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Metadata Recovery for Complete Music Library


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I am trying to help a friend who, after a failure that is not relevant to this discussion, had his music library recovered to a USB HDD. However, all the files are in wav format and there is no metadata. All album folder names and individual file names are numbers. He has just purchased a Sony HAD-S1 and wants to add metadata to his library before transferring it to the Sony HDD. For metadata, IMO, he should be using flac or aiff. I should be able to batch convert his files to either format using dBpoweramp Batch Converter. The issue I need help with is is how to obtain the metadata. His computer is a Windows PC. I have read that Jaikoz, which I have never used, might be the simplest tool but I am certainly open to alternatives.

 

Is there any way to do batch tagging or would it have to be done album by album? If the latter, needless to add, it will be a very time consuming process. We are talking about a library of approx. 500MB.

 

Any suggestions on how best to proceed with this project would be greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,

Allan

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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500MB or GB?

 

If the former that's really not a lot of data - if MP3 at even medium resolution an album will take up maybe 90 to 100 MB.

 

MP3tag is a free download that will let you set metadata for file formats that will support that function.

 

As far as batch file conversion goes, no program can copy data that doesn't exist, meaning that if it isn't there you need to add it manually.

 

If you can provide more information I'm confident we will be able to help you.

 

Edit: Files and folders with nothing but numbers sounds like the result of some type of undelete program.

 

If that is the case, the data will be highly suspect and never reliable. Meaning, sorry about this, you may need to reference the original source material.

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500MB or GB?

 

If the former that's really not a lot of data - if MP3 at even medium resolution an album will take up maybe 90 to 100 MB.

 

MP3tag is a free download that will let you set metadata for file formats that will support that function.

 

As far as batch file conversion goes, no program can copy data that doesn't exist, meaning that if it isn't there you need to add it manually.

 

If you can provide more information I'm confident we will be able to help you.

 

Edit: Files and folders with nothing but numbers sounds like the result of some type of undelete program.

 

If that is the case, the data will be highly suspect and never reliable. Meaning, sorry about this, you may need to reference the original source material.

 

Oops, mea culpa. That should be 500GB. I don't believe an undelete program was used. He sent the drive to Olive - his Olive server/player caused the problems and, AFIAK, they had to unencrypt the files so he can use them elsewhere. He apparently has no trouble playing the wav files with Windows Media Player, although I don't know how many albums he has sampled.

 

I want to exhaust possibilities for obtaining the metadata on the assumption that the files are not corrupted before considering ripping the CDs again.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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If the "recovery" turned everything into numbers for files and folders I think the only answer is to rip everything all over again.

 

Just because the files are playable, not knowing what they are makes them pretty much useless.

 

The time and frustration of listening to snippets of tracks and then guessing at what it is - and presuming that it was properly recovered just doesn't seem worth the incredible effort that will be needed.

 

Sorry - and you already know this, your friend needs to understand that old computer saying, it's not if your hard drive will fail, it's when. And the solution - backup, backup, backup.

 

Have a great Labour Day weekend!

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If the "recovery" turned everything into numbers for files and folders I think the only answer is to rip everything all over again.

 

Just because the files are playable, not knowing what they are makes them pretty much useless.

 

The time and frustration of listening to snippets of tracks and then guessing at what it is - and presuming that it was properly recovered just doesn't seem worth the incredible effort that will be needed.

 

Sorry - and you already know this, your friend needs to understand that old computer saying, it's not if your hard drive will fail, it's when. And the solution - backup, backup, backup.

 

Have a great Labour Day weekend!

 

Thanks for the suggestions, Stephen. As a matter of fact, my friend did back up his music library to an external USB drive. The problem apparently is that, unknown to him, the Olive software encrypted the files when they were ripped to the HDD, so his backup was also encrypted. It is because Olive supposedly unencrypted the backup that I believe there is a reasonable likelihood that the files are not corrupted. If for reasons that are not at all clear to me, they unencrypted and converted all the files to wav format (I am pretty sure they were originally ripped to flac), then the metadata would probably be lost.

 

Enjoy the long weekend. As I am retired, holiday weekends don't mean much to me anymore, apart from the fact that the places I frequent tend to be more crowded. :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about Olive music servers and can't imagine why they would use a proprietary format, maybe something to do with indexing.

 

If the files and folders are now just numbers, it's not the metadata that's lost it's the artist, album and track information!

