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dtw3
2013-05-20, 01:59
Hello all,

I’m new to all this and the first port of call was FAQs which drew a blank, then the “new member and some tips please” discussion started by mônman. The thing that impressed me most was that mônman seemed to understand what he was being told; “macro variables”, “crossfade”, "smart gain", “bitrates”. I’d understood this digital audio thing can be complicated, I didn’t realise I had to learn Welsh, though it might be easier!

Seriously though, how do you guys learn about all this? I read real lot of review sites and forums trying to understand enough to decide on my kit and here I am, hopefully sounding like I know what I’m talking about – looking for help (please).

All I needed was something to rip my CD/cassette music collection, store it and play it at a decent quality, with a decent UI, ideally all in one box. The product reviews of the Cocktail, Olive Media or the Brennan units sound between good and wonderful - until you read the customer comments, then you want to slit your throat. I settled on FLAC by a VortexBox and a Squeezebox Touch into my ‘Hi-Fi’ with RCA phono plugs.

I had Hi-Fi separates, Celestion Ditton 15s and Shure cartridges but that was back then. I tell you that to show I’ve got some respect for what the audio is supposed to be but when buying CDs, did I check the audio specifications? No! And all I wanted with the VB and SB was quality access to my music and the info. on the CD cover such as album name, cover art, tracks and notes – and the same ability to organise them. Accepting that VortexBox tagging might not always be correct, I presumed a means of correcting them would be available.

Somehow the SBs (Touch and Radio) can access the VB and play the 24 CD’s worth of music ripped so far. They can’t see the cover art that I know is there (though only 50% correct/available) but do show half a double-CD incorrectly labelled ‘Various Artists’. Obviously a VB listing error but how to amend/correct it? I’ve seen instructions but they don’t say precisely which and where the incorrect files are – I have a PC so is this what “mp3tag, the best tag editor” does - edits the file names, is that what you have to do? I’ve also seen your recommendations for dBpoweramp's metadata/tagging facilities but, “tinker with the paths/macro variables”? Like I said, I just want to find and play some music – I’ve heard of something called Bliss too, that might help but I’ve got a feeling it’s a different sort of bliss.

The only thing working as it should is music, both RIP and PLAY but every answer about anything else seems to generate two new questions, and the result is this embarrassingly long posting. I’ll try to conclude with some straightforward questions.

- Leave the Squeezebox Touch / ‘Hi-Fi’ connection as is with RCA phono plug leads?
- Find/buy something that will allow me put the music in alphabetical order by Album and by artist, where tracks weren’t associated with an album. E.g. pre-album singles or random compilations like ‘Hits of the 60s’ - mp3tag? Or can the SB Search facility show all artists’ music grouped by name?
- Buy dBpoweramp and Bliss?
- Where can I find and what is Samba? Should I be looking for this?

Logitech Media Server - Control Panel
I start this from a Desktop icon instead of automatically. Does this have to be kept started or stopped, and does this affect anything else?

I suppose I’ve synced to my MySqueezebox.Com account as I’ve entered my details as instructed but I can’t tell.
I’m supposed to configure LMS to find my media through the Library tab. How? (I have Googled all this!)
a. The ‘Media Library Name’ is ‘Nil Yet’. I didn’t create that. Do I call it something else?
The Control Panel doesn’t seem to ‘see’ the VB, so rescans come up at zero. Even though the VB is obviously on the network, re-mapping didn’t show it up.

b. Still in the Library tab, my Windows Music, Videos and Picture folders are listed already. I see ‘Playlist’ but I haven’t set any of these up; there’s nothing else unless I Browse to ‘Network’ where the VB name is listed, is that it, or one of its sub-lists? Or all of them? Do I select and click to Add? (I have Googled all this too!).

Logitech Media Server
In the top right hand corner the Player selection button offers Player 1, Player 2, and the two SBs, plus Syncronize. This is a bit obvious even for me but ‘Syncronize’ what? And what decides which synchronised component dominates if any settings differ?

If I go to Settings (which I’m aware I can’t expect to understand yet) I see that somehow LMS knows I have ripped 24 albums even though the rescans on the Control Panel come up at zero, so something is working.

