Edit Mode

Essential reading


Revising (paragraph 1)

Creating (the first paragraph of each of the four steps)

File mode (paragraph 2)


Edit mode can be used for two purposes, revising an existing recording and creating a new one. We will discuss these two uses separately. In Edit mode, note that the panel on the left is used to specify the metadata and the panel on the right is used to obtain the sound data – by ripping, importing, or reusing. Ripping is the most common operation, so we will describe the use of the left panel in that context initially. When you first enter Edit mode, you are in CD mode by default (obtain sound data from a CD). The other modes are File (obtain sound data from files) and Rec (reuse sound data from an existing recording). Use the radio buttons on the panel below the global controls to select the desired mode.


To revise an existing recording, first select it (in Select mode) and then switch to Edit mode. When you switch to Edit mode with a recording selected, Wax enters all the metadata in widgets that support editing. To edit work metadata, just click in the entry for the item you want to edit. To edit track metadata, click once to select the track and again to enter Edit mode. When you are done editing the track, click somewhere else or press enter. Notice that when you first enter Edit mode with a recording selected, the Save button is insensitive. There is no reason to save the metadata until you have made a change. As soon as you make a change, the Save button becomes sensitive.


If you make one or more changes without saving and then decide that you want to start over, you can select Edit mode again. The work is still selected in Select mode, so you will reenter Edit mode with the original metadata.

You can also revise a recording by deleting a track (or tracks). Simply uncheck the save box (see figure below) for the tracks you want to delete. They will disappear when you save the recording.

Changing the cover art will also revise a recording.


If you change the genre while revising a recording, you leave revise mode because you are creating a new recording in the new genre.


Creating a new recording is more complicated. There are four steps:

  • Select the genre. Select the genre for the new recording. If the genre has a subgenre, a second button will appear.

    Note that you are permitted to change the genre (or subgenre) after performing any of the steps below. When you do, Wax will derive new default values from the metadata it might have downloaded (in the next step) using the specifications for the new genre (extractors). Consequently, you will lose any changes you might have made in corresponding metadata fields. Wax will also update the short form of primary metadata values using the abbreviators (abbreviators) for the new genre. Otherwise, Wax does its best to preserve metadata values you entered by hand.

  • Rip the CD. Insert the CD in the optical drive, then press the Read CD button. On pressing the Read CD button, Wax will erase any metadata that might be present and fill the metadata forms (the forms on the left panel) either with metadata that it finds on the Internet or with default values. It fills the form in the right panel with information it obtains from the table of contents on the CD. Use this form to specify which tracks to rip. If any tracks have already been ripped, Wax renders their description in a white font. Otherwise, grey. By default, Wax selects for ripping (using the checkboxes at the left side of the panel) any tracks that have not already been ripped. After adjusting these selections, decide whether you want to play the tracks at the same time that you rip. Once you have selected the desired operations (rip and/or play), you can click the Start button to initiate the operations. (Note that the Start button will be insensitive if no tracks are selected for ripping.) The control panel is replaced with a panel containing a progress bar for monitoring progress through each track and a Stop button to abort the operation.


    Normally you will want to initiate the rip operation immediately because it takes time. Once it is underway, you can attend to the other steps required to create a new recording (below).


    Note that it is possible to play without ripping if you just want to listen to a CD without creating a new recording in your archive. You still read the CD, as before, and then use the form on the right to specify which tracks you want to play. When you click Start with just the play operation checked, Wax will play the selected tracks without ripping them.


    You can play works already in your collection while ripping. You can also start playing a new recording while polishing its metadata as soon as you create it (but see the warning below).


    Once you start ripping a CD, Edit mode is dedicated to creating a new recording based on that CD. You can still return to Select mode, select a recording, and even view its metadata in Play mode. However, if you return to Edit mode with an unrelated recording selected, you will not enter revise mode on that selection, as described above. Instead, you will find yourself back in create mode with any metadata that you might have entered for the recording that is currently ripping. However, if you select a recording that corresponds to the CD that is currently ripping (and the tracks for the recording include the one that is currently ripping), its metadata will appear (and you will be in revise mode) when you return to Edit mode. In short, Wax gives priority while ripping to any metadata you already entered unless it recognizes the CD, in which case it will present the metadata that you created previously.

    There is a similar situation in which Wax will preserve preexisting metadata. If you enter Edit mode with a recording selected (you are in revise mode) and then you read the corresponding CD, Wax will not overwrite your metadata. It will only create the form on the right for specifying which tracks to rip. Again, when Wax recognizes the CD, it assumes that you want to keep metadata already present (but read the warning above). It’s a minor feature, but if you ever start ripping a CD and don’t finish, this feature allows you to select the recording that you created and then go to Edit mode to finish ripping.


    If the CD was previously at least partially ripped, Wax will automatically perform a sibling search and put the results in the Search panel in Select mode. If you were surprised to learn that you had previously ripped the CD, examining the search results will remind you of the recordings that you created previously from the CD.

  • Enter the metadata. The steps required to enter the metadata depend on the degree of success Wax had in retrieving metadata from sources on the Internet. Sometimes, Wax succeeds in finding all the metadata for both the work and the tracks. It might even have found the cover art automatically. If so, you are ready to save. If not, you will need to intervene.

    Wax will fill in metadata automatically only when it finds the metadata at MusicBrainz (because the metadata at MusicBrainz is reliable). If Wax finds metadata at FreeDB, you can view it on the raw metadata panel, which appears below the panel for specifying the tracks to rip. Drag the divider to expose more of the raw metadata panel. Wax forces the last line to be visible so that it can present messages there. You will be able to see reports on what metadata Wax found at each of its two sources, MusicBrainz and FreeDB.

    If Wax found metadata only at FreeDB, you can tell Wax to use them. Note that FreeDB often has more than one entry for the same recording. Wax will display the first five. Each will have a button associated with it. If you want to use any of the versions obtained from FreeDB, click the associated button.

    If Wax did not find metadata at either source, then you will have to type it in (see Work metadata and Track metadata below) or use the trick described in the tip in File mode below.


