The MAXV Report Tool (MAXVRPRT)

1.0 What is MAXVRPRT?

Quite some time ago, I wrote a little utility called MAXV which, when run in a folder full of FLACs, will measure the loudest peak volume in each FLAC. If the loudest volume found is significantly quieter than the theoretical maximum, undistorted volume, MAXV will ask you if you want to boost the volume of all the FLACs by whatever amount would get the loudest file to near that idealised maximum. In the curiously inverted world of audio volume, that maximum value is 0 decibels (dB); a track whose peak volume is  -0.6dB is very close to the maximum; a track with a peak volume of -19dB is significantly quieter than the maximum possible value. MAXV is careful to boost every FLAC found in a single folder by the same amount, so that the relative volume between the tracks doesn't change, but the absolute volume of all them is boosted. So, for example, if you've got four movements of a symphony with peak volumes of -7dB, -4dB, -5.5dB and -3dB , MAXV will take the loudest (-3dB), trim 0.5dB off of that for safety and apply a boost of 2.5dB to every file in turn, meaning you end up with files at -4.5dB, -1.5dB, -3dB and -0.5dB. The fourth movement thus becomes almost as loud as it can be without distortion, but the others are left at relatively equivalent volumes by comparison with it, though all four files will now sound louder by a significant degree.

So, that's MAXV. It works nicely and I've used it on my own music files for quite some time. Specifically, it was designed to boost the volume of rips from SACDs, which generally are deliberately mastered to have peak volumes around -6dB, but MAXV will happily boost the volume of any unnaturally quiet FLAC file, no matter whether it was generated from an ordinary CD, an SACD or simply downloaded as part of a digital music distribution. [...] 

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Software Archive

Here are links to old versions of my software scripts for music management and playing. Be warned: they are archived for a reason (that reason essentially being that they contain coding deficiencies, howlers, bugs and functional problems in consequence!). They are retained and made available as something of a historical curiosity only, really! The current (and best!) versions of each of them are available elsewhere. Rows highlighted in red represent software products which are no longer maintained: you are recommended to use their newer equivalents instead.

Links to Software Manuals Function Previous Releases
A randomising FLAC classical music player 1.00, 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, 1.04, 1.05, 1.06, 1.07, 1.08, 1.09, 1.10, 1.12, 1.13
A FLAC integrity checking utility
Classical CD Ripper (ccdr) An accurate, command-line Audio CD ripper 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 3.04, 3.05, 3.06, 3.07, 3.08
Classical CD Tagger (ccdt) A utility to tag audio files with metadata 2.06, 3.00, 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 3.04, 3.05, 3.06, 3.07, 3.08, 3.09, 3.10, 3.11, 3.12, 3.13, 3.14, 3.15
Composition - At - Once (cao) A utility to merge per-track FLACs into super-FLACs 1.00, 1.02, 1.03, 1.04, 1.05, 1.06, 1.07, 1.08, 1.09, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, 1.13
Absolutely Baching Tag Cleaner (atc) * Cleans FLAC tags to leave behind only 'core' tags 1.03, 1.04, 1.05, 1.06, 1.07, 1.08, 1.09
Universal Audio Converter (auac) Converts audio files from one codec to another 1.11, 1.13, 2.00, 2.01, 2.02, 2.03, 2.04, 2.05, 2.06, 2.07, 2.08, 2.09
Volume Maximiser Utility (maxv) Maximises the absolute volume level in a folder of FLACs 1.02, 1.03, 1.04, 1.05, 1.06, 1.07, 1.08
Set Performer Utility One-off batch generation of PERFORMER tags 1.00, 1.01, 1.02
Auto-Ellipsis Script (aes) Strips ".." or "..." from file names, replaced with "…" 1.00, 1.01
Absolutely Baching Music Player (amp) A randomising FLAC classical music player 1.00, 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, 1.04, 1.05, 1.06, 1.07, 1.08, 1.09, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, 1.13, 1.14, 1.15, 1.16, 1.17, 1.18, 1.19, 1.20, 1.21, 1.22, 1.23, 1.24, 1.25, 1.26, 1.27, 1.28
Note, product is now discontinued and no further enhancements or bug-fixes will be made to it.
Use of Giocoso recommended instead.
Absolutely Baching FLAC Checker (afc) Checks FLACs haven't become internally corrupted 2.02, 2.03, 2.04, 2.05, 2.06 : Note, product is now discontinued and no further enhancements or bug-fixes will be made to it. Use of Niente recommended instead.

*Note: Absolutely Baching Tag Cleaner (ATC) was previously known as the Dizwell Tag Cleaner (DTC). [...] 

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The Auto-Ellipsis Script (AES)

1.0 Introduction

The presence of multiple full-stops in a music file's name can throw some software 'out'. It can interpret them in ways that fundamentally stop the software working properly. Specifically, ffmpeg, that master-of-all audio and video utility for Windows and Linux, breaks rather abruptly when confronted with file names that contain more than one dot in succession (which surprised me, to be honest, but it happens to be true).

I have therefore written a little utility that scans a folder full of FLAC files and if it spots '..' or '...' in any of the file names, it will replace them with a single character which looks like three dots, but is actually a single character called an ellipsis[...] 

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Composition-At-Once (CAO) FAQ

1.0 Are there any limits on what CAO can be run against?

Yes. CAO will only work on FLAC audio files.

