View Full Version : The one thing that caught me out

Alastair McAulay
2008-05-22, 08:57
I'm fairly new to the world of audio streaming, audio file format's etc. However, although I am not a Linux hacker I am technically literate and won't faint at the sight of a UNIX command line.

Essentially I was looking for a way to make my middle sized (300ish) CD collection more accessible, without compromising sound quality. I am not a massive hi fi snob but I like to listen to music properly and I can't stand compressed music - I don't for example want an iPod.

So I recently took the plunge and bought a NAS (a QNAP 109 pro with 500g of disk) and a Slimserver and got down to some serious CD ripping. Setting aside a quick trial run on what format I established that FLAC was (for me) the best format (and that WMA lossless won't necessarily work anyway.

I used DBPoweramp running on a Quadcore Vista powered Dell desktop and on an XP laptop to do the ripping and it "appeared" to do a pretty good job - only obvious gremlin was that the NAS needed a firmware upgrade to interface without occassional annoying hanging with both the XP and Vista machines.

The big thing that caught me out was that not all of my collection was visible in the Slimserver index. Tracks that were on the NAS and were playable from Microsoft media player (with added FLAC codec), they just didn't show in the index on the Slimserver. And there was no pattern to it - some CDs were fine, some had a missing track, some had 4 or 5 missing tracks. I tried reindexing numerous times to no avail.

Then I did what is now obvious - I got a good tagging programme (MP3tag - and yes it does support FLAC). Although it takes a good 10 minutes to load up my library the answer was then clear. The problem files had tags that were incomplete - with various tag fields missing. So of course they were never indexed. The lifesaver feature of this programme was the fact that it can generate a workable set of tags from the filename automatically.

I have no idea why DBPoweramp generated incomplete tags for some tracks - and to some extent I don't really care now that I have an easy way of resolving the problem. But for beginners - do beware, and do get a tag programme. I found it essential to get proper enjoyment from the Slimserver.

For the record, purely from an audiophile perspective I think the Slimserver is on a par with a 300 - 400 CD player. It's good value, but it isn't a miracle worker. And in truth, I do get occassional timeouts even though wireless lan signal is good. I suspect a bit of tuning on the NAS is in order to correct that.

2008-05-22, 09:34
Welcome to the forum! You offer some very good advice for someone looking at getting into the digital music arena.

I recently converted my CD collection to Flac and have had many of the same issues that you mention.

Having my music on the computer and using the Duet sure has been a pleasure. I am listening to music that I haven't listened to in a long time. Free your music!

2008-05-22, 15:22
I'd have to recommed winamp and CDEX 1.72 for ripping. The former uses Gracenote and the latter uses FreeDB. CDEX can also write both ID3 and ID3II tags to your files to ensure they will work in your playback device.

2008-05-22, 22:11
You probably need to tweak some settings in dbpoweramp. I've been using it for a long time and have never had a tag not show up in it. I'd also give the R13 beta version of the new ripper a go. It uses more tagging sources and if you have more than one cd or dvd you can batch rip. Very cool. It's the best ripper on the market and I would not change. The CDEX program is a good one but it's not a secure ripper and does not use accurip so you would have to listen to entire albums to make sure you got a good rip. With the new version of dBpoweramp there isn't going to be a ripper than can touch it. You do need to be a registered user of the R12 version to try it, but well worth it. It's $28 US now and will be $40 when they release it. You will also get their new burner and player at no charge now. Also freedb, tracktype,Musicbrainz, AMG and GD3 for tagging sources . Another cool feature is you can have it bring up the tagging resources and choose what you want to use for the tags. One of the goals of the new version I think was to get tagging set up to be very accurate because of the new batch ripper program they are going to be selling it to professional CD services.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-05-23, 06:59
It's always good advice to check your tags after ripping and before moving the files to the server. Mp3tag is the gold standard for identifying and fixing tag problems.