    If the metadata are incorrect or incomplete, then you will need to edit or enter the metadata manually. Simply typing the metadata is always an option. However, you might be able to minimize typing – which can be inconvenient if you are not working at your desktop system – by extracting metadata manually from the raw metadata panel. Start by highlighting the desired string. You don’t have to be precise when selecting the source metadata as Wax will automatically widen the selection to encompass full words. Once you have made your selection, you can drag it to the appropriate entry for work metadata. You can also use standard cut-and-paste commands:

    • ctrl-c to copy the selection to the clipboard
    • ctrl-v to paste it

    For track metadata, it is not possible to drag selections (selecting the text on the right panel closes the track), so you must use cut-and-paste.


    There are two methods for entering Unicode characters. The first always works, as long as you know the Unicode code point. You use a special sequence of keystrokes to signify Unicode and then the appropriate code. Follow the directions in the Appendix (unicode).

    The other method is to use the Unicode keyboard. It resides on a panel that is normally hidden. The item “Show/hide Unicode kbd” in the Options menu toggles visibility, as does the keyboard shortcut ctrl-u (note that you will use ctrl-shift-u – that is, ctrl-U (capital u) – when entering unicode characters from the keyboard). If you can find the Unicode character you need on this panel (there are 143 characters), click on it to make it appear at the cursor. The cursor will already be where you want the character to appear normally because you were probably already typing other characters. If not, be sure to position it first. Note that you can use the Unicode keyboard for track metadata as well as for work metadata. Also note that the Unicode keyboard also copies the character to the clipboard, so if you need the character again (e.g., for the short form), you can just type ctrl-v.

  • Save the recording. Once you have entered the metadata, you are ready to create a new recording by clicking the Save button with New checked. Note that the first time you save metadata after reading a CD you must create a new recording (Wax does not permit you to uncheck the box). However, after you have created at least one new recording, you decide whether subsequent changes were meant to revise the most recent recording or create a new one. Note that Wax will permit you to save the metadata as long as you have specified the primary metadata and you have ticked at least one track for saving. You can then revise any of the metadata and save again (be sure that New is not checked).


    Once you have saved the recording, Wax automatically selects it. If no recording is in the play queue, this automatic selection renders the new recording playable, so the play button will appear. You can click the play button to start play, but beware if the rip operation is still underway because Wax cannot play what hasn’t been ripped. Because ripping is faster than playing, it should be safe to start playing as soon as the first track has been ripped.


    If you ever try to play a track that has not yet been ripped, you will hear a warning sound to tell you that the sound file is not available.


    Before leaving Edit mode, always look at the Save button. If it is sensitive, something has changed since the last time you saved. You probably want to click the Save button before you leave. If you leave without saving again, you will lose the latest changes.

Next, we will look more closely at the steps involved in creating work and track metadata.

Work metadata


Notice that primary work metadata (the metadata that appear in Select mode) have two entries. One is for the long form and the other the short form. The width of the entry for the short form reflects the current width of the colum in Select mode, so you can tell immediately whether the string that you entered will fit. Notice when you enter something in an entry for the long form that Wax will usually guess what you want to put in the entry for the short form (assuming that you specified the appropriate abbreviator). In many cases, it will choose the last name. In other cases, it will omit articles (“the” or “a”, for example). If you don’t like the guess, edit it. Be aware that Wax sorts metadata based on the short form (see guidelines below).

Also notice that entries have arrows to their left (the “name group” feature). Click on these to open additional entries for the given metadata key. For example, a key called “artist” takes the name of one artist, by default. If a work has two or more, use the arrow to open additional entries.


Page Down opens additional entries (but you have to be in the line of an entry with the arrow). Page Up closes them. ctrl-Down and ctrl-Up serve the same purpose. They are mainly for Apple users. You do not actually have to close additional entries if you decide not to use them because Wax ignores empty entries.

You specify secondary work metadata (metadata that appear only in Play mode) using the fields below the ones for the primary work metadata. They work in the same manner as the fields for the primary metadata, but there is only a long form (because there is always room in Play mode for the entire value).

Permanent secondary metadata are specified in the genre template. They appear automatically in Edit mode and they have specifications for extractors and tags. You are not required to assign a value to these keys, but the requisite fields will be available to you automatically

Extended secondary metadata are special metadata that apply to specific recordings. A recording of Peter and the Wolf may need a place to put the name of the speaker. Click on +Meta to open an additional field. It works in the same way as the other fields except that you also specify the key (e.g., “speaker”).


Keys for metadata must be unique. Wax already enforced this requirement when you specified primary and secondary metadata fields while creating a new genre. However, you have another opportunity to violate this edict when creating extended secondary metadata. If you do, Wax will enforce the edict when you save by merging the values for any new extended metadata fields into preexisting metadata fields with the same key.

The behavior of the save button is slightly different in create mode. Remember that when you are revising a recording, the save button becomes sensitive as soon as you have made a change (there is something to save). When you are creating a new recording, the save button becomes sensitive as soon as you have specified the minimum amount of metadata to create the new recording. You don’t have to fill in everything to create a new recording. At a minimum:

  • Specify the primary work metadata (the metadata on the Work page between the first two horizontal lines).
  • Tick at least one track for saving.

You don’t even have to enter the track metadata because Wax already provided default track titles. Everything that you did not specify you can do later (in revise mode). Normally, though, you will enter all the metadata when you create the new recording.

Wax provides automatic completion for values you type into permanent work metadata or property fields. As you type additional characters, Wax winnows the list of completion options. Certain keys (composer, conductor, orchestra, and others) have predefined completion values (and you can define your own completion values for any key). Any new value that you type in an entry becomes a transient value; it will appear in the list of completions the next time you enter a value (up to a limit of 6 values). You can also make a transient completion simply by positioning the cursor in an entry with a desired value. Use this feature to copy a value from one recording to another: Select the recording with the desired metadata value, go to Edit mode, position the cursor in the entry (or succession of entries) with the desired value. When you create the new recording, the metadata values in the entries you selected will appear in the completion list. Note that automatic completion can be a convenient way to deal with Unicode values.

