• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Introducing Tonal – A Minimalist Music App for Collectors and Audiophiles

Frank Dernie

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
1,707
Likes
2,218
Location
Oxfordshire
#21
Hello, Frank! Thank you for sharing your valuable thoughts. I believe I understand your concern. Local storage gives me more confidence as well.

Sometimes I’m afraid of losing my digital collection (hard drive failure, etc.) or lack of accessibility (leaving home without external drive or NAS). I’m not preaching the cloud-based concept, Tonal is just an experiment.

As a collector, I would like to give it a try and see if it works for me. If you give it a try, you may find other features such as the managed metadata engine very interesting.

Have a nice day!
Thanks for the reply. My solution for music whilst travelling, I was travelling for my work for 35 years before I retired, evolved at the technology changed. In 1976, my first year racing, I just had to put up with no music whilst away from home. The original Walkman came out in 1979 iirc, and was pretty expensive, but our driver, Alan Jones, bought one and I was sufficiently impressed to save up. I had been making my own recordings for 10 years already and this meant transcribing them from reel to reel tape to cassette and recording my favourite LPs to cassette. Little by little I ended up carrying larger and larger briefcases with more and more cassettes...
I upgraded walkman from time to time then tried MD and portable CD players but the biggest step came with the announcement of the iPod which I preordered and I ended up, for the first time in many years, with a briefcase of sensible size and weight.
The only problem, for me, with my iPod, was that Steve Jobs was uninterested in classical music and had chosen a file structure of artist and album name, and called the tracks "songs" (FFS). This meant ripping my mainly classical CDs gave a scrambled iTunes library hopelessly disorganised, since each track of a classical work may well have a list of different artists. I resolved this by simply making each classical work a playlist with a title chosen to make sure it listed in a logical order. This still is the way I use ripped music. Normal metadata still results in a scrambled mess of a music library for classical music.
I still don't have the problems you mention. The risk of loss of data is mitigated by backups (I have been using computers since 1970 and with early hard drives the size of as washing machine data loss was a much bigger risk than today). I don't need to leave home with a hard drive or NAS since my music library is all on my phone (or A&K portable player).
Not trying to be argumentative here, just pointing out that not all music lovers will benefit from your interesting experiment.
Cheers!
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
Location
Beijing, China
#22
Thanks for the reply. My solution for music whilst travelling, I was travelling for my work for 35 years before I retired, evolved at the technology changed. In 1976, my first year racing, I just had to put up with no music whilst away from home. The original Walkman came out in 1979 iirc, and was pretty expensive, but our driver, Alan Jones, bought one and I was sufficiently impressed to save up. I had been making my own recordings for 10 years already and this meant transcribing them from reel to reel tape to cassette and recording my favourite LPs to cassette. Little by little I ended up carrying larger and larger briefcases with more and more cassettes...
I upgraded walkman from time to time then tried MD and portable CD players but the biggest step came with the announcement of the iPod which I preordered and I ended up, for the first time in many years, with a briefcase of sensible size and weight.
The only problem, for me, with my iPod, was that Steve Jobs was uninterested in classical music and had chosen a file structure of artist and album name, and called the tracks "songs" (FFS). This meant ripping my mainly classical CDs gave a scrambled iTunes library hopelessly disorganised, since each track of a classical work may well have a list of different artists. I resolved this by simply making each classical work a playlist with a title chosen to make sure it listed in a logical order. This still is the way I use ripped music. Normal metadata still results in a scrambled mess of a music library for classical music.
I still don't have the problems you mention. The risk of loss of data is mitigated by backups (I have been using computers since 1970 and with early hard drives the size of as washing machine data loss was a much bigger risk than today). I don't need to leave home with a hard drive or NAS since my music library is all on my phone (or A&K portable player).
Not trying to be argumentative here, just pointing out that not all music lovers will benefit from your interesting experiment.
Cheers!
Hi, Frank! I enjoy your story, indeed! And I am glad that your current solution works! IIRC, Jobs listen to Bach and Yo-Yo Ma, but not on his iPod I guess. :p Let’s forget about the cloud vs. local debate happily. Since you’re a “classical” guy, I think we could talk something related to classical music.

