CD Ripping & Classical Music

When Roon first came out I hoped it would have solved the massive problem of making sense of the metadata for classical music but alas, as we are human, that’s too much to ask of anyone.

I’ve tried various music storage solutions ranging from an early Antipodes all in one unit, Aurender X100L, Aries feed from NAS, Bryston BDP-1 and USB drives, ripping CD’s using software, and last using a Naim Unitiserve device which while ripping bit perfect copies saves things as wav files with its own database management scheme for the metadata.

Auto ripping devices are geared for the mass market, or in Hi Fi, a market of nit pickers, and are not really designed for classical music ripping and metadata management. I’ve tried Musichi, etc, and really, ripping the cd’s manually and then editing them is not how I want to spend time.

So I had a long hard think and wondered if I ripped all of the cd’s into the Naim Unitiserve, and then used Roon to manage the metadata, would life become simpler?

Will Roon be able to handle wav files and the implicit metadata embedded in the album and track info? I have no idea at present but as I am ripping the latest Mozart 225 album, which 225 cd’s, Naim correctly identified the CD 70% of the time, and otherwise assigns a different set of metadata to the remaining 30%, this info being on the CD’s making the collection in the first place. (Laziness of Decca etc to mix and match CD’s with different metadata). (Having an enormous green box filled with CD’s filed into 4 packs, makes the physical playing of the music interesting, and rather the music should be transferred to the Roon experience. Which is why I am doing it).

Whether it will be a success is another matter.

PS. One thing I am immensely annoyed with is a recent Australian ABC classical release of 8 CD’s. the Classic 100 Voice, and the metadata is AWOL. Typical government operation. Unbelievable.

Elaborate? Embedded where?

Implicitly in the track file name and enclosing folder title. These fields are extracted from the raw data on the CD itself otherwise the ripping process would not work at all. And then this is not 100% true either as I found out from the ripping of the classic 100 voices cd. Nothing on the track ID rips, and even the Album label or description was a generic one. Which makes me wonder whether Naim are simply limiting their data extraction to the tags and ignoring the CD TOC.

I believe Roon does not read metadata stored in sidecar or other database formats, so using a proprietary format like NAIM’s gives Roon less chance of identification (particularly if NAIM do not embed any metadata in the .wav files themselves).

To give Roon the best chance of identification I find storing each disc in a multidisc set in a separate subfolder properly tagged with the disc number helps enormously.

Here is the rip of CD 2 from the ABC Classic 100 Voice.

In other words, you have to be kidding…

That’s the problem - rip using Naim and you can’t alter the music store structure. If you follow your suggestions there is no point in using the Naim approach since you would need to edit their database for the new file location and as an old database designer, that’s not something one needs.

Incidentally all the album listings in the previous post are from the Decca Mozart: 225 The New Complete Edition.

As understood by the Naim ripping software (1.74)

So don’t use NAIM’s folder structure with Roon.

Lots of us using Roon were using Sooloos beforehand. Sooloos also had a proprietary folder system and much the best way of moving from Sooloos to Roon was to export native format from Sooloos and then use Roon to scan the artist/album folder system created by the export rather than just pointing Roon at the old Sooloos files.

What the man said. I don’t quite understand the NAIM approach but it sounds like trouble for Roon.

Does NAIM allow an export into a more friendly format (like Sooloos does)? If so you could continue to rip in NAIM if you really want, or need, to, then export from there. Clunky process though…

If Naim’s ripper uses album metadata for folder and file names you could conceivably use a tagger to leverage same.

Is your Naim device connected to the Internet? It could be attempting to obtain CD information from an online source such as Extracting album information from the disc itself is only possible if the CD supports CD-Text ( extensions which, in my experience, is something that only Sony really spent much time making use of.

Online sources, such as, will only match your CD if someone else has bothered to import it in the past and upload the results to an online database. Presumably this would also imply that they spent the time applying track names, identifying the album, album artist(s), etc. In my experience (I’m using the software package ‘Mp3tag’, which uses the database) that process isn’t always done with a high degree accuracy.

