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MP3 Library Management


thedisavowed
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I'm curious what folks here do with their mp3/flac collections. I got on the Spotify train for a long time, but I've noticed as a techno fan that lots of records just disappear (especially 12 inches) and then there's just a lot that just isn't on Spotify and probably never will be (Rephlex, Old Skam, etc etc).

Do any of you guys use cloud services for storage and playback? What does your set up look like these days for portable listening? I have an iPhone and primarily use a Mac, if that matters.

Edited by thedisavowed
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I use bleep and bandcamp as cloud storage. Even though I DL the lossless files and compress them in my preferred format/settings. With Bleep (and the artist specific stores), Bandcamp I can always go back and DL lossless again if necessary.

Other online stores are different. The tracks I buy at Hardwax or Beatport, for instance, I save locally (eg. on some airport/time capsule apple used to make). It's rare that I buy at iTunes. And I'm simply not interested in streaming services. Never have been.

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I used a large iTunes library for a long time but that app is ruined now so I’ve moved to using Plex. 

Everything from the iTunes days I have encoded and tagged in Apple Lossless, and Plex reads that just fine. For new stuff I either download or rip to FLAC, tag it, and throw it into Plex. 

Plex is running on a small Synology NAS that I keep in the corner of our “office” room at home. I can access stuff over the network anytime I am home, but I don’t have the server exposed to the internet. 

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There was a very good thread on this iirc, will see if I can find it.

edit: I think my memory is combining a few different threads, I found these.

 

Edited by MIXL2
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Designated folder on a local NAS, folder hierarchy <label>/<release>, shared among all devices on my local network; easy to manage, I have the library set up in various players on various devices, listening on a dedicated old 7" tablet with VLC, hooked up to WiFi and mixer; tracks for DJ sets selected with Rekordbox.

Backups to external hard drives (4 drive rotation) with a HD dock connected to the NAS box. I listen and play only music that I've bought, as I've written several times elsewhere - fuck Spotify and other rent-seeking streaming services. I prefer to own, not rent.

My current digital collection is just a hair over 30K tracks (30063 to be exact), probably some 4000-4500 separate releases (I buy only full releases, I don't pick and choose tracks from here and there); there's some overlap with my vinyl collection for convenience. I have a VPN setup so I can use the library from almost anywhere, but I don't.

Besides the digital, some 6000+ vinyl records and about a thousand or so CDs.

Oh, and did I mention fuck Spotify? Fuck Spotify.

Edited by dcom
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Started using Plex this year. Slowly moving to AIFF for downloads and rips. All on external drives connected to a Mac mini.  

Home: USB out of Mac mini to iFi nano iOne DAC, and into amp. 

Not Home: Plex Amp app, stream from server, or download album to device. 

Plex is prone to wigging out, but I really like it. Will look at setting up a local NAS for backup. 

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3 minutes ago, ascdi said:

Oh man, kudos on your folder hierarchy starting with label first. I would love that, but too much work for me though. 

I've been DJing for nearly three decades, my vinyl shelves are organized by label, too, labels coarsely grouped by genre with notable exceptions like Warp, RePHLeX that are all over the genre map, but they have so many releases that they fill whole shelf spans by themselves.

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5 minutes ago, ilqx hermolia xpli said:

anyone know good tools for filling in tags in a way you can inspect before committing, without manually reading discogs for each album?

I use MP3Tag, it integrates nicely with Discogs, too. The main development is for Windows, but there's also a MacOS version.

Edited by dcom
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Ooo this is a great topic

I had an Archos Jukebox mp3 player back in the day - this was a year or two before the iPod existed - so I started my mp3 library then and I've stuck with more or less the same structure since.

The Archos had a limit to how many folders could be in a folder, and scrolling was slow, so the top level of my library is pairs of letters from the alphabet:

  AB\
  CD\
  EF\
  .. etc ..
  WX\
  YZ\

Within that I go Artist\Album so things like

  EF\Eod\Questionmarks
  EF\FSOL\Lifeforms (disc1)

Odd tracks by an artist that arent in an album go in an Artist\Various folder

Under UV\ I have a UV\Various\(compilation name) folder for compliations and stuff thats quite massive.

I'm quite pleased with myself for sticking to same system since 2000 or so. After about 2005 I stopped playing CDs and went MP3 only. Occasionally I still buy a CD and rip it, I use Exact Audio Copy for that

I currently have about 12,751 mp3s in my collection. I have pruned the collection in the past when I had laptops that were short on space, so its not like I've kept everything over 21 years. I use global shuffle a lot and so I'm not shy about deleting stuff or archiving stuff if it comes up on shuffle and gets on my nerves and I think 'why have I kept that?'