In my original post, I demonstrated two screenshots of two classical albums: Sokolov and Alice Sara Ott. More screenshots attached in this reply. Do you think the metadata (track information, composer, structure, and the side note below cover art) is acceptable? Do you think it’s better than your current solution (your phone or A&K)? If that’s not impressive, could you kindly let me know how it could be better?

The experiment targets 3 separate issues. If the second one (metadata) is promising, I’m still looking for approaches to improve your music experience, at my best.

Wishes!

ss_4.png Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 11.04.57 AM.png ss_4d.png ss_4b.png
 
Last edited:

Frank Dernie

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
1,707
Likes
2,218
Location
Oxfordshire
#23

svart-hvitt

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 31, 2017
Messages
2,375
Likes
1,133
#24
DOWNLOAD BUTTON?

Say you have everything in the cloud. Will you offer a button to download everything from cloud account to a local PC, including metadata? This option is for people who see the point of using cloud computing but still want to keep a physical copy in a «safe» place.
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
Location
Beijing, China
#25
these all look good to me! Are you creating this data from internet knowledge of the file or does the owner have to key it in?
Haha, Frank! I’m so happy you think the metadata engine is promising. I’m motivated to bring the metadata part to your music experience!

An algorithm is trained to create the initial version of the metadata, from several data sources. From there, a community of contributors will improve the metadata continuously. The owner does not need to key in anything. Just enjoy your music collection.

If you would like to know more about the process, I’m presenting the source code of the Sokolov album.

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 8.32.01 PM.png
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
Location
Beijing, China
#26
DOWNLOAD BUTTON?

Say you have everything in the cloud. Will you offer a button to download everything from cloud account to a local PC, including metadata? This option is for people who see the point of using cloud computing but still want to keep a physical copy in a «safe» place.
Hello, svart-hvitt! Thank you for your great suggestion. I can see your point!

I would like to offer a button (or a similar approach) to cache albums you specified locally, within the Tonal app. You can play cached albums even without an internet connection.

Currently, I’m not very interested in downloading your albums from the cloud back to your file system (although this is viable theoretically). Because no other player can offer the same metadata experience as Tonal. Please correct and blame me if that’s not true.

Thank you.
 

svart-hvitt

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 31, 2017
Messages
2,375
Likes
1,133
#27
Tonal doesn’t accept .aif files?

I tried to download an .aif album. «No disc exist».
 
Last edited:

March Audio

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
3,910
Likes
3,729
Location
Perth Western Australia
#32
Hello, svart-hvitt! Thank you for your great suggestion. I can see your point!

I would like to offer a button (or a similar approach) to cache albums you specified locally, within the Tonal app. You can play cached albums even without an internet connection.

Currently, I’m not very interested in downloading your albums from the cloud back to your file system (although this is viable theoretically). Because no other player can offer the same metadata experience as Tonal. Please correct and blame me if that’s not true.

Thank you.
Hi Baoshan

Im sorry if this comes across a bit negative, whilst its great to have alternatives to choose from with media players, Im not entirely clear on what is new about this.

Roon integrates my local music library (which is backed up to the cloud) with Tidal streaming service, it has extensive metadata, can serve multiple zones, you can make it accessible anywhere via a VPN and works with PC, linux and mac. Of course Roon is expensive as a downside.

https://roonlabs.com/index.html

I would like to try your software but I am PC only.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
Location
Beijing, China
#34
Hi Baoshan

Im sorry if this comes across a bit negative, whilst its great to have alternatives to choose from with media players, Im not entirely clear on what is new about this.

Roon integrates my local music library (which is backed up to the cloud) with Tidal streaming service, it has extensive metadata, can serve multiple zones and works with PC, linux and mac. Of course Roon is expensive.

https://roonlabs.com/index.html
Hello, BE718!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Tonal does these things which Roon lacks:

  1. Audio verification by AccurateRip and CUETools, which ensures all your cloud-hosted audios are perfect without glitches.
  2. Metadata. Personally, I believe the screenshots I presented demonstrated a better metadata experience than Tidal. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
  3. Playback engine. Tonal dives into the HAL layer, with a microkernel of less than 50 disassembly codes. One of our competitors has 2000+ disassembly codes serving the same purpose. Since this is a science forum, I think from an engineering point of view, Tonal did the correct thing.
I’m still open to your critics and thank you again for your great thoughts.
 

