Select Mode

Essential reading

Genre selection

Selecting a recording (first two paragraphs)

Introduction

Select mode is for operations related to selecting a recording – mainly selecting a recording to play. You can select a recording to play either by surveying a list of recordings in the desired genre or by searching. Select mode also makes it possible to select a recording for exporting (e.g., to a flash drive) or for moving to another genre.

Genre selection

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The genre-selection button (top left in Select mode) displays the identity of the current genre. Pressing the button pops open a menu with a list of all genres defined for your collection. When you select a genre, Wax displays below the genre button a list of the recordings in the genre.

Some genres have subgenres. They are distinguished by a pull-right arrow. If you know that the work you want to play is in a particular subgenre, selecting that subgenre will make it easier to find the work. Sometimes you want a complete list of recordings in a genre. In that case, select “All”. For example, if you are not sure whether Beethoven is in Symphonic (Classical) or Symphonic (Romantic), you could select Symphonic (All) to get a complete list of all symphonic works.

Selecting a recording

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When you first select a genre, the panel below the genre button will display a list of all recordings in that genre. The display has two modes. In one (above), the display contains a textual description of the recordings. The metadata that appears here are known as the “primary metadata”. You will see that the primary metadata keys (the labels for the columns) and even the number of metadata keys vary with genre. This flexibility allows you to decide the best way to describe the recordings in each genre. You specify the metadata values for each recording in Edit mode when you rip or import a recording and you specify the metadata fields in Config mode when you design a new genre. In the other display mode (below), the recordings are represented by their cover art. Switch between the two modes using the button to the right of the genre select button. The two modes operate in the same manner, so the comments below apply whichever display mode you use.

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The alphabet panel allows you to scroll to a recording based on the first letter of the value in the sort column (the one with the down arrow in the text view).

When you select one of the recordings, two things happen: (1) another panel appears which shows the tracks in that recording, and (2) the play button appears. The play button appears whenever something is “playable”. By default, Wax selects all the tracks when you select a recording, so the selection is immediately playable. If you don’t want to hear all the tracks on the recording, select the ones that you want to hear before pressing the play button. On the desktop, you can select a range of tracks by selecting the first one, then the last one while holding down the shift key. You can also select isolated tracks by holding the ctrl key while making additional selections. On the tablet, you can sweep out a range of tracks.

Tip

If you ever want to return to a display of just the recordings in the genre (and no tracks), you have three choices: (1) select the genre again; (2) drag the divider separating the recording and track panels to the bottom; or (3) unselect all tracks in the recording (using ctrl-click on selected tracks).

Tip

After selecting a recording, you can see all of its metadata by switching to Play mode. To switch to Play mode, you can use the button in the global control panel, or you can use a shortcut for this common operation: double-click on the recording. Note that double clicking works whether you are in the text or cover art Select mode.

Tip

To adjust the width of columns in Select mode, drag the vertical line separating two headers.

Sorting

By default, Wax sorts recordings according to the contents of the first column. To sort by a different column, click on its header. It is also possible to sort by the date you created a recording, the date that you last played a recording, or the number of times you have played each recording. These sorts are less common, so you select them using the Options menu.

Track groups

Tracks with an arrow to the left of them are actually track groups. Tracks in a group share some characteristic. For example, the recording of Chopin in the first figure has four Scherzos. The track group has the title “Scherzo” and the individual tracks are “No. 1”, “No. 2”, and so on. Clicking on the arrow to the left of the group title opens and closes the group. Track groups simplify selection: If you want to play all the Scherzos, select the track group. If you want to play just a few tracks, open the track group and select them.

Right panel

Queue

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It is possible to queue selections for playback. Once you have selected the recording and the tracks that you want to hear, simply drag the recording to the Queue panel on the right. If there are already items in the play queue, drop the new item at the position corresponding to the desired sequence (usually that would be the space below the last item, in which case the new item will be appended to the end of the play queue). You can also rearrange the play queue by dragging entries to the desired sequence. The item at the top of the play queue is the one that will play when you push the play button. When that item is playing, it is no longer possible to drag it to another position or to drop another item in front of it. The Options menu (options menu) provides options to remove the selected item from the play queue or to clear every item from the play queue.

When you queue items in the play queue, Wax creates a brief description of the recording from the primary metadata (the metadata that appear in Select mode). If you want to know the track selections for an item in the play queue, click on the item. The panels on the left will change to show exactly what the item in the play queue represents. If you want to see all the metadata for the recording, double-click on it; Wax will switch to Play mode (Play mode), which is where you view the complete set of metadata.

