How to manage Audiobooks with several CDs

I am testing roon labs and struggling to move all my audio files to roon labs. I hope somebody can help me.

I have many audiobooks. Most of these audiobooks consist of several CDs. Unfortunately roon lab does not identify that several CDs belong to the same audiobook = album. So I see serval times the same album, even it should be only one audiobook / album with several CDs. This happen in roughly 50% in all my cases.

Why does roon lab sometimes identify the correct match (several CDs belonging to one album) and sometimes not?

The metadata of all audiobooks is similar, I could not find any differences in my metadata quality between automatically matched CDs to one audiobook and the cases without any matching.

Before I worked with squeezebox, I had no problem at all with squeezebox. The LogitechMediaServer (= squeezebox) identified all CDs belonging to one audiobooks without any problems. So the metadata should be fine.

What can I do to change it in roon labs?

I will not (I do not have the time) match all my audiobooks manually within roon labs. I did this manually for three audiobooks and it was terrible awkward (not user friendly at all). Sorry, if roon labs not automatically matches my relevant CDs to one audiobooks, I will not move to roon lab.

This is the best thread I could find in the forum

Thank you for the feedback.

  1. But what information I have to enter into my metadata of each mp3 file (= track) (for example via MediaMonkey), that roon labs will identify all CDs belonging to one album?

  2. And why is the metadata information squeezebox is using for identifying all CDs belonging to one album, not sufficient for roon labs?

I think roon likes the actual file names to be in a folder called the book name and then the files to reflect the book The xxx 01, The xxx 02 etc.
I don’t use this feature so not really sure.

TBH it’s not something I think will be straightforward to do as it’s not a core part of roon. You will have to tinker if you want it to work.
Roon is built to use your file metadata to go out and match that with a specific album release using provider metadata and import all of that to allow the deeper links to work. Other programs just present the metadata and may be better at just doing that.

That roon lab is using additional information is fine with me.
But when roon lab does not have / find additional information like in my case, why does roon lab not just use the information already available in my metadata?
Should be not too difficult to program, taking available metadata, when not more information is available somewhere else in the internet.

As I said I don’t use audiobooks in roon. Perhaps the metadata isn’t in the right tag that Roon uses. One thing that comes to mind there is a switch when you import files to prefer the file metadata over roon, have you tried that?
For example I believe it uses Album Artist over Artist.
Have a browse and search through the forums.

Use ‘mp3tag’ than you can tag the metadata from the entire album with one click

I use mp3 tag!
But the one and only question STILL is, what to put for information into the mp3 tag, so that roon lab identifies the CDs belonging to one album.

You need to set up your folders and files as though they are for a box-set. I use the second scheme mentioned in the article, and it works for me.

Two additional questions:

  1. But why is Roon labs not able to read metadata (mp3tags), like all other software managing mp3 files?
  2. Can you suggest a software, which is able to read mp3tags and clusters my mp3 files like roon labs needs it?

It does read the metadata… why do you think it does not?

Because roon labs does not identify the CDs belonging to one album. And all necessary information for this is included in my mp3tags.
At least my Squeezebox Server can read my mp3tags and has no problems to show one album even when it consists of several CDs. Roon labs for example shows 10 time the same album, when a album consists of 10 CDs.

But at it is not explained (or I do not understand it) how roon labs identifies several CDs belonging to the same album.
I just found, perhaps this not available description would help me … ?!?

As I said earlier, it is not just metadata that is important in recognising what are box-sets, it is also the structure and naming of the files and folders. I suspect this is what is throwing Roon off-track. Remember that Audiobooks are not a recognised object in the Roon universe, which revolves primarily around music albums and releases (as well as artists, composers and compositions), so to help Roon, you have to help it with your file and folder structures and your metadata. You say that your metadata is in good shape, so look closely at your files and folders.

And you can always use Roon to merge albums, so that’s probably the easiest option to follow

I assume that my folders probably could be the reason, but i am not sure. And that is the reason why I started this topic.
I can not do it manually, because my mp3 file library is too big. Or in other words, I will not buy a software where I have to spend the next months to sort my library manually.

