mp3tag, did the extended tag thing, and for the life of me, I don't see anything that looks out of whack.<

You're music collection sounds like a rag-bag of mp3/wma. Chances are you have multiple tag types in the files which are holding different values. mp3tag can show these if you enable a columns to show "%_tag%". People who've had tag problems get it sorted when then standardise on one type, i.e. ID3v2.3 and delete the others in the file as described in the wiki.

NB most people looking at SB3/Transporter are music enthusiasts who value the quality of lossless like FLAC and would never go near WMA.

Pale Blue Ego
2007-12-07, 09:10
The issue is: Garbage in, garbage out. If the files aren't properly and consistently tagged, then when Slimserver creates a database of the tags you have a big mess.

Fortunately, there are good tools like mp3tag which can help you create a consistent tagging scheme. mp3tag can also identify multiple tags - if you have ID3v1, ID3v2, and APE tags for the same track, it will drive Slimserver bonkers.

You might want to remove ALL tags and start with a clean slate.

slimpy
2007-12-07, 09:26
Goofy thing number four: Some albums just don't show up anywhere. Mostly (I think) purchased tracks. Thought maybe at first because they were WMA, but then found a lot of other albums that are WMA that SlimServer did find.
Most songs bought from online stores are DRM protected.
Slimserver cannot read/play any DRM protected files.

-s.

slimpy
2007-12-07, 09:35
Goofy thing number two: When I'm on the home page, the little line at the very top tells me that my library contains 57 albums with 379 songs by 42 artists. When I switch to the album listing, it tells me that I have 57 albums with 379 songs by 85 artists. ???
Slimserver doesn't count artists (and doesn't list them in artist view) who only appear on compilation albums. When you browse by albums however, all artists are counted.
You can have all artists listed by choosing not to group compilation albums together in server settings. This should also affect the total number of artists reported on the home page.
Slimserver treats albums as compilation if the artist isn't consistent among all songs of the album or if you set the compilation tag.

-s.

slimpy
2007-12-07, 09:42
One more goofy thing: In the album view it tells me that I have 57 albums and that it's showing me Items 1 to 53 of 57. How do you get to 54 - 57? There's no next page button or anything that lets me move off of the 1 - 53 page. How do you get to the rest of the list?
The default is to list 50 items per page. However, page breaks are only applied between characters in the alphabet.
If you had 60 'A' albums they would show up on one page despite the 50 items limit. The next page would then start with the first 'B' album.
Just click the letter 'Z' in the alphabet at the top of the page to get to the end of the list.

-s.

slimpy
2007-12-07, 09:47
OK - the more I learn about this, the goofier it seems to get. Downloaded mp3tag as suggested. Looked at the tags on Pianissimo, since that's the album I mentioned originally. Every tag was identical (other than track name and number - no 'Disc 1' anywhere to be found), but I cleared them anyway and re-did them from the amazon.com link. They don't look any different than they did before, but SlimServer treats them differently now. Still splits the album into two, but decided to drop the (Disc 1) from the second. So now I have 'Pianissimo' with 6 tracks, and 'Pianissimo' with the remaining 8 tracks.
Do you have different file types for the songs in this album?
I think I've read reports that slimserver splits albums by file type if not all songs are in the same format (eg. some mp3 and some wma).
As others have mentioned: make sure there is only one set of tags in those files. Slimserver might read other tags than the ones you see in mp3tag.

-s.

nicketynick
2007-12-07, 10:15
The OP has all his albums in a directory structure. Isn't there a way to force slimserver to ignore the tags and build the database based on the directory structure/filename?
Not ideal, but probably a good solution for a subset of users?

maggior
2007-12-07, 11:04
If your music library is organized and the file naming is consistent, you can use the "browse music folder" option. This will alleviate dealing with tags and gives a more "what you see is what you get" interface. What you see in Windows Explorer (for Windows users) is what you will see when browsing the music folder.

I have my music organized in a directory heirarchy that looks like this:
music\<genre>\<artist>\(year)<album>\<track num> <track name>.

For instance, my library will contain something like this:
music\Prog Rock\Yes\(1972)Fragile\01 Roundabout

The main drawback of this is that artists that have music across genres (e.g. Keith Jarrett's jazz vs. classical recordings) won't be browsable just by artist - you will only see the artist's work in a particular genre at a time.

