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Moving to a metadata-based media collection- how?

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I've had it with trying to fit my increasingly eclectic media files into a hierarchical folder structure. There's just too many different things I want to keep track of (author/genre/type/subject/title), turning each thing into a folder name results in baroque folder structures.

I want to switch to a metadata-based management system, but I also want to use something that's standardized and compatible with all my other programs; I mean I need to find documents through Word, and my image files through Photoshop, and everything through my file managers.

So what I'm asking is, is there anything that's standardized, backward-compatible and free?

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Man, I had a program like that. It worked very well. But I don't remember it. If I find out, I will let you know as soon as I can.

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I already have media players I'm happy with (although I do need to find something that'll rip into ogg speex- but I think I saw a good recommendation in a computer magazine so I might be all set with that).

I'm just looking for a shell.

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Windows Vista has a new feature called Stacks in Explorer which are like virtual folders based on metadata. If you allow Vista to index you music collection you can stack the files any way you want almost instantly by right clicking in the parent folder and choosing choosing 'Stack By' in the context menu.

As for ripping to Ogg Speex I would probably rip to wav using EAC and use the command line encoder 'speexenc'. You could probably integrate that with EAC to make it a one step process too.

http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/ (free)

http://www.speex.org/docs/manual/speex-manual/node6.html (free)

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Yeah, I've heard about that function in Vista too, but I'm looking for something that'll sort files according to the meta-data/tags *I* add, and between directories. I haven't used it but it was my understanding that the Vista stacking created "virtual subdirectories" for files all under a single parent. That, and I don't have Vista.

As for ripping to wav and then converting to speex, that extra step adds just enough complication and potential loss of quality that I'd rather avoid it.

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As for ripping to wav and then converting to speex, that extra step adds just enough complication and potential loss of quality that I'd rather avoid it.

Then just do what DigeratiPrime suggested and setup EAC to use speexenc.exe as external command-line encoder...

I have never used speex before, but it should be something like:

F11 > 'External Compression' > 'Use external program for compression'

Parameter passing scheme: User Defined Encoder

Use fileextension: .spx

Browse > speexenc.exe

Additional command-line options: %s %d

Untick 'Add ID3 Tag'.

Under 'Additional command-line options' i have only used '%s %d' which is source and destination filename, since i don't know what quality you want, or which tags speexenc.exe supports, but here are the EAC variables available for the tags:

%a CD artist

%g CD title

%t Track title

%y Year

%n Track number

%m music genre

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People mistakenly assume that WAV files are lossless. They aren't always, they can be compressed and I won't want to go through an interim compression step. I want to rip straight to Speex.

And while that is a really neat tip it doesn't really accomplish what I want. I want to be able to tag files with multiple types of metadata (author, medium, genre) and access them through their metadata. So I can do to open a file, and chose from all the games produced by Capcom, or all the graphic files of Street Fighter characters, or all the MIDI files to Squaresoft RPGs and see them all on one screen, reguardless of what directory they were saved under.

Categorizing files and folders in Explorer doesn't go far enough.

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People mistakenly assume that WAV files are lossless. They aren't always, they can be compressed and I won't want to go through an interim compression step. I want to rip straight to Speex.

It's fine by me if you don't want to use EAC, or any other app which doesn't rip straight to Speex without an interim WAV step, but nonetheless, then please note that apps like EAC obviously does not rip and encode to compressed WAVs unless you specifically tell them to do so! They of course normally rip to uncompressed WAVs, which is straight PCM audio samples with a 44 byte WAV header in-front...

The only thing you archive with ripping and encoding on-the-fly to a compressed format is effeciency and nothing quality-wise whatsoever...

EAC dosen't feature on-the-fly ripping/encoding support to the Speex format, but it does support queued compression, which means that it rips the next track while encoding the previous, so it's nearly the same...

The reason i suggested EAC, where that it features support for things like AccurateRip, C2 error pointers, re-reading, cache-flushing, sector synchronization, HTOA(hidden-track-one-audio) and image/cuesheets ripping etc.

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It's fine by me if you don't want to use EAC, or any other app which doesn't rip straight to Speex without an interim WAV step, but nonetheless, then please note that apps like EAC obviously does not rip and encode to compressed WAVs unless you specifically tell them to do so! They of course normally rip to uncompressed WAVs, which is straight PCM audio samples with a 44 byte WAV header in-front...

Well, now that I know that the wavs are uncompressed I can stop worrying about losing quality. I would like a straight rip to speex but I may never get that and refusing to rip my CDs until speex is supported natively could make my investment in CDs foolhardy. Only problem is that EAC doesn't work for me, or at least it didn't last time I tried it. I've reinstalled Windows since then so I'll give it a shot, last time it recognized my DVD player but the associated driver just plain didn't work right.

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