Home Forums DJing Software Re-digitizing entire Library, help and suggestions please?

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    DJ Wyld1

    Let me start by apologizing for what’s going to be a rather lengthy post.

    I have roughly 1,000 CD’s that I want to rip onto an external hard drive primarily to re-digitize my collection, but I will be pulling from this collection for DJ’ing.

    Last time I tried this, I tried to use Windows Media Player on my laptop (Windows 8.1). Roughly 1/2 way through; Windows Media Player somehow got messed up and wouldn’t recognize CD’s, so I unplugged the external HDD and plugged into my tower (Windows Media Player & Windows 7) and started ripping on my tower. This somehow messed up the permissions on a ton of music and I can’t edit the tags (even tried several tag editor programs).

    So I really want to redo the entire library, preferably using the same OS (Win 8.1 atm) & ripping software. I would like to have all the rips have the same quality.

    Since some of my CD’s are 20 plus years old and have original recordings that don’t have the same sound levels as the music of today; I’m guessing I should use something like Platinum Notes to try and achieve an even sound level after ripping.

    I would also like some kind of Library management software. Now, before you all start saying iTunes; I want to mention that the controller I am most interested in at this time “requires” Pioneer’s rekordbox dj software in order to play music from a USB drive. I’m just not sure how good of a job rekordbox does for library management.

    I have been searching through the forums looking for all the software that fits what I want out of my music collection. The following are the considerations I know I need to take into account:

    1) I want to rip to a lossless format to start with the best possible audio quality.
    2) I read that FLAC is the only lossless format that is compressed and supports metadata
    3) Metadata is all the “extra” information about the file (bit-rate, key, BPM, etc.), right?
    4) I want to process the music tracks with Platinum Notes for sound level, clipping & pitch correction.
    5) I want to process the music tracks with Mixed In Key to add musical Key information.
    6) I know I should have Audacity for editing later.
    7) Are there other things I should consider?

    The following is my current train of thought:

    Step 1 – Find out what ripping software is best suited for my wants and needs.
    (I read about dBpoweramp in another post – is this the best option?)

    Step 2 – Install the ripping software

    Step 3 – Start ripping music

    Step 5 – Process the files with Platinum Notes and Mixed In Key.
    (Is there any other software that would help identify Key, BPM, Genre, etc.?)

    Step 6 – Convert files to another format (since I have to in order to add them to rekordbox dj to use with the controller).

    Step 7 – Add files to Pioneer’s rekordbox software ?
    (This is where I’m a little unsure if it’s better to add to rekordbox dj first or add them to iTunes first.)

    Step 8 – Add the library to iTunes, but only if that’s still the best option for library management.

    Now, the things I would like to know:

    1) If I do this on a Windows PC to an external hard drive and want to switch to a Mac Book later; I essentially have to format the hard drive for the Mac File system and would have to do this all over?

    2) Do I really need to rip to a loss-less format to do all the “extra stuff” I want to do (platinum notes, mixed in key, bpm, etc.)?
    Note: Platinum Notes, Mixed In Key and Audacity all support FLAC. Rekordbox dj, iTunes and the DJ controller support MP3, AAC & AIFF. Virtual DJ supports any of the mentioned file formats.

    2) Should I consider processing the Library through rekordbox BEFORE adding them to iTunes or should I add the library to iTunes first?

    3) If iTunes is still the best option for Library management, what version of iTunes is the most efficient (least bloated) for DJ purposes?

    4) Please provide any links for suggestions on where or how to get older versions of iTunes (if it’s still the best).

    5) If you feel I missed anything, please let me know what else I should consider?

    Rory Fackrell

    Platinum Notes 4 does an awesome job of sorting out those clips and averaging out your volumes, I’ve repaired probably 5,000,000 clipped peaks. What never fails to amaze me is the difference in volumes on even new recordings!

    Mixed In Key 7 now adds cue points for all the big name software, which is a god send. One word of warning though, I and hundreds of other people had problems with it processing files, from what I understand it’s because the files are uploaded and processed on the MIK servers, not the machine, which is different from the way earlier versions worked (I think!) Obviously, batch processing on a slow internet connection exacerbates the problem. I run it on a 160mb fibre connection and STILL have problems but not as bad as it used to be.

    Can’t comment on anything Apple…..

    With regard to tags, Try making a copy of the file removing all possible properties and personal information. You should be able to then add whatever tag info you like using Tag&RenamePro – get a genuine version because some of the cracked ones write stupid stuff that you’ll never get rid of – and use the last stable version – 8.* – version 9 sucks massively with the dreaded “hidden window error” meaning constant end programs thru task manager. Maniac Tools that produce the program are working on fix/update for this issue. I was lucky in that i keep all versions of programs, just in case.

    Hope this helps a bit.


    Dom James

    So, as mac fanboy, my suggestion puts you onto apple but heres how you could do it…

    Download iTunes, create and account and buy iTunes Match.

