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Old 07-19-2009, 06:18 PM
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ti_marner ti_marner is offline
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Lightbulb Cowon S9 Album Art - Quick Q & A

I've noticed a couple of people asking how to get album art to display correctly on their S9, so as someone who has 100% of their album art showing on their S9 I thought I'd post this quick guide. Hopefully it'll solve some problems.

The Cowon S9 reads album art in two ways, Embedded Album Art and from a JPG file stored alongside media.

Embedded Album Art
Most audio containers have support for album art within their metadata header, embedded inside the media file itself. The Cowon S9 will happily read this data directly out of the file, and it seems that it prefers album art to be stored in this way.

The only exception to this seems to be WMA files, or so I've found so far. I'm using firmware v2.30 at the moment, and the S9 doesn't seem to read embedded album art from the ASF container. There is a workaround for this however.

JPG Files
The S9 will also read album art for media files directly from a picture file stored in the same folder, which must be named cover.jpg (folder.jpg will not work). For any media files that show up on the player without album art, this is the fallback.

Pros & Cons
File Size - Embedding album art means that the media file itself is larger, however if you compare a 300x300 pixel cover image at ~50KB with an MP3 file anywhere from 2048KB upwards (FLAC could be 5x bigger) then it's not that big an increase.
Portability - Keeping separate image files in the same folder as your media is a hassle, especially when there's no way to identify the image apart from opening it up.
Organisation - If your media library needs a bit of sorting out, or you have media from different albums in the same folder, eg. a three disc album, hands down you'll want to embed your album art.

Not Showing?
If you've embedded album art into your MP3, FLAC, etc. files and it's not showing up, it may be corrupt. Simply remove the artwork from the files and re-store it. This should solve the problem.

Tag Editing Software
MP3Tag - http://www.mp3tag.de/en/
I personally use MP3Tag. It's free, it reads all the formats I throw at it, and I get full control over what it does.

MediaMonkey - http://www.mediamonkey.com/
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Last edited by ti_marner; 07-19-2009 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Clarification on software
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:41 PM
gleipnir gleipnir is offline
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I think the embedded album art must also be a JPG...I had a few PNGs, and they didn't show - changed them to JPG, and they worked
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:16 AM
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invertedskull invertedskull is offline
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This is somewhat off topic, but on many occasions I have had a ripped song that is at the end of an album, and the artist has included a "hidden" track at the end. So there is a long pause / silence and then the "hidden" track. I hate all the waiting thru that silence, so I open the MP3 up in an audio editing program such as Cool Edit Pro / Adobe Audition and delete the silence. SOMETIMES, not all times, but sometimes, the file will not open and will report an error. I found this was due to the embedded artwork. I've only experienced this with CEP, so it might not be very useful for all people.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:49 AM
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ti_marner ti_marner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gleipnir View Post
I think the embedded album art must also be a JPG...I had a few PNGs, and they didn't show - changed them to JPG, and they worked
Yep, it seems you're right, the S9 will only read a JPG out of the file header, although both JPG and PNG are recommended by the informal standard.

It's a shame really, you could put any data within an ID3 tag. In theory, you could write an SVG file into an ID3v2.3 frame and as long as the software reading the ID3 tag understood how to display Scalable Vector Graphics it would render it. It'd be awesome if the S9 could!
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:21 AM
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AceMathias AceMathias is offline
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i have found that with most of my embedded album art that they appear pixelated when seen on the s9. The files are a mix of mp3 and wma and the pics are .jpg and are at least 300x300.
The only way i can get good looking album art is to manually add the same pic (its called cover.jpg) to each album folder.
Nb i use MP3Tag to add art and tag.

Any ideas why the art is pixellated when using the embedded method?
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:48 PM
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invertedskull invertedskull is offline
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Tried a higher res than 300 x 300? I'm aiming for 400 x 400 as a minimum now, and I try to get 500 x 500.
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:40 AM
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ti_marner ti_marner is offline
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I think invertedskull's suggestion might work, I haven't worked it out but it looks like the S9 displays album art on the music screen at about 200px x 200px. Perhaps 400px album art would resample better than 300px art?

It does seem that the S9 uses nearest neighbour interpolation to resample pictures to a lower resolution though. So to be honest, I think the only thing that'd fix blocky album art (along with blockyness during zooming in the picture viewer) is a change in the firmware to bicubic interpolation. Maybe Cowon were worried about the processing cost of bicubic interpolation, but personally I think the trade off between display speed and image quality would be worth it.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:41 AM
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AceMathias AceMathias is offline
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The art is all different sizes above 300x300.
The thing i can't understand is why it displays the art fine when transfering the same pic into the folder, but it is blocky when just using the one in the tag?
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:21 AM
gseehq gseehq is offline
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Hi Folks, so I get, via search engine, all the album art I need, convert to jpg format. Store on my external hard drive, then add each into the relevant album, using the file extension-cover.jpg

So for example in my folder for Be-Bob-Deluxe's 'Sunburst Finish' is the album art 'cover.jpg' and sure enough it displays no probs...however using exactly the same process (ie-cover.jpg) the art does not show in my other albums. Please help, having spent a day going through each individual album I'm in need of a working solution. Why would it work on one image but not the rest, yet the process is the same? IS there some control/setting on my S9 I'm not seeign here? Cheerz for any advice/solution.
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:46 AM
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If you're using the cover.jpg method, as long as the artwork is stored in the same folder as the media files on the S9 something like this..
Code:
S9 Root Folder
└Music
 ├Be-Bob-Deluxe
 │ └Sunburst Finish
 │  ├track1
 │  ├track2
 │  ├track3
 │  └cover.jpg
 └Another Artist
  └Another Album
   ├track1
   ├track2
   └cover.jpg
.. then there shouldn't be a problem. If you still have issues, then it's got to be something else - firmware? corrupt jpg files?
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