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ID3v2 vs. APEv2 tags, Which should I use? Pros and cons?
J44xm
post Mar 5 2005, 22:20
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Okay, so I just switched to foobar2000 and things are going well. But I'm really curious whether I should use ID3v2 tags (v1 is out for me) or APEv2. I can't seem to find any good resources that compare the two, here or on the Web. I know ID3v2 rewrites the entire file, which sucks. But I'd like to find some resources that compare the two.
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Jojo
post Mar 6 2005, 02:58
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I use both. I'd like to use APEv2 only, but the only player that supports it that I know of is foobar. iTunes, WMP etc. don't...that's why I need id3v2 tags...however, mp3gain stores all it's tags as APEv2...therefore, I use both smile.gif

If APEv2 gains better software support, I'll just strip out id3v2 tags...


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J44xm
post Mar 6 2005, 06:05
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I really need to settle on a tag format. I might have done APEv2 and ID3v1 but I have a lot of Japanese music and I prefer my tags in the original Japanese. But ID3v2 as I understand it seems to have some very annoying eccentricities, such as having to rewrite the entire file each time a tag is updated because the tags are written at the beginning of the file. (Is that correct? What were they thinking?) Plus I've read here on these forums that ID3v2 is terribly complicated, though I'm not sure how true that is.

APEv2 tags, as you say, aren't very well supported outside of foobar2000. (One of my secondary players, XMPlay, just released an update that recognizes APEv2 tags, though.) Is support for APEv2 expanding in any appreciable way? I can't even find the APEv2 specs anywhere online, including the APE website. I'm confused and frustrated. I need to know how to use APEv2's tags correctly (e.g., Date vs Year, plus the syntax).

This post has been edited by J44xm: Mar 6 2005, 06:21
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ancl
post Mar 6 2005, 19:07
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QUOTE (J44xm @ Mar 6 2005, 06:05 AM)
APEv2 tags, as you say, aren't very well supported outside of foobar2000. (One of my secondary players, XMPlay, just released an update that recognizes APEv2 tags, though.) Is support for APEv2 expanding in any appreciable way? I can't even find the APEv2 specs anywhere online, including the APE website. I'm confused and frustrated. I need to know how to use APEv2's tags correctly (e.g., Date vs Year, plus the syntax).
*


APEv2 is an extension of the Monkey's Audio tagging format, made by Frank Klemm for use with musepack.
You can find the specs on his musepack sv8 page, mirrored here:

http://hydrogenaudio.org/musepack/klemm/ww...sv8/apetag.html
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Jojo
post Mar 6 2005, 20:11
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QUOTE (J44xm @ Mar 5 2005, 09:05 PM)
But ID3v2 as I understand it seems to have some very annoying eccentricities, such as having to rewrite the entire file each time a tag is updated because the tags are written at the beginning of the file. (Is that correct? What were they thinking?) Plus I've read here on these forums that ID3v2 is terribly complicated, though I'm not sure how true that is.
*

that's what padding is for...so the file hasn't been rewriten every time you change something. Also, I've never encountered any problems with ID3v2...

But why are you asking? If your are fine with APEv2 and it's lacking software support, use it, otherwise use ID3v2!


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J44xm
post Mar 6 2005, 22:42
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QUOTE (ancl @ Mar 6 2005, 12:07 PM)
You can find the specs on his musepack sv8 page, mirrored here:
Thanks for the pointer!

QUOTE (Jojo @ Mar 6 2005, 01:11 PM)
But why are you asking? If your are fine with APEv2 and it's lacking software support, use it, otherwise use ID3v2!
I think I'm leaning in that direction. I like the simplicity of the format, but I do miss the ENCODER and ENCODEDBY fields, I admit. Thing is, are there any APEv2 tag editors outside of Foobar that support Unicode characters? Mp3tag doesn't, TagScanner doesn't, Tag&Rename doesn't even load the files when they hold only hold APEv2 tags (which might be a settings issue?).

Thanks.
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echo
post Mar 6 2005, 22:50
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QUOTE (J44xm @ Mar 6 2005, 01:42 PM)
I think I'm leaning in that direction. I like the simplicity of the format, but I do miss the ENCODER and ENCODEDBY fields, I admit.