    Import everything into itunes, when doing this and connected to the internet, it will go off find track names and album names and album artwork etc etc etc. It will also neatly place all your files in a folder system for you which can be reteived later from Music > itunes > itunes media. The match part will then match it in the itunes store meaning you have ultimate free copies attached to your account and can redownload a better quality if needed from the itunes store, which, will sort out a lot of volume issues etc for you.

    Once you have everything in itunes, you have a kick ass music management system that has direct support through rekordbox.

    DJ Wyld1

    I’ve been digging through the forums here and basically have an idea of what I want to do. Which is something similar to what DJ Vintage said (in another post) he has done.

    That is rip everything to FLAC, process with Platinum Notes and Mixed In Key to get as perfect of a source copy as possible and then when I get to the conversion stage, batch process copy everything to a separate MP3 library. This way I have a “flawless” original and a complete 320 kbps MP3 collection to digital DJ with.

    I’m hoping DJ Vintage will see this post and more or less explain how he did it in detail. He also seems fairly knowledgeable about both rekordbox and iTunes; so I’m hoping he can give me a little more guidance when it comes to those 2 pieces of software in particular.

    I have been reading reviews and it seems that dBpoweramp is the “2nd best” solution (Exact Audio Copy is the first, but can be a lot slower since it tries to verify any problem areas of a disk multiple times (up to 82 times per sector) to try and get a “perfect copy”). I don’t think I really need to be that picky when dBpoweramp does something similar, just faster and not quite as in depth.

    As a side note, one thing I noticed is that somehow in the process of trying to rip my music when I encountered the Win Media Player issue is that some of my music wasn’t ripped to MP3 @ 320 kbps. I’m not sure when (or how) that happened, but I did notice that the version of Media Player on my work computer (Win 7) can only rip at a max of 192 kbps. So it may have happened at the same time I swapped to my tower.

    Anyway, thanks for the input. I will consider the iTunes match suggestion.

    DJ Wyld1

    I was doing some research and found that there are some programs for Apple (Mac Book) that will allow read / write to a HDD formatted with NTFS (Windows formatting).

    Does anyone know what the best software to use for this is?


    DJ Vintage

    I used one of those tools. It does work, but there is the constant fear that something goes wrong with the decoupling and when you hook it up to your MacBook it no longer works. So I stopped using that. Might be paranoid, but hey, better save than sorry.

    I know work on everything on my desktop PC. Copy the ready material to my NAS to a special volume that I can access with both Windows and OSX and then onto my external HDD or internal SSD.

    Not sure what detail you would like from me. I can tell you that with RekordBox 3 (and now 4) iTunes integration has gotten to the point that you can safely do your track management in iTunes and the gig preparation in RekordBox with the iTunes collection.

    Also it seems the latest rendition of RB now supports FLAC. So if disk space is not an issue, you can rip your originals to FLAC, do the the whole tagging thingie before everything else, keeping the FLAC originals -well- original but correctly tagged. From there on out you can use PN (Flac -> Flac) and MiK to get you the optimized DJ versions.

    NOTE: iTunes still doesn’t support FLAC. So the FLAC-FLAC option only works if you want to stick to RekordBox for track management too.

    This way you can always reproduce an exact copy of the original FLAC on CD should you desire such, without any of the changes PN might make.

    DJ Vintage

    Oh, and I use the (paid) version of dBpoweramp. If you have multiple CD-players in your PC (I have 5 LOL), you can even do batch processing. It helps speed up things tremendously, espcially if you have a 4-core or better CPU (6-core in my case).

    DJ Wyld1

    Not sure what detail you would like from me.

    I have pretty much made up my mind that I am going to purchase the XDJ-R1.

    Here’s the short version:

    I want to make a FLAC source “Master copy”. I want to do it onto my 2 TB external HDD. I currently only have a Windows 8.1 Laptop to rip. I do NOT have a Multi-CD drive available. I EVENTUALLY want to swap to a Mac Book laptop. I know I will be able to access the HDD with a Mac later using a utility. That means I can easily copy the files to a Mac Book and worry about changing everything over when the time comes.

    With this in mind; I (more or less) want your opinion on the process to get a “flawless” master copy.

    1) Rip everything to FLAC using dBpoweramp
    2) Normalize the files with Platinum Notes
    3) Process the files with MIK

    So this is where I need a little help….
    Since Rekordbox now accepts / supports FLAC; I could now process all the files with Rekordbox.

    Am I correct in saying this would give me source files that have been optimized to include metadata like Key, BPM, Genre, Que points, etc. while keeping them in the FLAC format?

    Do I need additional tags? What am I missing? Is there other software I should consider? (tag editors?)

    Here’s the issue that I’m most conflicted about. Since I “have to” use Rekordbox in order to prep music onto a USB stick; should I bother with iTunes?

    I know iTunes offers some things that none of the other software offers like cloud back up, smart playlists (not sure if rekordbox does this), music suggestions based on whatever preferences I set and probably more. I’m just not sure I really NEED all of that “extra stuff” at the cost of converting the files JUST to use iTunes…?

