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  #1  
Old 07-07-2010, 10:04 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Default Can ID3 tag data for MP3 file be displayed (while playing)?

I give up. Can't find out if this is possible in the user manual, and experimentally I'm also not achieving success.

Does anybody know if it is either possible or not possible to somehow display the ID3 tag data for the currently playing MP3 file? I'm asking for the same stuff you would be able to see from any computer MP3 player or organizer program as "file info", like artist, title, album, genre, year, bitrate, track number, etc.

Obviously the J3 supports the ID3 tag data, and organizes all of the files and folders accordingly, so that you can browse by these items.

But I can't figure out how that detail information for a given MP3 file which is playing can be displayed.

Anybody help? Possible? Impossible?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2010, 10:50 AM
Resiak Resiak is offline
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Can't find a way to display information other than track title and Artist while the album cover is showing. But one tap on the album cover gives bitrate, album name, track number and number of tracks on the album, type of file and equalizer. The only info missing seems to be genre. I suppose if all this info was shown alongside the album cover, it would reduce the size of the cover which on this player is really nice as it stretches out the full width.
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  #3  
Old 07-07-2010, 12:08 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Originally Posted by Resiak View Post
Can't find a way to display information other than track title and Artist while the album cover is showing. But one tap on the album cover gives bitrate, album name, track number and number of tracks on the album, type of file and equalizer. The only info missing seems to be genre.
I don't quite agree.

Tapping on the album cover gives the track name and artist up in the blue title bar and then album name in the first row of "information".

But the additional information shown in additional rows is only file type (e.g. MP3), bitrate (average, if VBR), sampling frequency (e.g. 44hz), equalizer setting, and then file number within the folder (not track number within the album).

So it's not showing (a) genre, (b) year, (c) true track number from the ID3 tag... e.g. 5/14, and potentially comment or other information if present (although I don't really care a log about those extra items, even if it's available through other computer utilities).

Are you actually seeing "track number within album", or did you not realize that it was actually "file number within folder"?

And actually, I'm baffled by the whole sort sequence of the files shown for an album. It is generally but not necessarily "alphabetical"! I don't know what it is, but it certainly isn't always 100% alphabetical. For folders with a modest number of files this is tolerable, but for folders with 15-30 files in it if they're not in pure alphabetical order then it's just an irritation.

So the item being shown as "file number within folder" isn't really that at all (if it were even something meaningful worth displaying)... since the order of files is not necessarily alphabetical. It's actually the "display number" of that file on the list as presented, even if the list is not alphabetical.

Really... this is just a useless and worthless piece of information (especially since that number isn't shown on the master file list anyway, but only on this tap of cover art... so it really has no value whatsoever).

I think they messed up, and probably intended to be displaying the track number value from within the true ID3 tag (which looks the same... e.g. 5/11... but represents track 5 out of 11 tracks on the album). If this were the only MP3 file you'd created from this album when you built this folder, tapping on the cover art would show "1/1"... which is worthless, pointless and ridiculous. What you want to see is the ID3 track number value of 5/11.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:53 PM
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The info you want to see is not displayed anywhere on the stock firmware/UI. It may be displayed by using another UCI.

Incidentally, I went and checked my iPod and my wife's iPod Nano and they both show much less info.

Can you give an example of a mp3 player--not computer program on a PC/mac--which shows all the metadata you'd like to see?

What I really want displayed is the size of the file being played. It's annoying to me not being able to see the size, but I don't personally care about the year or genre. I would also like to see the true track # as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
I give up. Can't find out if this is possible in the user manual, and experimentally I'm also not achieving success.

Does anybody know if it is either possible or not possible to somehow display the ID3 tag data for the currently playing MP3 file? I'm asking for the same stuff you would be able to see from any computer MP3 player or organizer program as "file info", like artist, title, album, genre, year, bitrate, track number, etc.

Obviously the J3 supports the ID3 tag data, and organizes all of the files and folders accordingly, so that you can browse by these items.

But I can't figure out how that detail information for a given MP3 file which is playing can be displayed.

Anybody help? Possible? Impossible?

Thanks.
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  #5  
Old 07-07-2010, 08:02 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Originally Posted by Need Balance Control View Post
The info you want to see is not displayed anywhere on the stock firmware/UI. It may be displayed by using another UCI.
Well since these fields are indexed from the ID3 tags, so that you can browse/search your collection based on these items (e.g. year and genre) and they constitute a high-level menu category for searching, I honestly just assumed it would not be unreasonable that this very same data would be precisely what is shown as "file info details" when you tapped the cover art. Why not display all the data, and let it be finger-scrolled if it's more than one screen's worth of rows?