Things get even more complicated when multi-disc collections are involved: one (or more) of the single discs in that collection could have previously been released as a single CD, and will match that one instead of the disc that’s part of the collection. Further, the chances of someone having previously bought that entire 225 CD collection, imported, tagged, and uploaded the results to are quite small.

Bottom line: Don’t expect a CD to have any metadata encoded within it. CD-Text was the only “standard” ever offered to support this, but it wasn’t widely adopted. If I was in your place, I would copy a few of those 225 CDs to my hard disk with basic album information: Album name, artist(s), track numbers & disc number. Then, import them into Roon and see if Roon can identify them using its own sources (which are much more comprehensive than free sources like to populate track names, etc. If you like what you see, you can continue with the rest of the 225 CDs. If not, you basically have two choices: abandon the effort, or spend a very long time applying the metadata to each track yourself.

I ripped 129 CD’s into the Naim and let it Roon for the night. This morning Roon had completed its work and identified all the cd’s except for 7 which seem to belong to the 225 Complete Edition collrection. A bit of fine tuning in Roon to sort that out.

Roon simply read the Naim data store in Music/MQ.

This is impressive.

The Naim folder structure is based on artist and then album with the major work etc. Rather than change the Naim metadata, it’s the Roon data that needs to be tuned.

However the goal of this experiment was to see what Roon did with the Naim folder data and Roon did it quite well.

And the ABC Classic Voices CD’s are “unknown” etc., which means entering all the data manually into Roon.

[quote=“Louis_Hissink, post:13, topic:27470”]
Roon simply read the Naim data store in Music/MQ.
[/quote]highly unlikely. More likely Roon did some fancy footwork to identify the albums using # of tracks, track duration, folder name etc.

well, whatever Roon did, it sorted out the CD’s ripped onto the Naim without me needing to export etc etc as suggested above. Just 7 seemed to not be on Roons database.

None the less, impressive Rooning about.

what can Naim do iTunes can’t?

Being simple, and ITunes creates a slightly larger wav file than Naim.

I feel your pain concerning metadata for classical music. It’s a real inconsistent hodge-podge. I think you’re confused about the source of it, though. It originates from external databases, for the most part. Some of them have proprietary algorithms for uniquely identifying a sound file. Some file formats like mp3 and flac (but not wav) can store data in “tags”. The Musichi site contains more information than you would probably ever want to know about metadata. But a CD TOC, by itself, does not contain any more information than the number of tracks and timings, AFAIK. The government operation has nothing to do with your metadata woes. When you download a file from HDTracks, etc. you are similarly faced with a hodge-podge of inconsistent tag information when it comes to classical music, in that case embedded in the tags that ultimately originate from one of the databases.

There was a scandal described in the New York Times some years ago where a pianist was supposedly self recording and releasing. Only the sound files matched recordings by famous pianists in the databases.

It is true that most metadata defaults to the pop oriented “album/artist/song” procrustean bed. For a recording of the Beethoven violin concerto, say, the “artist” may be the composer, the conductor or the soloist. Composers may be last name, last name/first name or full name, for example. For “Pictures at an Exhibition” the “artist” may be Mussorgsky, Ravel, a pianist or a conductor, but never Viktor Hartman.

I have ripped with Musichi and like the way it regulates the tags to a particular standard, which includes composer by last name, then first name. Unfortunately Roon choked on this, often creating two separate entries like “Johannes Brahms” and “Brahms, Johannes” for the same composer. This was a while ago and Roon may be more Musichi friendly by now, and it is almost certainly possible, though it requires wading through the verbose and often unhelpful documentation, to customize Musichi to be more Roon friendly. But the upshot is, simply feeding CD’s into the drive and the rest going essentially unattended is still not realized for me. Which is one reason why a substantial part of my listening is still from silver or vinyl disks. Like you, my life is full of things I would rather be doing than editing tags.

1 Like

I’ve made progress since and worked out that if I rip the CD using the Antipodes Core, editing those files with MP3Tag just to get conductor into artist, orchestra into album orchestra, and fill in what’s missed, plus filing it under Composer/Album etc Roon then gets its act together. Fingers crossed. There are more important things to do than editing tags, for sure.