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View Full Version : Cue sheets, disc images, tag info and online databases


alfienoakes101
2005-12-19, 08:29 AM
Hi.

I'm pretty new to the worlds of Bittorrent and FLAC, so maybe someone could help answer this query.

Like most people here, I use EAC for ripping CD's, and in order to reconstruct copies exactly like the original, I generate a .cue sheet.

I have noticed that the torrents here do not tend to include any cue sheets, and so in order to listen to the CD's, I would tend to remove all between-track pauses, on the off-chance that some tracks segue together.

I recently downloaded Purple Chick's fantastic SMiLE reconstruction, using that method, and it worked fine because the tracks do generally fade into one another.

However, there are a couple of very good reasons why a .cue file should be included:

Firstly, given this site's admirable dedication to fidelity, it would seem consistent to allow members to reconstruct their CD's exactly as they were originally authored.

Secondly, and more importantly, given our increased reliance on databases to provide tags for the music we listen to, an exact copy of a disc will soon be essential to most listeners. Anyone who rips their files to MP3 in order to listen on a portable player will know the frustration of having to manually input tag information for countless files.

Unless the original between-track pauses are maintained, very often a CD or disc image goes unrecognised. This will become more of a problem in the near future as CD's become obsolete, and we all gradually move to hard-disc players for use with uncompressed and lossless files. It would not be a great stretch of the imagination to conclude that within the next five years, most of us will be listening to hard-drives on our hi-fis, that are totally reliant on online databases for track information.

Ideally, I would like to see all torrents replete with a .cue file, in order that FLAC files - once converted to WAV - could be loaded as images (using Daemon Tools, or other), or burnt as clones of the original CD's.

Does anyone else have any opinions on this, or am I completely missing some technical knowledge that would allow me to do what I'm discussing with the files already available to me?

Cheers,

Tim

brimstone
2005-12-19, 09:10 AM
Although a cue sheet would allow you to make a perfect copy of the cd layout of the original cd i don't think it's necessary for bootlegs.

EAC as a standard option appends the pregaps to the previous track so the listening experience would be exactly the same if except that a standalone cd player would play the pregaps as the end of a normal track instead of a pregap countdown.

The cue sheet/image combination also doesn't work properly with most computer media players. The other types of cue sheets also have serious drawbacks.

I don't think that database support is an eligible argument when it comes to bootleg cds.

aegert
2005-12-19, 09:26 AM
How about formulating a general consensus of tags and requiring in all FLAC seeds appropriate TAG info... This should enable good extraction and DB integration with little data entry later on... This could breed a new set of apps through like TLH+ or FOOBAR+ including the DB and a link to shows from DB.ETREE.ORG or from JukeJoint Just a thought and probably a way for this net to help define standards that will be used moving forward...

a :hmm:

Five
2005-12-19, 01:06 PM
most of the stuff on this tracker is continuous audio so the concern about gaps is warranted... however, I have never had a problem burning a gapless audio cdr from any fileset so long as it does not have SBEs or are sourced from bad tracks with SBEs/TAO gaps burned into them. In these cases we ask the seeder or a peer to take care of this problem and reseed asap.

As for tags, I would like to see more ppl include them (and not just by checking "add tags" on FFE). Our focus is on trading perfect audio so tags will remain highly recommended (and optional) for the forseeable future. I think I could count the # of seeders using tags here on my fingers.

Gizby
2005-12-19, 02:04 PM
I, for one, wouldn't mind the inclusion of cue sheets with audio. Now I don't usually burn any of the shows I download to an audio CD, but when I do I use EAC (with write offsets in secure mode, like every good little boy and girl should do). EAC requires that you burn using a cue sheet, which I understand. However, have you ever spent time writing up a cue sheet? It takes an obnoxious amount of time. I was just thinking about this the other day, and any new releases from my own recordings from now on will have cue files just so people don't have to spend the time doing that. And perhaps if I reseed anything, I'll add a cue file to those items as well (though I would be less comfortable doing that just because of track names, disc titles and preferences). Though I am curious as to how many kinds of cue sheets variants there are, and how many EAC can handle.

brimstone
2005-12-19, 02:56 PM
EAC uses four kinds of cue sheets.

