MusiCHI new version 6.1: New support for dsf (DSD) format, tablet mode and more…

DSF Support

We have added a this new format (DSF) across the entire MusiCHI Suite, the tagging model is the same as the mp3’s (Id3v2). As in all other MusiCHI formats, the meta-data will be stored 100% inside the audio file.
As DSD is a bit of a hack, when a PC is used as a source, you will have to see with your DAC, what settings are the most appropriate for listening. Our tests showed that either “on the fly DSD-to-PCM conversion”  or the DSD-over-PCM (05/FA markers) with WASAPI and RAM playing was the best way to go; Depending on the DAC driver one can play DSD64, DSD128.
To configure: Menu > Settings > Output > DSF >
Note: If you are just upgrading, you should run C:\Program Files (x86)\MusiCHISuite\bin\AddDSF.exe, it will add the dsf format to the list of scan-able extensions.

New display modes

We decided to add 2 GUI modes to the player,

Simple player mode:
Some people like to use the file system mainly to select their music, or let’s assume a friend gave you a disk full of music and you want to explore it. In both cases there is no need to scan the meta-data into a library, therefore the whole screen space dedicated to searching is useless, hence you can shrink the player to the playing queue only. Menu > File > Mode > Player

player

Tablet mode:
Because we have a client/server edition of MusiCHI, we decided to modify the client so it can be 100% used with fingers (stylus or mouse) but no keyboard. But if you have a laptop, 2-1 with a touch screen or want to use the mouse only, why not? So we ported all these features from the client version to the local version. Menu > File > Mode > Tablet

tablular

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In tablet mode automatically, the ruler will pop out on the left. The slider will go, on any column, to the 1st entry of a word starting with the clicked letter. You can use that ruler, also in normal mode. Menu > View > abcdefg….

Improved views

Views were introduced in Sep. 2015 in version 5.0.2, you can read here what they do and how they work:
https://musichieu.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/musichi-new-version-5-0-20-views-and-generic-support-for-external-players/
A power user wanted us to complete the exercise, so we did listen to him: we saved the positions of the playing queue, the font sizes and also the positions and widths of the lower central grid (i.e. the one with the songs). Basically pretty much, ALL screen parameters are saved and retrieved. If you copy your library around on different devices with various screen definitions, you can re-arrange your desktop in no time; or a particular screen arrangement for a special genre or artist.

Disk insomnia

Sometime you want to prevent a disk to fall asleep, else the music might have a hick-up on the next track, so this little application, that you can use as a stand alone as well, and can be freely distributed, does just that. Yet it is integrated in the player. Menu > Settings > Disk insomnia and run the configuration. Insomnia will write an empty file to the disks/folders of your choice very 1-15 minutes. Just fill up the list and check the ones to be active. Then start dskon, an icon will appear on the OS tray. Right-click “exit” will stop it. You can configure the player to have this utility start/stop each time you load the player, Menu > Settings > Disk insomnia check the option Run at startup.

insomnia

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Random programs in the MusiCHI player

Besides offering the most powerful and flexible searches of any players, the MusiCHI player also has a few ways to produce random programs, some of which were actually proposed by some users and because we try to make our users happy, we implemented them.

List of searches/filters

Structured searches: Clicking the columns in whatever cascading order you may choose.
Unstructured searches: Trying to match the search criteria (words or phrase) against all the content of the library, a bit like a web search engine, and be able to refine a sub-search with that filter on.
Various additional filters: Such as by star rating or the last X number of albums added to the library; and be able to refine a sub-search with that filter on, as well.
Cover view: Sorting the album covers on any combination of metadata fields. See picture below.
Grid snapshot: One can save and retrieve as many particular set of columns order and selection that one wants, for example Bach, Js > Solo piano > High definition recordings with the performer column last and the BWV catalog before last. A time saving feature, if one uses some listening sub-set quite often. The icon is circled in orange in the picture below.

Zones of the player

Grid view

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Cover view

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Before we get into the heart of the topic, let’s describe again the 3 main zones of the player in the default view (grid view), it should help to clarify the following text.

1)  The right panel: the playing queue.
2) The top center/left panel: which show all the grids columns, the last one being fixed (Albums or Compositions). The logic behind… you search according to various criteria to ultimately select a set of albums or (recorded) compositions, you can go at the song/movement level after this if need be.
3) The lower center/left panel, where individual tracks are listed, function of the selection in the above panel.