March Audio

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
3,910
Likes
3,729
Location
Perth Western Australia
#36
Hello, BE718!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Tonal does these things which Roon lacks:

  1. Audio verification by AccurateRip and CUETools, which ensures all your cloud-hosted audios are perfect without glitches.
  2. Metadata. Personally, I believe the screenshots I presented demonstrated a better metadata experience than Tidal. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
  3. Playback engine. Tonal dives into the HAL layer, with a microkernel of less than 50 disassembly codes. One of our competitors has 2000+ disassembly codes serving the same purpose. Since this is a science forum, I think from an engineering point of view, Tonal did the correct thing.
I’m still open to your critics and thank you again for your great thoughts.
1. I ripped my cds with dbpoweramp so they have already been verified by accuraterip.

2. Roons metadata isnt based on Tidals. Download the free trial and have a play.

3. I am not a software coder, but there doesnt seem to be a problem with Roons playback. It sounds as good as any and has tiny cpu load.
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
Location
Beijing, China
#37
Hi Baoshan

Im sorry if this comes across a bit negative, whilst its great to have alternatives to choose from with media players, Im not entirely clear on what is new about this.

Roon integrates my local music library (which is backed up to the cloud) with Tidal streaming service, it has extensive metadata, can serve multiple zones, you can make it accessible anywhere via a VPN and works with PC, linux and mac. Of course Roon is expensive as a downside.

https://roonlabs.com/index.html

I would like to try your software but I am PC only.
I’m sorry for another reply. There’re 3 articles explaining the internals of Tonal and how the decisions we made make a difference:

  1. Part 1: Audio Data — White-Glove Service for Your Collection
  2. Part 2: Music Metadata — The New, Old Problem
  3. Part 3: Playback Engine — Demystifying the “Black Art”
Pick your favorite topic when you have time and mood. Thanks.
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
Location
Beijing, China
#38
1. I ripped my cds with dbpoweramp so they have already been verified by accuraterip.

2. Roons metadata isnt based on Tidals. Download the free trial and have a play.

3. I am not a software coder, but there doesnt seem to be a problem with Roons playback. It sounds as good as any and has tiny cpu load.
Thanks for your reply! I agree with what you said.

Tonal is an integrated app combining features offered by several separate software. Plus, a new metadata engine which at least is different from current solutions. The screenshot attached feels more natural to some users I surveyed. I’m not advertising Tonal as something groundbreaking, but a natural way and a one-stop solution for some audiophiles and collectors.

Wishes.
 

Attachments

Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
Location
Beijing, China
#39
Thanks to @BE718 for mentioning the great app Roons.

I’m posting the same album rendered by both Roons and Tonal. This is not saying one is better than another, just a different taste I think.

201710_roon1.jpg Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 12.06.54 AM.png
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,426
Likes
523
#40
Hi, Frank! I enjoy your story, indeed! And I am glad that your current solution works! IIRC, Jobs listen to Bach and Yo-Yo Ma, but not on his iPod I guess. :p Let’s forget about the cloud vs. local debate happily. Since you’re a “classical” guy, I think we could talk something related to classical music.

In my original post, I demonstrated two screenshots of two classical albums: Sokolov and Alice Sara Ott. More screenshots attached in this reply. Do you think the metadata (track information, composer, structure, and the side note below cover art) is acceptable? Do you think it’s better than your current solution (your phone or A&K)? If that’s not impressive, could you kindly let me know how it could be better?

The experiment targets 3 separate issues. If the second one (metadata) is promising, I’m still looking for approaches to improve your music experience, at my best.

Wishes!

View attachment 11382 View attachment 11383 View attachment 11384 View attachment 11385
The metadata looks generally good, but I would prefer to also see a Subgenre within Classical: Symphony, Orchestral, Chorus & Orchestra, Piano Concerto, Violin, Piano, Chamber, etc., etc.

I generally search by my large classical library first by Genre=Classical, then Composer, Subgenre, then Composition and Album or Artist from the lists/icons provided at each deeper level provided by the search. I use JRiver for that and it works quite well.

But, my library is mostly hirez Mch and over 30TBs, so a cloud solution is likely infeasible for me.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom