The Import from Hell

Thought I’d report on this project in which I wasted several hours importing a 9-disk CD set.

The set in question is “Great Piano Trios” from Analekta, by the Gryphon Trio. This set consists of three previously released sets (Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven) and two new CDs (Mendelssohn, Shostakovich). It was ripped by iTunes. I first uploaded files to a watched directory, then tried an organized one. I ended up with a total mess–eight separate Roon albums, each consisting of one or more disks, most with the wrong tracks. All attempts to sort things out–including renaming subdirectories (and then removing them) and renaming individual tracks (for consistency with the “01-01” standard noted somewhere on this forum)–failed. I tried the tools provided in the Roon app: re-identify, rescan, reanalyze, fix track grouping, identify. … and never got it into decent order.

The eventual solution was, in a sense, to give up. Even though this is a single nine-disk set, I re-ripped to iTunes as if it were several smaller sets, as described above. Then I imported each of those smaller sets into Roon individually by dragging and dropping the applicable albums. That worked fine.

A learning experience, although the connection between what’s in the directories and what’s in Roon (i.e., what’s in the database?) remains a mystery. With all the tracks in a single directory and track names starting with “01-01”, “01-02” and so on, I was still getting multiple albums with multiple disks, all of them wrong.

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What were the album title and disc number tags like ? Were/are they all consistent with the results you either want to see or are getting ?

Hey @Jim_Austin,

@ncpl’s question is really the right one.

Many of us keep our media organized into neat folders, one per album/disc, but many don’t and we see a surprising number of “grab bag” folders, where multiple albums are in a single folder. We can’t assume a folder is the same as an album without having all sorts of unpredictable results.

The rules laid out here are really the most important – based on your description of this set, I’m guessing the album title fields weren’t the same, which will almost always keep discs from being automatically grouped together in a single album. If you think your media followed those rules and was still not grouped, let me know and I can take a look at the files. I’d be interested to know what went wrong.

We are considering expanded support for disc-level information, as we’ve heard requests for cover art or album titles within a multi-disc set. I can’t make a commitment here yet, but we are aware of this request. We also have a fully redesigned “track grouping” editor coming soon in 1.2, which should make it really easy to organize 9 discs into a single set in the correct order.

Hi guys, and thanks. Because these were originally separate sets, as I said, the album titles were not all the same. Rather, there were clusters–three “Piano Trios” Beethoven"; two “Piano Trios: Mozart,” and so on. Similarly, media numbers were consistent with previously marketed smaller sets and not this 9-disk package. I’m still learning Roon, so I can’t swear I did everything right–HOWEVER–I endeavored to change these things to make them consistent with the 9-disk package, giving all the disks the same title (“Great Piano Trios”) and renumbering the disks appropriately. However, by the time I started doing this I already had a mess: multiple sets of multiple disks with files incorrectly allocated. Attempts to clean it up–including by changing the file structure (both simplifying the directory names and then eliminating subdirectories completely) and renaming the individual files so that they reflected the desired structure (01 through 09 first, for the disk number, then 01 through whatever next, for the track number, then the title, with a hyphen between)–failed.

Maybe the main point that needs to be made, though, is that a big mess was created on import–too big a mess for someone like me (smart enough, physics PhD, with long experience as a computer user but not currently an IT guy) to sort out in reasonable time, with reasonable effort. Which makes me think they needed to be prepped for import somehow, in order to avoid the mess. But that capability isn’t part of Roon, and I don’t know what program I should use to do that. The other side is that this was an especially difficult challenge for Roon (and for me): A set that wasn’t really a set but was masquerading as a set. Maybe you Roon folks should acquire it as a test case. Good music, too.

So, it’s possible I made mistakes, and maybe I overlooked things, but what you’re describing is among the things I tried.


Did you try pre-identifying it in Roon? Ie searching for the set in Roon to see what it was expecting in terms of album name etc?

I find that helps sometimes to then set the disk numbers and so on right before re-identifying.

Interesting question–but I’m not sure how I’d do that. Is there a list of albums somewhere that Roon knows that I could compare it against? Or are you hoping it’s listed in Tidal? (I don’t think it is.)


Pick the album in Roon, try and identify it. If nothing comes up try and identify it manually. If it shows up then look at the disc numbering, artist and album names to give you clues as to how to adjust the metadata of your actual files to aid identification.

It will be a.lot quicker to use MP3Tag than mess around in Roon with discs numbering and track numbering. The Roon guys I hope are going to solve all the stupid individual track moving for multidisc albums.

Shows up in Tidal. Two Volumes, 79 tracks. Added to my library. Nice.


Thanks–OK, well that might explain some things. Surprisingly, I found the set in Tidal, via Roon. Someone apparently did some work in prepping that for Tidal: 2 disks instead of 9, different track names.

If I were to try this whole thing over again, to see if I could get it right this time, would it mess up the previous import, which I now have in decent shape (although not as a 9-disk set)?

Don’t despair. Roon does what you tell it but there are certain edge cases that need a little care. Preventing these edge cases would mean losing some of the same behaviour where Roon gets is absolutely right.

What I think you have here is a box set that has some CD’s that are individual and identifiable in their own right. Others are separate.

You import all Cd’s and some get ID’d and others not. The problem then comes when you edit and move tags and albums around. The albums with ID tend to persist with the ID and the clumping of discs into albums; others not.

Best way (I find) when you do a bit of an edit on such a box set is remove the whole folder with the box set from the watch folder.

Clean up the database (see settings). This removes the album(s) from the database.

Then tidy up all the tags in whatever box sets you want. Get the tags EXACTLY as you want them. Then move the folder back to the watch folder.

The results should be pretty much as you expect. None of the original CD ID will persist.

See if that helps.

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I’m doing the same, but why does it show up under “singles and EPs”?


Thanks Nick.

Do I dare try this? :wink:


Of course you do :smiley:

Are you a man or a mouse…?

Feel free to say: “Eek”. :grin:

I’ve had some similar issues, with various box sets. Some I’ve put up with and others I’ve tried to change.

I think when the full metadata editing feature is released, and also the improved box set handling, these things will be a hell of a lot easier :smiley: