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Newbie: Learned: Building the database


ElliotG
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Computer Audio Lessons Learned: Building the database

 

Thanks to all on this forum, while this is my first post, I’ve read and learned a lot here. By way of giving back I thought I would share my experiences in the move to computer audio. It is remarkable to have my entire “CD collection” at my fingertips.

 

I have a large CD collection (~800), and my existing rips had been focused on portable devices. I decided to start clean with lossless compression (FLAC). There are 3 software programs I used for ripping:

 

  • dBpoweramp - Ripping and format conversion. Great tool pulls in metadata, including album art from multiple public sites. Tools to ensure bit-accurate rips. Highly recommended. https://www.dbpoweramp.com/
     
  • PerfectTunes - A remarkably useful tool for identifying issues with metadata, and fixing many issues. https://www.dbpoweramp.com/perfecttunes.htm
     
  • Mp3Tag - Highly effective in fixing metadata quickly across a large number of files. A useful companion to PerfectTunes, http://www.mp3tag.de/en/

 

Lessons learned:

Rip a few disks at a time: Grabbing about 10 disks at a time, having them sit on my desk and just ripping as time allowed enabled me to slowly get the job done.

 

Don’t worry about filenames: I spent too much time worrying about file names. There is a lot written about filenames. Ultimately the file names don’t matter that much. Any simple artist/album/song structure will work fine. I spend more time with metadata when browsing my collection. It is also easy to use the batch converter in dBpoweramp to change filenames.

 

Multiple Drives, simultaneous rips: If you have more than one optical drive on your PC, you can open multiple copies of dBpoweramp and rip from multiple drives. This significantly speeds the time required to rip CDs.

 

Check for Duplicates: I started clean, and yet I ended up with duplicate rips where I had changed filenames and left some old copies behind.

 

Clean up the metadata: Exploring the metadata in PerfectToons let me see the mess that I created. I had decided on a few Genres for my collection: Classical, Rock, Jazz, Reggae, R&B, World… I was not paying attention to Genres during rips. I ended up with Genres I didn't want including Vocal, Pop, Pop-Rock, Pop/Rock, Symphonic, Orchestral, International… it was easy to find these in PerfectToons, and fix them quickly in Mp3Tag. You will ultimately live in this metadata, how you list the artists, album, genre… will impact how you find your music when browsing.

 

Experiment in small chunks: All of these tools are powerful, and sometimes confusing. I found it was important to try ideas in small chunks to understand how things worked, rather than trying an action across large portions of the collection.

 

Google Image Search can find album artwork - Occasionally, dBpa could not find the correct album art. Google image search sometimes did. In a few cases, rather than scan a bland looking cover, I found a nice picture of the artist or compose.

 

Create a database in one format first, that batch convert - I started out trying to rip to FLAC and AAC at the same time. This quickly became unmanageable as found issues to fix. I was more effective to get to one FLAC library where I fixed artwork and other metadata; and then created a AAC library with the batch converter.

 

I'm intereting in hearing your suggestions and comments.

Elliot

 

 

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Great suggestions. Thanks for sharing and welcome to digital audio. I think a point you sort of made reading between the lines is don't sweat it and just do it. You will have problems and issues but you can fix it or sort it out later. Better to do it and enjoy your music without worrying about the perfect solution. I am constantly cleaning up metadata from stuff I did years ago. In the meantime though I enjoy my collection.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Well said!

I just had another learning experience. I was loading up a USB stick for the car. I had planned on using AAC. My car could not play AAC (contrary to the user manual), so I moved to MP3. Additionally, the songs needed to be in the format [track] [title] to show up in the correct order (not in the user manual). If the filenames do not follow the format, the songs show up in alphabetical order. I've got it all working now.

 

live, learn, enjoy!

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I came across another "situation" while importing folders into itunes.

 

itunes error message... "iTunes attempting to copy the disk "Gateway" failed. The filename was invalid or too long." It appears that Itunes will not import files with filenames over 150 characters. I could not find any documentation on this - but it appears to be an issue on my system (win7, itunes 12.5.4.42). I have itunes setup to manage the itunes library. Note: "Gateway" is the name of my C: drive, where the itunes library is stored.

 

After having this issue come up a number of times while importing a folder with all of my content, I used MP3Tag to identify all of the filenames over 150 characters. Using the following filter:

 

"$len(%_filename%)" GREATER 150

 

I had five filenames that exceeded the limit. I then manually shortened the filenames in MP3Tag, and everything worked.

 

Other options would have been to have the batch converter in DbPoweramp truncate the names, at the time of conversion; or use it to go across all of the files and truncate the names post conversion. Given the small number of files, I renamed them by hand.

-Elliot

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JRiver is also a very handy tool for managing a library. I use dBpoweramp as you do, but JRiver allows me to refine all metadata on a large batch basis. And finally since I use JRiver as my media player, I can fine tune as I go along scanning my library for playback. JRiver works great for stripping audio, bit perfect, from video files.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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The best suite for managing your music library is MUSIChi Suite. It has the best search engine, powerful Tagger which gives you access to online databases for your metadata, gives you the ability to manage multiple libraries (and not only one library as other softwares) , sounds great.

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Thanks for sharing the very informative experience of yours. It will definitely help people who would like to create database from the scratch. There are many database creator that we could utilize as well for newbies like me. I have tried Zoho Creator and it works well.

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Don’t worry about filenames: I spent too much time worrying about file names. There is a lot written about filenames. Ultimately the file names don’t matter that much. Any simple artist/album/song structure will work fine. I spend more time with metadata when browsing my collection. It is also easy to use the batch converter in dBpoweramp to change filenames.

 

It might be worth worrying about file names if only to, in the general case, remove as much data as possible from file paths and use file paths only for immutable identification tags - artist, album, track position, track name (also medium number).

 

Your general point about caring about tags more is correct.

 

bliss - fully automated music organizer. Read the music library management blog.

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