Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

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JohnMBrooks
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Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:14 pm

Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by JohnMBrooks » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:12 pm

Hi there,

I have a question about organization, and I understand that it's likely there's no ideal solution, but I was wondering what the consensus might be.

How should I label the 'Album' of tracks that aren't part of any album? Especially so it doesn't accidently mess up album art. Nomally, I'll set the album as '[N/A]' to denote it's not part of any album (as opposed to leaving it blank which might make one think it's unknown or not filled in). The real risk comes with the fact that many artists have technically unreleased tracks, so MediaMonkey tries to treat the '[N/A]' album as a compilation album (which it isn't). Technically, each unreleased track would be it's own album in a sense, despite all having the same album name (even for the same artist).

Furthermore, though the tracks are unreleased sometimes I would like to assign an image as Album Art to a specific song, with the risk that I might hit 'Apply to all albums in the album/series' by mistake and mess up the album art for all albums marked '[N/A]' for that arist. So, more precisely, is there any way I should set 'Album Artist' or 'Album' to avoid screwing up 'Album Art' for albums of a specific artist marked '[N/A]'? Or is it perhaps just a better idea to regrettably not add album art to tracks which aren't formally part of an album?

Thanks for the input.

Lowlander
Posts: 46284
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by Lowlander » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:29 pm

Album is where Album and Album Artist are the same for files. So, it is best to use Album and Album Artist values that are unique to the Track if you want to use Artwork. You could use Title for Album and add [EP] or [N/A] and have Artist as Album Artist.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

JohnMBrooks
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by JohnMBrooks » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:38 pm

Thanks for the quick reply.

Yeah, so it's kinda what I expected. Though MediaMonkey has no fault in this, I guess there isn't really any ideal solution that doesn't either group them all in a single album, or treat each single track as a seperate album. For some prolific artists that can be a real mess when it comes to organization.

Perhaps it might someday be a worthwhile plugin to be able to select user-configurable safe words to not be treated as 'album', 'artist' etc, to avoid these issues. Oh well. I guess the best compromise, though not ideal, would be to simply cede now and consider all albums marked '[N/A]' as an album for that artist in particular. Anything else risks wasting a lot of time setting album art for individual tracks only to mess it up with an accidental click.

Thanks!

JoePublic
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Location: Fenton, MO

Re: Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by JoePublic » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:07 pm

John, another reason to put a unique value in the Album field has to do with Volume Analysis. If you "Analyze Volume" on your tracks, and if you have several tracks from an artist that are part of your "no album" group, "Analyze Volume" will (understandably) treat all of those tracks as belonging to one album, and will apply a single Album Volume value to all the tracks. Depending on the individual Track Volumes, this could have an undesirable effect when you play back your tracks: Some could be too soft, some too loud, depending on the individual track values compared to the average Album Volume value that got applied.

JohnMBrooks
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by JohnMBrooks » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:17 pm

JoePublic wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:07 pm
John, another reason to put a unique value in the Album field has to do with Volume Analysis. If you "Analyze Volume" on your tracks, and if you have several tracks from an artist that are part of your "no album" group, "Analyze Volume" will (understandably) treat all of those tracks as belonging to one album...
It's a good point. That kinda furthers the notion that there are fundamental reasons why there should be some term that can be used for tracks with no album that are treated distinctly from an album. An "escape" or "exemption" term of sorts.

Since posting, I've retagged a few thousand albums manually (freakin' WMP album art problem!) and I'd definitely take the slight volume issue any day over creating a few hundred extra albums with only one track in them (if every formally unreleased track is considered an album of it's own). More so considering that the album equalization is only likely to kick in if I listen to an album of unreleased tracks as a group, something most people will never do since they aren't an album. As such the individual track volume leveling would likely apply in most cases (but not all, I'd imagine).

All in all, I've settled on all unreleased tracks forming an "unreleased" album for a given artist being a satisfactory solution. At least as far as effort vs results and library organization is involved.

Lowlander
Posts: 46284
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by Lowlander » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:28 pm

JoePublic wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:07 pm
and will apply a single Album Volume value to all the tracks. Depending on the individual Track Volumes, this could have an undesirable effect when you play back your tracks
That only is an issue if you use per Album for playback leveling. If set to per Track you're unaffected.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

JoePublic
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 11:43 am
Location: Fenton, MO

Re: Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by JoePublic » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:52 pm

Just a word of caution: Sometimes it's a lot more than a slight volume variation. If one track of a two-track "unreleased" album gets adjusted by -14.1dB and another one by +0.1dB because the sources were way different, the -7.0dB Album Volume won't be very appropriate for either track at time of playback. Also, there is no easy way to get rid of an Album Volume value. Once that field gets populated, you can't easily unpopulate it.

What I do is analyze each track separately (or in groups that don't constitute all the "unreleased" album tracks) so that Album Volume doesn't get written. Then, if all the Track Volumes are pretty close to each other, then I just leave them in a single made-up album name. I use "(no album)". If there are a few outliers, I group those together as "(no album 2)", etc. Then I can Analyze the volumes again if I want, or not, but my groupings are set up to insure that "bad" Album Volumes don't get applied later on (by accident, or whatever). With a very large music library, I've learned it's better to get things set up the best way at the outset rather than have to clean up a mess later on.

The other thing is, in my experience, it seems like MediaMonkey always uses the Album Volume value during playback, unless the value doesn't exist, in which case it uses Track Volume. I know that isn't how it's supposed to work (based on what I have read), but to my ears, that is how it works. So IMO the Album Volume value is actually pretty important. Again, that is my subjective view based on what I hear. If one of the Gurus has something to say about that, I'd love to hear it.

JoePublic
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 11:43 am
Location: Fenton, MO

Re: Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by JoePublic » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:55 pm

Lowlander responded while I was composing my reply above. I do use per Album for playback leveling. So my comments above have that caveat.

JohnMBrooks
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:14 pm

Re: Ideal way to treat loose tracks without an album?

Post by JohnMBrooks » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:02 pm

That seems like a lot of effort compared to effectively ignoring album-volume-leveling. With a lot of "indie" hip hop or electronic tracks, sometimes I import them one by one, sometimes by the dozens, and from a variety of difference sources. It just doesn't seem worthwhile to put in that much effort when I've never really heard a track and thought "wow, the volume leveling is real messed up on this one". More likely I just insinctively change the volume if appropriate and move on.

The issue is further compounded by the fact that I organize my media on MediaMonkey, but only occasionally listen to it via MM. With different devices and software, it's going to be a bit unpredictable on how the leveling is treated.

It just seems like this falls into the "futile" category of organization since it doesn't seem to scale well over time and quantity. It seems a lot more productive to just enjoy the music than fuss over small dB variations.

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