Well feel free to add them to your files then. APE tags are by no means restricted to some "standard" tags like artist and album. You can use whatever tag you like.

edit: added the word "use"

This post has been edited by echo: Mar 6 2005, 22:52
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J44xm
post Mar 6 2005, 23:01
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Thanks for the reply, Echo. This was actually causing me a bit of confusion because I'm editing my tags with fb2K and checking them with Tag, the command-line utility. This is what I saw for a recent file:

CODE
C:\Documents and Settings\Laptop User\My Documents\music & audio\nintendo\Akihab
ara Electric Circus - Super Mario Bros 3 (1989)\Akihabara Electric Circus - Supe
r Mario Bros 3 - 10 - Ekusutendeddo Bājon.mp3
Format:  MPEG 1 Layer 3, Joint Stereo
Details: 44100 Hz Stereo, 160 kbps, playtime 06:37
Tag:     APE v2.0
Title:   Extended Version [????????·?????]
Artist:  Akihabara Electric Circus
Album:   Super Mario Bros. 3
Year:    1989-12-15
Track:   10/10
Genre:   Game
Comment: Akihabara Electric Circus [?????·???????·????] presents their 1989 albu
m "Super Mario Bros. 3" [????????????3]. The group is comprised of Hideki Matsut
ake [????], Jun Irie [???], Takashi Matsumoto [???]. Information about the album
is available at the Nintendo Music CD Museum (http://www11.ocn.ne.jp/~koholint/
library/ct32-5329.html).
Composer=Koji Kondo [????]
Publisher=Toshiba EMI [??EMI]
Language=Japanese
Media=CD

(Note that I haven't finish editing the this albums's tags, and the question marks indicate Japanese characters that, of course, won't show up in DOS.) I noticed how the last four entries were marked with equals signs instead of colons, and I began to wonder if this meant that these were disallowed tags. But since they are mentioned at the official (?) list of APE Tag Item Keys, I'm not sure what's going on. Does whether a colon or an equals sign is used mean anything? Thanks much. (The official ID3v2 page seems to be clearer than this page is ...)

This post has been edited by J44xm: Mar 6 2005, 23:02
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Fishy Joe
post Mar 6 2005, 23:56
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I use ID3v2 for my mp3 files because I need the tags to be recognised by my ipod/ephpod. For all other formats - lossless, mpc - I use APEv2 tags. They are faster to write due to not having to rewrite the file all the time, and that's all the reason I need. If my portable could read APE tags, I'd stop using ID3 permanently.

edit: my mistake, not ogg

This post has been edited by Fishy Joe: Mar 7 2005, 01:00
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Peter
post Mar 7 2005, 00:15
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QUOTE (Fishy Joe @ Mar 6 2005, 11:56 PM)
I use ID3v2 for my mp3 files because I need the tags to be recognised by my ipod/ephpod. For all other formats - lossless, ogg, mpc - I use APEv2 tags. They are faster to write due to not having to rewrite the file all the time, and that's all the reason I need. If my portable could read APE tags, I'd stop using ID3 permanently.
*

What kind of software writes APEv2 tags to Ogg files ?


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geopoul
post Mar 7 2005, 00:15
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QUOTE (J44xm @ Mar 6 2005, 07:05 AM)
But ID3v2 as I understand it seems to have some very annoying eccentricities, such as having to rewrite the entire file each time a tag is updated because the tags are written at the beginning of the file. (Is that correct? What were they thinking?) Plus I've read here on these forums that ID3v2 is terribly complicated, though I'm not sure how true that is.
*

1) ID3v2 is written at the beginning of the file because this is usefull in streaming situations.
2) Yes, ID3v2 is terribly complicated but this is something that should bother only the developers, not the end users

This post has been edited by geopoul: Mar 7 2005, 00:16
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echo
post Mar 7 2005, 00:21
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QUOTE (J44xm @ Mar 6 2005, 02:01 PM)
Does whether a colon or an equals sign is used mean anything?

