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Gagarin Project

what music library/player app do you use and how you organise your collection ?

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As a digital DJ and nomad music listener, i use :

- at home iTunes on macOS

- at venues traktor with soundcard and controller

- on the road iPhone with standard music app


My audio format of choice is apple lossless format (alac). i am sure many would prefer flac due to the more open licence, but as i know the apple licence is "open" now, and the advantage for me of this format is the possibility to play it natively on iPod/iPhone. The compression is same and the quality also. 

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My music colletion is pretty big, so it is importatn to keep it well organise, i am sharing my workflow with you, so maybe it can help some of you :)


My workflow is following:

- i download music in ALAC (usually from bandcamp)

- I put files with same / similar genres in corresponding folders on HDD, so i have "Techno" and "Downtempo" folders

- tagg files with correct "Genre" when you add them to collection. this way it is easy to find them

- add it to iTunes library

- listen and add tags to comments and ratings

- create playlist with new tunes for nomad use (when i listen on phone i also can add ratings)


some examples of tags i use for music: dubby, cosmic, slow, dancy, lyrics, heavy, dirty, glitchy, steppy, ambient, ethnic, didgeridoo. 


when i want to prepare a mix and i need to find some tracks that can go well, i browse tracks with certain keywords in comments, i check more carefully tracks with high ratings, and then add more track according the mood, create a big playlist in iTunes and add it to Traktor.


My Tips:

  1. save the ratings to the comments. iTunes don't save ratings inside the files on HDD, but save them in database. Once i have lost many of them, since that time i manually add ratings to the comments. 5stars rating tracks will have "5stars" word in comments. This way i am independent of itunes and can always go to different app and still have my metadata.
  2. don't use automatic itunes files organisation. 
  3. BACKUP your collection to external harddrives, DVD, cloud etc. Keeping things well organised demands a lot of time, and deleting file can be done easily by mistake. Backuping all important files is essential.

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Alac is the reason why I had to move from iphone to androiod phone and stop using itunes on my mac :(

I have genre specific folders, previously I used to tag all my music also, but then I lost almost all of my music collection in an accident, so I never bothered to retag it again. Nowadays I stream more than download (Spotify, google play), so it's a bit difficult to manage different libraries. 

On Spotify I have genre specific playlist but I use mood/theme playlists more often.
On PC I have this year folder, and then closer to end of year I delete things that I didn't liked and then move the rest to corresponding genre folder

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For organizing my music library I use a modified version of the application foobar2000, as well as a bunch of other third party software for editing tags, converting audio formats, etc.


The folder structure goes somewhat like this [Genre] / [Album Artist] / [Year] - [Album Name] / [##] - [Track Name]


On Discogs and last.fm I look up a lot of the relevant information for the album, like release year, country, record label, album artwork, style tags, background info (so that it can all be searchable and easily identifiable). I follow certain structures, like if an album is a compilation album released by a label and no particular artist, I make the album artist the name of that label and group them together that way. For the genres and styles I use the modern id3 v2.4 standard, which is not widely supported but allows for multi-genre and multi-artist tagging. The first main categorical genre determines the genre folder it lands in. All the other genres and styles are stored as extra descriptors so that everything can be browsed and queried using foobar's wonderful adaptive and re-programmable user interface.


Using id3 v2.4 tags, I neatly write all this information to the files and adhere to a standard for the whole library and make sure that I have at least between 600x600 and 800x800 pixel size artwork


My modified version of foobar displays a waveform seekbar, allowing me to visualize the current listening position of the song super imposed on top of the peak waveform of the whole song. This gives me extra insight when studying the dynamics of music and instantly allows me to see how a recording was mastered. Also, there is a high quality VU (peak and rms) combined meter, loudness normalized around -18LUFS using the EBU-R128 loudness normalization algorithm. This meter gives me a relativistic perspective on peak and rms dynamics and mastering quality of a song. Aside from this I have a very large display of the album artwork for more visual contemplation as well as a real time stereo fourier transformation of the audio signal, allowing visual cortex analysis of the temporal stereo frequency spectrum changes in the music I am listening to.


Of course, I only listen to everything using ASIO soundcard drivers. The windows sound module alters and muddies up the sound as it is known to use weak resampling algorithms to mix multiple sources of audio together, myself and others have confirmed this through listening tests. When I listen through direct ASIO driver output I get more clear sonic quality and I can properly make out all of the finer details in recordings. Often times, I think most people don't realize that the difference between playing back a 24 bit lossles audio file and a decent quality mp3 file is negligible compared to the difference in sonic quality you get from switching to proper ASIO soundcard drivers. In other words, if you're not even using ASIO drivers, who cares if it's mp3 or wav? I say, make sure your digital signal processing chain and audio equipment is set up proper, then worry about which compression algorithms to use. In my experience, I am fairly happy with high quality mp3s for my music library; but of course I only work with at least 32 bit floating point wave files for all my serious audio editing work and do my calculations in 64 bit with 512x oversampling.


Using my knowledge of computers, mathematics, and programming, I have learned certain truths about computer digital audio over the years and combined all this knowledge into my customized workflow with audio applications to really allow me to study and appreciate music in all its details.


That's it for my music library. I have separate libraries for percussion hits, audio samples, recordings form portable recorder, etc. I primarily now use Reaper to compose, arrange, edit, mix, and master all my audio.


Reaper is like a swiss army knife for the studio work and foobar2000 makes an excellent music exploration and studying tool ~

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foobar2000 with some essential components like Waveform Seekbar (as the name suggests, gives you a seekbar that displays the waveform of the playing track), Playlist Organizer (for organizing playlists into trees), Text Tools (for quick copypaste of fields into Discogs submissions for example) and Text Display (for a customized "now playing" infobox).

I just have one big Music folder on one of my hard drives, with the directory structure being \Artist\Album or in the case of compilations just \Compilation Name. Apparently 99,8% of it is FLAC. Mostly my CD rips but also Ektoplazm/Bandcamp/etc (legal) downloads. Also thanks to fb2k's file renaming and tagging features, all my filenames have the same structure (tracknumber - artist - title). Also I keep tags to a bare minimum (album, tracknumber, artist, title). Both practices go back to when I first started ripping my CDs and they just carried over to my downloaded music as I wanted to keep some consistency in my collection.

I use the Playlist Organizer component for further organizing. I have separate trees for artists, labels, compilations, my DJ mixes, and "random stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else" :) No need for a genre tree as I know my collection quite well.

Might seem a bit control-freak-ish and counter-intuitive, but I know my way around my collection and playlists.

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thanks for sharing guys, we have different approaches and that's perfect:


as for filenames, what i do recently

for V/A maybe is a good way to go "tracknumber - artist - title"

for albums i prefer "artist - tracknumber - title" as it is easier to use if you mix sometimes using usb compatibe "CDJ" or need to play a track from USB at somebody else equipement.


as for folder structure, i prefer:

Genre / Artist - Album - Year (Label) / tracks


Genre / Artist - Discography / Artist Album - Year (Label) / tracks

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Any MacOS users here? what do you use to rename files / and change massively tags ?


i still didn't find a good tool for MacOS. My fav software for this is WIndows Version of Tag rename.

I don't know if it will do what you want but Vox is a useful bit of software for a mac.

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In answer to the original question..


Imac in lounge with I tunes library usually with 320kbps mp3.


I have a pure i20 which acts as a dac for the ipod.


However I think I am a bit fed up with having to be so organised with maintaining a music collection and am giving spotify a blast.


If I like it I will get an old iPhone to sit on the pure i20 which can stream spotify.

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