Track metadata


When Wax finds metadata on the Internet, you will find the track entries already filled in. When Wax fails to find metadata for a work on the Internet, it still knows how many tracks are on the CD because that information is in the table of contents on the CD itself. In that case, it creates entries for the appropriate number of tracks and gives them default names (Track1, Track2, etc.). To edit the track metadata, click once to select the track and again to open it for editing. When you are done, click outside the track or type enter. Hit Esc to leave Edit mode without saving the changes.

Secondary track metadata

When entering track metadata, you will typically enter the title of the track as the primary track metadata. Sometimes, you will want to include additional information that appears when you are playing a recording. For example, for an album of showtunes, you will enter the title of the song as the primary track metadata, but then you need a place to put the names of the performers and the composer and lyricist. Use the +Meta (add metadata) button. It opens a field like the one for extended work metadata. You can specify the key (spaces permitted) and the value. Click it as many times as necessary to preserve all the metadata you want to associate with a track. Note that when you enter Edit mode to edit existing metadata, these fields will appear automatically when you select a track that has additional metadata.

Track groups

To group tracks, select the first track in the group and then select the last track in the group while holding the shift key. Once you have specified a group, the group button will become sensitive. Click it to form the group. Wax will automatically extract a common string and make it the title of the group. For example, if the tracks are named “Ballade No. 1, Ballade No. 2, and so on, Wax will extract “Ballade” as the name of the group (it intentionally leaves “No.” behind in the track titles, which is where you want it). It will leave the rest of the text (No. 1, No. 2, ...) as the names of the tracks within the group. If Wax takes too much text to the group title, you can restore the excess to the track titles. Open the group, delete the extra characters from the end of the group title, and type enter. The characters that you just deleted will be restored to all the tracks. If you want to delete characters from the group title without restoring them to all the tracks, close the group first. When you are restoring characters from a track group title to the track titles, note that Wax will put a space between the restored characters and the existing track titles. If you restored the characters inadvertently, they are still common prefixes so you can recover by ungrouping and then regrouping.

To ungroup a track group, first select the group. The Ungroup button will become sensitive. Click it to ungroup the tracks. If there is a track group title, it will be restored to the individual tracks (with a space after it). If you do not want the track group title to be restored, delete it first.


The group/ungroup functionality can be useful when importing even when you are not trying to create a group. It is common for tracks to be titled with the name of the work as well as the name of the track (for example, “Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73: IV. Allegro con spirito”). Because Wax provides a better place to store the title of the work (in the work metadata), we generally do not want to retain this redundant information in the track metadata. (Retaining it not only wastes space, it risks crowding the unique part of the track title off the screen.) Simply select the four movements of the work and then group them. Wax will extract the common string – in this case, the title of the work – and make it the title of the group. The new group title will be selected automatically upon creation of the group. Just type ctrl-x to delete the title and copy it to your clipboard. Click somewhere on the panel other than the track group to close the Edit mode (or type return). Now ungroup. Wax will have removed the common string from the titles of the tracks. Now go to the Work tab. Clear the work field, position the cursor in the field, and type ctrl-v. Wax will paste the string that you deleted from the group title into the work field. It’s harder to explain than it is to do it. Once you get the hang of this operation, extracting metadata when importing becomes surprisingly quick.

Note that it is not permitted to have track groups within groups. If you select a range of tracks that includes a track group, the group button will remain insensitive.

Keyboard shortcuts

You can use keyboard shortcuts to speed the process of entering track metadata. Select the first track and open it for editing. Type in the metadata, then type enter and the down arrow. Hitting enter closes the field and the down arrow moves to the next track. Now type enter again and the next track will open for editing.

  • ctrl-m opens a field for secondary metadata (like clicking the +Meta button)
  • ctrl-g creates a track group from a selected range of tracks
  • ctrl-G (Ctrl-Shift g) ungroups a track group
  • ctrl-s toggles the segue flag of selected tracks or track groups
  • down arrow moves to the next track
  • enter opens or closes a track
  • ctrl-u toggles visibility of the unicode keyboard

Multiple works from one CD

The track page has a column of checkboxes on the left. They are used to select the tracks that you want to include in the new recording. Usually you will want to save all the tracks, so Wax selects them by default. Sometimes, you will want to specify fewer. One possibility is that you are not interested in including part of a CD in your collection. Another possibility is that there is more than one work on the CD. For example, one CD might have both Symphony No. 29 and Symphony No. 38 by Mozart. You should make separate recordings for these two works because it will be easier to find them that way. Wax makes it possible to create one recording with a compound work (use the right arrow to create additional entries for the second work), but then if you were to sort by the work column, Wax will sort by the first work. The second one (Symphony No. 38, in this example), will appear with Symphony No. 29, so it will be out of sequence with respect to the other symphonies by Mozart. You usually want to create separate recordings for distinct works (work orientation).

To create separate recordings, first select the tracks for the first work. When you click save, only they will be saved along with the work metadata that you specify. To save the second work, change the work metadata appropriately, then change the track selection to the second work (perhaps by clicking the Reverse button). Before you click save, note the New checkbox. It is checked by default when you enter Edit mode in create mode because your purpose is to create a new recording. Once you save the first work, though, Wax will clear the checkbox because usually any subsequent save is for saving changes that you made to the metadata for the recording that you just created. However, if you are actually creating an additional recording, tick the checkbox again. If you forget to tick it, then you will overwrite the metadata for the first recording (in which case you should just select the tracks for the first work again and then save them again – with New checked this time!).

Single work from multiple CDs

You have just learned how to create multiple recordings from a single CD. Next we will consider the opposite case: one recording from multiple CDs. Some works (e.g., most operas) are too long to fit on a single CD. Nevertheless, we want to store them in Wax as a single work. Start by entering the metadata for the first CD as described above. Insert the second CD and press the +Tracks button (not Read CD!). The tracks from the second CD will appear below the ones from the first CD. Wax will not alter the work metadata (as it would if you clicked Read CD). If you used the save button after ripping the first CD (with New checked), you have already created the new recording. After adding the tracks from the second CD, be sure that New is not checked. If you did not save after ripping the first CD, then New should be checked. Just remember to check it the first time you use the save button for the work and only the first time.

