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Author Topic: Why Cue Files?  (Read 7935 times)

Arindelle

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Why Cue Files?
« on: November 22, 2014, 06:48:08 am »

Reading lots of threads with people having problems with Cue files these days, (which looks like it was addressed in .041?).

I used to use Cue files all of the time when I first started ripping cds a long time ago now .... I didn't have much of a clue what I was doing and just read that EAC was the go-to ripper and it issued CUE files along with individual flac files.  My limited understanding, as it really didn't interest me at that  time to look into it really,  was that it could "remember" actual Gaps between tracks and that it could also "index" tracks which were ripped to one big file for individual playback. Also, it was good to have them to re-burn cds so there wouldn't be an arbitrary gap made (which if I remember was 2 seconds).

After a couple of years, the idea of burning CDs became pretty absurd for me, I started using dbpoweramp as a ripper and players that supported gapless playback etc. And totally removed Cue files from my collection and workflow completely.

So I guess I don't understand why anyone would use cue files at all - why complicate life?

Now thinking this through I hear about ripping SACDs to iso -- so maybe that is a reason?
  • Is that the only way to do this? Can ISOs not be split into individual tracks?

Even if you had a "mix tape" and wanted it to be totally trackless, not sure why you would want to combine the files into one file (professional or home studio creations excluded).

Then I read a thread of a member who has 400k tracks which is almost 4 times what I have in my music library. And that is a considerable investment in time and effort getting a library of that size organized ... if I understood correctly, all of his library is based around cue files.
  • What benefits would cue file organization have for medium to large collections?

Also my understanding is with a cue file you can accurately split a large file into separate tracks. Individual tracks that I had with related cue files are stand-alone-viable to me -- I erased all of my cue files 5 years ago ... so
  • it must have only something to do with combined tracks into larger files?

Other than mastering with pro tools or similar projects for home studio/pro studio use,
  • why do people use CUE files anymore in an audio collection?

Thanks for any contributors to my education :)
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JimH

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2014, 07:15:12 am »

Since there are several other threads on CUE files right now, I changed the subject of this one.

If anyone has a problem, please use one of the other threads.
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Vincent Kars

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2014, 10:36:40 am »

As a CD or a DVD is a single file, you need something to generate the TOC.
That is the origin of the cue sheet:
It was part of the CDRWIN software and become a standard over time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CDRWIN

Pro:
It plays gapless by design. Today not a problem as most media players do support gapless playback but in the DLNA world gapless is still a problem.

A more efficient file system. Say a CD has 20 tracks. Single file +cue reduces the amount of files substantially.
With a cue sheet you can burn an exact copy of the original CD
As tagging WAV is a problem, you might use a cue to circumnavigate this problem.

Con:
Limited support of tags: http://digitalx.org/cue-sheet/syntax/
You canít delete tracks.
It doesnít support cover art.
You must keep cue and file in sync.
If you change the name of the audio file, you have to change the name inside the CUE sheet as well.
If you move the audio file to another directory, you have to move the CUE as well.

I like my audio files to be self-documenting. So if I get a file+cue, I always convert to multiple files and store all the tags including cover art inside the file.
No cue files for me.
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6233638

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2014, 11:40:56 am »

I rarely use them, but after trying DLNA again recently, ended up re-ripping a number of gapless albums to FLAC+CUE.
 
While PC-based players such as Media Center, and most portable players now support gapless playback, I've yet to have gapless playback work with DLNA.
 
I don't know whether it's the receiver (probably) or the server, but every portable speaker I've bought which uses DLNA has a break between tracks.
Playing a single file ensures that playback is gapless when using these devices.
 
I'd certainly prefer to avoid doing this, but that's just how things seem to be.
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Arindelle

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2014, 01:03:45 pm »

Thanks guys .. so it really comes down to gapless dlna use. Too many cons for library organization in my book, no worries that I don't use them.

What about containers other than FLAC, like SACD ripped to ISO, or non PCM files --  any reason other than DLNA to have cue files with those?
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Vincent Kars

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2014, 01:58:14 pm »

ISO is probably a nice example. As it is a single file you can't discern the tracks. Hence you need something to describe its content so a cue sheet
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Arindelle

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2014, 02:12:10 pm »

ISO is probably a nice example. As it is a single file you can't discern the tracks. Hence you need something to describe its content so a cue sheet
thanks Vincent I get it :)
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dtc

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2014, 02:26:41 pm »

Some Internet radio stations provide a cue sheet for their broadcasts. You can just grab the broadcast and the cue sheet and you can get a lot of indexed music with very little effort.
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kstuart

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2014, 04:26:03 pm »

Con:
Limited support of tags: http://digitalx.org/cue-sheet/syntax/

You can put all that information in JRiver MC database

You canít delete tracks.

That's a plus point to me. :) and you can remove the track virtually in the JRiver MC database... and then when your guest wants to hear exactly the track you removed, you can then restore it.

It doesnít support cover art.

FLAC files can have cover art inside them now

You must keep cue and file in sync.

Not if you use embedded cue files inside the FLAC file

If you change the name of the audio file, you have to change the name inside the CUE sheet as well.

This is the only true one, but... I never see a reason to change the name of an audio file

If you move the audio file to another directory, you have to move the CUE as well.

Not if you use the new JRiver MC feature that moves everything in the directory. :)

Sesam

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2014, 04:51:09 pm »

I don't really understand how the new cue file handling in MC20 is supposed to work. Is the idea that all tags will be read and written into cue files instead, and no tags or artwork will be embedded into the FLAC files? If that's the case, this will cause some huge issues for me.
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ferday

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2014, 05:30:23 pm »

I don't really understand how the new cue file handling in MC20 is supposed to work. Is the idea that all tags will be read and written into cue files instead, and no tags or artwork will be embedded into the FLAC files? If that's the case, this will cause some huge issues for me.

nope, that's not the case at all

it's just better handling of .cue files for those that do use them (SACD ISO is a big one)
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BartMan01

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2014, 08:04:16 pm »

...I didn't have much of a clue what I was doing..