I don't object to displaying other fields that I really don't have much interest in, but "year" is something I honestly feel SHOULD be shown and is not. "Genre" would be nice, and "track# within album" is certainly just basic info which is of general interest. Who cares about "file# within folder" (and by the way, it's really "file# from whatever the odd sequence of file names presented is", so if it's not in alphabetical order this file# confirms that odd order, having nothing to do with the true alphabetical sequence of file names in the folder)?

Anyway, if it doesn't it doesn't. I just think it's odd to look at what they decided to display and also decided what not to display. They certainly didn't ask my opinion.


Quote:
Incidentally, I went and checked my iPod and my wife's iPod Nano and they both show much less info.

Can you give an example of a mp3 player--not computer program on a PC/mac--which shows all the metadata you'd like to see?
Well, I'm a real rookie here. This J3 is my first PMP, though I've been wanting get one for a long time.

So my reactions are truly from a "child", with no pre-biases or expectations other than what I've gotten used to on the PC with players and organizers. I guess I thought "file info" showing ALL of the ID3 fields was "standard procedure"... especially when they clearly extract all of these fields for purposes of facilitating searching on them. It's not like they didn't know those items existed, so why consciously decide NOT to present them in a "file info" dialog that is specifically intended to show "file details" which everyone would assume means the entire ID3 tag data?
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  #6  
Old 07-07-2010, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Well, I'm a real rookie here. This J3 is my first PMP, though I've been wanting get one for a long time.

So my reactions are truly from a "child", with no pre-biases or expectations other than what I've gotten used to on the PC with players and organizers. I guess I thought "file info" showing ALL of the ID3 fields was "standard procedure"... especially when they clearly extract all of these fields for purposes of facilitating searching on them. It's not like they didn't know those items existed, so why consciously decide NOT to present them in a "file info" dialog that is specifically intended to show "file details" which everyone would assume means the entire ID3 tag data?
Ok, so I think this is part of the issue. If you compare apples to apples, as opposed to comparing apples to oranges, I think you may actually agree that the J3 displays quite a bit of info when compared to other portable mp3 players. If you compare the J3 to your favorite media player on your PC, the J3 is going to lose almost everytime.

Still, I do hear your frustrations as I have my own gripes with how Cowon designs its UIs.

From these threads, I can see that different people really want/need/require/demand different feature sets and info displays on their players. My most critical need/requirement (balance control/PAN) isn't discussed much on here at all, but it's still my #1 requirement and if Cowon were to discontinue this feature in future models, I'd be the first one to leave Cowon.
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  #7  
Old 07-08-2010, 04:10 AM
MattJCL MattJCL is offline
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Quote:
And actually, I'm baffled by the whole sort sequence of the files shown for an album. It is generally but not necessarily "alphabetical"!
It lists them alphabetically by file name. The reason its different for some of your albums is probably because you have some file names with track numbers at the start ('01 - tracktitle.mp3' or something), and others which don't ('tracktitle.mp3'). When I put new music on my j3 i make sure i have track numbers at the start of the file names for each track. By doing this I'm essentially able to read what the track order is.

Hope this helps.

edit: oh and i might add, if you download mp3tag, you can use it to do a bulk rename of all your music files, where it will rename each file based on its id3 tag. You can customise this process so that it places the track number at the start of the file name.

Last edited by MattJCL; 07-08-2010 at 04:20 AM.
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  #8  
Old 07-08-2010, 06:03 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Originally Posted by MattJCL View Post
It lists them alphabetically by file name. The reason its different for some of your albums is probably because you have some file names with track numbers at the start ('01 - tracktitle.mp3' or something), and others which don't ('tracktitle.mp3'). When I put new music on my j3 i make sure i have track numbers at the start of the file names for each track. By doing this I'm essentially able to read what the track order is.
Well... after a bit closer inspection of things, I've figured out what's going on here.

(1) Come in via "Artists" for example (which was developed by an ID3 tag scan), pick an artist, and it then shows [All tracks] followed by a list of each album for that artist.

(2) Select [All tracks], and the presentation is then in true alphabetical order by internal track name (from the ID3 tag), having gathered all of the files from all of the album folders and then sorted them alphabetically.