On the Information tab I can see that the SB Touch has a Wireless Signal Strength of around 45%. It seems to play OK (but what do I know?), would the % affect the fidelity? I ask because I’ve seen the advice posted by Garym and Julf about digital-analog-digital and other mysteries, which begs the question – am I doing this all wrong?

Do the settings in LMS apply even when it’s not on? (I.e. accessing the VB by the SB Touch directly).

I’m reluctant to make random ‘try and see’ changes anywhere in case what is working stops. So far we are using the SBs to access the music so I’m guessing LMS isn’t essential.

On my Windows 7 laptop, browsing to ‘Network’ is supposed to show the VB and SBs on the map but it doesn’t and re-mapping didn’t work either. However, if I enter the VB name in Search, it finds everything in ‘Network’. As far as I know, other than ‘Rescans’ in the LMS Control Panel, everything works, so should I just ignore this?

Now I’ve found out how to do it, I hope to place a similar post (not the same) on the VortexBox forum.

Thank you for any help and information, very much appreciated and welcomed.

castalla
2013-05-20, 02:43
First, you need to separate out the various issues you have into smaller posts! I gave up reading all your issues as I too lost the plot!

Mp3tag is a great program for editing the tags on your mp3 files. You need to play about with it a bit to get a feel for the various features.

Before you start, how are your music files organised. The simplest structure is to create a folder called 'Music' or similar. Under that create a folder for each artist, and within each artist folder, create separate album folders: eg,

Music- Paul Simon - Graceland / One Trick Pony / etc.

This will help you when you use Mp3tag to check/edit the music tags for your albums.

My recommendation: set up a test file structure, install mp3tag, practice!

Good luck.

garym
2013-05-20, 04:28
Hi and welcome to the world of digital music. It will all become much clearer once you dive in. You really have 3 major topics to explore:

1. File organization and tagging
2. using LMS and your Squeezeboxes
3. learning your way around the VB

1. Your first steps should be to correct/edit/manage your tags. mp3tag is perfect for this. In ripping your own CDs (with VB or otherwise), you'll not automatically get perfect tagging/album art. You'll frequently need to correct/edit the tags. But the good news is that you do it once, do it right, and then your set. Get mp3tag here:

http://download.mp3tag.de/mp3tagv255asetup.exe

2. Read a bit more here on using LMS and Squeezeboxes. A bit out of date, but still useful (note: SqueezeCenter became SqueezeboxServer became LMS; and squeezenetwork became mysqueezebox.com.

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/Main_Page

Lots of links on that page, so look at many of them, particularly "start here" and beginners guide. Also a section on tagging.

p.s. Synchronize players is telling LMS that you want two or more players to be playing the SAME thing at the same time. With multiple squeezeboxes you can play different things to to the boxes or you can have some boxes synced (playing the same thing). And if synched, one of the players is the "main" player (that is, you change music choice, etc. on that player).

3. You mention running LMS on windows machine and also having a VB. You *can* run on both, but the entire point of the Vortexbox is to leave it on 24/7 to BOTH run LMS and hold your music files. So you don't need to use LMS on the windows machine at all. You should connect your Squeezebox Players to the LMS running on the VB.

reinholdk
2013-05-21, 16:19
I settled on FLAC by a VortexBox and a Squeezebox Touch into my ‘Hi-Fi’ with RCA phono plugs.

That's definitely a good decision.


Accepting that VortexBox tagging might not always be correct, I presumed a means of correcting them would be available.

Not built-in. But using mp3tag from a PC to modify the tags of the tracks located on the VB is a good option.


Somehow the SBs (Touch and Radio) can access the VB and play the 24 CD’s worth of music ripped so far. They can’t see the cover art that I know is there (though only 50% correct/available) but do show half a double-CD incorrectly labelled ‘Various Artists’.

How do you know the cover art is there? Did you check the files/folders where the VB (assuming you were ripping the CDs with VB) is storing your music?


I’ve seen instructions but they don’t say precisely which and where the incorrect files are – I have a PC so is this what “mp3tag, the best tag editor” does - edits the file names, is that what you have to do?

Usually you don't need to modify file names (although they should follow some convention; but that's probably okay when ripping was done by VB). You want to modify some of the tags that are stored inside the file and that hold the artist name, track name etc. Tag editors like mp3tag know how to access these tags inside a file, be it flac or mp3 or whatever.