 

It's too bad, but if the original CD's are available, and it would seem they are, all is not lost.

 

:)

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I agree with Steven, I would just rerip if the sources are still available. The hunt and pecking approach of piecing together randomly named .wav files with zero tag info will be a time consuming nightmare and you would be spending all that time on files that are suspect IMO since they were encrypted and unencrypted by unknown methods.

 

To prove the point, you could just work on one Album the manual way to piece it back together and time it. Then to confirm, take the original CD, place it in the CD Rom and rip it with DB power amp. Which approach was faster? Me think's the answer is the re-rip method :)

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I agree with Steven, I would just rerip if the sources are still available. The hunt and pecking approach of piecing together randomly named .wav files with zero tag info will be a time consuming nightmare and you would be spending all that time on files that are suspect IMO since they were encrypted and unencrypted by unknown methods.

 

To prove the point, you could just work on one Album the manual way to piece it back together and time it. Then to confirm, take the original CD, place it in the CD Rom and rip it with DB power amp. Which approach was faster? Me think's the answer is the re-rip method :)

 

I am not sure that that the source material is available to him any longer, which is why I keep coming back to the idea that alternative avenues be explored and/or exhausted.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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If the files and folders are now just numbers, it's not the metadata that's lost it's the artist, album and track information!

 

Sorry, but you lost me. I thought that artist, album and track information are all part of the metadata. If I put a CD in my computer's DVD drive and use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to just rip it a folder in wav format, none of those items is present, but EAC uses AccurateRip to confirm the rip. Similarly, when a disc loads in dBpoweramp, artist, album and track info isn't displayed until the databases are accessed by the program to retrieve artist, album, track info, as well as additional information such as year, composer, etc.

 

I could be wrong, but aren't you talking about secondary 'tags' rather than metadata in general. I know that MP3Tag, and I would assume Jaikoz too, can get artist, album and track info when pointed to the folder with the raw data.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Allan,

 

A quick test indicates that Jaikoz may be able to get you at least part of the way there.

 

Here's what I did:

 

1. Duplicated an album from my library and deleted all the metadata from the files.

 

2. Converted the files from AIFF to FLAC as Jaikoz doesn't support AIFF

 

3. Loaded the files into Jaikoz and clicked the Brain icon.

 

4. Watched in amazement as it populated the tags.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Allan,

 

A quick test indicates that Jaikoz may be able to get you at least part of the way there.

 

Here's what I did:

 

1. Duplicated an album from my library and deleted all the metadata from the files.

 

2. Converted the files from AIFF to FLAC as Jaikoz doesn't support AIFF

 

3. Loaded the files into Jaikoz and clicked the Brain icon.

 

4. Watched in amazement as it populated the tags.

 

Thanks. Before I saw your post, I was in the process of downloading Jaikoz myself after ripping a CD to wav with EAC and then converting the files to flac with dBpoweramp Batch Converter.

 

I was also able to import the metadata from the MusicBrainz server. I had to manually edit the info for two tracks which contained errors - wrong album title for one and wrong album art for the other. Most importantly, it worked as proof of concept. OTOH, it also showed that importing metadata this way for the whole library will take a long time. However, it should be possible, assuming that the files are not corrupted.

 

Jaikoz appears to be a better option than MP3Tag. It can do a lot more but will take longer to learn how to use it most efficiently.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Thanks. Before I saw your post, I was in the process of downloading Jaikoz myself after ripping a CD to wav with EAC and then converting the files to flac with dBpoweramp Batch Converter.

 

I was also able to import the metadata from the MusicBrainz server. I had to manually edit the info for two tracks which contained errors - wrong album title for one and wrong album art for the other. Most importantly, it worked as proof of concept. OTOH, it also showed that importing metadata this way for the whole library will take a long time. However, it should be possible, assuming that the files are not corrupted.

 

The process will probably work better for CDs than downloaded music from places like HDTracks as the former will be more likely to be in the database.

 

Have fun!

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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The process will probably work better for CDs than downloaded music from places like HDTracks as the former will be more likely to be in the database.

 

Have fun!

