Help on "strategy" needed....badly...I think...

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mattiasNYC
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Help on "strategy" needed....badly...I think...

Post by mattiasNYC »

Howdy,

So I'm a newbie and I have a couple of problems I'm wrestling with. I've weeded through the forum but I haven't found an answer to how to approach this. I guess my understanding may be lacking. Anyways....

My setup:

WinXP Pro
Creative Zen V Plus 8GB
Creative Media Center software
MM

My media right now exists on a separate drive. File path:
G:\CDs\Album\SongTitle

mostly WAV's and some mp3's.

Some songs show up fine in both apps.
Some songs show up fine in MediaCenter only.
Some songs show up without artist/album/track in both apps.

So I'm wondering what to do here.

1. I don't know exactly how my Zen V Plus reads the info.
2. when I convert WAVs to mp3's using Creative's Media Converter files that used to show up fine show up as "Unknown" artist/album in my ZVP.
3. not sure how info can be visual in MediaCenter but not MM.
4. Do I need to manually sit and weed through every album and complete tag info before doing anything?
5. Will I benefit from adding Artist to my folder structure?
6. Is there an end to all my questions?
7. What's the difference between the tags in mp3's vs. wav's?

[/questions]

I'd be really thankful for any info I can get, even if you just point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance,

mattias
MCSmarties
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Post by MCSmarties »

Hi mattias, welcome to the forum!

Let'see what I can do here.

I think the crux of your problems are your WAV files. I wouldn't recommend keeping them - they must take up tons of space! - but instead convert them all to MP3 (you can use Mediamonkey to do so) or FLAC if you prefer to use a lossless codec.

About questions 2, 3 and 7:
AFAIK contrary to MP3 files, WAV don't have carry a tag.
So whatever information you see for them must have been stored in your particular application, not the audio file itself. So of course by modifying that file in any way or opening it with a different application, all that info disappears!

I'm not sure I understand question 4 correctly. What do you WANT to do? What do you mean with 'doing anything'? Tagging? Transferring to your Zen? Converting?

On question 5: There are probably as many different ways to organize audio files as there are MM users. In fact, you don't *need* to organize your files at all since you can find a particular file in MM by using the information in the tag.

Having said that, I would strongly recommend that you keep your files organized in some way. Fortunately this is one of the things MM absolutely excels with! Once your songs are at least minimally tagged, you can rename and move your files very quickly, with just one click (using the auto-organize feature)

I would not recommend using several different applications to TAG your songs (you can of course play them using whatever you want). The reason is that despite an informal tag standard for MP3 (the ID3v2 specification), applications often differ in the way they write the tags. As a result, you may not be able to read all tags written by one program in another one. And of course as mentioned earlier, there is no tag for WAV files so by switching application you necessarily lose that metadata as well.

FInally, since I don't have a Zen and have never used Creative's software, I can't really comment on your other questions.

My personal experience with other manufacturers though is that their software usually doesn't quite cut it. These guys primarily manufacture hardware, they are not software specialists and more often than not, the applications they throw in with their players are put together somewhat hastily. Just my 2c.
Peke
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Post by Peke »

I must correct MCSmarties, WAV do have tag capabilities but unfortunately there is no standard in Tagging of WAV files :( MM reads several WAV tagging solutions from various application but it writes Standard RIFF Tag structure (established 1994).
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mattiasNYC
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Post by mattiasNYC »

MCSsmarties,

Thanks so much for your help.

Now that Peke verified that WAVs do have tags I'm quite torn between keeping the files that way or converting. I work as an audio engineer for a living (musician for fun) and I definitely hear a difference and would like to be able to use full resolution playback if I want to. That said....

Question #4 meant what I need to do before I start either converting to mp3 or transferring files, as in; do I need to first sit down with an application and label all the actual tags in the files to the appropriate artist/album etc, before I do transfers etc. Maybe it's an obvious "yes" but I figured I should ask.

Thanks again....




Peke,

What would you recommend in my case? Should I from now on rip in MM and make sure that my WAVs have tag info in them? And should I just go through all files manually and fill in missing info?

And before I forget; what's the deal with album art? From what I've read it seems to reside either in the mp3 file itself or in a separate folder (?) to which each application "links". Is that correct? How would that affect using WAVs? If, for example I keep my files as WAVs, but with tags filled, and choose to transfer to my ZVP as mp3's, will MM automatically find the correct album art (if it isn't already in the tag/file) and append it?

Thanks for taking the time to help me, I really appreciate it.
Teknojnky
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Post by Teknojnky »

FLAC and every other lossless is bit identical to uncompressed wave files, so you get the same 'resolution' with less space required for storage.

One of the few advantages to wave files would be ease of modification, if your into re-mixing or otherwise modifying your audio files, then generally wave files are easier for those apps to manage.

As far as #4, yes if you want your tags to be useful you must manually go thru and fix them. There are many tools that can help, but very few that will do them automatically... nor would most want to trust many apps to do it right.

MM can help with the auto-tag from amazon, however this is limited of course by information that is available from amazon (ie not everything is there and not everything is 100% accurate). And of course its not automatic, you must select the applicable files (1 album at a time) and manually check that the files match up to amazon.