Tag just simply displays some tags that are generally considered to be "standard" like artist and title in front of the others and separates tag name and content with a colon. The rest "non standard" tags are displayed after them and name and content are separated with an equal sign. "standard" and "non standard" tags have no difference at all except from the fact that some programs consider them standard. There are no disallowed tags at all. You can easily create a tag like MY_CUSTOM_TAG="abcde" if you like. In the same manner and regarding a previous question of yours you can use DATE or YEAR or whatever you like.
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J44xm
post Mar 7 2005, 01:38
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Year or Date? There must be one that's standardized, though, for loading in GUI-bound taggers. Date would make the most sense, but I think it's Year ...
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Jebus
post Mar 7 2005, 02:04
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ID3v2 is complicated, but not needlessly so as some people here would have you believe. The ability to have custom frames, unicode, variable frame lengths, custom flags, streaming support etc. makes for a complex, but very flexible, tagging system. ID3v1, while simple to code for, is braindead by comparison.

As a USER, not a developer, all you should have to worry about when using ID3v2 is that there is a pause the first time to write the tag, while the tagger writes in the padding. After that, there should be NO DOWNSIDES WHATSOEVER with using ID3v2 tags on modern properly-written MP3 decoding software (which is most or all of it).
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Cosmo
post Mar 7 2005, 02:51
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QUOTE (Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase)
Usually, a rewrite of the file is neccessary each time you update an ID3v2 field.

So... in what cases is the entire file rewritten? Or is it? And if so, is this a source of concern; that an error might be introduced into the audio data during this rewriting?
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niktheblak
post Mar 7 2005, 09:20
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QUOTE (Jebus @ Mar 7 2005, 04:04 AM)
ID3v2 is complicated, but not needlessly so as some people here would have you believe. The ability to have custom frames, unicode, variable frame lengths, custom flags, streaming support etc. makes for a complex, but very flexible, tagging system. ID3v1, while simple to code for, is braindead by comparison.
*

APEv2 tag supports all those things, and it's almost trivial to implement.

QUOTE (Cosmo @ Mar 7 2005, 04:51 AM)
So... in what cases is the entire file rewritten? Or is it? And if so, is this a source of concern; that an error might be introduced into the audio data during this rewriting?

Entire file is rewritten in cases where:
    - ID3v2 tag is written for the first time
    - The tagging software doesn't add or doesn't support padding
    - The added data is larger than the padding
As for introducing errors, well, generally no. However, on the grounds of my programming experience with ID3v2 tags, I wouldn't be surprised if at least some ID3v2 implementations were rather buggy. And most taggers implement only a subset of ID3v2 functionality; you can just hope that tagger B supports the features that tagger A included to the tag.
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faceless007
post Mar 7 2005, 09:56
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The other thing is that while ID3v2 supports frames for more data then you could possibly want to include in your music (Individual musicians, involved persons, Orchestra, Conductor, Original lyrics writer), there are very few player and tagger programs that support any but the most essential tag data, like Artist, Album, Track, etc. ID3-TagIt supports most, if not all of ID3v2's tags, and I've never had a problem writing new tags with it (when it writes a new tag, it pads with 2KB at the front for future changes). But if you can't find a player that supports those frames, there's not much point. (Not even Winamp recogizes the "Disc" tag, which I find indispensable. I think foobar does though.)
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dev0
post Mar 7 2005, 13:01
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QUOTE (J44xm @ Mar 7 2005, 01:38 AM)
Year or Date? There must be one that's standardized, though, for loading in GUI-bound taggers. Date would make the most sense, but I think it's Year ...
*

Just use DATE in fb2k. foobar2000's tag writing is clever enough to map this to the appropriate fields ('Year' in ID3v1 and APEv2).

foobar2000's standard field names are based on the Vorbis Comment standard.


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J44xm
post Mar 8 2005, 00:44
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Thanks, everyone. Should I use track numbers like "6/13" in Ogg Vorbis comments, or should I use two separate fields (adding, for example, TOTALTRACKS or something)? Or does it matter? I'm trying to remain as close to the standards as possible here ...

