What is the prerequisite for the perfect metadata

Hi all,
I have recently got into Roon, and instantly subscribed with a plan.
So over the years I have collected HQ audio and have been listening to them on my HTPC over JRiver. And I am totally awestruck by Roon.
I have many albums that I have collected from friends as well, and most of these are HQ but the file and folder structure vary from one another. For eg:- Person A has a different way of naming the folder, and Person B might have named it differently. Now probably Person C might have got the HQ music from an Online source, hence few folders have dots or underscores, or Year or music format as in 320kbps or flac mentioned in the folder name…

Well the question I have is relating to this, with this thousands of albums I have, and all of the different naming legacy, is there a tool that i can run on these folders and have the unwanted details removed such as year, file type (FLAC, 320kbps, v0, v1 etc) or even if roon will be able to scrape the info correctly even if i dont rename these folders?

Socrates, I am in the midst of a similar problem. Lots of taggers will allow you to open up multiple tracks and make bulk edits. But that is dangerous bordering on deadly.

While others more clever than I will have possible good solutions for you, I believe you will have to hand inspect and modify as appropriate.

A short object lesson: I used either MusicBrainz or Discogs to successfully ID an entire multi-CD boxset, well over 150 tracks. But upon closer examination, the tags were not just incomplete. There were about six sets of Title and FileName tagging conventions. Each group had its own workflow. Ugh.

That said, Yate (Mac) has the ability to create and run macro edits on the entire group, if you’re brave enough.

The other approach, if you haven’t already done so, is turn the albums over to Roon (probably in small batches at first) and see if it can make sense of what you have. I’ve been impressed with it’s ability to turn s**t into Shinola.

If Roon can ID an album, then that’s one less album you’ll have to manually edit.

FYI, Roon’s weak areas are vinyl rips, boxsets, and small labels.

Good luck

If it’s identified by Roon, I leave the original files alone without even checking how incomplete, incorrect or redundant they are.

If it’s not identified by Roon then I do what needs to be done to link the album in with other content, usually just adding Composer, Label and Credit information in Roon. At the moment I just rely on the Roon database to hold these edits (backup every two days to a 128GB USB stick) but I believe (without checking) that they can be written to file tags using the Roon Export feature.

Note that Export requires a computer, it’s not available on tablet or phone.

Edit: To clarify, the Export function creates a new copy of the file with some Roon database entries written to file tags. It does not overwrite your original files.

I would have to agree with @John_V. The scope for auto-editing tags / file names is limited. Personally I have had very mixed results with auto-tagging services like MusicBrainz etc. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can sometimes make a manual identification with roon even if your file naming conventions and your tags are all over the place. Take a small batch of albums and see how you get on. It’s a start.

Inevitably you are going to have to invest in a good tagger and hand inspect and edit your albums. Many Mac users here use Yate and many PC users use mp3tag. They will help you bulk edit strings in your tags and file names, swapping underscores and dots, re-numbering tracks, that sort of thing. But be very careful. It is all too easy to make things worse. Take the advise of roon here and do the minimum editing that roon needs to make an identification. In many cases it is only necessary to populate a handful of tags. But it varies considerably.

Different genres will require you to do more or less editing to help roon along. Classical music can require a lot, mainstream pop less. Niche pop and jazz genres can be very challenging. But my experience is you can get a surprisingly long way with some simple edits that any good tagger will help you do in bulk.

  1. Find your album on allmusic.com.
  2. Follow their album naming and track naming conventions.
  3. Put artists in the artist tag and composers in the composer tag.
  4. Change all artist and composer names to first_name last_name.
  5. Change all string separators in artist tags to a colon.
  6. Make sure your track numbers are sequential.
  7. Number all discs in small boxes sequentially (2 to 4 discs). I would leave editing larger box sets until you have more experience and you know your preferences for dealing with them in roon.

It would be nice if it were possible to automate this minimum set of edits but I haven’t found a way.

Hmm… You should first check before making such a statement. Roon is not a tag editor, and that is mentionned clearly in the KB. The reference to file tags in the export section of the KB is inappropriate. In fact Roon never touches your media, except when you delete an album and then you are prompted with a very clear confirmation request.

I did a quick and dirty “round trip” with one album, changed in Roon, exported. I did find that my changes were incorporated in the file tags after export. I did not take a census of all possible changes, however.

I’m not sure what you thought was “inappropriate” about the KB, Andre. The copied export files have my Roon edits added/written to them. The originals remain untouched.

One KB statement is a bit “overly enthusiastic”:

"Roon’s Export feature copies files from your Core to other locations, and “tags’ the files as they appear in Roon.”

Not quite true. Many of the Credits you see on the screen aren’t written to files.It does seem that user edits are ‘tagged’ (to use their word) to files upon export. But only upon export.

Say more, Tony. Are you advocating, say, grouping 4 independent one-disc albums into one 4-disc album? Didn’t quite get the first sentence.

I twas thinking about double, triple or quad albums. I think roon box handling for small boxes like this works fine. You just need to remember to number the discs so roon will bundle and id them fairly painlessly. My personal limit is about 10 disc box sets.

Box handling of monster 100 disc boxes is personal taste I think. For me it doesn’t work in roon and I prefer to break out the individual releases even if the resulting album structures do not quite match an actual release. But everyone’s different. It can create a lot of work which some may not be interested in and so prefer to accept the roon default. I think this is something where you need to use roon for a while before deciding what you want to do.

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Gotcha, thanks.

BTW, I have a couple of boxsets whose labels have seen fit to split compositions across disks (!) I fretted about having to restart Roon when it stopped at the end of the first disc.

Well – kudos to Roon – it picks up on this fact and continues right along to the next disc without fuss. Pretty nifty coding.

The original post gave the impression that the Roon edits could be written to the original file tags. Whats’s the use of exporting files to new locations, creating duplicates along the way ? And as you say, “Many of the Credits you see on the screen aren’t written to files”. What’s the point then ?

@andybob, mentioned populating the Label tag. I forgot that on my list. Also the CD catalogue number if you have the artwork or you can find it on Discogs, ArkivMusic etc. That often makes a difference when you are struggling with an identification.

I’m sure everyone is different but I always tried to avoid tagging directly in roon. Mostly it would have been to improve the formatting of the main album screen that can be very messy with overly long album titles or lots of performer / album artist duplicates. I also find roon’s habit of listing primary artists at the top of the main album screen alphabetically annoying so I would change it to a more logical convention of soloist / ensemble / conductor. It’s an important visual clue in certain genres where you do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of artist roles.

Most of this can be done in an external 3rd party tagger directly into your files of course and mostly that’s what I did. But over a period of 18 months or so I am sure I have edited roon directly more than I think. In my case it was mostly for aesthetic reasons, specific to simplifying roon screen layouts, so it wouldn’t be life or death if I ever wanted to migrate to another player. There would also have been the occasional missing credit that was just easier to enter directly into roon at the time rather than firing up a tagger.

I haven’t used export but it’s nice to know I could in principle reproduce those edits in another player if it was ever important to me. But I agree there is scope for misunderstanding the KB which should be changed. From other posts the general principle seems to be that only “user edits” are exported rather than roon sourced metatdata. It would be nice to know exactly what that means in practice.

I made a new thread to discuss whether the KB entry for Export should be edited. Anyone who has a suggested KB edit or who can help verify what exactly is written to file tags of the new copy is welcome to participate.