    Well, there’s my dilemma.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by DJ Wyld1.
    DJ Chris Bush

    These are the gold standard tools that will grant you a 100% FLAC rip for a CD:

    Exact Audio Copy (EAC)
    A secure ripper for Windows.
    Download here: http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/en/index.php/resources/download/

    X Lossless Decoder (XLD)
    A secure ripper for OSX.
    Download here: http://tmkk.undo.jp/xld/index_e.html

    NTFS drives on a Mac:

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by DJ Chris Bush.
    DJ Chris Bush

    … and about Platinum Notes. It’s expensive snake oil. If you want to normalize your tracks use ReplayGain. It’s a non-destructive tag-based way of equalizing volume levels that doesn’t require re-encoding the entire track. You can do that while ripping the CD with the mentioned software.

    DJ Wyld1

    Hey DJ Chris,

    You may want to read this: http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/cd-ripping-software-roundup. It compares dBpoweramp and Exact Audio Copy as mentioned in my original post.

    I also looked for reviews on Platinum Notes and found another DJ site recommending the product: http://djtechtools.com/2013/07/16/review-mixed-in-key-platinum-notes-4/.

    I could not find many reviews on ReplayGain.

    I have also found a way to allow Mac OS X to access a NTFS drive by using the Terminal application. This requires no additional software.

    I essentially want to create a music library archive and then make a copy of it to DJ with. dBpoweramp is 2 tools in one. It provides an “accurate rip” similar to Exact Audio Copy. It also provides a conversion tool IF I end up needing to convert files.

    I’m not 100% convinced of using iTunes for library management, because the controller I am most interested in requires rekordbox for certain things and rekordbox is also a library management tool.

    DJ Vintage

    I tend to disagree with Chris who talks about snake oil. First of all, unless you have clear and indisputable truth, we don’t like that kind of bashing anything or anybody. Second, my personal experience is that the gain algorhythm in PN is far superior to anything else out there for that purpose. Third, it does a few other things as well that are worthwhile imho. So you are not just paying for the gain option but for the entire set of features.

    I don’t own stock, I have paid for my software (no freebees for being a moderator here) and am an Avid user.

    As for EAC, I have used that too, but it is way slower than dBpoweramp. The only true advantage I see is with really damaged CDs. Most of my stuff is in good enough condition. With the addition of the SecureRip feature of dBpoweramp that gets me a high enough succes rate. And dBpoweramp also does multiple (re)scans if you tell it to.

    So, as with many things, it will boil down to personal taste.

    @Wyld: I would keep my basic (FLAC) rips as my master tracks, WITHOUT PN or MiK. This way you can always revert to the untouched tracks as they were on our CD’s.

    Then I would start building my DJ collection (this will most likely not be your entire collection) by taking the tracks I want in my collection (iTunes or RekordBox, whichever you like), run does through PN and MiK, keeping them FLAC (RB) or MP3 (iTunes/RB). Or you could go for ALAC/AAC (iTunes, but think RB supports this now too).

    It really depends. Let’s say a core DJ collection holds between 600 (Phil Morse) and 1.200 tracks (DJ Vintage LOL). That means about 50MB in uncompressed WAV format. So even my collection would fit on 60GB 0f space. Even an USB stick would support that as well as even the smallest SSD. FLAC will give you a bit of extra space to play with. Going 320MP3 will only take about 12GB fitting all on your iPhone.

    I am stay with 320MP3 though because WAV sucks (tagging stinks), FLAC is not supported by iTunes and ALAC not supported by all DJ software. So the choice is between MP3 and AAC and I chose MP3 but the difference is negligible.

    Just my two cents as usual

    I’d seriously consider getting a NAS-storage device. Set a volume for both NTFS and MAC use. And you can attach to it from either platform.

    DJ Wyld1

    DJ Vintage:

    I get what your saying as far as keeping the master unprocessed FLAC and that is definitely the way I am leaning since I currently do not use iTunes and for the controller I want RB is essentially mandatory.

    I do not have a NAS yet, but I do have a few external HDD’s. My current library is almost 200 GB of mostly MP3’s and I would say 90% of that is 320 KBPS. I don’t use all of that for DJ’ing (just trying to give an idea of the current “pool” I have to pull from).

    I can see why converting to MP3 would be an attractive way to go for conversion since just about everything can play MP3’s now.

    I guess I could always try iTunes at some point in the future, but I think for now; I’ll stick to only the software I have to use and not throw extra stuff I don’t need into the mix.

    I’ll follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid) until I am comfortable with RB and the controller I buy and then think about possibly adding iTunes.

    Anyway, thanks for all your input.

    DJ Vintage

    Well even RekordBox now has good iTunes integration. If you manage your tracks in iTunes, you can use them in ALL major DJ Software. If you do it in RB, that is not true. Again, your choice of course.

    I was going somewhere I thought I might be put on the spot to DJ a quick short set on club gear, so I went into RB, selected my iTunes folder, picked the relevant playlists, exported it all to a USB-stick (tracks and my personal favorite CDJ-settings) and presto!

    DJ Wyld1

    I posted on the VDJ Forums asking if VDJ supports RB library integration and got a big fat resounding NO. So, If I want to do stuff on the fly; it’s iTunes (how disappointing).

    Looks like I’ll be using iTunes after all.

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