Music software help

Now firmly committed to streaming rather than playing CDs and I have my Unitilite and Uniti Core working well with the Android version of the Naim App.

Like many I suspect my preference in finding music in a long alpha list depends on the type of music. For classical I rename with composer first then the work itself. For other music I rename by artist first followed by album title. I’ve discovered how to re-name an album which was ripped directly into the Uniti Core, but this does not work for downloaded music. I now realise that I can rename files until I lose the will to live but the Core ignores this completely unless I change the tags.

Having downloaded mp3tag I can’t understand or follow how to use it, being of the boomer generation. Most of the online help is either far too complex to follow (for me) or consists of Youtube videos by savvy guys with droning nasal US accents. I’m hoping someone might be able to point me to a really basic step by step guide on how to load files and modify them using this software.

You need to work with metadata on the files, rather than file names as such.

Hi Adam,

Yes, true enough. My hesitation was that the tool to do this is mp3tag which I found daunting on first acquaintance. I guess my hesitation was based on the fear of losing or doing irreparable harm to my existing files. That and the fact that at almost 75 I don’t find it easy to understand the terminology in unfamiliar software, not being of a generation where it has become second nature for so many.

I did find a couple of sites with step by step guides

With some hesitation I made copies of my FLAC files of The Annie Lennox Collection and amended only the album title to read Annie Lennox - The Annie Lennox Collection and saved this to all the tracks, then downloaded to the Core. Completely flummoxed to see this appear in the Albums list at the foot of the table below World’s Blysse instead of immediately after Alison Moyet. WTF?

When I went back to mp3tag I found I had inadvertently placed the insertion point one space into the field instead of at the extreme left hand. Bother. So left space and save to all the tracks once more, then delete the existing album and save the new files. This time it worked perfectly. In fact I was so thrilled with myself I went and found some album artwork and included that. Hopefully this whole process will become second nature as I now have to grind through all those albums thoughfully titled ‘Greatest Hits’ or ‘The something something’.

Seems you really do need to enjoy spending hours in front of a computer to get this digital music stuff to play nicely sigh.

Actually most of the music, bought from reputable sources, should have correct metadata.

It’s not actually that complex. It relates to the principles of hierarchical and referential databases.

Data is being read from a main table, based on indices and references, rather than actual file names.

This way multiple ways of sorting, selections are possible e.g. sorting by: artist, album, genre, composer etc etc.

I suspect that once you are used to using a metadata editor, you’ll find it straightforward. (I like Metadatics, but it’s Mac only, and if you use a PC, I’m sure mp3tag is fine.) When you download an album, it becomes habit to have a quick look over the matadata and make any changes before you save it to the downloads folder.
Just don’t be tempted to use this method on the CD rips you’ve done on the Core. You may want to, as a third party metadata editor gives you a lot more options than the Naim editor, but unless you first create a copy of the album and put it in the downloads folder, it doesn’t work.

Hi Adam,

I’m sure you are right.

My files come from a variety of sources such as Presto Music (both CDs and downloads) and amazon and are of varying quality. I have found that all my Angela Hewitt Bach CDs produced by Hyperion are impeccable in their metadata and always show the album cover on the Core. I also have many budget priced discs bought over the last 30 years from WH Smith and elsewhere, where the track information can be a bit more, erm, mixed.

Hi Chris,

Changing album titles for files on the Music Share has been fine. I understand that is only a ‘local’ alteration and can be readily undone. Also appreciate that any changes to files on the downloads share must be carried out on the computer. As I now have a nice new Golf R with an infotainment system where music can be supplied on SD cards I am gradually moving to a system where the original CDs are retained as the only continuing source of wav format files and using Foobar2000 to rip directly into FLAC for permanent storage on the computer and from there to the Core, or onto SD cards for the car.

The more usual convention would be to have the Album Artist tag = Annie Lennox, and the Album tag = The Annie Lennox Collection.

You can sort by Artist using the software, so no need to put the artist name into the album name field. In fact, doing that may well lengthen the album name field enough that too much of it gets truncated when using an iPhone that you can’t actually see much of the album name.

Hi Bart,

I accept what you say, but the whole point is to have one alpha list under albums where all the Bach or Beethoven is together regardless of the work or performer, but also all the Beatles or all the Ella Fitzgerald is together rather than having to look for the album titles elsewhere in the album listing. Having to come out of the album listing completely and search by artist instead is disfunctional and counter intuitive, at least for me.

… and forgot to add that a truncated view of the album title is usually enough as it sits alongside the cover artwork anyway.

What you want to do is quite difficult to achieve and can lead to issues as you will find you solve one problem and cause another!

Ideally the composer tag is useful for what you want to do. The problem though is that all music has a composer and you cannot see the wood for the trees!

For Pop, Jazz etc I use Album Artist and for Classical I generally prefer to use a Composer view but not always. I find I have some favorite classical artists, Isabelle faust for example so sometimes I will search by her rather than Bach for which she is well renowed for. If I search under Bach for someting Isabelle Faust performed in this can become overwhelming.

I created a post almost a year ago with a system that works well for Asset. It involves having a separate instance of Asset for a classical library. You can find it here.

I’ve since moved over to Roon which resolves a lot of these issues, it’s not perfect but does allow a composer view for only classical and it deals with compositions well.

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Hi trickydickie,

So far it seems to be working as I wanted it to by changing only the album description tag to preface it with the artist name for music other than classical. If I really want to search for a particular artist then this is still possible provided the performing artist and/or the album artist tags are present and correct.
Classical has always worked best by starting an album title with composer followed by the work. Some awkward instances are bound to occur for albums where pieces by more than one composer are found on the same album, eg Debussy La Mer is often found with Ravel Daphnis et Chloe. In which case the first named composer is the referential one. Some present a puzzle, as with one disc in my listing titled Ilan Volkov conducts…Mendelssohn, Schubert and Haydn, with the BBC Scottish SO. Not helpful since I am never likely to search for Ilan Volkov. That album title will doubtless become Mendelssohn et al. Any search for composer to find the Schubert content or the Haydn will link to the track tags within the album I would guess?

I’ll go read your thread now. Many Thanks.

For classical music I do this

Album Title = Symphony No 5 Opus 67
Album Artist = Beethoven
Composer = Ludwig van Beethoven
Genre = Classical
Track Artist = Christopher Hogwood & the Academy of Ancient Music
Track Number = 1
Track Title = Allegro con brio

Don’t know if that helps

Hi TM, and thanks for your post.

I begin to feel out of place on this forum as it seems to be populated with members having a far more sophisticated level of knowledge and insight about music software, hardware and streaming than I could ever imagine myself aspiring to or wanting to deploy.

Having read trickydickie’s thread and your post I concede there are far better, if more complex, ways to approach this, but they are not for me. I just want to be able to use the Naim hardware and app as they stand, and to be able to search my music files using a single alpha list of albums without going into lots of parameters by which my pile of recordings could conceivably be diced and spliced.

So my single and very elementary learning point from this thread is that I can now use mp3tag to import a folder of music, leaving all other metadata undisturbed, change the album title and, if missing, add the cover artwork, save that to all the tracks and be sure that it will then display in the album list in strict alpha order. If a CD ripped in the Core directly to the Music Share throws up an album with unhelpful or quixotic metadata, or no cover image, I now know I can delete it and revert to the computer file, make the required changes and then copy it to the downloads share with more useful tagging to ensure it presents where it should in the alpha list, where I know I will find it easily.

As the old quip has it “He is a modest man, who has a great deal to be modest about”. So I don’t aspire to juggle with all the parameters by which my modest music collection could conceivably be examined. Go deeper may be the exhortation, but I’ll just have a little splash about in the shallow end for now.

The next test will be to sort a 4 album set of Debussy solo piano music into a compilation, discarding the many tracks of discordant noise and leaving the good stuff. If I survive that perhaps it will be possible to contemplate the 17 disc Peter Hurford survey of Bach’s complete organ works.

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