WAV tagging

When it comes to music file formats, WAV is the venerable grandfather to the new kids on the block. It's been around for twenty-five years and it remains popular, despite shortcomings when it comes to music library management. Now, though, WAV is shaking off its rather onerous (in terms of management) reputation. What's behind the change?

WAVs have always been valued by the audiophile. WAV is, typically, a container format containing uncompressed, lossless audio data. To the audiophile, the fact that the audio stream is lossless is extremely important; it means there has been no loss of data in the process of transferring from the source material (CD, studio master) to the WAV. To the really obsessive fastidious audiophile, the fact that it is uncompressed also means less work for the processor and therefore, so they say, less electrical interference that may affect playback quality.

Other than the storage size requirement for all those uncompressed, lossless files, the main cost of using WAV has traditionally been that management of a WAV library is much harder. The reason for this is that until recently the approaches to tagging WAV files were not that well agreed. This is in comparison to other file formats which have well agree approaches to metadata storage.

It's not actually true that metadata storage inside WAV files is a new thing; as a container format, tagging has been built in from the start in the form of RIFF tags. However, said tags do not allow as rich a range of metadata as tagging schemes in other file formats. Furthermore, reading RIFF tags would be yet-another piece of code that music software programmers have to write and maintain. Meanwhile, other formats use shared tagging schemes, such as ID3, or Vorbis Comments. The result is that WAV library management has always been more difficult compared to other formats.

This has changed fairly recently. WAVs are now being more commonly tagged with ID3 tags, and more and more music software are supporting this. We added WAV tagging to bliss at the end of last year.

This has meant the full range of features in bliss are now available to WAV users; album art, textual metadata tagging, even tagging old untagged WAV files.

Changing WAV album details

A WAV album is treated like any other in bliss. This means the standard bliss album page can be used to change album and artist names. Similarly, album level details such as genre or year can be changed on the same screen.

It also means the same rules that are defined to do things like automatically find year and genre details can be used for WAV albums.

Album art

Album art probably remains the #1 reason people first use bliss. And, just like with textual metadata, the fact that bliss treats WAV albums like any other means the same album art rules will also work.

For example, if you have a high audio quality WAV library, and a smart new hi-fi system with high resolution displays or apps for choosing music, you want high resolution artwork so the system is used to its capability. It's possible to use bliss to upgrade artwork to a higher resolution.

That's one example. Amongst other things, bliss can find missing covers, embed artwork from image files, shrink artwork and check its size on disk too.

And, of course, you can use bliss to simply change artwork to images you have scanned, or found yourself online.

Changing all tags in the tag editor

bliss's "Swiss Army Knife" is the tag editor page which allows all tags in all your files to be changed. This, of course, includes all your WAV files, tagged or not.

You can use the Search field on the Tags page to narrow down your files, for example to show only the tags for one particular album.

Hopefully that was a useful overview of how you can use bliss for WAV tagging, be it editing individual items of textual metadata, applying rules to your collection, or fixing your album artwork!

Thanks to archisculpture for the image above.
tags: metadata

The Music Library Management blog

Dan Gravell

I'm Dan, the founder and programmer of bliss. I write bliss to solve my own problems with my digital music collection.