- Leave the Squeezebox Touch / ‘Hi-Fi’ connection as is with RCA phono plug leads?

Yes


- Find/buy something that will allow me put the music in alphabetical order by Album and by artist, where tracks weren’t associated with an album. E.g. pre-album singles or random compilations like ‘Hits of the 60s’ - mp3tag? Or can the SB Search facility show all artists’ music grouped by name?

No need to buy anything else. You just have to setup everything "correctly" - you will figure out if you go on learning and trying and asking.


- Where can I find and what is Samba? Should I be looking for this?

Samba is a way how your VB can publish your music files and folders to other machines, esp. for Windows. No need to care about. Should be automatic. It is used behind the scenes when, for example, you're working with mp3tag on the files located on your VB. From your Windows PC you access a folder on your VB (in r/w mode) like this "\\vortexbox\files\music\flac\artistname\albumname\". (I don't have a VB hardware but do use the VB software for ripping.)


Logitech Media Server - Control Panel
I start this from a Desktop icon instead of automatically. Does this have to be kept started or stopped, and does this affect anything else?

Probably LMS is already running on your VB. Then you don't need it on your Windows PC. Make sure it's stopped on your Windows PC and enter in your browser "http:/vortexbox/" (without quotes). This should give you access to the web UI of the vortexbox. If nothing happens, do you know the IP address of your VB? If yes, you can enter it instead of the name 'vortexbox'. If the vortexbox config pages show up, you can check under 'System Configuration' whether LMS is running. If yes, you can enter "http://vortexbox:9000/" in your browser to access the web UI of LMS.



I suppose I’ve synced to my MySqueezebox.Com account as I’ve entered my details as instructed but I can’t tell.
I’m supposed to configure LMS to find my media through the Library tab. How? (I have Googled all this!)
a. The ‘Media Library Name’ is ‘Nil Yet’. I didn’t create that. Do I call it something else?
The Control Panel doesn’t seem to ‘see’ the VB, so rescans come up at zero. Even though the VB is obviously on the network, re-mapping didn’t show it up.

b. Still in the Library tab, my Windows Music, Videos and Picture folders are listed already. I see ‘Playlist’ but I haven’t set any of these up; there’s nothing else unless I Browse to ‘Network’ where the VB name is listed, is that it, or one of its sub-lists? Or all of them? Do I select and click to Add? (I have Googled all this too!).


You said that the SBs can play the music located on your VB. So they are connected to a LMS that knows already where your music is stored. Probably the LMS running on your VB. You can check on your SBs via the menu (don't know by heart, something like) "Settings/Extended/Diagnosis/Server Information". There you will find the IP address of your LMS.


If I go to Settings (which I’m aware I can’t expect to understand yet) I see that somehow LMS knows I have ripped 24 albums even though the rescans on the Control Panel come up at zero, so something is working.

On which machine is your LMs running? Are your SBs listed in the 'Player Information' section of the Settings/Information page? Please provide more details.

dtw3
2013-06-02, 07:34
Many thanks to castala, garym and reinholdk (for the broken-down answers). Apologies for my absence.

Firstly, castala you’re right. My excuse, I was trying to get everything there (and off my chest) instead of going back over it later, but on re-reading – far too much! I’m sorry you gave up though, there are some other solid questions there.
I don’t really want to make ‘try and see’ changes, experimenting with zero knowledge, I don’t know where I am now. Isn’t the last thing I should be doing is meddling?
As regards File organization and tagging, I mainly use the screens on the SBs (my music players) to view the music listings. Logitech Media Server is my other method but that’s only been while I’m trying to find my way around. I don’t use anything else and so far I have used only VortexBox for ripping.