Multiple works from multiple CDs

You may also encounter a multi-CD set with multiple works, e.g., various works by one composer spanning multiple CDs. The most straightforward way to handle this situation is through a combination of the techniques in the previous two sections. Start by clicking Read CD for the first CD and rip its tracks. Then click +Tracks for subsequent CDs and rip their tracks. Select the tracks that correspond to the first work. Enter the appropriate metadata for the work and save a new recording. Select the tracks for the next work, enter its work metadata, and save another new recording. Continue until you have created new recordings for all the works on all the CDs. The procedure is the same as the one for creating multiple works from a single CD except that you use +Tracks to add tracks from all CDs subsequent to the first.


As long as you stay in Edit mode, you can create new recordings anytime. For example, after you start ripping the first CD, feel free to create new recordings corresponding to works on the first CD even though Wax does not yet know that the CD is part of a set. When you add tracks from subsequent CDs, Wax will automatically adjust the recordings for preceding CDs to reflect that they are part of a multi-CD set. Just be sure that you use +Tracks for all CDs after the first. This feature allows you to work more efficiently by entering metadata while Wax is ripping.


Wax will permit you to treat each CD in the set separately (click Read CD with every CD in the set rather than Read CD for the first followed by +Tracks for the rest). If you do, Wax will have no way to know that the works came from the same CD set. The recordings that you create will work fine in every way except one: If you do a sibling search with a work from one of the CDs, the search will find siblings from the same CD, but not from other CDs in the set. If sibling search is not important to you, feel free to use this procedure rather than the one involving +Tracks. Also note that you will have to deal with the cover art for each CD rather than dealing with it once for the entire set. Obviously, if you are creating a single work from multiple CDs, you must use +Tracks rather than Read CD.


If you leave Edit mode before adding tracks from all the CDs, there is still a way to finish ripping the CD set while preserving the accuracy of sibling search. Select one of the works that you created from previous CDs in the set and then select Edit mode. You are now revising that work. Now, add tracks (+Tracks) from subsequent CDs in the set. Proceed as before when creating additional works. By revising a work from the multi-CD set, you are giving Wax the opportunity to link subsequent CDs to the ones used in the first set of recordings, so sibling search will still work.


You will also see a column of icons on the right side of the track list. These icons are used to specify that a track should “segue” to the next track – that is, there should not be a period of silence between the two tracks. Some works have a segue between movements. For example, the first movement of the Mendelssohn violin concerto segues to the second movement. They are probably separate tracks on the CD (because they are distinct movements), so after ripping them Wax would otherwise assume that they should be played back with a gap. You can click on the icon to toggle the segue setting. The arrow that terminates at a vertical line indicates that Wax should play to the end of the track and then stop before continuing to any remaining tracks. The arrow that bends to point to the next track indicates that Wax should proceed to the next track without a gap. Note that the icon will not appear on lines for which a segue is not possible (e.g., the last track of the work or track group).

Wax sets segue to True by default. Recording engineers typically record silence at the end of a track that is not meant to segue to the next track, so you will still hear a gap in such cases even with segue set to True. When recording engineers mean for the music of the next track to start without a gap, the music in the first track extends to the end of the track. When you form a track group, Wax makes two changes to this default: The last track in the group and the track before the group have segue false. A group is typically for acts of an opera or for complete works (e.g., symphonies) on a recording comprising multiple works. In either case, a segue into or out of the group is probably wrong. When segue is false, Wax inserts a gap whose duration can be set in Config mode.

Use the keyboard shortcut ctrl-s to toggle the segue flag of multiple tracks at the same time. Simply select the tracks, then press ctrl-s. Note that you are also allowed to select a track group to toggle the flags for all the tracks within the group. You can even select multiple track groups. With opera recordings, for example, you will probably put all the tracks in track groups corresponding to the acts. You will also probably want to set the segue flags on all the tracks because separate tracks in an opera recording are usually meant to be played without a gap. Just select the track groups for all the acts and type ctrl-s.


It is permitted to specify a segue from the last track of a track group, but it is usually wrong to do so. For example, a track group might encapsulate the tracks of an act of an opera. You would not want to segue from the end of one act to the beginning of the next. However, there are rare occasions when it is desirable to segue from the end of a track group. Das Rheingold has one act, so all tracks should play continuously. However, there are four scenes in the opera. You might choose to group the four scenes, in which case the last tracks of the first three groups should segue to the next track group. The last track of the last track group is, of course, the end of the work, so specifying a segue would be anomalous (and so is not permitted). Because it is unusual for a segue from the end of a track group to be correct, Wax will render the segue icon in red to warn you that there might be something wrong. Do nothing if you intended a segue, but be sure to check.


You can reorder tracks by dragging them to the desired position. You can reorder tracks within a track group as well, but they must remain in the track group. You are allowed to drag a track group, but you may not drag either a track or a track group into a track group.


If you want to relocate a group of related tracks (e.g., the four movements of a symphony), form a track group (assuming that they are not already in one), move the track group, and then ungroup them.


If the track that you want to move is already selected, clicking on it again will activate edit mode, not drag. You can avoid activating edit mode by clicking on the right or left ends of the item (outside the portion that “opens” in edit mode), or you can simply select some other track first.


It is possible to merge recordings using the Move operation (merge). When you do, Wax tries to get the tracks into their original (numerical) order. Therefore, you will lose any reordering that you did to either of the recordings involved in the merge.


If anything goes wrong when entering tracks for a CD, you can click +Tracks again with the appropriate CD in the drive. Wax will repeat the process of adding tracks for that CD without changing the work metadata. One particular case where this feature is useful is when the MusicBrainz server is down at the moment you first read or add tracks from a CD. In that case, Wax will assign default names to the tracks. When you click +Tracks, Wax will try again to access MusicBrainz.