(3) If instead of [all tracks] you select any of the individual albums shown, the presentation of tracks now shown is absolutely NOT in alphabetical sequence by the internal track name (from the ID3 tag). It actually is in "track number" sequence (from the track number field in the ID3 tag), regardless of whether or not the external file name begins with the usual track number syntax.

In my case, I do not create my MP3 files with track number at the front, as I want my displays to be in alphabetical sequence by track name, not in track number sequence from that album. To each his own.

Anyway, it is apparently absolutely true when an individual album is selected for an artist, the J3 seems to arrange things for display AS IF THE TRACK NUMBER PREFIX WERE PRESENT (even though it is not)!!! Hence why it seems not to be in alphabetical sequence at all. In fact it's not... it's in track number sequence (based on the track number value in the ID3 tags of each file), with the track name shown coming from the internal track name field in the ID3 tag (and not from the external file name).

(4) If instead of coming through the ID3 tag method (e.g. "artists") you use the Browser (or select [Folders]), you are now presented with a 100% alphabetical display based on the full external file name (including extension), so that you can see MP3 vs. WAV, etc. As I have noted previously, WAV files do not have ID3 tags and so do not appear when you're using ID3 tags to browse/search/display.

Using this Browser method, the absence of a leading track number prefix to my external file names ends up producing a display in exactly the alphabetical sequence (by external file name) I would expect to see.


===> So this mysterious "non-alphabetical" presentation is now understood. If you pick an album under artist, the presentation is actually sequenced by track number as obtained from the ID3 tag. If instead you select [All tracks], the presentation is now sequenced alphabetically by track name as obtained from the ID3 tag.


Quote:
edit: oh and i might add, if you download mp3tag, you can use it to do a bulk rename of all your music files, where it will rename each file based on its id3 tag. You can customise this process so that it places the track number at the start of the file name.
Again, to each his own. I happen to like seeing my track names displayed alphabetically (so I can find them more easily in large lists, e.g. when searching for songs on the display when using the MP3 player in my car's sound system). I honestly don't want to have the tracks in an album folder duplicate the sequence of tracks on the original CD.

I actually use both MP3TAG as well as MP3/Tag Studio for my tagging services, depending on particular need and which user interface I prefer for that particular need. They're both very competent and easy-to-use utilities, but I've been using MP3/Tag Studio for many more years so I'm comfortable with it. The only real difference is that MP3TAG supports imbedded album art (APIC frame) in ID3 tags, whereas MP3/Tag Studio does not (at the moment).

Having now decided to use the "cover.jpg" approach to album art in each album's folder (and not imbed it in each MP3 file), I will likely just stick with MP3/Tag Studio for 100% of my needs since it's got every other function I've ever wanted (both individual and mass).
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  #9  
Old 07-08-2010, 07:18 AM
Resiak Resiak is offline
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I too do not use track number in front of the track title. Since I usually play albums or genres at random, I have never found any use for it. There have only been a few concept albums made which if listened to in its entirety, would be better if track follows track as meant by the artist. But they are rare. I name all my tracks by putting the name of the artist first, in capital letters, followed by the track title in lower case. I have found this a better way to do things as it is easier to remember the artist who sang a particular song than to remember the title itself, in case I am looking for a particular song. But as you say, each to his own.
By the way I emailed Cowon about Genre and they have replied saying the J3 cannot show the genre while a track is playing. So that's that!
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:26 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Originally Posted by Resiak View Post
I name all my tracks by putting the name of the artist first, in capital letters, followed by the track title in lower case. I have found this a better way to do things as it is easier to remember the artist who sang a particular song than to remember the title itself, in case I am looking for a particular song.
My collection is organized entirely by Artist folders ("Last name, First name" or "Group name[, The]"), and then within Artist folder there are one or more Album folders (one for each source CD). Compilations have an artist of "Various Artists", but the notion of one "album folder" per source CD still stands. All ID3 tags for every MP3 file ("Track name[, The]") contain all standard fields (including year for the track, in compilations, not "release year" for the compilation CD).

Any player program I use would display the standard main ID3 information... artist, album, track title... along with the external file name being played, which is why I do not duplicate anything or structure my track names to be composites of multiple ID3 fields.

Any organizer that I use can search, sort, handle and present data in the usual ways, again encouraging me to "just keep my names simple", but therefore have a desire and need to be able to "display file info" to show ALL imbedded data field values... especially when one pushes the "display file info" button to see these fields which are not otherwise always displayed during playback.

