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    The Computer Audiophile

    Editing File Tags The Easy Way With Mp3tag for Mac

    Editing file tags is still a thing in 2021. I thought I'd have a flying car at the turn of the century, and I thought editing file tags would be a thing of the past by now. However, we're far from anything resembling the extinction of tag editing. In fact, it's still critical on every platform I use, and I use almost all of them from Aurender, Lumin, Naim, Roon, and many more. Yes, tags are even important in Roon, an app that for the most part doesn't use tags. 

     

    Released today from indie software developer Florian Heidenreich, is the new Mp3tag for Mac app. Don't let the name fool you. The app really has nothing to do with MP3 files. MP3 is just one of many file formats that Mp3tag can edit. I've tested the app several times on several platforms and really love how well it works and it's simplicity. 


    Here's how I use Mp3tag for Mac. I think a light will illuminate in many people's minds as they see how easy and beneficial the app really is. Audiophiles using apps such as JRiver or Audirvana on their Mac, already have built-in tag editing. Mp3tag is magical for everyone else, especially those using UPnP/DLNA servers and high end music servers. 

     

    Mp3tag for Mac 01.jpgThis week I received the physical CD for Congo Blue, a direct to disc recording from Disk Union in Japan, and a download for David Chesky's forthcoming Songs for a Broken World album. I used Mp3tag on both releases and it couldn't be happier about the experience. 

     

    The Chesky album's files had absolutely zero tags, but I didn't notice this until I had copied them to my QNAP NAS and Aurender N20. Roon did an OK job of naming the albums from the folder structure and extracting names from the files names, but the album was listed under Various Artists. Roon has no clue who, what, when, where, etc... without file tags because no information is available about this release from its online sources. 

     

    I opened Mp3tag, and just dragged the album's tracks from my NAS to the Mp3tag window, through macOS finder. Note, the files remain on the NAS. I added all the tags I needed and high resolution album art through Mp3tag, clicked Save changes to files. That's it, all the tags were updated/added to the files on my NAS and Roon automatically changed Various Artists to David Chesky and used my high resolution art.

     

    The same goes for my Aurender N20. I navigated to the N20 through finder, the same way I copied files to the music server initially. I dragged the album's folder into Mp3tag, again the files remained on the N20, and edited everything I needed to edit. I updated my Aurender library through the Conductor app and all was right in the world. 

     

    I absolutely love that Mp3tag can edit local files and network / music server files without moving them. The bigger picture here is that Mp3tag can be used on any number of albums, sitting on a NAS or music server or even locally, that people have collected over the years and just haven't felt like editing. One reason why I use Mp3tag over an app like Audirvana or JRiver for tagging, is because it's so easy. The only thing Mp3tag for Mac does is edit/add file tags. There is nothing to remember when opening the app after a long day at the office. Just open it and off you go. 

     

    I could repeat this entire story again for the Congo Blue CD I received and ripped, but I'll mention one additional reason why I like Mp3tag. It isn't a different feature, but it's a human thing. Attached to my NAS I have a 16TB USB drive. I haven't setup auto backup to this drive yet. The drive currently has an exact copy of everything stored on the NAS RAID array. This means that everything I copy to the NAS also gets copied to the backup USB drive. I do this over the network because it's easiest, rather than QNAP's file manager. 

     

    I opened the Congo Blue ripped CD on my backup USB drive and edited it the same way I edited the main version on the NAS. Drag, drop, edit, save, done. Editing the backup copy reminded me of all the times I've made adjustments to my main music source on the NAS or Aurender, and never changed the same info on my backup copy. Call it laziness, forgetfulness, or being too busy, I didn't get it done. Using Mp3tag, I can easily go through my backup drive and make quick changes that I'd neglected when I made the change previously on the main source. 

     

    Note 1: At first I couldn't figure out how to remove the files from the Mp3tag window after editing them. I was hesitant to click the Remove option after selecting the files and right-clicking. I eventually clicked around and found out. Just select the files, right-click, and select Remove (NOT Remove Tag). The files are removed from the window, not the source. 

     

     

    Mp3tag for Mac 03.jpg

     

     

     

     

     

    Note 2: By default upon opening the app Mp3tag opens the last files that were open when the app was closed. This can be changed in the app's preferences next to Startup Folder. See the image below.

    Mp3tag for Mac 02.jpg

     

     

     

    This app is so easy and works very well. It's one of those apps you don't know you need until you try it. I'm never removing it. It's an indispensable $20 tool in my digital toolbox.

     

    Windows users likely know this already, but MP3TAG has been a go-to editor on that platform for years. Mac users can now enjoy it on both Intel Macs and natively on Apple Silicon based Macs. 

     

    Highly recommended. Spend the $20, you won't regret it. I don't make a penny off the sale of this app, I just like it so much that want to share it with the Audiophile Style Community. 