But is here somebody around, who has some roon labs knowledge and who can explain exactly how roon labs works with mp3tags?
Does roon labs not read the ID3v2.3 metadata field “TPOS”?
Or when roon labs reads it, what does it do with this information?
Reading the “TALB” and “TPOS” should be totally sufficient to identify CDs and Album that belong together.

Yes, Roon reads both of these tags, but it also looks at other things, such as file and folders naming. I suspect your file and folder structure is as the third example shown in the article I referred to - the one which Roon Labs explicitly says not to use.

If you don’t wish to manually adjust whatever it is that’s throwing Roon off-track, or use Roon to merge albums, then perhaps you should call a halt to your testing and move on.

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Thank you for the advice!
And I thought roon labs want to earn money and not to get rid of potential customers.

I don’t work for Roon Labs - I’m just a happy customer. :grin:

I’m sure they do but the software does it in a particular way - not saying it is the best way but it is the way it is constructed.
Geoff has pointed out how you would need to change your files to align yourself with that but you don’t want to do that so I’m not sure what else to suggest.

Hey @Munich – as you’ve probably surmised, at the moment we don’t really have any built in support for Audio Books, so if you want to use that kind of content in Roon, just be aware that many aspects of the system are built specifically for automatically identifying albums, so you’ll need to “fool” the system into thinking each book is an album for this to work in any reasonable way.

The reason this may not work like other applications is because Roon makes use of a unique"object-based" metadata model that does not, and cannot, exist in file tags.

When we match up a music CD to our database, we don’t just read the composer out of the file tags as being a piece of text that says Tchaikovsky – we match the composer on the track up to our database, which links back to hundreds of his compositions, and will identify his work across all of your albums, even if you’re using one of the 17 other spellings of his name.

Point being, Roon is not just taking the information in your file tags and displaying it on-screen – it’s using the information in your files to match them up to our system and build a detailed model of your music, and all the performers and composers involved in the creation of that music, as well as the release you’ve added to your collection, etc – and none of that is going to work with Audiobooks.

That said, I think if you have sequential files in a folder, Roon will group them into an album and you can hit play – I don’t see why that won’t work, and I know many tagging tools (like MediaMonkey) can re-organize all your files like this in a couple clicks.

Ultimately, if Roon is going to group your audiobooks into “albums” properly, Roon is going to need to know that:

  • All of these files are one album (either because theyre grouped in a folder, or because they all have the same album tag)
  • These files have an order (either because they have track numbers in the file tags, or the files themselves are ordered, like track 1.flac, track2.flac, etc)

If your audio book files are organized this way, I think Roon will group them as albums and things should be workable.

I’d also mention that “audiobook support” is a fine feature request, and something we could probably do much better with, if there was interest and we took the time to design and implement. For now, hopefully the above is helpful. Appreciate the feedback @Munich.

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Thank you mike for the detailed explanation.

For all who have similar problems, my observations are (see picture):

  • As long having all tracks / CDs of one album in the same folder, roonlabs uses the necessary metadata and identifies the different CDs (see yellow, light-green).
  • When having (like I had in many cases), one folder for each CD, roonlabs identifies the different CDs belonging to the same Album, WHEN the word “CD” or “Disc” and a counter is used within the folder name. It makes no different if it is at the end, in the middle or at start (see red, orange, dark-green, dark-blue).
  • When only using a counter 1 to n (or mixing up numbers = violet) for each folder of a CD, roonlabs displays each single CD as a stand-alone Album (see light-blue, violet) or even ignores some CDs (see light-blue), what makes no sense at all.

Is this a bug or a feature?
I have no idea, for what kind of use-case, this behavior (the need of the word “CD” or “Disc”) makes sense or is useful (even for music CDs I can not imagine a useful use-case)?

But nevertheless, I can live with it. After understanding the logic behind.

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