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Sorting out a collection of 1750 "albums"
10-04-2014, 17:04
Post: #1
Sorting out a collection of 1750 "albums"
Please excuse this rather basic and naïve post, but I need some help from members of the forum who are more experienced in all this than I am.
I bought a Linn Klimax DS several years ago and started by ripping my cd collection which was less than 1000 "albums" at the time. My (excellent) dealer installed Twonky on the QNAP NAS that he supplied. I use dbPoweramp to rip my cds, and after a couple of years learned about mp3tag from the Linn forum and started to use that to correct major problems when ripping multiple cds (operas, etc) lead to all the tracks being jumbled up. But I did not sort out a rigorous tagging routine, so have the usual problems of different tags for Beethoven (Ludvig van Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven, L., etc etc). My collection is approximately 45% classical, 35% rock/pop, and 20% jazz and blues.
About 18 months ago, following all the good things about it that I had read on the Linn forum, I installed (or rather my dealer installed) MinimServer alongside Twonky on my new QNAP set up. I now use MinimServer nearly all the time, it is a great product, and much better than Twonky.
My collection has grown as I have bought and ripped new cds, and, increasingly, have downloaded "albums" from sites such as Linn, Qobuz, Hyperion, e-Classical, Chandos.
So far I have been happy selecting my music to play by simply browsing through the "album" display in Kinsky where all the "albums" are mixed up. I scroll down the screen much as I used to peruse my cds on the shelf. I like the element of serendipity in this, but sometimes I am looking for a particular album and it takes time to find it. If I use the "album artist" or "composer" or "conductor" folders in MinimServer, I hit the problem of poor tagging.

So I want to try to sort the collection out by (a) re-tagging what is on my QNAP and (b) making sure that new rips and downloads conform to a coherent structure. I suppose that Step 1 is to decide on a coherent set of tagging rules that should not be too complicated, but which provide the framework for re-tagging. The Step 2 is the actual re-tagging of what is on the server.

Am I right in thinking that I should do the re-tagging using mp3tag (or possible JRiver?). I don't do it directly in MinimServer? MinimServer will just read the (new) tags that I put in? How do I get the music files into mp3tag from my QNAP? I am using a MacBook with Parallels, but cannot (currently) read the files on the QNAP through Windows.

My dealer has done all the installation work on the QNAP for me and has not shown me how to "get into" it. So it is just a black box for me. I think he fears that I might screw up his installation if I start palying about with it!!

I would be very grateful if someone could advise me on what I should do to embark on this re-tagging exercise.....

Gonzalez
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10-04-2014, 22:35
Post: #2
RE: Sorting out a collection of 1750 "albums"
(10-04-2014 17:04)Gonzalez Wrote:  Am I right in thinking that I should do the re-tagging using mp3tag (or possible JRiver?). I don't do it directly in MinimServer? MinimServer will just read the (new) tags that I put in?

Yes, that's right.

Quote:How do I get the music files into mp3tag from my QNAP? I am using a MacBook with Parallels, but cannot (currently) read the files on the QNAP through Windows.

My dealer has done all the installation work on the QNAP for me and has not shown me how to "get into" it. So it is just a black box for me. I think he fears that I might screw up his installation if I start palying about with it!!

I would be very grateful if someone could advise me on what I should do to embark on this re-tagging exercise.....

Gonzalez

The files are presumably in a shared folder on the QNAP. This would be necessary for you to be able to copy new music to your library.

To access these files from Mp3tag, you need to map this QNAP shared folder to a drive letter in Windows. I presume this is possible in Parallels, but I haven't tried it myself.

If the QNAP isn't set up to do Windows file sharing, you would probably need to enable this before you can map the shared folder to a drive letter in Windows/Parallels. It's possible that your dealer has set up the QNAP to do Mac file sharing only. The dealer should be able to explain how to also enable Windows file sharing if this isn't already enabled.
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11-04-2014, 18:16 (This post was last modified: 11-04-2014 18:19 by Mike48.)
Post: #3
RE: Sorting out a collection of 1750 "albums"
You mentioned JRiver Media Center. In general, tagging support in JRMC is excellent. Panes View (with Pane Tagging turned on) is especially useful for making mass changes. For example, in Panes view, you can set a column to display Composer, see all cuts with "Ludvig Beethoven", and change them to "Beethoven, Ludwig" or something else with a few clicks.

JRMC also supports mass tag changes by entering expressions in the corresponding entry fields of the Tagging Window. This is quite useful. I maintain a text file of expressions I use for common tasks (e.g., change "Op. x, No. y" to "Op.x/y"), so that I don't need to retype them.

I do find mp3tag easier to use when an editing task requires regular expression (e.g., wildcards). The regular expression syntax in JRMC is rather contorted; it is simpler in mp3tag.

I hope that helps.

Mike

P.S. I forgot to say, JRMC has "Undo" capability, so you are protected against errors in mass changes. Still, it's good to back up the music collection frequently.

Mike
Portland, Oregon, USA
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12-04-2014, 16:54
Post: #4
RE: Sorting out a collection of 1750 "albums"
I don't use JRiver, so cannot comment on it. But it is paid software, whereas MP3Tag is donationware.

MP3Tag has a good undo feature, though I think (subject to correction) that it relates to the last action only. It also has a more conventional search and replace function, albeit without wild cards; the latter are handled comprehensively by regular expressions which are enormously powerful but can be a bit of a brain teaser. Something I like about MP3Tag is its ability to display all the files in a folder and sub-folders (i.e recursively) in its editing grid. Taken in conjunction with powerful filtering capabilities, this enables you to review and edit a large number of files simultaneously, and ensure (for instance) that you have consistent spelling of composer and artist names and the like.

Coming back to the points made by Simon (with which I agree), I wonder whether you or your dealer have considered the question of backup? Sooner or later the drive(s) on your QNAP will fail. While it is possible, if the QNAP has two or more drives, that you have a recovery-enabled RAID array (your dealer should know), few IT professionals I know would rely on this as an alternative to a proper backup.

If you make a backup mirror image of your music folder (e.g. on a USB drive attached to your Mac), you can use that to do the initial file reorganisation and tagging. You can even install a separate instance of MinimServer on your Mac to access the 'work in progress' and check out your tagging before you copy edited material over to the QNAP. This is basically my own normal method of working, and, while it adds a few more steps to each batch of changes, it does help you keep track of things, and to back-track if you make a complete mess of something.

David
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12-04-2014, 17:59
Post: #5
RE: Sorting out a collection of 1750 "albums"
I second the comments on backup. It is a critical need for file-based music systems.

As an example, I have my music library on a RAID array, which provides a small amount of protection. I back it up regularly to a USB 3 disk. I also maintain a mirrored copy on my laptop. Probably I should keep a copy off-site, as well, but I am not that thorough yet.

Mike
Portland, Oregon, USA
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