Corresponding random action in these respective zones

1) The content of playing queue can be randomized according many criteria: tracks, albums and unique to MusiCHI compositions. One example of utilization, the user has selected the last 20 classical CDs acquired, to add more variety in his musical program, he can then randomize the list by compositions. Another, I want to send all my Franky (Sinatra who else) albums to the queue, but I will randomize by tracks (aka songs). The icon is circled in red in the above picture.

2) Here for these randomizations, you have the option to clear the playing queue (i.e. a new program) or to add at the end of it, which in practice allows you to repeat the operation more than once and continue to add music till you think you have enough playing time. Moreover this functionality will behave slightly differently if the last column is either Albums or Compositions.
If one right-click the selection grid panel (upper center/left), in the “Random program”, you discover sub-menu which offer two types of random pick.
A program (5 albums or 20 compositions) or just one (album or composition). Example of use, I am into a sunny Sunday breakfast mood, I select Baroque concertos and I get a selection of 20 pieces from that set, I can repeat and add 40, 60 etc. Another case, I have all the Frank Zappa albums (about 75) and I will pick 5 of them randomly. The just one is self-explanatory.

3) If one right-click the “Track” panel (lower center/left), the last option of the context menu “Random tracks” will erase the playing queue and send 100 tracks, selected randomly, from that table. Example of use, I select as a genre “Blues” and I get a sample of 100 Blues songs to be played.

Conclusion

With a well tagged large collection of digital music, you have total control over the selection your musical program or you can have MusiCHI pick the program for you, nearly like a streaming service……..

 

 

Daylight saving time and libraries

Among the tools present in the MusiCHI library manager, the one used most frequently is the synchronization between the file system and the libraries (or should be).

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For example, if you delete a CD, or rename the folder where it resides, or even simply edit the audio files’ metadata in the tagger, you want to use this tool. In the last case, the time stamp of the file will be modified (Windows will store the date/time of editing).  When a user refreshes a CD in a library, the date and time of this action is recorded as well inside the lib. By comparing these two time-stamps, well, if the file’s modified date and time is more recent than the one existing in the library, this CD has to be re-scanned, because the meta-data has been changed, and what is displayed in the player may not be accurate, nor current.

When the daylight saving time changes, adding one hour (subtracting has no effect), Windows adds also one hour to all files’ time-stamp. Consequently if you invoke the synchronization feature the “day after”, you will be amazed to see that pretty much all your library has to be refreshed! No big deal if your library is small enough, on a huge one, it could take many hours.

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For this once a year event, we have a little procedure, that will add one hour to the time-stamps inside the library, mimicking Windows file system’s changes. Hence, only the truly modified will be flagged.

MusiCHI new version 5.5: Total recall & new support for m4a (Apple) format

Brain memory failure is allowed!

From now on what is loaded in your playing queue will be saved automatically in the library, so you can recall for example the song you liked so much 2 weeks ago and have no clue how to locate it, or avoiding to play the same CD over and over again because you have no idea what you did listen to; this being for the most serious pathologies.
To use Menu > View > Playing history

Mixed OS user rejoice!

The support for the Apple format has been re-written 100% with native code, now supporting true custom fields. You can still use your mac or your iWhatever to listen and edit metadata with the MusiCHI tagger. Of course you can still use the MusiCHI player as usual and benefit of superior sound and unsurpassed searches .

MusiCHI as a movie front end?

Given m4a is also a video format you could tag and archive your m4a movies too, and using the external player feature watch them with for example VLC.

Metal!

We are expanding our horizons, we a giving away a blues and heavy metal flavor, thanks to some power users. One of the beauty of MusiCHI architecture is its flexibility. Being a multi library system, in addition with the concept of “flavors”, you can tailor the metadata of any musical styles, resulting in the most flexible searches.

Other goodies

Ripper: For a multi CD set with the same composer, a new file pattern: Composer\Album\CDCD number\(Track number)Title or name.

Tagger: The box set wizard got another option, to be able to record automatically the track count of a bunch of CDs, given this tag, in Flac, does not have a standard (TRACKCOUNT vs TRACKTOTAL), it can save a lot of time. Menu > Box set wizard > Set track count.

Player: The size ratio (in pixel) of the album cover displayed while a track is playing can now be modified. The default is set to 1:1 now, but can be modified (one user favors 509:491)

Client/Server

For the users interested we have a client server version of MusiCHI,  which needs 2 windows machines.
A thin server: you can use an old tired laptop/desktop (although if possible silent) solely used and optimized for sound reproduction.
A thicker client:  that will perform all the searches in your lib, without interfering with the playing. A semi-powerful laptop or a windows tablet is ideal in this case.
Please contact us at support@musichi.eu