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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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05-06-2014, 18:00
Post: #2
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
Sounds interesting. But as its Windows-only its a complete non-starter here Shy

I am feeling more confident tagging my 8000+ classical albums according to my own standards anyway Cool

bbrip
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05-06-2014, 18:42
Post: #3
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
(05-06-2014 18:00)bbrip Wrote:  Sounds interesting. But as its Windows-only its a complete non-starter here Shy

I am feeling more confident tagging my 8000+ classical albums according to my own standards anyway Cool

bbrip
What do you mean Windows only? That the program itself runs under Windows should not be an issue for anyone. And as I wrote, the tagger is the main attraction, at least for people that want to tag their own large collection. You can also customise the tagging options to a very large extent, as obviously everyone has their own preferences.

Added to that, there is an also very good library / database system which I find quite useful as well (but haven't had the time to explore properly).

It does have a player (that works under Windows), but I haven't used it yet - and probably won't as MinimServer sits on the NAS and I don't want to use another computer in addition to that.
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05-06-2014, 19:33 (This post was last modified: 05-06-2014 19:33 by bbrip.)
Post: #4
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
(05-06-2014 18:42)Alpina_Lux Wrote:  What do you mean Windows only? That the program itself runs under Windows should not be an issue for anyone.

Should it not? I beg to differ,

Quote:And as I wrote, the tagger is the main attraction, at least for people that want to tag their own large collection.

There are plenty of alternatives available to tag large collections. mp3tag, Metadatics, dbpoweramp... You name them. Why should I invest in a closed solution that dosnt even offer a user forum to discuss issues / problems / provide help? I dont think the world needs this but of course we are all free to use software as we please Smile
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05-06-2014, 21:17
Post: #5
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
(05-06-2014 19:33)bbrip Wrote:  There are plenty of alternatives available to tag large collections. mp3tag, Metadatics, dbpoweramp... You name them. Why should I invest in a closed solution that dosnt even offer a user forum to discuss issues / problems / provide help?
The alternatives you name do NOT have the main feature of MusiCHI: a very powerful tagging tool that allows you to automatise the tagging as well as ensuring that the spelling is always identical by comparing it to its own database. I also use dbpoweramp for example, but the metadata that you receive from the freely available databases is usually very bad, at least if you want your own collection to be tagged in a consistent fashion. Therein lies the - in my opinion - huge added value of MusiCHI. It is specialised on classical music and simplifies the tagging of large collections substantially.

Something like that does not exist on the market to my knowledge. Well, the Sonata program maybe, but no one seems to know much about it or to use it.
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05-06-2014, 22:17
Post: #6
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
Ok, time to end your marketing pitch.
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06-06-2014, 11:07
Post: #7
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
(05-06-2014 22:17)bbrip Wrote:  Ok, time to end your marketing pitch.
Huh Why would you say that? I don't have anything to do with MusiCHI except that I bought a license for the program.

If you're not interested, then just stay out of the thread and abstain from any misplaced remarks. I did a write-up of my experiences as I thought this may help others that are in the same situation. If you cannot appreciate that, go bother someone else with your bad attitude.
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06-06-2014, 21:37
Post: #8
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
(05-06-2014 21:17)Alpina_Lux Wrote:  The alternatives you name do NOT have the main feature of MusiCHI: a very powerful tagging tool that allows you to automatise the tagging as well as ensuring that the spelling is always identical by comparing it to its own database. I also use dbpoweramp for example, but the metadata that you receive from the freely available databases is usually very bad, at least if you want your own collection to be tagged in a consistent fashion. Therein lies the - in my opinion - huge added value of MusiCHI. It is specialised on classical music and simplifies the tagging of large collections substantially.

Something like that does not exist on the market to my knowledge. Well, the Sonata program maybe, but no one seems to know much about it or to use it.

Thanks for posting this review of MusiCHI. It is very helpful for understanding the capabilities and benefits of this software.

I agree that MusiCHI offers something that other tagging programs don't. For some people, this will be valuable, and for others, it won't.

My concern would be that MusiCHI pushes me towards tagging things in the same way as its built-in database. This isn't a problem if this database happens to match my own preferences for how things should be tagged. Is it possible to customize the database if my preferences are different?
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10-06-2014, 16:23
Post: #9
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
(06-06-2014 21:37)simoncn Wrote:  Thanks for posting this review of MusiCHI. It is very helpful for understanding the capabilities and benefits of this software.

I agree that MusiCHI offers something that other tagging programs don't. For some people, this will be valuable, and for others, it won't.

My concern would be that MusiCHI pushes me towards tagging things in the same way as its built-in database. This isn't a problem if this database happens to match my own preferences for how things should be tagged. Is it possible to customize the database if my preferences are different?
You cannot customize their own database (= of how the composers are spelled and the compositions) as it resides on their servers. What you could do of course (but that is also something that any other tagger could do) is to first use their "clean" function to automatically replace any composer / composition tags with their own spelling, and then mass-replace these again with your own. I agree it would be cool to be able to customise this step yourself, or that the software is able to learn how you would like to have things spelled. To my (admittedly limited!) knowledge of the program this is not possible.

It should also be mentioned that one should differentiate between the tagger and the library which are two different programs. I believe (without having dug deeper whether that is correct) that you can use the information that you put into the library program (where you can of course use any spelling of your own device) also with the tagger. I would need to verify that, though.

What I haven't quite figured out in this context is how to tag the composer for transcriptions, e.g. the numerous Bach/Busoni piano pieces. I assume that I simply need to put two composers into the "composer" tag and separate them with a ";". Need to investigate that - as I said it's sometimes a bit frustrating for someone with very little time as myself to be obliged to do a rather time-consuming "learning by doing" process. But the program as such is quite useful from what I can see, at least when you're in a situation as I am that you're just starting the rip-and-tag procedure for an entire CD collection.
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15-11-2014, 23:14
Post: #10
RE: MusiCHI tagger - experiences
Just so I understand, does the MusiCHI tagger update the ID3 tags in the music files it tags, or does it only update it's external database library? If it updates the files, does it handle DSD DSF files? If not, then that is a show stopper for me.
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