NWR Organising Classical Music for Network Players

I'm planning to upload and buy a collection of classical music to my hard-drive for playing via a streamer. It's likely that I will use a number of different streaming devices, each of which have their own apps for choosing music. However, they all essentially look at the "tags" on the music files.

As we know iTunes organises pop music well because it stores things by artist, album and track. However, classical music doesn't fit that format very nicely.

I wondered if anyone had worked out the perfect way to tag their classical collection so that it is easy to find the piece that you want to play using one of the common music streaming apps such as Google Play Music, Bubble UPnP, Qualcomm Allplay Jukebox.

AS a further question, do any of the subscription streaming services (Spotify, Napster etc) allow you to play your own DNLA collection?
 
spotify will play local files on the device that it is installed on but dounbt if it will find the networked ones - have not experimented with it though (no need TBH). Seems to be a common complaint about classical tagging - makes me quite happy that my interests are less in that vein. I use Asset with my Qnap NAS and also use dpoweramp from the same supplier for software to rip CDs etc. On their foirum there was a discussion on this subject and a link to another forum Tagging Classical Music that might give you some food for thought, Jonathan
 
I had a look at a few audiophile forums and the best suggestion seems to be to use "Album Artist" for the composer, use "Album" for the name of the work and "Artist" for the performer. That seems to look good in iTunes and on Bubble. My next problem is how to get Google Play Music to reflect the changes I've made. Will check out the Spotify facility.
 
I use Mp3Tag to fine tune the embedded tags and upload any missing album art. When I upload this to Google Music Play, it seems to honour the tag info the majority of the time. Then again most my music fits the EDM genre and not Classical.
 
Spotify can access your music stored on network devices such as NAS. There are various discussions on how to do this online, but there are issues of networking protocols and music file formats/wrappers to address. But that's the case with networking any collection of disparate devices.

Jonathan - as I think you know, I'm interested in following your findings as I'm in a similar position myself. I haven't really got any further than last time due to a hardware problem, but I'm still hanging on!

But honestly, iTunes isn't going to be in the frame. Apart from the incoherent baggy mess of coding that everyone agrees it is, it has Apple's arrogance behind it. If you don't mind Apple reaching into your computer, well beyond iTunes, and potentially deleting tracks you didn't buy from them, then go for it. Personally, I have deleted iTunes first on the precautionary principle.
 
I've not experienced any problems with iTunes. I quite like the way it organises the music. Editing the metadata is easy and the results are obvious. I can also move music to my iPad easily. Both my kids have iPhones now so I can rip their CDs and download tracks they want into a single collection that we can all dip into. We don't actually buy any music from Apple.

The only real problem is that it doesn't play FLAC files so I have to convert them to Apple Lossless. However, I no longer use iTunes much for actual playback as it doesn't stream to Chromecast or my Gramofon devices. I simply access the music in the iTunes library via a DNLA player like Bubble.

It worked with my Crystal Acoustics player (using Airplay) but that was the most unreliable streamer I've tried and it's now back in its box. I'm keen on buying an Onkyo TX-8150 Streaming Amplifier which has Airplay and can also connect to DNLA storage either by WifI, Ethernet or USB so that may change things. Onkyo, of course, has its own media player app like every audio manufacturer!

However, the effort of moving my whole music collection to another media manager is pretty daunting and I can't decide which to go for. I have MediaMonkey installed and have read great things about JRiver but the whole subject is complex and forever changing. Media Player Software Reviews
 
OK, I've been busy on this for the last couple of days.
First, I still think ITunes is OK as a media management tool but if I started again to rip CDs and download music, I would install MusicBee as the Media Server as it looks more powerful and cleaner than iTunes for organising music files. It also handles FLAC files which is the best format for CD-quality files. I might still do it and move all my files from iTunes before buying some more classical music. I'm also going to re-rip my favourite CDs in FLAC rather than Apple Lossless as I reckon it's better.

The most important thing is being able to edit the metadata tags as I said on Tuesday. The Composer tag is almost useless.

I've also decided to forget about buying expensive HiFi media streamers in favour of the ChromeCast Audio because the CCA is far more open, supports hi-res music and only costs 39€, menaning I can buy more of them for more rooms.

I then spent a long time reading about various combinations of media server, media player and control points on the excellent Computer Audiophile - CA - Where HiFi and High Tech Converge site but a lot of their solutions are geek-only.

In the end I opted to use Plex as the media player. I think it's the most elegant solution because it handles all the file types, has a really nice interface, can be played on a PC from within Chrome to cast to the Chromecast audio in high definition and has remote applications for both Android and IOS that are very pretty and easy to use. Music Streaming Server | Home Music Server | Plex

I looked at BubbleUPnP but the android player app has that horrible way of only listing album tracks in alphabetical order and the free version doesn't see FLAC files. A complex alternative is to install BubbleUPnP on your PC (and NAS) and then use the much prettier Linn Kazoo app to play your music.