 

Fortunately, in my friend's case, all the files are Redbook (CD). He doesn't have any hi res files in his music library because I don't believe that the Olive server/player's DAC was capable of playing them.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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if you use iTunes the above approach can be achieved simply:

1. Add music from one of the files/folders to the library (see 'file' options)

2. Select all the tracks once music is loaded

3. Ctrl click on these and select option 'get track info' (or similar)

This should give album artist and track meta data but is not 100% reliable. As it operates purely on the collection of track times the result can be ambiguous (very rarely)

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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if you use iTunes the above approach can be achieved simply:

1. Add music from one of the files/folders to the library (see 'file' options)

2. Select all the tracks once music is loaded

3. Ctrl click on these and select option 'get track info' (or similar)

This should give album artist and track meta data but is not 100% reliable. As it operates purely on the collection of track times the result can be ambiguous (very rarely)

 

Thanks, I have never used iTunes as I have no need for it as a PC user with JRiver as my music player. However, I was under the impression that iTunes will not handle wav or flac files.

 

In any case, however, I don't see how iTunes is any simpler than Jaikoz. You click "Open folder" and browse to the appropriate folder. Jaikoz then automatically loads all the tracks in that folder. You then click on the database icon and it retrieves and displays the artist, track, album and album art metadata for all the tracks. It provides access to three different databases: MusicBrainz, Acoustic ID and Discogs, so you should be able to end up with accurate info even if you have to do some manual editing.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Sorry, but you lost me. I thought that artist, album and track information are all part of the metadata. If I put a CD in my computer's DVD drive and use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to just rip it a folder in wav format, none of those items is present, but EAC uses AccurateRip to confirm the rip. Similarly, when a disc loads in dBpoweramp, artist, album and track info isn't displayed until the databases are accessed by the program to retrieve artist, album, track info, as well as additional information such as year, composer, etc.

 

I could be wrong, but aren't you talking about secondary 'tags' rather than metadata in general. I know that MP3Tag, and I would assume Jaikoz too, can get artist, album and track info when pointed to the folder with the raw data.

 

What I meant is whether the physical naming of the folders and tracks is correct, you can have that without any valid metadata.

 

I think I understand your comment about whether the source material is still available. I've ripped over 700 CD's and have them all stored in boxes in the basement. I have concerns over the moral and legal obligation if I get rid of them.

 

At the same time, at last count I have a total of five different USB drives in three different locations for play and backup.

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Is there any way to do batch tagging or would it have to be done album by album? If the latter, needless to add, it will be a very time consuming process. We are talking about a library of approx. 500MB.

 

You could try Musicbrainz Picard, which uses acoustic fingerprints.

 

You just drag a number of audio files or folders containg audio files from the file tree on the left and drop them in the middle pane, select them all and choose 'Scan' from the toolbar. Each recognized track shows up in the right pane underneath an album the software thinks the track belongs to. Right-clicking on an album lets you select others versions of the same album.

 

The disadvantage is that proper coding of your music library for the first time can be (very) time consuming. On the other hand, the advantages are great. Not only can you repeat the process indefinitely, but each time you repeat the steps above, the results get better, meaning more automatic and better matching and each time you repeat it, all updated upstream metadata is applied to yours. Therefore, musicbrainz works like a sort of personal database backup including the acoustic fingerprints of your tracks. Last but not least, others benefit from your work as well.

 

If you're familiar with python you might try beets, a command line tool to "fetch or calculate all the metadata you could possibly need, like album art, lyrics, genres, tempos, ReplayGain levels, or acoustic fingerprints" and "gets its metadata from MusicBrainz, Discogs, or Beatport, or guess metadata using songs' filenames or their acoustic fingerprints."

 

Good luck,

Ronald

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If you do manage to recover the metadata, I would run everything through PerfectTUNES to verify that the files are good - the free version will do the AccurateRip check.

 

PerfectTUNES

 

JRiver has excellent tools for renaming your files once they do have valid metadata - though I'm sure there are plenty of other programs which can do the same.

 

I would store your files as FLAC rather than any other format, since it has good metadata support and file integrity checks that uncompressed, or other losslessly-compressed formats lack.

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Recently I had a similar but much smaller problem (~2,000 tracks) for files I wanted to transfer from my old HK DMC1000 to my new Sony HAP-1ZES and where the original CDs were lost in a flood. As mentioned above, Jaikoz and also MusiBrainz Picard can do this initial sort although with some help. Since the tracks are not currently sorted by CD I recommend starting with Picard for the initial sort, then Jaikoz for some that Picard cannot find. There will be difficulties with some older or more obscure CDs and also where the same song by the same artist could occur on several CDs. Using these programs one can make rapid initial progress but getting every tack correct will take quite some manual time and some may never be identified. Finally, use MP3Tag as the last step in editing metadata for any individual CD. One nice feature is that all these programs have algorithms for renaming the tracks and creating a file structure based on the metadata.