Other than unknown artists & albums and Various Artists, I’m happy with the way VB & the SBs are organising my albums, I can get to what I want quite easily. I don’t want to make unnecessary changes and had no intention of turning this into some sort of Rain Man exercise! And all I want to do is replicate at least what you’d have with a shelf-full of CDs and cassettes. But I think I’m going to have problems with ‘Various Artists’. I used ‘Hits of the 60s’ as an example but I have far too many like this plus samplers, newspaper freebies, even personal birthday CDs. As I said, random-non-album music, quite a few pre-album singles and a few recordings that never made it to a pressing.
I think these should be available to be viewed in alphabetical order by artist, then song title (also ideally by song title, then artist/s). Working on an alphabetical list would also make it easy for me to identify the many duplications and delete them. I don’t think I can go the album route, for example, I’ve got 2 or 3 compilations that differ from each other by only 1 or 2 tracks. This, “duplications and how to identify and delete them” issue is a big worry. I had thought it’s going to be quicker to let the VB rip everything then delete the duplications afterward. Do you think this is so?
In spite of ‘pre-checking’, the VB ripped 3 CDs as Unknown Artist & Albums, 1 needs deleting, 2 need renaming etc. and I know the albums! OK I think, I’ll alter the VB flac files. Before getting in too deep I do a test (see the bold As in the title? - UnknownA_Artist_-_Unknown_AAlbum) but these don’t show up on the SB screen. So, if it’s not here that I manage alterations and deletions, where?

Ok, so I’ve bought the VB and for straightforward ripping maybe that’s OK but for anything iffy (say 25% of my stuff) and my classical, notwithstanding what you all said about mp3tag, should I use the highly rated dBpoweramp to rip this 30% (and then transfer to the VortexBox)?

garym, thanks for the ‘beginners guide’ links etc. and the explanation about syncing, brilliant but it might help you guys understand just how difficult even a simple sentence is for me, the most modern bit of technology we had before this was a CD/cassette player! That’s why my posts are so wordy, it’s all new to me. Anyway, thanks, I will read them.
Your point 3. As I said, I’ve only been using the Win 7 laptop to see LMS (trying to find my way around). I don’t know if VB runs LMS, I doubt it. The VBA was purchased in the UK and I think it only has VB and a Wake up on LAN app on it. As instructed, I registered an account at SqueezeBox.com then downloaded LMS to the laptop.

Whilst in LMS context I will cover some of reinholdk’s queries here too. I did check the VB files for cover-art (only 38% success but that’s a VB problem I think – I’m going to use Bliss) but now, following a LMS rescan, the covers are now viewable! I’d like to understand these “configure LMS/Control Panel/Library tab and re-mapping” issues better but at least the cover-art query is solved, errors and omissions included.

The VB GUI 'System Configuration' shows Logitech Media Server ‘Active’ but see above about where it is.
I can confirm that the SBs are listed in LMS Settings/Player Information, together with “Players 1 and 2” (do I just ignore these?). For convenience, I switch on an SB to wake up the VB.

About modifying file names, as you can see above, I need to modify ‘Unknown Artist’ etc.(let alone deal with the duplications). Like fool I used a bit of jargon, ‘Tag’, which showed I don’t know what it really is. You say, “…modify some of the tags that are stored inside the file” – uhh? What files? I have tried sorting some of this out myself and you can see where I got to. I don’t know what I’m doing, isn’t there any point-and-shoot software that does all this? You make the comment, “Tag editors like mp3tag (and Bliss?) know how to access these tags inside a file...” You can see what I’ll need to do. Is that my point-and-shoot software?

As for everything being set up correctly, I think that is the big question, adding to the high number of ‘unknowns’. No permanent IP addresses yet set, the whole network not showing up as mapped and relatively poor listing/cover-art results from the VBA. I guess I’ll get there in the end.

Thanks for telling me I can forget about Samba - I can’t even foxtrot!

garym
2013-06-02, 07:54
You say doubtful that VB runs LMS. This is wrong and I think you're confused about exactly what's happening with your setup. VB ALWAYS includes LMS. That's one of the main benefits of running a computer/NAS with Vortexbox. It *includes* LMS so you don't need to run LMS on another computer. What may confuse you is the fact that even if LMS is running on VB, you can *access* that instance of LMS via a webbrowser on any other computer on your network. So there is a difference from accessing LMS versus running the LMS program. I suspect you are running LMS on your VB, your VB-LMS sees the files you're ripped there, etc. You can easily check this. turn off your windows machine and any other computer. Leave only your VB on. I bet you can still play music just fine. That proves that LMS is running on your VB.

I highly recommend dbpoweramp for ripping. Yes, you can rip there then copy these files to your VB. This is what I do. And with regard to classical, even with dbpa, you'll find that you need to make manual corrections to get your tag data how you want it. mp3tag is great for this.