Cover art

The third page in Edit mode is for specifying cover art. When Wax finds metadata for a CD on the Internet, sometimes that metadata specifies where to find cover art. In that case, Wax will fill in the cover art automatically. Wax will also fill in the cover art when you enter Edit mode with an existing recording selected – assuming that you previously specified cover art for that recording. Otherwise, the space for cover art will contain the “no cover art” image.

When you Save the recording, Wax will create a file called “cover.jpg” containing the image. Wax always creates the cover art file from the contents of the cover art display when you click Save (as long as the display does not contain the no-cover image). Wax will save cover art at the highest resolution possible up to 1024x1024.

If you want to store any other images, use the procedure described below.

The broom is used to sweep away an image that is not correct (so that you do not save inappropriate cover art when you use the Save button).

Search for cover art

There are three ways for you to obtain cover art. The first is to search for it on the Internet. Type some text in the entry to specify the work or select a string using the drop-down menu (which Wax populates from the primary metadata). If you type a search string, click the search button or press enter to initiate the search. If you select a search string from the drop-down menu, Wax initiates the search automatically. If Wax finds any cover art that matches the text you entered, it will display the cover art on the panel. If it finds more than one candidate, you can step through them using the arrow keys (which become sensitive when there is more than one candidate). Wax will download up to 10 candidates. If the correct one is not among the candidates, you might have better luck with a different description.


When Wax finds cover art, the amazon button becomes sensitive. Use it to open the default web browser at the Amazon page corresponding to the image currently displayed.


You can also use cover art search to identify recordings that you might want to add to your collection. Suppose that you are listening to a recording of Barbara Cook and want to explore other recordings by the same artist. Go to Edit mode, select “Barbara Cook” on the drop-down menu for the search entry, and click Search. If your interest is not based on a particular recording, you can also go to Edit mode with no recording selected and type in “Barbara Cook”. Wax will present covers for many recordings by Barbara Cook. If you see one that piques your interest, click on the amazon button to read more about the recording and to purchase it from Amazon. If you selected a recording before entering Edit mode, be sure that you do not save the metadata after downloading cover art as you do not want to change the cover art for the recording that is already in your collection.

Paste cover art

If you find appropriate cover art using another application (e.g., the browser), copy it to the clipboard and then paste it to Wax using the Paste button.


If you are working at your desktop, it might be tempting to copy an image from an application (e.g., the browser) running on that system and then use the paste button in Wax to paste it to the cover art panel. Try it, but remember that Wax is actually running on a different platform. You are viewing that remote platform through a remote desktop viewer. Whether the paste operation works depends on the remote desktop viewer running on your desktop system and the remote desktop server running on the Wax Box. Most likely, you will have to copy the image from an application running on the Wax Box if you want to paste it in Wax.

Scan cover art

When all else fails, you still have the option of scanning the cover yourself. Scan the cover using your desktop system and then copy the result over your network to the transfer folder in the Wax Box. The file open button will become sensitive when you select a single image file (any file with a “jpg”, “jpeg”, “JPG”, “png”, or “PNG” extension) in the file chooser (select File mode). When you click the file open button, Wax will display the image on the Cover page.



Properties are also metadata, but unlike the metadata that we discussed above, the same properties appear in every recording of every genre. Edit the values for these metadata on the final page in Edit mode.

Wax maintains nine properties automatically. It assigns values to the first four (date created, date played, times played, volume trim) when you save a recording, and it updates three of them (not date created) automatically when you play recordings. It assigns values to the remaining five when you start ripping a CD or when you import files. It will leave the value blank when the property is irrelevant or indeterminable. For example, the resolution (the number of bits per sample) varies for lossy encoders like Ogg. Sometimes tags contain invalid values (such as a sample rate of 0). For files, Wax attempts to populate Source with the web site from which a file was purchased. It identifies the web site by searching for a URL among the tags. If it fails to find one, it will specify “File”. The source for a rip is always “CD”. Although Wax will set and update these values automatically, you are still allowed to edit them yourself.

In addition to the automatic properties, you will also see here any user properties that you defined in Config mode.

Wax displays properties in Play mode on the Props page, except that Wax conserves screen space by hiding properties with no value. You can search properties from the Search page in Select mode using the Props search.

When you enter numbers as values for Properties, Wax automatically recognizes them as numbers and converts them to the appropriate internal representation. For example, the value that you provide for the property “resolution” might be “16”. When the value that you provide comprises only numerals, Wax converts the value to an integer. For the “sample rate” property, you might enter a number “44.1”. Because of the presence of a decimal point, Wax will convert such an entry to a float. If you mean for the number to be treated as a string, you can enclose it in quotation marks. Does it matter? Not now, but in the future Props search might allow you to specify more sophisticated search criteria for which it will matter. For example, it might be possible someday to specify a search for recordings with sample rate greater than 44.1. In that case, it will be important to treat a sample rate of 192.0 as a number so that it is greater than 44.1, which it is not if it is treated as a string. You can future-proof your metadata by entering the metadata properly now in case Wax develops such capabilities in the future.

Note, by the way, that I specified the higher sample rate as “192.0”, not “192”. The latter is an integer, the former a float. Since we are assigning values elsewhere such as 44.1 and 88.2, we should be consistent and enter a float in this case as well. Does it matter? Not now, but in the future... Also note that I did not include units. If you enter “44.1 kHz” as the value, the alphabetic characters will prevent Wax from interpreting the numeric portion correctly. If you want to keep track of units, make them part of the key (“Sample rate (kHz)”).

Wax provides automatic completion also for properties. It works in the same way that it works for other metadata. Be sure to update the completion files with values that you use regularly. One possible use for automatic completion is for specifying a value for Source. As noted above, Wax attempts to fill this value for downloads by searching for a URL in the tags. However, some web sites do not provide a URL. You could define an automatic completion file with the names of web sites that you access regularly to facilitate specification of the source.