So now I have all my music organised and tagged properly. The Plex media server is much nicer than the Windows media player and the player interface can cast to the Chromecast very easily and with, so far, no drop-out or disconnection problems. Just listened to Ashkenazy's performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in FLAC through my lovely new Wharfedale 220 speakers (bought at the Brexit price of 175€) and the difference between that and the MP3 version or using a low-res player like Google Play are quite noticeable.

PS: Spotify only lets you see your own collection if you have the pay-service.
 
I've tended to organise things in a file system hierarchy. By the way, one thing that I've enjoyed is using get_iplayer to download stuff from Radio 3 (some of their concerts are very well recorded and performed). One thing I've yet to do is get a good way to chop up concert recordings into the underlying pieces. Ideally, I'd use chapter markers, but not many media players support them.
I've been finding my Raumfeld Connector to be nicer to use than the CCA, but I suspect one's mileage may vary with these things. The CCA's annoying bleep noises when changing volume is also annoyingly loud (although I've yet to see if that can be toned-down).
Really happy with the speakers, though.
 
I still think iTunes is the best tool for ripping CDs and organising downloaded music unless you are going to buy something more sophisticated like JRiver. It's pretty good for editing all the metadata you need to organise classical music and downloaded FLAC files that don't have the details filled in.

I'd be interested to know why you think the Raumfeld is better than the CCA Alex. I was a bit dubious about CCA but now I have PLex installed and the abilty to play lossless audio to it from any of my 3 devices, I'm pretty hooked on it. The fact that it costs only 39€ and I can buy one for each and every location that I want to stream music is a big bonus. To me it's like a higher quality, more flexible and cheaper version of Sonos.
 
Now I just want some advice on how to choose the best quality recordings of classical works. I use a download site called MelodiShop but it's weak on classical. French retail shops for classical CDs are eyewateringly expensive. So tips for both recommendations and online purchase sites of CDs or downloads are very welcome. Otherwise I'll be in Tower Records next week seeing what to bring back.
 
I just find the CCA slightly trickier to use and the sound sometimes drops out (probably a wifi thing). Probably the integration with Android is better than with iPhone. One clearly can't argue with the price - I paid £15 for mine. What I would really prefer if cost was less of an issue would be the Yamaha WXC50.
On the subject of classical works, performance is far more important to me than audio quality. I do find much to agree with on the Radio3 Building a Record Library programme/site. I suppose the best possible quality recordings are these stupidly high resolution recordings and DSD, but getting a DAC for the latter isn't so easy, and I doubt that my ears, transducers and (most of all) listening room deserve that kind of attention to detail.
 
Now that I have lossless files and the Plex player to cast them to my Chromecast, I'm extremely happy. I've just bought an Onkyo A-9010 amplifier to replace my old NAD 3020 as it has the option (in Europe) to use an optical link and bypass the CCA DAC. It will be interesting see if I can tell the difference.
 
So you'll be comparing the Onkyo DAC to the CCA DAC? If you have a willing helper try to see if they can change between them so you're "blind". The problem is likely to be getting consistent volume, I guess. But I suspect you'll not see a difference.

What's your listening room like?
 
I have a musical fidelity x-24k DAC - sad to say I was never able to convincingly tell the difference between that and my Pioneer DVD player as a source - certainly the difference is far less between 320k MP3s vs lossless rips.

What I never did was ask someone to swap between them - that would have been an interesting test.

Of course now I have no disc-source for my "proper" stereo - it's all Sonos streaming from the NAS or Apple Music...
 
Now I just want some advice on how to choose the best quality recordings of classical works. I use a download site called MelodiShop but it's weak on classical. French retail shops for classical CDs are eyewateringly expensive. So tips for both recommendations and online purchase sites of CDs or downloads are very welcome. Otherwise I'll be in Tower Records next week seeing what to bring back.

In the UK we have two good online merchants for classical music: Presto Classical and Europadisc. I've bought from both without any problems.

I've no idea where Tower Records is but in London there is only one classical CD shop worth visiting - Harold Moores, in Great Marlborough St. Their prices are higher than the online merchants but they have a good selection, the staff are knowledgeable and helpful and you can find obscure stuff there that you can't elsewhere.
 
Now I just want some advice on how to choose the best quality recordings of classical works. I use a download site called MelodiShop but it's weak on classical. French retail shops for classical CDs are eyewateringly expensive. So tips for both recommendations and online purchase sites of CDs or downloads are very welcome. Otherwise I'll be in Tower Records next week seeing what to bring back.
Have you investigated Qobuz? It is a French site and seems to have quite a broad classical selection - not that I really browse it. I have used to purchase hi res downloads of stuff like a full set of Doors recordings and everything by the Smiths when on special. Might float your boat and is in €
 
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