Some of the oldest stuff in my library is 128 kbps mp3 and I'm pretty fine with that. Sometimes if there's an old album I really like and is 128 kbps I'll buy it again in higher bitrate. If I'm ripping stuff now I use 256 kbps and that's all I'll ever need. Call me traditional but I never like variable bit rate mp3s and prefer a straight 256 kbps all the way through. Dont know why lol.

I try to never buy music from apple (dont really know why). In order of preference: Bandcamp, Bleep, 7Digital (loyalty from when they were one of the only drm free places), Beatport. Or finally Amazon if I really can't find it anywhere else. Or find an old CD on ebay and rip it.

dcom mentioned MP3Tag - I also use that to tidy things up.

I've always meant to organise all the Genre tags in my collection but 21 years later I still havent got round to that. When you rip CDs, the genres that get used from CDDB or whereever are always complete nonsense even when the other tags are accurate.

On my PC my main player is foobar2000

For the rest of the house I have a Raspberry Pi 4 with a Corsair 256 GB Voyager GTX usb stick (its a fancy usb stick that doesnt need a lot of power but is really fast, so it works well with the Pi, I found some cheaper options made the Pi unstable), the Raspberry Pi is running Logitech Media Server (what used to be Squeezebox server) and around the house I have a few Squeezebox Radios and a Squeezebox Classic. The Squeezebox platform is really old but its hackable and has a lot of fan support and I like buying old second hand tech when I can.

You can get squeezebox remote apps like Orange Squeeze to remote control Squeezeboxes in your house or also to act as Squeezebox players

Before squeezebox I tried XBMC (now called Kodi) but I've found the Squeezebox/Logitech platform much better for just getting stuff to work out of the box without endless faff

Since I had a laptop get nicked fiftyeen years ago and lost a load of stuff, I have a rule to always have two backups of all my important stuff (which includes music but also all my docs, work etc). For that I just use two Freecom Tough Drives and FreeFileSync and every few weeks I just connect the usb drives and run the sync. The usb drives are then kept in separate places, preferably separate buildings.

 

 

 

Edited by zazen
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6 hours ago, Satans Little Helper said:

I use bleep and bandcamp as cloud storage. Even though I DL the lossless files and compress them in my preferred format/settings.

you're downloading so that's good but just a warning for those maybe unaware, artists/labels can just delete anything on Bandcamp at any point. (same for Bleep/Boomkat/etc i'm sure but probably a little less likely)

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4 hours ago, Shimon_Shimon said:

Started using Plex this year. Slowly moving to AIFF for downloads and rips. All on external drives connected to a Mac mini.  

Home: USB out of Mac mini to iFi nano iOne DAC, and into amp. 

Not Home: Plex Amp app, stream from server, or download album to device. 

Plex is prone to wigging out, but I really like it. Will look at setting up a local NAS for backup. 

I've used Plex a lot for playing the music stored on my PC through other devices (TV connected to living room sound system, phone + headphones, etc), and yeah I like it, works well for the most part. Good for movies and shows too, although I don't store those digitally as much these days.

I still use folders of mp3s/flacs organized by Artist and Album, played in Winamp. Same setup I've been using since the early 00's lol. Only difference is that I've replaced a lot of those old low-bitrate mp3s I ripped 20 years ago with lossless versions.

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7 hours ago, MIXL2 said:

There was a very good thread on this iirc, will see if I can find it.

edit: I think my memory is combining a few different threads, I found these.

 

Thanks for digging up these resources @MIXL2 I'll check it out.

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10 hours ago, auxien said:

you're downloading so that's good but just a warning for those maybe unaware, artists/labels can just delete anything on Bandcamp at any point. (same for Bleep/Boomkat/etc i'm sure but probably a little less likely)

It will remain in you personal space though. At least, that's my experience. At least for Bandcamp. There's a couple of otherwise deleted tunes in my page. Those are set to private. So people looking at your collection can't even see them. But they are still there.

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I keep them in the recycle bin to keep the clutter down.

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anyone know of a decent desktop player/library manager that doesn't look complete shit?

i'm sure foobar is great and does everything i require from a media player, but i don't want to use something that looks like i'm about to convert a divx to mpeg2 in 2004

that musicbee seems quite nice, but is it actually any good?

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4 hours ago, Kennylogg Bubblebath said:

anyone know of a decent desktop player/library manager that doesn't look complete shit?

i'm sure foobar is great and does everything i require from a media player, but i don't want to use something that looks like i'm about to convert a divx to mpeg2 in 2004

that musicbee seems quite nice, but is it actually any good?

Foobar allows u to use skins. There is one that looks similar to that one.

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