Wax also provides a way to specify default configurations for properties. If you right click in the panel for properties, a context menu will appear with a list of the available configurations. Select the one that is appropriate for the recording that you are creating. When you do, Wax will read default values for the properties from a file and place the values in the appropriate entries. The default values will overwrite automatic values, so do not specify default values for automatic properties unless you find that the automatic values are often wrong. Likewise, Wax will overwrite default values when it assigns values to automatic properties, so don’t invoke a default configuration until after Wax has specified automatic values if you favor the default values. You are most likely to find default configurations useful for specifying several user properties with one click. The default configurations are specified in files. You can edit the existing default properties files or create new ones to suit your needs.

Wax provides the sophisticated capabilities described in this section for fastidious users. Others will be satisified with the automatic properties, for which Wax is usually able to provide reliable values. Those users can keep these capabilities in abeyance until their needs change.


You might re-rip tracks using a different encoder (see Delete option). When you do, Wax will automatically update properties related to the encoder (e.g., the codec field). Those changes to the metadata will cause the Save button to become sensitive. Even though Wax made the changes automatically, it is your responsibility to click the Save button to save the new property values. Remember the warning above.

File mode

File mode is used for importing sound files. These sound files might reside on an external device such as a PMP (portable media player), smart phone, or flash drive, or they might reside on your desktop system if you obtained them by purchasing tracks from a web store, by recording an LP, or by ripping on your desktop system (see tip). Whatever their provenance, you will navigate folders in the same manner as for exporting (export) to find the sound files that you want to import and then to select them. If the sound files reside in an external device, start by connecting the device to the Wax Box using a USB port. The device will appear as a folder (or two folders, if the device has internal and external memory) in the navigation panel. You will find the sound files in a subfolder of that folder. If the sound files reside on your desktop system, start by copying them to the transfer directory of the Wax Box. (Use your file browser – e.g., Windows Explorer on a Windows platform – to navigate to your network, then to your Wax Box, then to the transfer folder.) You might want to create a subfolder in which to store the sound files so that you can easily distinguish them. Once you have copied the sound files to the Wax Box, you will find them from Wax in the subfolder that you just created.

Select the appropriate genre before you proceed. Now, select the tracks that you want to import. The Import button becomes sensitive when you select at least one track. Click it to effect the import. Wax copies the selected tracks into the sound archive. If there are tags in the sound files (there usually are), Wax will attempt to assign them to the appropriate metadata fields. As in CD mode, Wax will put the tags in the raw metadata panel so that you can examine them. If any of the tracks that you selected are DSD64 (dsf or dff), Wax will transcode the files to FLAC automatically during the import operation. Transcoding takes time. However, Wax queues all import requests so that you can proceed with other tasks – entering the metadata for the recording or even importing another recording.

It is also possible to add files in File mode. As in CD mode, adding sound files leaves the work metadata unchanged. Wax appends sound files to the end of the list of tracks whether those tracks got there by ripping or importing.

If you include files with extension “pdf”, “jpg”, “jpeg”, “JPG”, “png”, or “PNG” in your selection, Wax will copy those files to the recording when you click Import or +Files. A pdf file often contains liner notes and an image file may contain an image for the back cover of the CD. If you are uncertain about the content of these files, double click to open them in a viewer. The viewer will be positioned behind Wax, so if you are connected in normal mode, you will not see it. Connect in desktop mode instead. The name that appears on the corresponding menu in Play mode will be the file name minus its extension. Note that Wax immediately imports these files to the recording (except in the special case that we discuss below), so it is not necessary to Save afterward unless you imported sound files at the same time (in which case you also changed the metadata).

There are two ways to designate an image file to be used as the source for cover art. The normal way is to select the image file (which can have any name) and then click the file open button. Wax will update the cover display with the contents of the file. The result will be exactly the same if one of the files that you import using Import or +Files has the name “cover.<ext>” – Wax will not copy the file to the recording in that case, only read it and update the cover display.

Wax also updates the cover display whenever it finds cover art embedded in a sound file it is importing, when you paste an image from the clipboard, or when you search, as discussed above in Cover art.


You can also double click on a zip file. Doing so will open an archive manager on the zip file. This feature makes purchasing and importing downloads very convenient. Make your purchase using a browser on the Wax Box. When you download your purchase, the browser will deposit it in the transfer folder. The tracks often arrive in a zip file. Double click on the zip file and then unzip the tracks into their own folder. Descend into the folder in the file chooser, select the tracks, and click Import.


Wax limits the resolution of cover art files to 1024x1024 to improve load time and to control the consumption of disk space. If you want to store cover art at higher resolution, put it in a file with a name like “cover_high_res.jpg” (or anything but “cover.jpg”) and import it using +Files. You can view the image by selecting it with the Images button in Play mode.


Wax also recognizes the .xlsx extension used for spreadsheets of your metadata, so double clicking on those file names opens the spreadsheet.


Navigating folders requires the use of buttons at the bottom of the panel. Their functions are: move to the parent folder, create a subfolder of the current folder, and delete the selected file or files. If the folder is empty, the delete button will delete the current folder and move to the parent folder.


As discussed above, Wax looks in MusicBrainz and FreeDB for metadata when you rip a CD. If Wax does not find metadata at either source, one solution is to type it all in. However, typing in all the metadata is cumbersome, especially when the CD has track titles in a foreign language. File mode introduces another option: Rip the CD on your desktop system using a standard media player (e.g., Windows Media Player or iTunes) and then import to Wax. These players use commercial databases (Rovi and Gracenote) with nearly complete coverage as their source for metadata, so it’s likely that they will have metadata for the CD even when MusicBrainz and FreeDB do not. The media player will tag the tracks, so Wax will recover the metadata when you import. You probably will need to make some adjustments, but usually this procedure will greatly reduce the amount of typing required.

