replacing CD changer
#1
My two 400-disc CD changers finally crapped out. They're over a decade out of warranty, and Sony stopped making replacement parts five years ago.

Other than plugging my MP3 player into the AUX input on my A/V receiver, I have no clue how to transition from all CDs to all-digital files.

What I would like is to sit on my couch with a wireless keyboard, type in an musician's name, see all his or her albums and tracks on my TV screen, scroll to a choice, click Play, and have it play on my living room speakers.

I did a bit of research, and an thinking about the MXQ for Android, along with two Toshiba Canvios What do you think of this solution?

Also, will KODI software allow me to hunt for artists, tracks, albums onscreen? Some of my CDs are old imports; is track information always available when you rip? With KODI, can I, for example, instruct the software to put all tracks by Metallica into a "Metal" group?

I have 1,000 CDs. I read that I should rip them to lossless FLAC, and store two copies -- hence the two Canvios. Is that a good idea? Any suggestions for the best way to hire somebody to do the ripping at a reasonable cost?
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#2
Moving to music support, as this isn't really platform-specific and is more about how one can use Kodi's music library.

Re: hardware, a separate thread in the appropriate sub-forum may be wise.
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#3
To get your CDs into the library, you're going to have to rip them and add metadata. That's the pain, but it's one-time.

Rip to FLAC, yes: although high-sample rate MP3 is smaller and sounds the same to most people, FLAC is lossless so is "the original disc" (but is still compressed, so much smaller than the nominal 650MB per CD you start with).

You can tag your albums and artists in many ways, so yes, you can have a "Metal" genre with as much Metallica, Iron Maiden, AC/DC or Napalm Death as you'd like. You can only have one genre per album, though, I think (unless that changes with Kodi 17). When I ripped my (many hundreds of) CDs, I used Exact Audio Copy, which does a decent job of tagging files based on number of tracks, duration, etc.; it also has a check function to compare your rip against others to make sure it all went well. For any tinkering afterwards, I use EasyTAG, although many people here swear by MusicBrainz Picard.

That tags the tracks so Kodi can find them; it then gets the metadata (images, reviews, artist bios) from somewhere like theaudiodb.com, and there's invariably some further work there in my experience. It's a crowd-sourced site, like all of these scraper sources, and it's up to you to refine or add to the data for your specific collection - especially if you have some more uncommon CDs. That said, it uses Musicbrainz as its starting point, which seems to have most variations of most albums ever recorded somewhere - and, again, you can add anything that's missing, although I've never had to.

Hardware... virtually anything will be an adequate front end, as playing music doesn't stress the hardware. Just check multi-channel support if you have any weird formats, optical/HDMI outputs for your amp, that sort of thing. Likewise, the number of copies you need is entirely up to you - backups versus resilience, how often you sync, whether you can bear re-ripping anything in the event of a problem, disaster recovery/off-site/cloud, and so on.
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#4
(2016-12-04, 14:10)Prof Yaffle Wrote: Re: hardware, a separate thread in the appropriate sub-forum may be wise.
The KODI hardware I asked about is Android. What is the appropriate hardware sub-forum for my separate thread? I found neither a Hardware nor a Streaming Media Players sub-forum, only the Android forum.
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#5
You're welcome Smile

Hardware sub-forum (mostly HTPCs, so A/V stuff, but you may get a bite there for something audio-specific): http://forum.kodi.tv/forumdisplay.php?fid=112

I wouldn't limit yourself to Android, as you may wish to use an old iPhone (for example), or a Raspberry Pi. Other options for small, low-cost, low-power devices are available. Since you're looking specifically at a platform for audio use, I'd make that clear and not confuse how you use Kodi for audio with the platform on which you could run it, that's all - you may get people who look in one forum but not another (e.g. a Pi audiophile may never look in the Android section).
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#6
(2016-12-04, 14:23)Prof Yaffle Wrote: To get your CDs into the library, you're going to have to rip them and add metadata. That's the pain, but it's one-time.
Below, you are saying software can add available metadata automatically, correct -- so I don't have to go through 12,000 tracks one-by-one?
(2016-12-04, 14:23)Prof Yaffle Wrote: You can tag your albums and artists in many ways, so yes, you can have a "Metal" genre with as much Metallica, Iron Maiden, AC/DC or Napalm Death as you'd like. You can only have one genre per album, though, I think (unless that changes with Kodi 17). When I ripped my (many hundreds of) CDs, I used Exact Audio Copy, which does a decent job of tagging files based on number of tracks, duration, etc.; it also has a check function to compare your rip against others to make sure it all went well. For any tinkering afterwards, I use EasyTAG, although many people here swear by MusicBrainz Picard.

That tags the tracks so Kodi can find them; it then gets the metadata (images, reviews, artist bios) from somewhere like theaudiodb.com, and there's invariably some further work there in my experience. It's a crowd-sourced site, like all of these scraper sources, and it's up to you to refine or add to the data for your specific collection - especially if you have some more uncommon CDs. That said, it uses Musicbrainz as its starting point, which seems to have most variations of most albums ever recorded somewhere - and, again, you can add anything that's missing, although I've never had to.
Are you saying there IS artist-track-album metadata that can be sourced someplace for all albums, even old imports and possibly pirated compilations? Are you also saying you cannot assign artists to groups, only album-by-album? What I want is just to put all tracks by Metallica into a "Metal" group -- even if some come from compilations like "Big Hits of the 90s." Also, is EasyTag better than Tag&Rename, and is MusicBrainz better than mobile Shazam?
(2016-12-04, 14:23)Prof Yaffle Wrote: Hardware... virtually anything will be an adequate front end, as playing music doesn't stress the hardware. Just check multi-channel support if you have any weird formats, optical/HDMI outputs for your amp, that sort of thing. Likewise, the number of copies you need is entirely up to you - backups versus resilience, how often you sync, whether you can bear re-ripping anything in the event of a problem, disaster recovery/off-site/cloud, and so on.
My Denon A/V receiver is even older than the crapped-out Sony CD changers, and was made before HDMI existed. However, I just bought a new Roku, whose HDMI cable feeds directly into my newer Panasonic display, whose old optical audio output feeds into an optical-component converter that works with the Denon. As you can imagine, it's become a mass of black spaghetti behind my A/V credenza.

Will KODI display all the artist-track-album information on my TV display, can I type in an artist, see all his or her tracks, scroll down, click play, and it plays on my living room speakers?

Any views on the MXQ for Android or the Toshiba Canvio? Any better make-models?

I have 1,000 CDs. Any suggestions for the best way to hire somebody to do the ripping and metadata searches at a reasonable cost?
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#7
No, you don't have to go through tracks one-by-one. You do have to go through album by album though. My personal preference is for picard. Its pretty much drag and drop once you get going with it and the tags/id's it uses are 100% compatible with Kodi.

Regarding what you want to do with Metallica etc - Kodi will read in all the tags and produce a library containing Albums and Artists. The standard library views will not give you what you want, but it is possible to use smart playlists (wiki) with the correct genre set to produce such a view. In fact Kodi is quite flexible in this way (and thanks to the Music Library dev, is getting even more flexible !!). You can also create audio nodes (wiki) to filter and select specific stuff.

You don't need to type in an artist. You simply select 'Music' from the main menu, then 'artists' and Kodi lists them all. Clicking on an artist shows the albums from that artist, clicking on a track either plays or queues it, depending on what you have set in the settings for Kodi.

Kodi itself can do the ripping by the way if you run it on hardware with a CD drive attached.
Learning Linux the hard way !!
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#8
I ripped about 800 CDs over a couple of weeks. I just set up a laptop and CD drive, and just kept changing them over one Xmas period. It's doable without hiring someone (which would never occur to me).

No views on the hardware - I store all my rips on my server, and play them through a combination of HTPCs connected to my TVs/amps and/or via an old Android tablet and Bluetooth speakers in the kitchen.

Once music is in your library, as black_eagle says, you can either search directly (e.g. "Christmas" or "Sabbath") for any tracks/albums/artists that match that string, or you can explore the library by artist, album, genre, year, all songs, and so on. I've never played with nodes or playlists, so I'll have to defer in terms of what extra functionality those give.

The best way to get a view of the sort of metadata is to look at those web sites - theaudiodb.com, for example, has this entry for Metallica, much of which would be scraped down to Kodi when it sees a song file tagged with Metallica as the artist:

http://www.theaudiodb.com/artist/111279

Compilations are then flagged via "various artists" as the album artist, vs the contributing artist on a track level:

http://www.theaudiodb.com/artist/113641

I'd suggest you rip a CD or two and have a play... anything that runs Kodi will serve your purpose to get a feeling for what Kodi gets from the tracks and what it then looks up.
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#9
(2016-12-04, 16:03)Prof Yaffle Wrote: I store all my rips on my server, and play them through a combination of HTPCs connected to my TVs/amps and/or via an old Android tablet and Bluetooth speakers in the kitchen.
I really don't understand this. I have a tablet. Its keyboard is not so bad compared with the mini-keyboard on the MXQ Android. Does what you describe mean there is a hardware solution that achieves all of my goals, but eliminates any need for a streaming media player or the external hard drives?
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#10
I have a central, general-purpose server. This stores all my media - audio, video, images, BR rips, DVD rips, CD rips; it's my PVR, for recording live TV; it's my file server for documents, spreadsheets, etc.; I use it to re-encode rips, I use it day-to-day as a desktop PC, and I run Kodi on it to update a central MySQL library and handle UPnP. Everything is then mirrored to a second, off-site system, plus I have cloud backups of anything that would make my wife cry if I lost it.

Around the house, I then have low-power PCs and tablets - ancient ION PCs running LibreELEC, a couple of Windows laptops, a secondary Ubuntu GNU/Linux system, and some Android clients running SPMC and/or BubbleUPnP. All of these have access to that central, shared library - how you control them depends, as I use a combination of CEC remote controls and touchscreen (which I hate on a tablet - I'm really hopeful that Estouchy is a winner there). Some of the devices are hooked to AVRs or directly to speakers (S/PDIF); some are on Bluetooth to speakers - it simple depends on location and ease of cabling.

A tablet would run Kodi, sure, and would play your files quite happily. The question is how you control it (Yatse or Kore?) if it's not on your lap; the second question is how you connect it to the TV (Bluetooth, micro HDMI?).

Would it host your media? Yes, if it either has enough storage or supports Host OTG so it can use an external drive. You can't typically charge and use the external USB at the same time, though, so that's certainly not ideal. A box like your MXQ (full disclosure: I know little about Android "TV boxes") woudl rely on the TV for display, but would have multiple charge/USB ports so you don't have that limitation.
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#11
(2016-12-04, 15:36)black_eagle Wrote: Kodi will read in all the tags and produce a library containing Albums and Artists ....You don't need to type in an artist. You simply select 'Music' from the main menu, then 'artists' and Kodi lists them all. Clicking on an artist shows the albums from that artist, clicking on a track either plays or queues it, depending on what you have set in the settings for Kodi.
If I have the tracks on external drives, all these KODI functions work exactly the same?
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#12
Yes. Kodi doesn't really care where your media is as long as it can access it.

In essence, it builds a database (which is local to the Kodi installation) that contains details of all the artists, tracks, albums etc that you have. This database contains pointers to the actual tracks but as Kodi has built in network protocols for file sharing, they can be local to the installation (either internal or external drives connected to a device) or they can be located in another place on a network.

Many people have set-ups like Prof Yaffle (myself included) which use a central 'server' to host the actual files and the databases. It's then possible to access these files (via the shared central database) on any Kodi installation in the house. One of the advantages of this is that you only need one copy of the media to make it playable anywhere you want.
Learning Linux the hard way !!
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#13
A great program for ripping and tagging is abcde (a better cd encoder)

Most of these ripping programs use cddb or a version of it. A hash of various metadata about the cd (number of tracks, length of tracks, stuff like that) which is more or less unique. I say more or less because there can be collisions).

Volunteers submit track data to the database and your ripping program can download it. Most ripping programs give you a chance to look at the data and change it if there is misspelling etc.
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#14
(2016-12-04, 19:56)dj001 Wrote:
(2016-12-04, 16:03)Prof Yaffle Wrote: Android tablet
I have a tablet. Its keyboard is not so bad compared with the mini-keyboard on the MXQ Android. Is there is a hardware solution that achieves all of my goals, but eliminates any need for a streaming media player or the external hard drives?
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