Way out of context, but that is the root of most of the CUE problems I've seen posts about.  Most people have CUE files because their ripper created them, or they 'found' the audio files on their drive one morning and there was this .cue thingy in with them.  I haven't used them in years, and those who really need them know what they are and why they have them.  The main problem they still solve today is when you need to keep several tracks as one physical track but still break it up logically so your player/media aggregator will treat it as separate tracks. Think 'particles' in MC but more universally understood.
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lisbethfox

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2014, 12:25:20 am »

Why use .cues? You shouldn't have to but any site worth its salt will require it (plus a 100% scoring EAC log) for a truly valid rip. Make cues, its worthwhile.

Don't use image files / a single track but do use .cue files.
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Sesam

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2014, 04:51:50 pm »

nope, that's not the case at all

it's just better handling of .cue files for those that do use them (SACD ISO is a big one)


Hmm well I guess I don't really understand exactly what "this better handling" does, and my mind doesn't get a rest until I fully understand this  :P

If I try to import an Album stored as separate FLAC files and a Cue file. What happens during import?

- Will Media Center look first for a cue file, and read the tags from the cue file instead of the tags embedded in the FLAC files? If that is the case, will it then overwrite the tags in the FLAC to match the information in the cue?
- After an album has been imported, if I change the tags, will the new tags only be written in the JRiver library database?. Or will it still embed the tags in the FLAC file, or attempt to alter the cue file?
- If I have separate FLAC and .cue files, is MC supposed to have two entries for each track? (one for the FLAC and one for the Cue)?

The reason I'm asking is because after the new cue handling changes Media Center appears to work in a random matter for me. A few albums got duplicates, and lost certain tags like Day/Month/Year. While others appeared in the library just like before. And the funny thing is all my albums are stored as separate FLAC and Cue files, so I don't see the logic here, I figure either none or all of the albums should have been messed up.
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ferday

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2014, 05:29:42 pm »

a .cue file is intended as a marker for a "CD"...the CD isn't split into tracks, so the player reads the .cue to tell the player where the tracks are so you can skip through.  it is also what allows for gapless playback, as the track indexes don't have gaps

the .cue can contain some metadata, these are commonly what are displayed on modern players that have an LCD readout.  the .cue doesn't NEED to have any metadata other than the track indices however

MC won't rewrite .cue files, they are stored as .txt files.  you'd have to create a new .cue to rewrite it...so the tags will be written according to your settings (to the file, to the library, whatever).  I'm not sure if MC even reads the .cue for tag info...if it does i'm 90% sure it reads the file tags first

the only true need for a .cue is for CD's that are burned to an image (ISO for example) rather than split into tracks otherwise no player will respect the tracklisting (i.e. no skipping), although somewhat commonly people will write a .cue when splitting a CD rip to put the metadata into the .cue, as some people don't like metadata or image tagging in the file itself

as to your .cue issues, i've read a lot about them on the forums....the vast majority of my rips have .cue files and separate tracks and i haven't had very many issues with the .cue files or getting duplicates or anything at all....
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Arindelle

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2014, 05:46:14 pm »

Why use .cues? You shouldn't have to but any site worth its salt will require it (plus a 100% scoring EAC log) for a truly valid rip. Make cues, its worthwhile.

Don't use image files / a single track but do use .cue files.
euh OK. but you are not explaing the why lisbeth. What do mean any site? You mean if I was mastering my bands album and I was putting it on bandcamp to sell it?

I get the iso part, the dlna gapless issue, and just maybe the archival reasoning  - not sure you need a cue file to insure a secure rip though but thats secondary

OK so you rip and you get a cue file that you want to keep in the same folder. You have a majority of Flac tracks in your library lets say Why would you want to import it in JRiver?! (other than exceptions referred to already)  

I'm pretty sure people were using the cues for tag info otherwise this would not be a big deal at all.  @Ferday why would people not want to embed the metadata in the files?? 
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ferday

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2014, 06:07:10 pm »



I'm pretty sure people were using the cues for tag info otherwise this would not be a big deal at all.  @Ferday why would people not want to embed the metadata in the files?? 

Embedding metadata (and especially cover art) can spoof the bit rates etc and from a true purist perspective such info was not in the original files, so they aren't 'bit perfect'.  These are the same people that will hear a difference between flac and wav
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BartMan01

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2014, 08:15:23 pm »

euh OK. but you are not explaing the why lisbeth. What do mean any site? You mean if I was mastering my bands album and I was putting it on bandcamp to sell it?

Pretty sure they are talking about those 'found' files I mentioned.  Having a .cue and EAC rip log is important to those sites that 'share' music to prove that it is a valid and quality rip of the CD and not some collection of tracks from different places or a 'fake' version being spread around by the studios trying to muddy the piracy waters.
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Arindelle

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Re: Why Cue Files?
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2014, 04:49:31 am »

Pretty sure they are talking about those 'found' files I mentioned.  Having a .cue and EAC rip log is important to those sites that 'share' music to prove that it is a valid and quality rip of the CD and not some collection of tracks from different places or a 'fake' version being spread around by the studios trying to muddy the piracy waters.
ah ok thanks that makes sense :) That to me then is not a + for the pro CUE list.

If people are in that situation, I have no sympathy for their tagging frustrations  ;)
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