The tracks that you copy from your desktop system to the transfer directory consume finite disk space. If the transfer folder fills, it will be impossible to import additional recordings. Accordingly, you should delete the tracks after you finish importing them. (You don’t need to delete tracks if they reside on an external device that you connected via USB.) There are tools for deleting the tracks both in Wax and in the file browser on your desktop system. To delete them using Wax, select the tracks that you just imported and then click the delete button at the bottom of the navigation panel. If you just deleted all the tracks in a folder, then click the delete button a second time to delete the folder and move to the parent folder. You are now poised to begin the next import operation.

When you finish importing from an external device, you can simply remove the device.


An item in the list of files is rendered in italics when the file is not importable. The header might be invalid or the encoding might be unsupported. Also, the file type might not be supported for importing (e.g., a zip file). If your selection encompasses one of these files, Wax will ignore it when you activate the import operation.

Rec mode


Rec mode is used for adding tracks from an existing recording in the Wax database. Suppose that you created two recordings from one CD, but now you wish that you had created one instead. You could rip the CD again, if you still have it, but then you have to duplicate a lot of effort. Instead, select one of the recordings (the “first”) and then go to Edit mode. When you enter Edit mode with a recording selected, Wax prepares to revise the recording. In revise mode only, there is a third option, Rec, for the source of the tracks (in addition to CD and File). When you select Rec, the right panel presents controls for selecting a recording from your Wax archive just like the ones that you see in Select mode. Navigate to the second recording by first selecting its genre and then scrolling through the list of recordings for that genre. When you select it, the +Tracks button will become sensitive. Click the button to add the tracks from the second recording to the first. Choose as the first recording the one whose work metadata you want to keep; you will get only the track metadata for the second. Save with New unticked to update the metadata for the first recording so that it now includes the second one.

Once you have merged the tracks from the second recording to the first, you probably do not need the second recording anymore. Go back to Select mode to find the second recording, then enter Edit mode again. You will have delete options on the Options button. Be sure to select “Metadata only”. Wax does not duplicate the sound files when it adds the track metadata to the first recording. The sound files that you just linked to the first recording are the same sound files that you would be deleting here were you to select delete All.

A scenario in which you might want to use Rec mode extensively is after a bulk transfer. When you transfer recordings from a legacy system (e.g., iTunes), single works from multi-CD sets are stored as “Title of work (disc 1)”, “Title of work (disc 2)”, and so on. Wax is oriented around works, so you would normally store all the tracks in one recording with title “Title of work”. You can use Rec mode to fix the problem. Select “Title of work (disc 1)” and then enter Edit mode. Select Rec mode and then select “Title of work (disc 2)” in the right panel. Click +Tracks and then Save (with New unticked). The recording “Title of work (disc 1)” now contains the tracks from “Title of work (disc 2)” as well as the original tracks. Most likely, you will also want to edit the work metadata – at least to remove “(disc 1)” from the title of the work. You might also want to move some metadata to more appropriate places. For example, an album field of “Puccini: La Boheme” should be reduced to “La Boheme”, “Puccini” should go in the artist field, and whatever is in the artist field (the name of the conductor? the orchestra?) should go in a +Meta field with the appropriate key. You will also probably want to add metadata (using +Meta again) for any other information in which you are interested. Also consider what you want as the short form for the primary metadata. The Bulk import genre does not have the capability to generate the short form automatically like the “real” genres do. When you are satisfied with the recording “Title of work”, return to Select mode to select “Title of work (disc 2)”, return to Edit mode, and delete (Metadata only!) the recording. If the multi-CD set has more than two CDs, add the others to the first recording following the same procedure and then delete them as well. After completing these operations, you might also want to move the revised recording to the appropriate genre in the main part of your catalog. For example, a recording of La Boheme in the subgenre Opera of genre Bulk transfer could be moved to the genre Opera so that it lives in the same place as opera recordings that you obtained by means other than bulk transfer.


The most complicated operation is to combine tracks from multiple recordings imported in a bulk transfer and then to create more than one recording from the full set of tracks. For example, a recording of the complete Nutcracker ballet would come on two CDs. The second CD might have Serenade for Strings as filler. Follow the same steps as above, but tick New. Here are the steps you should follow for best results:

  1. After performing the bulk transfer, you will have two recordings, Nutcracker (disc 1) and Nutcracker (disc 2). Follow the procedure above to add the tracks from Nutcracker (disc 2) to Nutcracker (disc 1). Do not save yet.
  2. Untick the save boxes for the four tracks at the end corresponding to the Serenade for Strings. Save with New ticked. This instruction is the key. If you save with New unticked, you will modify the recording that originally contained only disc 1 so that it also contains disc 2 minus the four tracks for Serenade for Strings. All good. However, the list of save tracks will no longer contain the four for Serenade for Strings, so there will be no way to create a recording for that work. If you are not interested in Serenade for Strings, leaving New unticked is the optimum procedure. When you instead save a new recording, Wax leaves the tracks that you did not save in the list so that they can be saved in a subsequent operation.
  3. Click the Reverse button to reverse the selection of tracks that you want to save. Now, only the four tracks for Serenade for Strings are ticked. Change the work metadata so that the work is “Serenade for Strings” and save with New ticked. This instruction is important here too. When you saved with New ticked in step 2, Wax created a new recording with the work metadata that you specified by editing the work metadata on the original “Nutcracker (disc 1)”. Wax then selected that new recording and left you in Edit mode revising it. Were you now to save with New unticked, you would modify the recording of Nutcracker to be a recording of Serenade for Strings. By ticking New, Wax creates a second recording for Serenade for Strings and leaves you in Edit mode revising it.
  4. After completing steps 2 and 3, you will have two new recordings, one for the complete Nutcracker and a second for Serenade for Strings. You will also have the original two recordings imported in the bulk transfer. Select each in turn, go to Edit mode, and Delete Metadata only.

This is the most complicated operation one might perform in Edit mode, but the explanation makes the operation seem more complicated than it is. Compared to the simpler scenario described above, the key difference is that you will Save with New ticked. When you save with New unticked, Wax deletes from the list of save tracks any tracks that are not part of the recording, so you lose the opportunity to create additional recordings from remaining tracks. In fact, you could save with New ticked in the simpler scenario as well. The only drawback is that you will have more obsolete recordings to delete (because the “first” recording will remain rather than being transformed into the merged recording). Leave New unticked when you mean to change the current recording – and remember that unsaving tracks constitutes a change.