Still no explanation (other than a bug?) for why display sequence of tracks in an album (selected via [Artist], meaning by use of ID3 tag data) would be in "track number" order, which is only an imbedded and "invisible" (never displayed anywhere) ID3 tag field which has somehow been implied to be the proper way to display tracks from a folder which corresponds to an album of its tracks.

Shouldn't they also then maybe provide at least a "SORT" push button dialog or maybe even a Setup option, to allow us to get tracks shown alphabetically within a folder? Doesn't "always alphabetical" seem more consistent with "finger scrolling" to vertically pass through large lists of rows?
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:32 PM
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One more comment...

Within a selected album from under [Artists], as I've stated the displayed order of the tracks is specifically that of the ID3-provided track number of those tracks (from the originating album). Of course this is not necessarily alphabetical, having nothing to do with it.

Now not only is that the display sequence of the tracks, but it also is the play sequence of the tracks if you start from the first track shown for that album. So if you let the album play through from that first track (or even if you skip forward one track at a time), the sequence in which tracks will be played matches the original album-defined track sequence based on that internal ID3 track number value.

Nevertheless, the internal ID3 track number is nowhere to be displayed or seen... even though it is used to determine both the display and play sequence of the files within that album folder. It does not appear next to the track name anywhere, and does not display when you tap on cover art to reveal the "file details". And yet, it is significant enough to be the entire basis for ordering the display and playing for the tracks of an album.

At the same time, the displayed tracks which were sequenced by ID3 track number on the album, are conceptually assigned a "relative track number in the displayed tracks of that folder" by the J3. And if you tap on the cover art to see "file details", you'll see that "relative track number" of that track's position on the displayed list of tracks (which was ordered to match the original track sequence on the CD).

This "relative track number" is a useless and worthless piece of arbitrary non-permanent assigned data item (e.g. if you delete a track from a folder, the relative track numbers for all later tracks get decremented by 1 for the next display of tracks from that folder). Plus, it's only shown when you tap on the cover art and see it. But it's never otherwise displayed anywhere and has no value in any direct addressing or selection dialog.


I'm going to write Cowon about this mysterious sequencing subject, including a request to add the few but important missing ID3 items to "file details" shown when you tap on cover art.
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  #12  
Old 07-08-2010, 08:52 PM
MattJCL MattJCL is offline
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Quote:
My collection is organized entirely by Artist folders ("Last name, First name" or "Group name[, The]"), and then within Artist folder there are one or more Album folders (one for each source CD). Compilations have an artist of "Various Artists", but the notion of one "album folder" per source CD still stands. All ID3 tags for every MP3 file ("Track name[, The]") contain all standard fields (including year for the track, in compilations, not "release year" for the compilation CD).
I have my collection organised the same way, save for naming individual files with track numbers at the start, so I can quickly tell if a file is missing from the album.

I think there might have been some confusion, I was originally suggesting that you have track numbers at the start of files so that the "relative track number" that is displayed when you tap the album art would give you an indication of the real track number for that song. However, I realise now that this doesn't work, as you pointed out that that piece of information is referring to the tracks position based on the path you navigated to the song on the J3 (and not the tracks position in the actual folder it is stored in, as I originally thought).

If I understand correctly that you want songs to be displayed alphabetically when you view an individual album, one thing you could try:
From the root folder of the browser, navigate: folders > J3 > music > ...
That will take you to your music collection as you organised it on your computer, everything sorted alphabetically. Although you will see .mp3 next to all your tracks, and the cover.jpg files... which looks a bit messy .
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MattJCL View Post
If I understand correctly that you want songs to be displayed alphabetically when you view an individual album, one thing you could try:
From the root folder of the browser, navigate: folders > J3 > music > ...

That will take you to your music collection as you organised it on your computer, everything sorted alphabetically. Although you will see .mp3 next to all your tracks, and the cover.jpg files... which looks a bit messy .
Yes, I had already discovered that using the [Folders] approach presents everything in a folder in order truly alphabetically by physical external file name, including the extension. This also happens to be the only way you can select a WAV file (which does not have an ID3 tag imbedded within it, since WAV does not support that feature).

In contrast, browsing by other ID3-derived fields presents the index of files in order by ID3-specified track number (i.e. track number from the original CD album, inserted into the ID3 tag by ripper/encoder functionality when the MP3 was built). This is distinctly NOT alphabetical sequence.