 

One thing I almost forgot - wav files cannot hold metadata so you will need to first convert to flac or another format that can hold metadata. I find freac the easiest way to do this in bulk but thee re other programs that can do the same.

 

Hope this helps.

 

JM

Nearfield Desk System: PC with JRiver MC > Sonore microRendu > Schiit Gungnir USB DAC > 6AH4 Linestage > 6CB5A Amp  >Dave's Cables > Omega Super 3 Desktop Speakers on 1-3/4" Maple Butcher Block Table

 

My "Living Room" System: Sony HAP-Z1ES Player, 2 Pass Labs XA60.5 (Mids/Lows), Pass Labs XA30.5 Amp (Highs), First Watt B4 & B5 Crossovers, Nuforce MCP-18 Preamp, Oppo BDP-103D Video Player, Parasound 275v2 Amp (Center), Parasound 275v2 Amp (SL, SR) Paradigm 90P Full Range Speakers with Powered Subwoofers, Paradigm CC Center Channel, Paradigm Mini Monitor Surrounds, Sony KDL46XBR9 Monitor

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Thank you for the many replies and suggestions. Some comments suggest that there may be confusion about a few points. The album folders and the tracks files they contain are apparently intact. What is missing is the correct name of the album folder and the title of the tracks (and other data). So, there is no need to sort the tracks by CD. Jaikoz includes fingerprinting with the Accurate ID database. When I did the test with Jaikoz, I first retrieved the metadata from the MusicBrainz database. Then I ran Accurate ID which allowed me to correct errors by selecting another listing of the same song track with correct info to replace the one with incorrect data.

 

I understand that MusicBrainz Picard can also do the job but, IMO, Jaikoz appears to be easier to work with. As my friend is not very technical, I believe that it would be the better choice for him. Since he will be using the Sony HAP-S1, I don't see him buying J River just for ease of metadata editing. I expect that I will convert his music library from wav to flac for him, but he will have to take it from there with my assistance. I have emphasized the need for backup to him.

 

Regards,

Allan

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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  • 1 month later...

I was able to successfully retrieve the metadata for 99% of my friend's music library. I ended up doing the metadata recovery myself because of "challenges" with the use of Jaikoz.

 

It was a nightmare dealing with compilation albums because Jaikoz almost always retrieves the individual tracks from the original albums instead of the compilation album. I then had to find the actual compilation album and do lots of manual editing. As with most metadata, there were many errors that also required manual editing. The Jaikoz free version will only save a maximum of 22 tracks, so any album with more tracks - many compilations - required going through the process twice.

 

In total, I recovered metadata for 866 albums and over 8,000 tracks. It took me almost 100 hours. The ongoing challenge is to get the Sony HAP-S1 to properly transfer the music library and metadata, the topic of another thread. http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8-general-forum/sony-hap-s1-file-transfer-help-21826/

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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  • 1 year later...
I was able to successfully retrieve the metadata for 99% of my friend's music library.

Allan, you may be the best friend in history!! I finally cleaned up my music files, and all I had to do was identify a few hundred tracks that had somehow been saved as unlabeled by Foobar (rather than within albums), e.g. because there was a minor error in the tagging. I used Picard because I could group the tracks into albums from the artist, the album artist, or another tag that was saved correctly - and it took me many hours just to do that.

 

I also discovered that the tags have to be perfect to get tracks and albums recognized by multiple players. I've had many that showed up in my MPD library but not in JRMC, or the other way around. One of the weirdest ones took me many tries to identify - diacritical marks can really screw up tagging. I finally figured it out when one of my favorite vocalist's albums failed to appear. Her name is Cyrille Aimée, and the aigu was what was screwing it up. When I changed her name to Aimee (sans aigu), all her albums appeared like magic!

 

Cheer to you for supporting your friend in an hour of true need!!

 

David

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Cheer to you for supporting your friend in an hour of true need!!

 

Thanks, David. Dealing with metadata can be a real pain and, as you point out, the devil is often in the smallest details. It's definitely not a project I would like to undertake again. :)

 

Fortunately, using small batches, my friend was eventually able to successfully transfer the library to his Sony player.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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