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MusiCHI tagger - experiences
05-06-2014, 16:17
Post: #1
MusiCHI tagger - experiences
As this might be of interest to some, in particular those with a large classical music collection, here are a few first impressions from working with MusiCHI (MusiCHI - website) a bit:
  • Download takes some time (the entire MusiCHI suite including a ripper, player and library system is about 400 MB), but installation is quick. Was a bit irritated at first because after having paid the website told me to go back to the MusiCHI website to obtain the passkey (needed to use it outside of the trial period), but doing that yielded no result. Actually, the passkey is sent by e-mail almost instantly, so that's not a real problem.
  • Until now I've exclusively used the tagger, as this is where I see most of the added value of the whole program suite (which consists also of a ripper, a player and a library system / database). At a price of 39 EUR for the whole suite (except the portable app) that is good value for money, at least in my opinion. Personally, I use dbPowerAmp as a ripper (as it has the secureRip function that I find valuable) which already gives me a few basic tags and covers, then continue under the MusiCHI tagger.
  • First drawback: There is no real manual or tutorial available to learn how to use the program. On the MusiCHI website there are a few short video tutorials relating to each of the suite's programs, but they are not very detailed and only cover the very basics. Also, there is no user forum (such as with MinimServer for example) where one could ask questions or discuss problems with the guy who actually programmed all this.
  • That being said, at least as far as the tagger is concerned, the basic functions are mostly self-explanatory, at least for someone with a bit of IT experience. Load the folders you wish to tag into the tagger (drag&drop), have the tagger scan them, and then start to work.
  • The function called "MusiCHI clean" is probably what I find most useful and one of the main reasons I bought the program as such. It automatises the process of tagging and always using the same spelling / denomination to a large extent. For example, it scans all "composer" tags and replaces the different spellings of the name "Shostakovich" with the spelling it has in its database. The MusiCHI tagger has a database of about 95% of all composer names, plus for some of the best known ones also a catalogue of their compositions. As a consequence, it is quite easy to achieve that the "composer" tag is tagged correctly and with the same spelling for any one composer. The same goes for the tag "composition", although that is usually more work as it is mostly not tagged automatically by the ripping program. The MusiCHI tagger can however extract the composition (and also opus numbers) from the title of each file (although I haven't tried that function yet).
  • After using the MusiCHI clean function, I usually work some more on the tags, populate the artist field properly (multiple values possible, delimiters can be programmed individually), look for some covers that may be missing and so on.
  • Another rather practical function is the "box wizard". That function helps if a whole collection was downloaded in one folder (happened to me with the Decca Analogue Sound box set for example) and you wish to separate the files into different folders depending on the individual albums, and change the tags so that the files are also tagged accordingly as a collection (for example CD1 of 27).
  • What I haven't really figured out (one of many things...): It is possible to display all tags for a given file with the MusiCHI tagger. Bizarrely though, not all of these appear in the tag editor when I want to modify them. Happens for example with tags like "orchestra" or "conductor" that are found in a few of the files. Anyone have an idea why that could be?

Conclusion (for now):[/u] Even if it is difficult to learn how to use many of its functions properly due to the absence of good tutorials or a detailed manual, the tagger with its "clean" function in particular is very useful and has helped me with the tagging process quite a bit. In particular, the internal database with the uniform composer and composition names is extremely useful in order to achieve a well-tagged collection where individual recordings can be found through the control point later on.

I have only used it on about 150 CDs / albums so far (including quite a few digital HiRes downloads). They were all in the FLAC format, and the files reside on a Synology NAS. I use MinimServer together with the Kinsky app on an iPad as control point, and stream the music to a Pioneer N30 renderer. On a side note, I also tried the Lumin app but found it less practical to use than the Kinsky app.
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MusiCHI tagger - experiences - Alpina_Lux - 05-06-2014 16:17

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