If the user doesn't have much music and really doesn't care too much about organization, you can simplify this scheme by getting rid of the genre level in the directory heiarchy.

The organization issue is analagous to how you have your physical CD collection organized. If you are working with a client, you might look at their collection and see how it is organized and base your recommendations on that. I'm sure you'll encounter the full spectrum - at one end, you'll find people who keep their CDs in a pile and discs are commonly found in the incorrect jewel case; at the other end, you'll find people with their CDs alphabetical by artist and genre and chronological taking into account subgenres!


A major benefit of having your music organized and consistently named is it is really easy to point a mass tagging program at it and wipe out all tags and recreated them.

Just thought I'd throw this out as another option.

Rich

cliveb
2007-12-08, 01:39
If your music library is organized and the file naming is consistent, you can use the "browse music folder" option. This will alleviate dealing with tags and gives a more "what you see is what you get" interface.
I don't think that's an efficient solution. Browse Music Folder is a pretty slow way to navigate the files. The only quick way to move around the music collection is using the SS database.

SlimServer is NOT a music library organisation tool (a la iTunes) - it simply reads what's there. This is how it should be. BUT... since a lot of people seem to have their tags in a mess, by slavishly following those messed-up tags SlimServer gives the impression of being a mess itself.

People who have a music library with garbage tags probably have the files organised in a neat hierarchy and browse it via the filesystem. Therefore perhaps the solution would be for SlimServer to have an option to just ignore all tags and construct its own based on the directory hierarchy. (It does that anyway with untagged files, so why not have an option to do it on them all?).

JJZolx
2007-12-08, 13:24
Therefore perhaps the solution would be for SlimServer to have an option to just ignore all tags and construct its own based on the directory hierarchy. (It does that anyway with untagged files, so why not have an option to do it on them all?).

Isn't that essentially what browse Music Folder does now? You see nothing but file names until you look at song details, or play a song. Only then do you see data read from tags. You're right about the speed of BMF, though. It's not good.

cliveb
2007-12-09, 04:44
Isn't that essentially what browse Music Folder does now?
Sort of - to a certain extent. But browsing via the SS database is so much more functional (and quicker, as you mention). Plus, things like Lazy Search (IMHO one of the most useful plugins around) don't work from the music folder.

maggior
2007-12-10, 08:19
I don't think that's an efficient solution. Browse Music Folder is a pretty slow way to navigate the files. The only quick way to move around the music collection is using the SS database.


I don't find it to be slow at all - I see no difference in the UI responsiveness between the 2 methods.

cliveb
2007-12-11, 03:06
I don't find it to be slow at all - I see no difference in the UI responsiveness between the 2 methods.
That's probably because you are either:
(i) Running Slimserver on a stonking high-performance machine. Some of us run it on low power boxes. (Mine is a 533MHz mini-ITX).
(ii) Have your folders organised without any that contain lots of sub-folders. (One of my top level folders has 240 sub-folders. It takes a few seconds to load it up via Browse Music Folder).

lade
2007-12-11, 06:34
People who have a music library with garbage tags probably have the files organised in a neat hierarchy and browse it via the filesystem. Therefore perhaps the solution would be for SlimServer to have an option to just ignore all tags and construct its own based on the directory hierarchy. (It does that anyway with untagged files, so why not have an option to do it on them all?).
You can do this with mp3tag quite easily:
- point mp3tag to your music folder
- select all tracks
- remove all tags
- select convert/Filename - Tag
- enter the pattern to be used for conversion (in my library that would be %artist%\%album%\%track% - %titel%
- convert
- in slimserver clear the database and re-scan everything

cliveb
2007-12-11, 12:43
You can do this [fix the tags] with mp3tag quite easily
Yes, of course you can. You can do it with Foobar2000 as well, and no doubt a host of other programs.

But the point I was making is that for the average Joe Soap, who has a music library and doesn't have a clue about fixing his tags (may not even realise he has tags in his files), the current behaviour of SlimServer doesn't do the product any favours. An alternate scanning option to follow the folder structure instead of the tags would be an easy fix. It could be selected via a simple question in the wizard at installation time ("is your music library organised by tags or by folder structure?").