You can also use the auto-tag from file name, however this assumes that your files are named relatively consistent and accurately.

The MM help file explains both tag from amazon and tag from filename.

There are also a few different taggers from musicbrainz (link in sig) that can help you get your tags cleaned up. The latest picard QT alpha works rather well, I use it for all my files.

After your tags are to your preference, then you can use the auto-organize to rename/move the files to the organization pattern of your preference.

A common example would be:

\Music\<album artist>\<year> - <album>\<track#> - <artist> - <title>
mattiasNYC
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Post by mattiasNYC »

Tekno,

thanks for your input.

I'm aware of the quality of different formats. For me, sticking to WAVs is what I'll probably end up doing. Hard drives are cheap these days. Only issue I'll face is conversion on transfer. No biggie.

Remaining question though:

What about album art vs. WAVs?
Peke
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Post by Peke »

I agree with both MCSsmarties and Teknojnky about FLAC and keeping Lossless format but not as needed as WAVE. And from any of lossless Formats you can recreate WAVE whose audio data is identical in size as original one and most lossless compression is 2:1 aprox.
It is your call but if you plan to use Auto-Convert to MP3 then FLAC is the solution for storing. Also From FLAC Spec it supports 8 Channel/32Bit(64?)/192Khz sound Lossless for future support, also it has Internal CUE support, Tagging Capabilities (much improved with 1.1.3+).
I telling you this as MM support FLAC Encoding. APE (Monkey's Audio) is another Lossless format worth of looking, but FLAC is wide spread and supported better.

Here is Comparison List http://flac.sourceforge.net/comparison.html at bottom you have additional Links.
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mattiasNYC
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Post by mattiasNYC »

Thanks Peke,

Only thing is that my player doesn't play FLAC. I guess it really doesn't matter since I'll have to go from WAV to mp3 anyways. I'll just have to check with Creative MediaSource (software) and see if it'll recognise FLAC at all. May be annoying not to have the option of using it.....

So then, just two remaining questions:

Will FLAC give me the same flexibility as far as tags go as MP3's / WAV's (or rather, what's the difference between the three)?

What's the deal with album art for the above formats?


Thanks again guys for taking the time!

mattias
Teknojnky
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Post by Teknojnky »

FLAC uses a standard called vorbis comments, tags will/should be consistent across all flac players. Wave as noted by peke, not all players can use/see/write the same tags and thus is less universal.

Wave also does not support embedded art, altho MM can use external art in the folder.

FLAC supports both embedded and linked art, albeit mm2.5 only supports LINKED art for flac. MM 3 supports embedded/linked.

Hard drives may be cheap, but if you can store nearly twice as many tracks on one drive with no loss and with better metadata handling, then there is not much reason not to.

Granted it may take some time to compress a bunch of waves, however that is a generally one time thing.

If your creative software does not support flac, then it probably does not support any other lossess files either (other than wave). I don't know anything your creative app, but I know from past experience with other creative/soundblaster apps that most of it is just junk bloatware.
emalvick
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Post by emalvick »

One thing you can think of since you would have to convert to mp3 (although MM can do that for you with the registered version) is that a flac + mp3 is still going to be smaller than a wav (assuming you wanted both).
Peke
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Post by Peke »

@Teknojnky
By our investigating technically WAVE support RIFF PICT Info Chunk (Uses in Wavs that came with Windows 95-98se sounds, you can see icon when edit sounds in control panel) but we never found apps that support it except windows itself and Some Applications that uses same chunk for adding video snapshot to AVI files.
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mattiasNYC
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Post by mattiasNYC »

So I've now tried getting this to work and I'm maybe not getting it.

What I did was to edit the information in MM's "main" window. I added to the track name (which was the file name); artist, album and track #.

Next I went back to Creative Labs' MediaSource 5 Audio Converter to convert to mp3. Then used their Organizer to transfer to my ZVP. No luck. Neither the player nor the organizer recognizes any tag info that I added.

I figured it may have been the converter not reading the tags thereby not converting them so I tried a couple of freeware wav to mp3 converters. Same thing. No application sees the tags after conversion.

So now I don't know what the problem is or how to make it work. MM has been installed less than 30 days, but for some reason it won't allow me to do the conversion there (citing the trial period for mp3). So do I have to get the Gold version to get this to work?

I just don't understand at this point where the problem lies.....

Anyone?



PS. Also, repeating a previous question:

In Media Monkey, if I have album art with wav files, upon converting during transfer - to mp3 to my ZVP - will MM embed the album art into the mp3's?
Peke
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Post by Peke »

@mattiasNYC
1. Have you tried Goldwave?

2. Yes, it should add AlbumArt to MP3
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MCSmarties
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Post by MCSmarties »

mattiasNYC wrote:MM has been installed less than 30 days, but for some reason it won't allow me to do the conversion there (citing the trial period for mp3). So do I have to get the Gold version to get this to work?
You do not need to get a Gold license to work around this problem.
It is only the included MP3 encoder that stops working after a while (due to licensing issues).

Just download a new lameenc.dll file to replace the existing one in the MM directory.
See here for more information, get a compiled DLL here or the source code here.
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