Alfred Brendel 114 CDs completely un-indexed

(Martin Webster) #1

I don’t experience this problem because I have few classical albums in my collection. However, I am curious about the problem as it would seem that this particular box set is in MusicBrainz and therefore available to Roon.

https://musicbrainz.org/release/37c691c8-ffaa-4d9f-9f1d-78f7bf3f8373

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Was Anyone Hoping that CD Ripping Would Be the Next Feature Enhancement?
(JohnV) #2

I apologize, but what exactly are you curious about? I concur with Mike that this is a problem and one that renders many box sets on streaming services difficult or impossible to use.

(Mike O'Neill) #3

Perhaps I mislead, yes musicbrainz has meta data, it’s how Roon displays it

Imagine a std album you get Tracks, Credits , Version etc

You can find a track easy peasy

With the Brendel set you get effectively 114 albums in one CD1 CD2 etc.

Each CD gives no indication of content, so unless you have an encyclopedic memory of where Beethoven piano concerto no 3 is you are totally lost

I am away from my PC (in hospital) or I would post a picture

Now scale that by the 100 box sets I have and your get chaos

Hope I have explained

Maybe @John_V could post a picture on my behalf

(Andrew Cox) #4

Hope your stay in hospital is a short one Mike and you can get back to the music as soon as possible.

Box sets are a problem and the devs have heard us. The impression I have is that Classical is getting some development attention at long last.

By way of example this is an EMI box set of 22 CDs of Composers in Person. If I want to find out what’s in it I can either peck at the CD numbers, or go to Discogs:

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#5

Ha! Disc 1 has the famous performance with the C. von Dohnányi (must have been not older than 15 at the time) & B. Bartók band. :smiley:

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#6

… which is not easy to solve. While a boxset browser sure would help us the underlying problem of most boxsets will remain if the recordings (performances) are not matched to a “master” performance. It’s possible - I’ve seen this on Idagio (with limits, see below) - but it requires good metadata. My impression is that rovi doesn’t provide enough reliable data here. Musicbrainz is hit and miss but on a good way, I’d say (the track - recording relationships). Discogs often has the data but maybe not sufficient links between the various releases a recording appeared on.

The ultimate goal - IMHO - should be to not just show a boxset in a somewhat accessible way but to also show on which release(s) the boxset contents appeared first.

To illustrate with the Brendel set:

https://www.deccaclassics.com/en/cat/4788827 … luckily DG / Decca provide good information about a lot (not all) releases, let’s look at track 1 on disc 1:

Musicbrainz has the boxset and also information about this track: https://musicbrainz.org/recording/ca93dea9-0631-44a3-aa51-515afb1651cd … but it also does not know if the earliest release listed is the original release

One of the 1977 entries on discogs is most likely the original (vinyl) release https://www.discogs.com/master/view/309070

So if Roon would ever try to master the high art of showing a boxset

  • in an accessible way AND
  • (additionally) splitted into the original releases (which is of some value regarding artist intent)

I’d be impressed.

While Idagio seems to consequently follow the approach of having just one recording of a work for each artist available, it doesn’t seem to care much about the releases a recording appeared on first. It’s probably not really important for Idagio, but in the “collector pleasing business” Roon’s in it does matter.

Just to complete the picture here’s what Idagio knows about track 1 of cd 1

The boxset doesn’t appear at all.

And as a final reference: what seems to be known at rovi (not the boxset) but at least one reissue of Brendel plays Bach:

If it’s possible to find out (in an automated fashion) from here:

which of the performances are actually identical I have no idea.

(Mike O'Neill) #7

Comprehensive and demonstrates the mess …

My beef I 2 fold, this meta data is only one

The other half is the ability to “see at a glance” what each CD in a set contains

I JRiver you effectively define by Custom Tags a"box" then each disc can be named and the tracks show. I can even individual cover art to each CD

That way you can see each box set individually.

I have even got Box Volume eg Beethoven Editon

Why can’t Roon do something like if the Disc Count is over say 3

(Martin Webster) #8

Thanks, Mike. I understand now. I have no box sets, just a few muti-disk releases (mostly opera) so I don’t experience this problem.

Hope you have a speedy recovery and get home soon.

(Martin Webster) #9

Simply wanted to understand the issue as I hadn’t come across it first hand.

(Stan Jones) #10

You might have just stopped when you commented on Decca. Universal may not actually have the relevant metadata (anymore, if they ever had it) and so may have nothing to send down the line to rovi/allmusic and the other metadata providers (who, needless to say, do not employ an army of data entryists to fix up what Universal and the other labels send them). So, however good or poor roon’s algorithms and metadata manipulation schemes are, they can’t work if there is no metadata (and roon has no data entryists, either). When you think about what metadata the labels have available to provide, bear in mind that we still don’t know for sure what did and what did not burn in the great Universal fire three years ago; consider that you might actually know more about the Brendel albums than Decca/Universal does. One also has to consider that not all box sets are made up of previously released albums (though it sounds like the Brendel is). On DG’s Complete Webern box set, for example, some discs have tracks drawn from various sources (though some of these discs were later released as single discs, further confusing things).

This comment does not apply to the Brendel either, but applies to some problems with box sets. In the last year or so I have had downloads of multi-disc releases, where the metadata on the downloads did not include disc numbers, but instead the tracks were simply numbered consecutively from 1 to n. In the cases I now remember, roon did correctly break the tracks into discs, but it actually wouldn’t have mattered much to me.

ADDED: If you want to understand why Decca/Universal may not have all the necessary metadata about releases it owns, it would pay to visit the Decca Wikipedia entry, scroll down and read the section on Later History. It’s a wonder they could even find the Brendel albums.

#11

My little digression was meant to illustrate that while a better boxset browser - or to be more exact: a boxset browser at all - will not solve all the problems boxsets bring onto the collector of digital music. Metadata will still lack and so will the experience rich metadata could bring.

I don’t expect rovi to really improve in this regard because it probably isn’t of much value for their business. Discogs and musicbrainz are different. While I haven’t checked stats for Discogs I had a short look at musicbrainz - over the last seven days more tan 1,000 editors were active there. I can’t say what kind of data they entered and maintained and it’s probably not an army either. But it’s something. :slight_smile:

And the data at the deccaclassics site didn’t look that bad as one point of reference. They probably are not even interested in providing information of all the in between releases and compilations though.

If Roonlabs sticks to not curate metadata some (big - well, depends on point of view / use case) problems will not go away. The Idagio example shows that there are efforts ongoing which could - if incorporated into the Roon ecosystem - provide more data quality than we currently see. And with time musicbrainz (or wikidata) might get better too.

I wasn’t aware about this until recently and did not dig into it much. The main tragedy, or so I understood, was that quite some master tapes got lost. If it had any impact on other data (paper records) I don’t know.

Understood. I have a few of those which split into their original discs end as incomplete albums and I don’t have a good idea what to do about it. Still I prefer original albums over boxset / compilation entries; and I try to avoid boxsets – which sometimes are hard to resist because of the competitive pricing or because there’s no other way to get a certain recording.

I believe that for compilations it’s as, maybe even more important to know what the source of the compilation was to deliver (higher) quality information.

BTW if the single disc virtual boxset would have more than 180 tracks it would have been bad luck if Roon wouldn’t treat it as a multidisc item. :wink:

It doesn’t tell (me) why they should have lost information they build their business on. Defending phonographic copyrights requires you to know what you actually own. :wink: And to me it reads as if they do know very well what they have. It’s probably not in their interest to publish all the release information though; especially compilations come and go - sometimes for apparently no other reason than to squeeze out yet a few more bucks from a recording which already paid for itself a couple of times. Still, especially with classical, if it helps to spread the music, it may not be a bad thing.
Only when compilations or boxsets enter a collector’s (digital) library, things get messy… :upside_down_face:

(Ozzie) #12

For those in for a very long but interesting read on the Universal fire, there is a great recent piece by Jody Rosen in the New York Times magazine - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/magazine/universal-fire-master-recordings.html

(Mike O'Neill) #13

Thanks , I got let out yesterday evening now on LIGHT duties, I claim my headphones are very light

(Mike O'Neill) #14

Its a consequence of the big labels grasping yet more money from their back catalog

The complete Recordings ON “xx” . Often splitting “Individually Previously Released” works but is fraught withe error potential. The best advice is to leave a set as a set that gives Roon a better chance of IDing

The Brendel Example is ID’ed as the Big Box but the metadata is :C**P", Roon does what it can.

Probably 95% were original CD’s but the inevitable few were concocted as “Disc Filler”

I keep all my big boxes in JRiver and the sub sets , or album in Roon (by judicious folder imports)

This is until Roon provides a way of identifying by Disc Name

a picture speaks a 100 word , this is on othe boxes from DG’s Big Karajan relese

as you can see the navigation help from Roon is hyperlinks Disc 103 to Disc 129

So if you don’t know by memory what each disc contains you are stuck. Now scale this up by 200 (I am not sure how many Box Set I have) and you can see the quandary.

We have metadata Courtesy of DG but absolutely no idea where to find Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in the morass…

Its a good example of the software learning curve , my old method simply doesn’t work so move on devise ways with Roon,

I use a mix of Artist View, Composition View , Bookmarks and Tags.

Maintenance is thankfully low and you can sit back and let Roon do the crunching

The big box issues is well known and we have no clue when (or even if) it will be fixed.

(Ged) #15

When do you find the time to listen to hundreds of CDs in hundreds of box sets (or is it all spent tagging them :slight_smile: )

#16

To be fair, it’s not always true. Especially with the “Complete on xx” issues there’s a chance that some of the recordings were not issued on CD (or digital) previously. And depending on how long one has been around it may be the first chance to get those recordings. :slight_smile:

Hmm, I only glimpsed at the musicbrainz album overview page and it didn’t look that bad.

JRiver currently is probably the better choice for manual sorting / accessing boxsets. But I couldn’t convince myself to keep it installed along side of Roon (already have to keep iTunes around for syncing to my good old iPods). So I try to split boxsets. Admittedly I do only have a few = 3 hands full :wink: of those (and some others are kept “unsplit”, like the Fischer-Dieskau/Moore Schubert set from DG):

It makes the individual albums more accessible and if those are known to Roon metadata is fine as well.

Note: on my main Roon client I don’t use “More covers…” like in this screenshot so I can read what’s written on the individual covers (because we know: the album texts don’t scroll and are therefore not very helpful - as can be seen in the example).

Yeah, it’s worthless for browsing - and genres do not help either, because those are attached to the boxset :grimacing:

It would be worse if I hadn’t already divided the Bach Complete into subsets …

My initial point was that while browsing has to be improved problems will remain if the metadata questions concerning boxsets will not get tackled, too. Maybe the Roon team comes up with a great solution. They are clever guys after all and the issue of streaming sources offering the same crappy presentation as imported CD box sets makes the problem not just one of the small collector club.

(Dirk De Taey) #17

I do tag individual boxset discs, before importing in Roon.
For Tchaikovsky Edition, this results in this :slight_smile: (partly as the Roon screen is limited in number of albums)

Dirk

(Mike O'Neill) #18

It’s called retirement mixed with obsession :joy:

But seriously I am replacing vinyl I lost years ago to some extent

(Mike O'Neill) #19

Do you realise that you can sync OLD IPODS, ie non iOS ones via JRIVER

I have an old 80 and a 160 Classic both synced that way, you even Transcode TO ALAC or MP3 on the fly so you don’t have to keep a transcode library

#20

Unluckily my iPods are not old enough for jRiver.