I've decided that while this latter arrangement is obviously not (a) alphabetical by external file name, nor is it (b) alphabetical by internal ID3 track name, it does certainly duplicate the experience you'd get if you inserted the original CD into a player... where the tracks would be played sequentially starting from track #1 to track #n, unless you manually requested some other individual track(s). You don't really have an "alphabetical option" on a mechanical player. So maybe this is what was behind Cowon's thinking when they designed this particular feature of the user interface and how it works... though it would be nice if they told you that was how it works.

My only comment really is that (a) it should be documented and described somewhere, perhaps, in the User Guide (good luck!) since it completely unexpected and non-alphabetical as everything else is, or (b) perhaps there should be a Setting option asking me to choose which order I want by default, or (c) how about a button on the interface that allows me to switch between album-in-track-order or album-in-alphabetical-order, based on internal ID3 tag data (when not in [Folders] mode which is always pure external file name alphabetical just like on a computer].

Well, certainly none of these options exist today, and it simply reproduces [though never documented anywhere] the original actual track sequence of the original CD album (assuming only if you've got ID3 track numbers present, I'm guessing). I'll have to live with that unless Cowon changes this in a future firmware release.

And it still seems totally reasonable that this crucial internal ID3 track number should be visible somehow, somewhere... like on "file details". It is really what needs to be displayed, instead of the completely worthless, useless, irrelevant, non-functional, non-constant "relative row number in the current display".
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:01 PM
MattJCL MattJCL is offline
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Yes, I'm hoping that the next firmware will include the id3 track number on the id3 screen as well. Personally I don't mind the fact that the player displays tracks by order of track number as I tend to listen to full albums at a time (and before my j3 I used an ipod which did the same thing, so its what I'm used to). Either way it seems strange, because Cowon haven't really catered properly for either of our preferences here .

I suppose, seeing as the J3 doesn't display the track number anyway, you could just remove track numbers from your entire library's id3 tags...
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by MattJCL View Post
Personally I don't mind the fact that the player displays tracks by order of track number as I tend to listen to full albums at a time (and before my j3 I used an ipod which did the same thing, so its what I'm used to).
Making my own MP3 files from my own CD collection, I must confess there are probably fewer than 10 albums (out of my 1000) where I have all tracks in MP3. Ordinarily I'm selecting only those tracks I would actually want to listen to, and extremely rarely does that include everything on the album.

So for me preserving the original CD track sequence during list display or playback isn't really important or meaningful.


Quote:
I suppose, seeing as the J3 doesn't display the track number anyway, you could just remove track numbers from your entire library's id3 tags...
Well you're right, it's really nothing more to me than an indicative field in the database. But at least it's not the result of any manual effort on my part to install, as Audiograbber simply creates the proper value automatically at tagging time.

So I'm sure I will just let this item remain as-is. Perhaps Cowon will display it some day, as interesting "file detail".

In the meantime at least I now understand the role it plays in causing the album track list to appear in the order in which it appears (duplicating the track sequence on the source CD), and playback to match that.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:23 PM
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What happens when you delete--or not include--the internal track number? In what sequence does the J3 then display the order?
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Need Balance Control View Post
What happens when you delete--or not include--the internal track number? In what sequence does the J3 then display the order?
At first, I simply used my tagger utility (MP3/Tag Studio) to erase the track numbers in a folder. I then checked the J3-displayed sequence of tracks for that album, and it still was the way it used to be when the track numbers were present.

I assume that was because of some previously developed cache storage for that folder.

So I then deleted the folder, restarted the J3 (to presumably rebuild the cache to NOT have that folder), and double-checked to ensure that the folder was gone (it was, of course).

Then I re-copied the folder again, and again used my tagger to erase the track numbers. then I restarted the J3 (presumably to rebuild the cache to now once again have the folder but this time without track numbers).

And this time, the folder is back and the tracks within that album are now displayed alphabetically (by ID3 track name), rather than by ID3 track number as before.

So we must conclude it's really a 2-level sort when looking at an album: ID3 track number major, and then ID3 track title minor. In the complete absence of ID3 track numbers it will effectively be 1-level alphabetical by ID3 track title.

So if "alphabetical by title, within an album" is what you want, erase the ID3 track numbers in the MP3 files. Otherwise, your J3 search and playback for tracks on that album will reflect the physical track number sequence of the original source CD as reflected in the ID3 track number values in the MP3 files since ID3 track number is really the major sort key used by the J3 when looking at an album folder.

Good to know.
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