MM Library on external harddrive

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de248422

MM Library on external harddrive

Post by de248422 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:42 am

Hi All, Can the MM library and only the MM library be stored on an external harddrive and songs played from the extenal harddrive, without the library on the internal harddrive, where the MM program resides? How would I set this up (procedure/settings)? Thanks!

nohitter151
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by nohitter151 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:02 am

de248422 wrote:Hi All, Can the MM library and only the MM library be stored on an external harddrive and songs played from the extenal harddrive, without the library on the internal harddrive, where the MM program resides? How would I set this up (procedure/settings)? Thanks!
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MMan
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by MMan » Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:10 pm

By library, do you mean the Monkey DB or do you mean the music files themselves? Both are possible. Nohitter sent you to the knowledgebase article for moving the Monkey DB. If you are talking about moving the music files, you can do that using Auto-organize under tools. If you are interested in other info on running everything from an external drive, you can see this wiki page:

http://www.mediamonkey.com/wiki/index.p ... ediamonkey

de248422

Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by de248422 » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:05 pm

Hi MMan, Yes, I was referring to only the music files, as they will probably take up more space than my internal HDD has. I'm planning on using .wav file to get the best quality for playing through my home stereo. Would using .flac files give me the sound quality I seek while using less HDD space and is this possible using MM from the internal HDD? Thank you!

MM3 monkey
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by MM3 monkey » Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:18 pm

I don't know this for sure but AFAIK yes, Flac is lossless and therefore will give you exactly as good quality as your wav files. It's a breeze to convert your music to Flac using MM too.

You can keep your MM database file (MM.DB) and settings (Mediamonkey.ini) wherever you want and your actual music files too (either on the same drive as the database & settings or not). Others, like MMan has already, will give you better detail.

Flac will make your files about 40% to 50% smaller.

MMan
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by MMan » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:10 pm

Starting with a WAV file and then converting it to FLAC for compressed storage will have absolutely no impact on quality. Just like the WAV file, starting with a FLAC file you can recreate an Identical audio CD to the original. As MM3 Monkey said, the benefit is that you achieve a 40-50% reduction in file size. By design, the FLAC algorithm takes longer to code to FLAC the higher the compression, but the compression factor has no impact on decoding time for playback. If you want more info on FLAC, see:

http://flac.sourceforge.net/

Having said that, the assumption is that you start with a good WAV copy of the CD. I believe that all FLAC ripping programs start by ripping to WAV and then converting to FLAC. When converting my 800+ CD collections to digital, i Ripped them into lossless FLAC files (by definition, all FLAC files are Lossless). To insure that I was gettting an accurate archival copy of the CD itself, I used Exact Audio Copy (EAC - a free ripping program http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/) to rip the tracks and then I added them to the Monkey library using the Add/rescan function. The reason I used EAC is that it has great error checking on the read of the CD to insure that you are getting an accurate copy of the CD in WAV format. EAC rips it to Wav and then convets to FLAC. While Monkey's FLAC Codex is fine, it doesn't have near the level of error checking on the read of the CD itself. Which is important, because the red book format developed in the 80s for CDs doesn't have nearly as much error checking as even data CDs have today. If EAC does detect an error, it has error correction algoritms to try and estimate a fix by resampling over the error. Once this is done, I never use the CDs again.

Obviously this takes time! Depending on the quality of your drive and the CD, the rip with full error checking in EAC can take from 10-40 minutes. Newer, unscratched CDs are on the low end. An old, badly scratched CD can take an hour plus as EAC trys to fix the errors in the read caused by the scrathches. Most other rippers, will just read what they can based upon the imbedded red book format error checking and call it a day. Since I am trying to make archival copies I go a little overboard and use EAC. Just some things to think about if as you decide how to go to digital. FLAC is lossless, it doesn't eliminate data to save space, it just stores it more efficiently than raw WAV files.

To give you some flavor on potential size, my collection has 867 CDs and 12,191 tracks. All the music was stored in FLAC files using the above approach, it takes up 267GB. I also keep a back-up copy on another drive to prevent a loss of all the time ripping the files should a single hard drive fry on me. So you probably should double your capacity estimate and have it on multiple drives.

You likely will not hear the difference between a lossy file riped at a reasonable bit rate and a lossless file (especially with earbuds). You also won't hear 99% of the error corrections caught by EAC. But, I just take the view that I paid all that money for the CDs and am spending a fair amount of time to rip them anyway, why not do it once and do it right. That way you never have to worry about whether you are losing quality. Done this way, you have files that are as good of quality as you can ever get from your original CD.

EAC has similar masks as Monkey and can get FreeDB info which it will imbed in the FLAC Tags.

It wasn't clear to me if you were just starting or you already have music in your Library. If you have music now, you can use the auto organize function to move it to the external drive and Monkey will be able to find it seamlessly. If you are just starting, you can have Monkey rip the files to the external drive and once again you are good to go. IF you want to use EAC to rip the files, you can it rip them to the external drive and then use the add/rescan function to add them to the monkey database. All three ways will work fine.

You mentioned that you are going lossless to be able to have high quality to play on your home stereo. If you are doing that, there are a few things to consider. Remember, running the Monkey output through the normal window sound processing causes it to go through several processors and mixers that can alter the sound and increase the latency. Monkey has the ability to use an ASIO plugin to have the output go directly from the decoded FLAC to a high end sound card, where it can be converted by the card's DAC and sent analog to your stereo or if the card has digital output, it can be sent digitally to the stereo to be processed by its DAC. I did a fair amount of research to find a card I liked and I use its DAC because I think that it sounds better than when I send the digital output to my stereo's DAC. (see my post for a description of my set-up http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... &sk=t&sd=a ).

Good luck what ever way you decide to go. :wink:

MMan
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by MMan » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:47 pm

Sorry bad link to the other post on my set-up:

http://mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic. ... &sk=t&sd=a

de248422

Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by de248422 » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:09 pm

Hi MM3 monkey and MMan, Thank you so much for your responses; they are just the kind of detailed info I needed being a newbie to MM!! Thanks to your info, it looks like using FLAC makes an external HDD a moot point, although, I believe my notebook has the ability/capacity to add a second internal HDD in the Ultrabay and I will be backing up to either a second internal HDD or an external one depending upon your recommendations.. I now have questions about connecting to my home stereo, so here's what I'm using. I have a new Lenovo ThinkPad X200 notebook chosen for power, speed and size. It has 2 Intel Core2 Duo P8400 processors @ 2.26 GHz 3MB L2, 1066MHz FSB, a Hitachi 200GB 7200 RPM HDD, 3GB PC3-8500DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM), Conexant High Definition SmartAudio 221 internal sound card, HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-U20N CD/DVD RW, 5-1 Media Card Reader and Modem, Windows XP Pro. I will be connecting it to a Pioneer VSX-5500S A/V receiver. I had planned on connecting from the headphones jack on the notebook to the RCA inputs on the reciever but perhaps your method, MMan, would be better. Are there any other methods of connecting (USB, Firewire, etc.)? I just don't know if I can use the ESI Juli@ in my notebook or if there is one made for notebooks with the same features & quality. I have tried my method and it does work, but I am a little suspect of the sound quality. I did Google "best sound card for notebooks" and did not see the Juli@ mentioned and really only saw results for Creative Labs Soundblaster. I have not started ripping to MM libray yet except for a CD ripped in WMA, OGG, FLAC, & WAV formats to check file sizes and bitrates and testing it connected to my reciever. What are your thoughts/recommendations? Thank you!!

MMan
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by MMan » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:28 pm

Glad you found the info helpful. Both ESI and MAaudio have external USB cards which support ASIO Drivers. I don't know much about them, but here's a link to a review of ESI/Audiotrack's (same company) MAYA44. It seems to support ASIO drivers and has both RCA and Digital Spdif outputs. I can't speak to the quality of the DAC. It seem that you can get it for under $100.

http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/Reviews ... leId=20197

The problem with using the headphone jack, is that you before the signal gets there, it goes through all the Windows sound Kmixer/Kernels etc. With a USB sound card with ASIO drivers, the digital signal goes straight to the sound card and then it can be processed by either the dac on the card or passed digitally to the DAC in the audio system (i don't know if your receiver has Spdif digital inputs). If you are passing only the digital singal to your receiver, I would be the first one to admit that the Julia@ and the MAYA44 are designed to do way more and my be overkill! These are cards designed to do multi-source semi-pro studio recordings, I don't know if there is a cheaper alternative, but at $100 it is not the end of the world. You should also check out MAudio. All I know is that I think the FLAC files sent by Monkey through the ASIO plugin to the Juli@'s DAC and then to my Receiver sound as good if not better than playing a CD directly on my stereo.

I know there are many out there who would argue that this is all overkill and you can't really tell the difference 90% of the time. They may be right, but I know that they couldn't look at you with a straight face and say the other way is better in terms of sound quality!

As to external HD or internal, if you have ever had a hard drive fry or had a laptop lost/stolen, you would know that there are real benefits to having a backup on some external source. I strongly recommend it. For the sake of saving the $75-80 for a 250GB drive, you would kill yourself if you lost your library through drvie failure or loss.

Good Luck!

de248422

Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by de248422 » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:09 pm

Hi MMan, Thanks for another informative response. I've done some more research and have found the E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 Audio Interface(Creative) to have the same capabilities & specs as the Juli@. My question now is whether or not USB 2.0 @ 480 Mbps will support playback thru MM on the laptop to the E-MU 0202 to my stereo without gaps, missing music, etc. The Juli@ card is PCI internal @ 132MBps. Just wondering if there will really be any noticable difference with my setup? Than you & take care!

MMan
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by MMan » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:11 pm

You are now getting beyond my comfort zone in making recommendations. Remember that I am a layperson who has done some surfing on the web and have a product that works for me. I can endorse the Juli@ because I have it installed and love the sound. As to other choices, your guess is as good as mine. However, I did check out the e-MU 0202 on the web and have a couple of observations. First, it has no digital outputs, either coaxial or optical. Second the analog outputs are 1/4" plugs (studio or professional), not RCA (typical consumer). Third, it seems rather large compared to other options if all you are doing is using it to connect to your stereo. Without digital outputs, your are dependent on its DAC. If you had a digital output you may find the DAC in your current or future receiver might sound better. Also, you may find some other time that you wish you had a digital out. As to the 1/4" plug issue, it's no big del to get a pair of adapter cables, but standard RCA audio cables won't work. Size may not matter, but the MAYA44 seems much more compact, which I would think would matter, especially if you are using a laptop.

You may have done more research and have other reasons for going that direction. My comments are based upon a 2 minute scan of the web site and it's external features, not its technical specs.

As to your other point. based upon my layperson understanding, I can't see how the USB 2.0 connection vs. a PCI connection would make any kind of material difference. I have played music from a USB external drive through the Juli@ with no problem. However, if there are others more knowledgeable on the issue please jump in and confirm or corrrect me.

What ever you decide, post what you think after you have it installed. Good luck!

Pietercape
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by Pietercape » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:36 pm

Many thanks to MMan for this and other posts about soundcards and using your stereo to play your music using MM.
Lots of very usefull information but I wonder whether MMan or anyone else can share their experience-knowledge on installing ASIO as a plugin.

I have read the posts and the WIKI but despite my best efforts I just cannot get it to work. To my great frustration!

My OS is Vista Home Premium 32bit and I have tried the MM recommended Octahan v.67 and the Winamp plugin as well as ASIO4ALL.

I need ASIO to bypass Windows to get the Output directly to my Edirol UA-1ex which is ASIO 2.0 compatible and has two good quality DA AD converters with 24bit + up to 96Khz conversion.

Without ASIO the sound from the Edirol (made by Roland) is good but not as good as that from a CD via A Marantz CD Player.

I wonder MMan how you got ASIO installed in MM and how the interface with your Juli@ card is configured, or is there anyone else out there who can help.

MMan
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by MMan » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:30 pm

I used download from Octahan at this site:

http://otachan.com/out_asio(dll).html

This page is in Japanese, so you can use copy it to google translate if you need to read it in English. However, all you have to do is click on the out_asio(dll)_067.7z (dll version) Ver. 0.67 (182KB) download. This is a zipped file it uses the 7z program for the zip so you may need to download the 7z program if you don't have a program that unzips 7z files. When I extracted the files I used the .dll file in the folder /bin/SSE2/out_asio(dll).dll. I used the SSE version. I copied this .dll file into the Plugins folder under the MediaMonkey program folder. Once I did that and restarted Monkey the plugin shows up under <Tools><Options><Player><Output Plug-ins>. The plugin automatically found my Juli@ and you can configure it in that window. I am running Vista Home Premium 32 bit. So this should work for you.

Good Luck.

Pietercape
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by Pietercape » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:42 pm

Thanks MMan for your detailed response, I tried the SSE version and it works!

The sound quality that I am getting is a disappointment - the Edirol is probably the problem here. The reviews are very good but it was probably not designed to accommodate classical music. I am playing FLac files which were converted after going through the EAC exercise. The output path is MM Flac file to ASIO to Edirol to the Marantz Amp. The sound is sharp and superficial, it has no depth. Surprisingly even the bass notes (cello) are dull and cannot compare with the sound from the original CD played through ta Marantz player but thru the same Amp and Speakers.

I will start looking for a high end DA/AD USB converter again which will hopefully give better results.

Many Thanks again MMan for your posts and advice, you are helping the real monkeys like me to enjoy the magic of MM. :D

MMan
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Re: MM Library on external harddrive

Post by MMan » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:18 am

Glad you got the ASIO working, but sorry about the sound. I quickly looked up the USB card you are using and it has a S/PDIF optical out. If your Marantz reciever has a digital input, have you tried passing the output from the card to the reciever digitally and using the DAC in the reciever? It may not be the same quality as the DAC in the Marantz CD player but you may like the sound better than from the DAC in the card.

Also, I don't know if you are using any of the volume leveling features, but I have found that if you use them they can cause some serious clipping/popping issues, especially on classical music that has wide volume ranges, by trying to push the volume too much. I would definately leave volume leveling off if you are doing any critical listening.

Good luck.

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