The Show/hide Unicode kbd item in the Options menu toggles the visibility of the Unicode keyboard. The keyboard consumes considerable space on the left panel, so you might want to keep it hidden until you need it.

Use Clear to remove all metadata from Edit mode so that you can start over. Once you read a CD or import tracks, Wax reserves Edit mode for the recording that you are creating. If you leave Edit mode – to select and play another recording, perhaps – nothing will have changed when you return to Edit mode. Normally, Wax does not unlock Edit mode until you save the new recording. If you ever choose to abandon the new recording without saving it, the Clear option will remove all metadata and cover art that you might have specified and permit you to use Edit mode for some other purpose. It will also delete any sound files that you created.

The Delete item activates a submenu with options for deleting. Use Delete | All when you want to delete the recording, its associated sound files, and cover art and liner notes, if they exist. Use Delete | Sound files only when you intend to rip a CD again. You are allowed to have multiple versions of tracks (different encoders), but then Wax will automatically select for playing the tracks of the higher quality encoder (see encoder priority). If you want Wax to play the tracks for the lower quality encoder, you must delete the original tracks first. If you rip the CD again using the same encoder, you do not need to delete the sound files first because Wax will overwrite the original the files. Delete | All and Delete | Sound files only will delete only the tracks assigned to the recording that was selected when you entered Edit mode, not ones assigned to other recordings. If you intend to delete all tracks from the source, do a sibling search first so that you can easily find all the recordings that need to be deleted. Delete | Metadata only means delete only the metadata for a recording. Use this option when you accidentally create a duplicate recording. The duplicate recording will vanish, but the original recording and the sound files will remain. Delete | Liner notes appears only when liner notes are present in the recording’s sound folder. Select it to delete the liner notes. Likewise for Delete | Cover art.


You will not be asked to confirm a delete operation, so before actuating any option, be sure of your intentions.

Zombies and Phantoms

When you rip a CD or import files, Wax creates a folder and populates it with the files containing the audio data. Now suppose that you never create a recording. If there is no recording in the database, there is no way to access the audio data. The files just sit in the archive taking up space even though they can never be played. These recordings are called “zombies” because they take up space like real recordings, but they are “dead” because they cannot be played. Wax provides protection against zombies. If you start ripping a CD before saving metadata for a previous rip, Wax will delete the files and their folder produced in the previous rip. Usually, exterminating zombies is good because you don’t want your sound archive bloated with files that you can’t play. However, it is sometimes necessary to be aware that Wax is performing this clean-up quietly in the background. For example, you might have the idea that you will rip several CDs and then go back and add the metadata. However, when you go back, the tracks that you ripped previously will be gone. Note that if you re-rip a CD (or rip tracks on a CD that was only partially ripped), you do not have to save new metadata to avoid zombie deletion. Wax recognizes that metadata corresponding to this CD already exists.

Wax is able to detect most zombies that slip through the protection described above. This zombie detector is on the Disk page of Config mode. Use it occasionally to be sure that the undead are not lurking in your system.

Phantoms are the inverse of zombies. Zombies have substance (they consume space in the sound archive) but are dead (they are unplayable because no recording refers to them). Phantoms lack substance (they consume no space in the sound archive) but are dead (they are unplayable because the sound files specified in the recording do not exist). Zombies have no impact on enjoyment (there is no recording in the catalog to entice you), but they consume space in the sound archive. Phantoms have no impact on storage capacity, but they disappoint when you try to play them. Usually, phantoms appear when you forget to rip a track – or an entire disc. You can create a phantom by deleting only the sound files in Edit mode (Delete | Sound files only). Don’t do this (unless you are planning to re-rip the tracks). Config mode also provides a phantom detector on the Disk page. Use it occasionally to find phantoms and fix the recordings before you are disappointed when you try to play one.

Guidelines for creating metadata

  • Select mode orders works according to the short-form of the metadata. Accordingly, you usually do not want articles. Think about how you usually refer to a work. For example, are you more likely to find the show you want to hear by looking under “The Fantasticks” or “Fantasticks”? The long form should include the article. Wax usually removes articles when it creates the short form (but you control this behavior (abbreviators)).
  • When creating the short form from a name, Wax will take the last name. Sometimes you might want something different. If you ever sort by conductor, are you going to look for “Karajan” or “von Karajan”, “Waart” or “de Waart”? Most people will probably prefer the first form in each case, even if they are technically incorrect.
  • Try to be consistent in your style choices as consistency makes the presentation in Select mode neater and easier to read. For example, when do you use abbreviations (Op. or Opus, minor/major or min./maj.)? When you abbreviate, do you include the period or not (Op. or Op). Where do you use commas (Op. 10 No. 2 or Op. 10, No. 2)? If you are using Wax on a device with a small display, you probably should not spell out everything (not Opus 10, Number 2). Most people will probably prefer the first choice for each of these dilemmas.
  • CDs with filler pieces often create a quandary. For example, a CD of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 might include the Romeo & Juliet Overture. When you create a recording of Symphony No. 5, will you include the overture or create a separate recording for it? If your collection includes many versions of the overture, you will probably want to catalog it separately so that you can easily survey all the versions to select the one that you want to play. If you are unlikely to have many versions of the filler piece, you might prefer to leave it with the symphony to minimize clutter in the list of recordings. Remember, though, that it is easier to lose pieces filed this way as they will appear only in the list of tracks (which appears only after you select a recording). A third possibility is to specify multiple works (click the arrow to open another field), but then the symphony will not appear in its proper place in the list of recordings of the same work (work metadata). If you leave the filler with the symphony, create a track group for the symphony so the relationship of the movements is clear.
  • A Recital is a collection of pieces by multiple composers. Chamber is for multi-movement works by one composer (e.g., a string quartet). Anthology is for collections of pieces by one composer that are not part of a single work (e.g., the Chopin Nocturnes).