    More information available from - https://mp3tag.app
    Purchase from the Mac App Store - https://apps.apple.com/app/id1532597159 


     

     

     



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    6 minutes ago, ted_b said:

    Yes, I do tagging for a living (well, not living, but it's my volunteer job at Native) and wouldn't live without MP3tag; as you say, an invaluable tool.  One of the favorite things I do, when almost done with an album, is to go to tag-> filename and have MP3tag rename my files themselves according to a format string (and you can have multiple in pulldown) I created.  This gives consistency to your filenames, and helps just in case one goes rogue and wants to be an orphan.  Easy to identify.

     

     

     

     

    tagfilename.thumb.png.3c1cd2e07c411b3e3c9c275e59be185a.png

    This is genius Ted!

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    I have a library of about 4000 songs accumulated over ten years.   Some were ripped using 2007 iTunes,  dbpoweramp, and vinyl studio.   I remember typing in all the tag data in iTunes for about 100 cds!!   ie a million typos.   dbpoweramp rips at the time didn't have the benefit of musicbrainz either early on.....more manual entires.    I have such a mish mash of tags and incorrect filenames that I didn't really dare to move outside a simple file directory structure in my music server.  

     

    I only recently found a tag editor.   I saw mp3tag editor but was turned off by "mp3" unknowingly.  So I purchased meta from apple store which seems very similar.    I couldn't believe how many errors I had to correct in file names before I could start moving to fixing genre tags.  Example: Simon and Garfunkel vrs Simon & Garfunkel.   Beatles vrs The Beatles.   After that you can tailor genres to your liking.   To me ACDC is "loud rock"  and so I edited a new genre!   Now I'm hijacking the "album artist" tag to make my own groupings.   Anything you want.   I use it to create a genre subset.  An example is ROCK-HR, ROCK-CD and ROCK-P.    This allows me to drill down to resolution formats for each genre.   And its so easy and fast!

     

    Best thing since sliced bread!

    Cheers! 

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    Thank you for this article. I have used MP3Tag  for years on Windows and it is both simple to use and powerful. Although I initially used it as freeware, I have donated to the developer after several upgrades and will do so in the future, as his work is exemplary. Easily worth $20. Glad to hear it is expanding to other platforms.

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    12 hours ago, Rcanoe said:

    I have a library of about 4000 songs accumulated over ten years.   Some were ripped using 2007 iTunes,  dbpoweramp, and vinyl studio.   I remember typing in all the tag data in iTunes for about 100 cds!!   ie a million typos.   dbpoweramp rips at the time didn't have the benefit of musicbrainz either early on.....more manual entires.    I have such a mish mash of tags and incorrect filenames that I didn't really dare to move outside a simple file directory structure in my music server.  

     

    I only recently found a tag editor.   I saw mp3tag editor but was turned off by "mp3" unknowingly.  So I purchased meta from apple store which seems very similar.    I couldn't believe how many errors I had to correct in file names before I could start moving to fixing genre tags.  Example: Simon and Garfunkel vrs Simon & Garfunkel.   Beatles vrs The Beatles.   After that you can tailor genres to your liking.   To me ACDC is "loud rock"  and so I edited a new genre!   Now I'm hijacking the "album artist" tag to make my own groupings.   Anything you want.   I use it to create a genre subset.  An example is ROCK-HR, ROCK-CD and ROCK-P.    This allows me to drill down to resolution formats for each genre.   And its so easy and fast!

     

    Best thing since sliced bread!

    Cheers! 


    I recently bought Meta, too, and couldn’t be happier with it. 

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    Thanks for this, very useful to know. May I ask how it compares to Metadatics?

     

    What software do you use to rip on the Mac?

     

    Thanks!

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    4 hours ago, delprado said:

    Thanks for this, very useful to know. May I ask how it compares to Metadatics?

     

    What software do you use to rip on the Mac?

     

    Thanks!

    To rip on Mac I use dbpoweramp 

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    I'm an MP3Tag user for Windows and it is nice to see that a Mac version is finally available. The metadata retrieval from Discogs works well (within the limits of Discogs - sub-tracks are a pain...). I also use it to automate a few tasks:

    - rename files based on tags

    - auto-numbering

    - automate text removal (for ex: Qobuz downloads often have unnecessary text added in the track titles).

     

    Overall, really user-friendly and powerful software.

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    Used to use MP3Tag, but switched over to "Tagscanner", and found it just a far, far better tool. Of course switched to Windows as well to use it and other programs for my audio/video library needs. (there are just so many more programs to be had) If anyone is interested and on the PC, (there may be a MAC version, I don't know) but it is well worth checking out. You won't go back to MP3Tag as it is too limiting. But as they say "to each their own".

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    7 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    What software do you use to rip on the Mac?

     

    +1 for dBpoweramp. JRiver also has a feature for ripping discs.

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    3 hours ago, mesonto said:

    Used to use MP3Tag, but switched over to "Tagscanner", and found it just a far, far better tool. Of course switched to Windows as well to use it and other programs for my audio/video library needs. (there are just so many more programs to be had) If anyone is interested and on the PC, (there may be a MAC version, I don't know) but it is well worth checking out. You won't go back to MP3Tag as it is too limiting. But as they say "to each their own".