- Single WAV File
- Multiple Files With Gaps (Noncompliant)
- Multiple Files With Left Out Gaps
- Multiple Files With Corrected Gaps

Each one is associated with certain ripping method and each one has their own pros and cons. I could explain them more in detail if anyone wants to hear it.

aegert
2005-12-19, 03:56 PM
most of the stuff on this tracker is continuous audio so the concern about gaps is warranted... however, I have never had a problem burning a gapless audio cdr from any fileset so long as it does not have SBEs or are sourced from bad tracks with SBEs/TAO gaps burned into them. In these cases we ask the seeder or a peer to take care of this problem and reseed asap.

As for tags, I would like to see more ppl include them (and not just by checking "add tags" on FFE). Our focus is on trading perfect audio so tags will remain highly recommended (and optional) for the forseeable future. I think I could count the # of seeders using tags here on my fingers.

Hey
I would love to add meta data to my flac's... is there a good DB field naming spec to follow... I find re typing the names of songs into a database or into itunes for personal use such a pain... It would be great to get track# disc# Artist, show date, set, song name, lineage etc into the flac so that if you rip, burn or other the information travels with the file, song folder etc...

It is nice to have a text file with the seed. but it would be great to have a CSV or like with information to populate a play list or a Data base... These forums are at the bleeding edge of Digital music. many of us don't use burnable media any more.. I have about a TByte of storage packed with SHN, WAV, FLAC and MP3 that I use on Portable players, IP players and Computer to 'Stereo' Players.... What I need is a central DB to access this info... The bummer is that I have to T Y P E every F^ing character into the DB my self....

I mean I do it. 5 does it . Mamba does it and so on and so on... if it was done from the start in the seed it would be done once PERIOD... This forum is poised to set that standard if it stands up and does it... I'm sure that TLH or FOOBAR would want to add this type of functionality or even has it but the standards aren't there or not enforced....

Thoughts? :eek: :whip:

jazzbo
2005-12-19, 04:56 PM
Thoughts?

I'll be the linux fanboy this time and mention that autotagging of flac files as been doable for a couple years now using the etree scripts.

There is one script called 'flacify' in the script set that among other things will automatically convert shn filesets to flac and if given a fairly standard (what the software calls etree compliant) .txt file will tag automatically. The magic of perl and regex at its finest. (If given a flac set, it will just tag the flacs)

My biggest problem is that a lot of the stuff I download rarely has track listings and the data programs are hungup on having tune names, when all I have is a bunch of unnamed improvisations so I have to massage the text files to get it to tag and I haven't taken the time to hack the perl to not need that requirement.

Another alternative would be if more folks supported hbx (http://catchen.org/hillsboro) .

In my opinion a linear csv format would be inadequate, and you almost have to go with XML or another structured data format to maintain the flexibility to reasonably model the complexity that would really be useful.

Five
2005-12-19, 05:02 PM
I've been tagging with foobar2000, using a plugin that guesses the values from the .txt file (can't remember the name of that plug right now, but I could dig up a link if anybody's interested). Then I go in and adjust individual tags when there are multiple dates or in the case when the plugin has trouble guessing the venue/date. Then I do some spot checks to make sure everything is kosher.

there's a link in my signature to raindawg's foobar2000 tutorial which works very well without any plugins, too.

TheMamba
2005-12-19, 07:21 PM
Hell, I personally have been very lax about tagging my files lately. Just too much good stuff and too little time before my hard drive fills up! :lol

alfienoakes101
2005-12-20, 02:31 PM
Well, the discussion's certainly moved on since I posted my enquiry yesterday, and thanks for all your opinions.

What's certainly clear is that many people do get irritated at having to manually add tag information manually, and some sort of standard would be desirable to a lot of people.

I guess that as this board is primarily concerned with live concerts, and by extension, gapless audio, the need for .cue files is not often relevant, because an exact replica can be created just removing all gaps.

However, that is not often the case with non-live bootlegs, and it would be great if my media player could recognise them automatically. Despite the argument that database support is not pertinent to bootlegs, you'd be amazed at how many are picked up.

When I burnt a copy of the Purple Chick SMiLE CD, I had all the tracks with 0s pauses, with the exceptions of 6s pauses before parts 2 & 3, and slightly longer one before the "bonus tracks". I then turned this into an image and .cue file, and loaded it using Daemon tools. When I played the image on iTunes, it was instantly recognised as Purple Chick's SMiLE.

