Quote: Originally Posted by juanantoniod
Thanks for all the detailed information. For some reason, my head feels like it is going to explode with all the input, so I will take your advice under advisement for future use. I *know* that I will use what you have said at some point. For now however, what I did is "ripped" the WAVs from my Audio CDs into WMA. (I know there are probably better formats, but this is the default and, for now, is 'good enough'.) Then I went thru with Windows Explorer and manually named and numbered the songs:
01 - Name of Song.wma
02 - Name of Song.mp3
Well I'm confused here. If you ripped to WMA, (a) what program did you use to do the ripping?, and (b) how can you just name a file ".mp3", if it's actually in WMA format?
Also, I have to say that MP3 format (and the use of LAME to perform the encoding to MP3) produces what to my ears is the best "lossy" version of music audio. Given that I'm not looking for one of the several "lossless" formats or APE format (which is about 60% the size of WAV and is conceptually lossless") but rather just MP3 that sounds as good as it can, LAME with the parameters I use is really the way to go. In my opinion it is far superior to WMA.
Anyway, I've got to editorialize a bit more. I'm actually soon to finish up a project I've been working on that's taken me about 1 1/2 years now (it's been a very slow and steady process, as time permits), which is a total rebuild of my MP3 collection. I used to have MP3's which were encoded with a command-line program from Fraunhofer (the inventor of MP3) which was obtained back in 1998. It was SUPER SLOW, and only ran under Win98. Once I discovered how much better LAME-produced MP3's sounded I decided to rebuild everything from scratch.
Now I have almost 1100 CDs, and at the moment I just passed the 6000 number for selected tracks ripped from those CDs and converted to MP3. I can assure you, I would not have been able to accomplish this... even in 1 1/2 years... if I had to do manual tagging. I use MP3-Tag Studio to repair, correct, edit, etc., but it's only on an as-needed basis. The standard tagging is done automatically by Audiograbber... from information retrieved automatically from FreeDB by Audiograbber, for the CD it is working with.
So, really you should just try the approach I suggest... with one CD, just to get used to it. I'll be glad to send you screenshots of my settings in Audiograbber, so you have something to look at.
You open Audiograbber, and then put your CD in. If some other app auto-launches when the CD gets inserted, just close it. Now when Audiograbber senses that you've got a CD inserted, it will automatically check with FreeDB to get the information about the CD... artist, title, date, track names, and if it discovers (from FreeDB) that it is a "compilation" (e.g. collections of 60's hits) it will show you artist/title for each track.
Then, you may want to edit the information shown, if it doesn't meet your filing scheme. For example, I change titles to put "The" at the end of anything, after a comma. If you don't care about that then just leave it. Also, I have artists with last-name-first, so I edit artists to look that way. Or, you might find misspellings (from FreeDB, this is certainly possible, as the information you are given is actually submitted by other people) so you will want to clean things up.
Anyway, once you've got everything squared away (including artist/title of the CD, plus date and genre) and you've checked the particular track(s) you want to grab and encode to MP3, you then push the "Grab" button. You've previously established how you want things to be filed... for example all of my music goes into a major primary location of D:\MP3. Underneath that main folder I collect things with a sub-folder of Artist name (in "last name, first name" format as I said before). Underneath the artist sub-folder is another sub-folder for the CD album name. Within that lowest-level sub-folder are placed the eventual MP3 files. I personally don't place the track number in the file name, because I prefer to have my tracks purely alphabetical in that sub-folder. But you can do what you want.
The important thing here is that all of the above work is done automatically by Audiograbber. It creates all the folders and sub-folders, and also names the track files according to whatever you've specified in the settings. You do nothing manual.
So... the first thing is the rip, to WAV (as an intermediate file, which can either be retained or deleted when the MP3 encoding is finished... up to you. I delete mine, only wanting to end up with the final MP3). After the rip to WAV is done, the external LAME encoder is invoked against that WAV file using whatever command-line parameters you might want to used, with the final resulting MP3 placed where you want it and named as you want it. Then (for me) the WAV is deleted.
Finally, Audiograbber then automatically creates the ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags (it can build one or the other or both, depending on what you want) from the information it obtained from FreeDB but reflecting whatever modifications you made to the artist/track data before you kicked it off. It also inserts the track number (e.g. 3/14) in the ID3 tag, along with any comments or other details you request (e.g. the command-line parameters provided to LAME) in proper fields of the tag.
Personally, I use WinAmp as my MP3 player, although there are lots of player programs. I use several MP3 "organizer" programs which present things somewhat differently, but I feel the most useful one is a program named "MP3 Explorer". I also use "MP3 Manager", and "ShufflePlay/2", as each one has its own pros and cons. But "MP3 Explorer" is for me the one I use 99% of the time. I can provide installation files for all of these, if you want them.
So... obviously this is just my own personal workflow, and the collection of tools I use. I also use a program named "CD-Runner" as my CD player, because I like how it looks and works (it's also a multi-media player, not just CD). I also use a program named "MusifFind Pro" as my database manager for all of my CDs. I'm not quite done yet but I'm up to 946 CDs, and 12,638 tracks from those CDs. Of those tracks, I currently have 6,041 MP3 files. As I said before, I'm not quite done yet but without these various products I would not really be able to avoid duplicate MP3s, instantly be able to play MP3 tracks from an artist... even if those tracks come from multiple CDs, etc.
Actually, one of the reasons this has taken so long is that I'm very diligent about finding the "original album" for tracks which appear on "greatest hits" or "compilation" albums. This "original album" information is one of the database items handled by MusiFind Pro (along with many other fields that I do not make use of), and I simply made the decision that I would make it my business to collect that data item. I also retrieve "cover art" for each CD, which is also managed by MusiFind Pro and displayed when you look at that album's entry. There are a number of online sources for this data... specifically Allmusic.com, CDNow, Songfacts, etc., and I use whatever I can that gives me what I want. I prefer cover art in the 500x500 size, rather than the small size provided from Allmusic, so I pursue the larger images from CDNow. Etc., etc.
Ok... obviously you don't have to be as obsessive as I am. But I mostly wanted to get the best-sounding MP3 files I could, and LAME is the answer to that one. And as long as I was making a complete pass of my CD collection I decided to "do it right", and listen to every track on a CD to see if I wanted it... rather than just going for "the hits". And this time I decided to collect cover art as well as original album data, something I hadn't done years ago during my original project.
Let me know if you want specifics on any of this, and PM your email address.