    Agree here totally. Came across Tagscanner when looking for a solution to remove the '01-' from '01-Tubular Bells' (example) in the metadata. I could, in the past,  run an expression in MP3Tag, but something changed (me?) couldn't work no matter which combo. Tagscanner already had a template for just that situation, modified the template a little and it worked a treat.

     

    I still use MP3Tag, for the odd errors found, usually from Explorer, with the quick right click context window, and it's done. With Tagscanner have to open then select, it's just a few mouse clicks more, but leave Tagscanner's default folder in the Downloads ready to check and process. Like MP3Tag, Tagscanner edits metadata from just about any format. Only have two anyway, FLAC and DSD. Tagscanner took a while to while to load initially, but that's worked itself through a couple of software revisions, now the loading is instantaneous.

     

    Online resources have a metadata preview inside the app which is convenient, MP3Tag needs to open a web page like Discogs to obtain the r number for the release, copy and process. I found the search not bad, but produced some weird and irrelevant results, like most search results s'pose'.

     

    Screenshots of Tagscanner

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    Thanks for that hint!

    Even though I have never regretted the switch after Win7 to MacOS, the tagging was never solved. Will definitely start using mp3tag on the Mac now. One function, I am still missing is a lookup in the own database while typing. Let's say, I want to add the composer, and I want to always use "Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770 - 1827)". To my knowledge, mp3tag not really offer a nice solution, or I missed it. Any suggestions?

     

    (OT: f2k does support it in an excellent way, but has disadvantages also)

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    On 2/19/2021 at 1:24 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

    To rip on Mac I use dbpoweramp 

    Thanks! Do you worry about it not being able to produce a log to confirm a bit perfect rip? How do we know?

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    3 minutes ago, delprado said:

    Thanks! Do you worry about it not being able to produce a log to confirm a bit perfect rip? How do we know?

    You can write to a log file for every rip if you wish. 

     

    Screen Shot 2021-02-20 at 7.43.16 AM.png

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    I use Tag&Rename, AFAIK only for Mickey$oft. In the end it's probably a personal preference thing, I never liked mp3tag...

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    A useful review. Not sure if this is the right place to ask but here we go........

     

    When I started ripping CDs and storing them on a NAS about 10 years ago I was faced with a huge variety of tagging. In particularly classical CDs were particularly bad as they often have works br a range of composers and artists. My solution was to re-purpose 'Album' to 'Work'. This has resulted in my library being very easy to search and play classical music. My question is what would mp3tag come up with when faced with all these albums that now contain a single work?

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    On 2/18/2021 at 2:41 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

    This is genius Ted!

    The other useful things that file renaming does is stop you getting filepath/filename length issues - especially if you have a structured way of storing your music files and you move the files around different machines at home.

     

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    On 2/18/2021 at 9:34 AM, ted_b said:

    Yes, I do tagging for a living (well, not living, but it's my volunteer job at Native) and wouldn't live without MP3tag; as you say, an invaluable tool.  One of the favorite things I do, when almost done with an album, is to go to tag-> filename and have MP3tag rename my files themselves according to a format string (and you can have multiple in pulldown) I created.  This gives consistency to your filenames, and helps just in case one goes rogue and wants to be an orphan.  Easy to identify.

     

     

     

     

    tagfilename.thumb.png.3c1cd2e07c411b3e3c9c275e59be185a.png

     

    Good to know and I plan to take a look at this product now that it is on macOS.

     

    btw dBpoweramp does this as well both for individual albums but can also do this in bulk.  I attached screen shots of Arrange Audio "Codec" which is file rename function if you don't add any DSP effects.  

     

    I also included the screen shot of the naming logic I use to name files the way I want.  What is nice you can use same string in the CD Ripper so rips are named similar during ripping.

     

     

     

     

    Screen Shot 2021-02-22 at 11.28.11 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2021-02-22 at 11.28.18 AM.png

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    On 2/19/2021 at 10:00 PM, Steve7 said:

    Nice review! How does it compare to Yate'?

     

    I wanted to ask the same as that will be what I compare this product too.  Yate is the most sophisticated editor I have ever used.  However, I will say to be able to use it to its potential takes a commitment to learning the nuances of the tool.  

     

    You can script virtually anything in this tool for batch processing and the developers of the tool are incredibly helpful if you run into issues on how to code something.

     

     

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    On 2/18/2021 at 3:34 PM, ted_b said:

    Yes, I do tagging for a living (well, not living, but it's my volunteer job at Native)

    Ah, so it's you who is to blame for including "tracktotal" value in "tracknumber" tag! 😉

    ]$ kid3-cli -c 'get tracknumber' 3_The-Dreams-and-Prayers-of-Isaac-the-Blind-Prelude_stereo.dsf
    3/8
    
    ]$ kid3-cli -c 'get tracknumber' 8_Pavane_64fs-2ch.dsf
    8/12

    Madness! Pure madness!

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    I wish I had a say in some of those labels' practices.  I HATE tracktotal values.  MP3tag solves them, btw.  :)

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