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Best method to record track playing order for ripped audio CDs

+1 vote

Although there’s quite a bit of info on the web on audio CD preservation, most of the resources I found tend to focus on the audio ripping process. However, when you rip a CD to a bunch of audio files, it’s important that the original playing order of the tracks is recorded somewhere. Of course you can (and should!) do this at the preservation metadata level, but for access you also want to have some mechanism that allows an end user to hear the individual tracks in their original playing order (e.g. in a multimedia player application). From the top of my head I can think of 2 general approaches to achieve this:

  1. Record the playing order inside the audio files themselves, e.g. using “Track Number” tags that are embedded as RIFF Info or ID3 tags.
  2. Use a separate play list file. For this several formats exist, such as M3U and XSPF.

The main problem I see is that all of the above methods are supported by some players (and not by others), but I have have some difficulty in judging which approach would ensure the most widespread support. This made me wonder if there are any recommended best practices for this? What are other people doing?


asked Oct 20, 2015 by johanvanderknijff (2,070 points)

3 Answers

+2 votes

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I think file-naming conventions are the only robust and widely deployed method.

track-01.wav, track-02.wav, ...

answered Oct 20, 2015 by anjackson (2,950 points)
+2 votes

You may be able to use a METS structure map to document the playing order in much the same way they are used to document page order. This is probably the best way to formally document that information as METS is such a widely used standard amongst the archival/preservation community

Unfortunately that won't help you much with automating playlist generation for software applications. But you could probably also write a METS to playlist transform or eventually create a METS reader plugin for VLC or something. 

The other reccomendation I'd make is to have a target player that you aim to support, or a few but have a limit. I personally don't think you should expect to support every audio player out there. So if some players don't support your chosen method of documenting track order, that ought to be ok provided your supported player(s) do. 

answered Oct 20, 2015 by euanc (3,910 points)
edited Oct 20, 2015 by euanc
The m3u format looks pretty easy to create from other text. So a METS to m3u XSLT should be pretty easy to create ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M3U )
+1 vote

At home, I like using Exact Audio Copy.

It can build a cue sheet which not only keeps the track playing order of a CD intact, but also does something about the gaps between tracks. For some people who do this kind of thing, the ideal would be to rip a segued CD like "Dark Side of the Moon" which exists as separate tracks, but plays back gapless. The cue sheet is apparently able to do this.

However, cue sheets are not supported everywhere, so probably useless for you and not so good for digital preservation. But thought I would mention it.








answered Oct 20, 2015 by Ed Pinsent (160 points)