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Jebus
post Mar 8 2005, 03:34
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QUOTE (faceless007 @ Mar 7 2005, 12:56 AM)
The other thing is that while ID3v2 supports frames for more data then you could possibly want to include in your music (Individual musicians, involved persons, Orchestra, Conductor, Original lyrics writer), there are very few player and tagger programs that support any but the most essential tag data, like Artist, Album, Track, etc.  ID3-TagIt supports most, if not all of ID3v2's tags, and I've never had a problem writing new tags with it (when it writes a new tag, it pads with 2KB at the front for future changes).  But if you can't find a player that supports those frames, there's not much point.  (Not even Winamp recogizes the "Disc" tag, which  I find indispensable.  I think foobar does though.)
*



Well i hope you aren't using that as your argument for why APE is better then. First of all, ID3v2 doesn't store frames unless they have something in them, so they're only there if you want to use them. Second of all, APE frames are almost universally not read at all, anywhere wink.gif
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Jebus
post Mar 8 2005, 03:35
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I just don't understand why someone would choose MP3 over MPC (well, for compatibility, right??) and then choose an incompatible tagging system. MP3 + ID3v2 is THE defacto standard for audio... if you're listening on a PC with Foobar, wicked... use those APE tags... but with MPC or FLAC or something!!

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VolMax
post Mar 8 2005, 08:10
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Type

Artist="The Artist"
Title="The Title"
Album="Blank"

in fb2k using APEv2 only
to the new MP3 without any tags (especially without RG tags), all other fields leave blank

open resulting mp3 in winamp or any tagger except fb2k

Almost any program will think the file contains ID3v1. If you edit this "tag", ape will got corrupted. WHY the creators of APE used a part of ID3v1 signature "TAG" in their own signature???

Also this situation may appear if one of the APE fields contains "TAG" (VOLTAGE,STAGE,VINTAGE) in the appropriate position.

<so, APE must not (correct me, if there is another way) be used without ID3v1, to prevent this situation>

I like ID3v2, but most programs does not support even the essential features, like unicode. I dont speaking about unique and also intresting features like unsynchronisation... So, the two widely supported features of ID3v2 over ID3v1 are only the larger number of letters possible and more fields.

Maybe APE is good and easy, but its usability with MP3 format is doubtful...
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schonenberg
post Mar 8 2005, 13:23
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On the "stardard inputs" properties in fb2k, you should
choose id3v1 + id3v2, for compatibility with everything else. Then fb2k will use id3 tags with mp3.
Fb2k will automatically use ApeV2 tags with MPC, as Ape tags are
the standard for them, and any MPC decoder should use them, correct? Also isn't there some conflict with
using ape and id3v2 tags?

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SamK
post Mar 8 2005, 13:33
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QUOTE (VolMax @ Mar 8 2005, 08:10 AM)
Type

Artist="The Artist"
Title="The Title"
Album="Blank"

in fb2k using APEv2 only
to the new MP3 without any tags (especially without RG tags), all other fields leave blank

open resulting mp3 in winamp or any tagger except fb2k

Almost any program will think the file contains ID3v1. If you edit this "tag", ape will got corrupted. WHY the creators of APE used a part of ID3v1 signature "TAG" in their own signature???


??
the marker for id3 frames is ID3, not TAG..
I don't see a reason why a player would overwrite the APE tag at all. and I've never seen it happen. Well, the only case when I change ID3 tags out of foobar is when I use RioMusicManager, I never use winamp. and I didnt disable foobar's ID3v1 writing (why would you ??)
winamp might be doing wicked things..

QUOTE
<so, APE must not (correct me, if there is another way) be used without ID3v1, to prevent this situation>

I really dont think so. no player should confuse an APE tag with an ID3 frame, unless it's really broken.
But honestly, I dont disable the ID3v1 tags, they're a nice fallback for the players not supporting APEv2.

personnally, I use APEv2, and the id3v1 are enough when I play files on my Rio Karma DAP.

QUOTE
Maybe APE is good and easy, but its usability with MP3 format is doubtful...


well it depends on how you use it, I guess. I find it quite useful on my 50 gig MP3 collection.
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SamK
post Mar 8 2005, 13:39
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QUOTE (schonenberg @ Mar 8 2005, 01:23 PM)
Also isn't there some conflict with using ape and id3v2 tags?


No. It's just that storing information in 2 redundant sets of tags is asking for trouble.
(one player might modify the id3v2, then another one might use the APEv2 tags rather than id3v2, even if it sees both - there's no way to know which set of tags is the more up-to-date)
well, players could add a "comment date" tag when they modify the APE tags.
But since there's no id3 tag for that, and anyway you could never be sure other players used such tags, foobar could only check the file's modification date to try to guess if the id3 tags have been updated.. and that wouldnt be very reliable.
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