The point is, that bootleg people are a strange and obsessive lot, and even though there are only a small number of each title out there, people do take the time and trouble to submit information to databases.

I suppose there are many, many ways to get the tag information into your codec, and personally I prefer the .cue file and image combination, for guaranteed fidelity (I find that some media players create a very tiny pause between tracks, unless playing an image), but as it's been said, there are advantages and disadvantages between all the different .cue sheets that EAC provides.

The main thing is that this site seems like a great place to set standards as regards tagging or database support, so hopefully someone will come up with a solution that will remove the need for manual input of track data, and possibly come up with a future-proof way of preserving TOC integrity into the bargain. It would be great if some sort of standard was set here, that was adopted by some media players and databases.

Five
2005-12-20, 04:10 PM
...The point is, that bootleg people are a strange and obsessive lot, and even though there are only a small number of each title out there...
just to prove that we are a strange and obsessive lot, it is very important to us that you use the term "trader" where it applies as opposed to "bootlegger" or "bootleg people".

a bootlegger is a person who sells, a trader is a person who strictly trades and never sells. the populace of this site is comprised of the latter, and we do our best to keep bootleggers out of here and prevent the sale of our shows which we post & trade freely. bootlegs do show up here because we "liberate" them, which means that we make as perfect a copy as possible and offer it for free in hopes that nobody will have to buy it since its so widespread.

don't take this as an attack, it is just a little detail that we can get sticky about.

as for burning using a cue sheet and creating an image, I'm not sure if anybody here does that... I know I don't. Does anybody else here burn shows using a cue sheet and an image on a regular basis (or even occasionally)?

TheMamba
2005-12-20, 04:15 PM
Does anybody else here burn shows using a cue sheet and an image on a regular basis (or even occasionally)?

Never have. Since discovering foobar, et al. I simply check/fix SBE's and burn it to disc with foobar. Half the time I don't even burn shows to disc because my car's CD player (the only CD player I use now a days) blows goats.

Maybe that will change when I get a new car...someday. :disbelief

aegert
2005-12-20, 05:20 PM
I wonder if cue sheets would be good.

It would be a standard nonetheless...

Its purpose would be more important than the gapless recognition issue it would give a list to be easily imported for tags...

I think it is important for us as a community to define the structure and accuracy of the things put in a cue or tag...

Half the entries in the cddb are wrong or spelled incorrectly or abbreviated etc... There has to be a way and I think it is the trading communities duty to define it..

We require Flac or Shn and fingerprints or md5 to go along... We require accurate and complete text files why not take this opportunity to set the standard for electronic 'edi' of the txt file...

Hurray for us the loud, the Obsessive, The strange and without anything better to do... :wtf:

a

alfienoakes101
2005-12-20, 06:48 PM
Sorry about the old "b**tleg" tag. I don't know what I could have been thinking, and rest assured I hold sellers of these recordings in as much contempt as the rest of you. As I intimated at the start of this topic, I'm new to this site, although I've been boo... trading for some time now.

The reason I've been using images until now, is because I found it was far easier and cheaper to trade images and .cue files on DVDR's - and far more reliable because I'm able to do bit to bit verification at the burning stage - than producing countless CD-R's. Like a lot of people, I do most of my listening on hard drives these days, and haven't really got the inclination to manually input track information for every title I listen to.

Although it's true that the information on cddb isn't always wholly accurate (and the same could certainly be said for half the silver disc boots that I own), I've found it absolutely essential whenever ripping to MP3. Having said that, I've not yet converted FLAC directly to MP3, and so I don't know whether tag information will somehow appear in the resultant files.

I guess it's also the purist in me, that likes the idea that my copy is as close as indistinguishable to the original as is possible; but from what I'm realising from browsing this site, my notions of "original" are not wholly appropriate, as the recordings here do not seem to be comprise predominately liberated CD boots.

Either way, people here seem to agree on the notion that some sort of standard would be desirable, and I'm happy to have instigated the debate.

And by the way, to anyone seeding any Beach Boys recordings: a cue sheet would be greatly appreciated, and I volunteer to meticulously submit any information that's available.

Thanks