It can also only merge a maximum of 99 FLAC files, because cue sheets are only allowed to list that many number of 'index marks' (virtual tracks). If you run CAO in a folder full of more than that number, it will warn you and quit. You options at that point really come down to physically splitting your FLACs into smaller collections (and, in consequence, re-tagging them a little) before running CAO against each of the new,. smaller collections. [...] 

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Composition - at - Once (CAO)

1.0 What is CAO

For various reasons which I mentioned in this blog post, you might share my opinion that -at least in classical music- the concept of 'tracks' is not ideal. They encourage a fragmented and selective approach to listening, when more ideally (perhaps!), we should play a classical composition from beginning to end without being tempted to pick and play only the 'good bits'!

Thinking along those lines made me think that it would be useful to take a folder full of FLAC files and 'combine' them into a single large FLAC that contained the music contents of the separate files -and which, indeed, internally continued to store details of the individual tracks making up the whole- but which appears to anyone looking casually as a single FLAC file. [...] 

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AMP - Frequently Asked Questions

0.0 What is AMP?

AMP is a console-based, optionally-randomising, whole-composition, trackless, optionally-scrobbling, classical music-oriented, gapless FLAC player, with optional support for a database and its related search and record-keeping capabilities

Which is a bit of a mouthful of a sentence, so... Taking that apart in no particular order: [...] 

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The Absolutely Baching Music Player (AMP)

1.0 What is AMP

Update November 2021: AMP was superseded by Giocoso in June 2021, and is no longer supported (though it's still downloadable if you insist). Giocoso incorporates all the key AMP features and improves on them. This article is left here for historical/reference purposes only.

AMP is a command-line FLAC audio player, with a deliberately minimalist interface. It only plays audio files formatted with the FLAC codec. It was designed for the playback primarily of classical music: that means it doesn't do randomised track orders, because classical music listeners need their symphony movements played back in the order the composer intended them to play! Accordingly, AMP simply plays FLACs in a folder in sequential order of their file names. For similar reasons, AMP doesn't permit music playback to be paused or resumed: classical music people tend not to take tea-breaks in the middle of a concerto! You can interrupt play only by pressing Ctrl+C, which entirely terminates the player. Re-running AMP then resumes playback from the very beginning[...] 

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The Absolutely Baching Volume Maximiser

1.0 What is MAXV?

For reasons that needn't detain us, loudness (measured in "decibels", abbreviated as "dB") in music recordings is usually worked on a negative scale, where 0 dB is the loudest and -1 dB is a little bit quieter and -11dB is considerably quieter than that and so on.

In theory, a CD recording should have its loudest music recorded at 0dB. That would be the theoretical maximum volume an audio signal could get without introducing 'clipping' or other distortion. [...] 

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Running Linux Scripts on Windows

1.0 Introduction

I've written a number of scripts for 'audio management' which are freely available from this site. It doesn't happen often these days, but occasionally I still use an old laptop or PC with Windows 10 on it. When I do, I'd prefer to use my own open-source scripts with which I'm familiar than closed-source (even if zero cost) proprietary software.

How, then, can Windows 10 be turned into a platform that permits the running of Linux scripts? In this article, I'll explain how to install Cygwin and get it capable of running any of my scripts. [...] 

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The Absolutely Baching Universal Audio Converter

1.0 What is AUAC?

I always rip my CDs to FLAC format. It's the only format I routinely use for storing my proper music collection: it's lossless (i.e., no part of the audio signal is discarded in making the file) but is around half the size of the original audio file. Why, then, would I ever need an audio file converter? If it's in FLAC format, why would I ever need it to be any other format?

Well, FLACs are good for high-quality home audio setups, but they are large files -and if you're listening to music on the train or an aeroplane, you don't actually need the perfect audio quality they represent, since the ambient acoustic environment, even with good headphones, is never ideal. For those situations, therefore, I maintain a copy of my FLAC collections in relatively low-quality MP3 files. These are lossy (a lot of the audio signal is simply thrown away, though it's supposed to be parts of the signal few human ears are ever likely to notice in the first place!), and accordingly much smaller than the source FLAC files (about half the size, at least). [...] 

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CCDT on Windows (Long Version!)

1.0 Introduction

This article will explain in depth how to get the Classical CD Tagger, a piece of Linux software, running happily on Windows. If you would prefer to read just a short summary of the key 'do this-then this' points, then this companion-piece will be of interest. That short-form article expects you to know a thing or two about Windows, Linux, Cygwin and poking around on the command line when necessary! But this long-form version will cover the same sort of ground with minimal expectations about your competence in things IT! I shall be assuming that you've never really used Cygwin before and will thus describe things at length and use lots of screenshots to make things clear!

Well, that's the plan, anyway! [...] 

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The AbsolutelyBaching Flac Checker

1.0 What is AFC?

FLAC music files can, over time and for no very obvious reasons, become internally corrupt. The AbsolutelyBaching Flac Checker (or AFC for short) is a shell script which checks all FLAC files found in a specified location for signs of this internal corruption. If it finds any corrupt files, it will warn you and tell you which ones they are. By regularly running the script against your music collection, you can thus identify internal corruption if it happens -or get assurance that it isn't happening.

AFC does not, however, ever attempt to repair or fix corrupt FLAC files. It advises you of their existence, but it's entirely up to you how to fix up the problem. Fixing corrupt FLACs is usually done by re-ripping the music from the original CD or restoring a known-good copy of the FLAC file in question from an older backup. [...] 

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