Caution

You may have noticed that when you select a recording (and optionally the tracks) and then hit play, wax automatically puts the selection in the play queue before playing it. This shortcut provides a convenient way to perform a very common operation. However, be aware that it works only when the play queue is empty. When the play queue is not empty, clicking play will only begin playing the first item in the play queue. It will not queue a selection, if one exists. If you click play with nothing in the queue, nothing else makes sense but to put the current selection in the queue and play it. If something is in the queue, then it makes more sense to play the first item in the queue.

Note that each track has a number associated with it. The number is the duration of the track. The number associated with a track group is the duration of the entire group. When you build a play queue, two numbers appear above the play queue. The one on the left is the duration of the selected item, the other the duration of the entire queue.

Context menu

Right clicking on an item in the play queue opens a context menu. The first item in the menu can be used to delete the play queue item (like the “Remove item” choice in the Options menu (options menu)). The second item sets the random attribute of the play queue item. Setting the random attribute causes Wax to randomize the sequence in which tracks within the item play.

Export

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Use the Export page to export recordings from Wax to an external device – normally a portable music player or flash drive – connected to a USB port. Connect your device and navigate on the Export page to the location in the file system of the device. Drag the desired recording (and appropriate track selections) to the Export page to effect the transfer. Wax will encode as much metadata as possible in tags during the export operation (including cover art). You can specify in Config mode which encodings are compatible with your PMP. If Wax finds sound files in a compatible encoding, it will simply copy them to the PMP. For example, if you ripped a recording to Ogg and your PMP supports Ogg, then Wax will copy the Ogg files to the PMP. If Wax does not find a sound file in a compatible encoding, it transcodes (decodes and re-encodes) the highest quality version it finds to the highest quality compatible encoding. For example, if you ripped a recording to FLAC and you want to export the recording to a PMP that supports only MP3, Wax will transcode the FLAC version to MP3. The status message provides information about how Wax is fulfilling the export request. If it is simply copying a file, it specifies the encoding of the file. If it is transcoding, it specifies the encodings of the source and destination files (e.g., “FLAC → MP3”).

The Export page also enables you to create subfolders and delete sound files or folders. To create a subfolder, click the appropriate button and then specify a name for the folder. To delete a subfolder, you must first delete its contents by clicking the delete button with all sound files selected. Clicking the delete button a second time will delete the folder. A stop button appears while an export operation is underway. Use it to abort the operation.

When you use one of the two export buttons, Wax will automatically create a folder (or folders) to receive the exported sound files. The folders will be given names derived from the primary metadata. “Export one” exports only the selected recording; “Export all” exports all the recordings in the genre. If you want to export one recording without automatically creating a new directory (most likely because you created a new directory manually as described above), drag the recording to the export panel rather than use the Export one button.

When you click the Export all button, it changes to Stop. Clicking it again will make Wax stop exporting recordings. Note that when Wax exports a recording, requests to export individual tracks go into a queue. A message tells you how many requests are in the queue. When you stop Export all, no new requests will be entered in the queue, but the ones already there will still be processed. If you want to stop Wax from processing the queue, use the appropriate button located in the row above the Export all/Stop button.

When you finish exporting, you can simply remove the target device. Wax assures that exported data is actually written to the device, so there is no need for a “safely remove” or “eject” operation.

Before exporting many recordings (e.g., in an Export all operation), think about where the sound files are going. If you connected a flash drive, be sure that you navigated into the flash drive when you specified the destination. The destination that you specified must have space sufficient for all the sound files you plan to export. If it does not, the operation will fail when the target device fills. You might want to export to the transfer folder itself,with the intention of accessing that folder over your LAN to move the sound files to some other system on your LAN. Such a plan is rational, but remember that the transfer folder resides on the same drive as the operating system and the sound cache. The operating system is not large, but the cache is designed to consume all but a small amount (5 GB) of the drive. If your export operation will require more space, either use a flash drive as an intermediate store or purge the cache. Config | Disk provides information about how much space is currently consumed by the cache and transfer folders. Two buttons allow you to purge either or both. Purging the transfer folder is an easy way to clean up after performing an export operation.

When Wax exports sound files, it will convert metadata to tags according to the specifications you provided in the definition of the genre using the popup rules panel in Config mode. Configuring Wax to convert metadata to tags makes it possible for other applications or devices to display at least some of the metadata you defined for your recordings in Wax. Wax will also export all document and image files that it finds for the recording so that you can view them on your target device.

Move

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The move panel is used for moving a recording from one genre to another. Start by selecting the destination genre using the buttons at the top of the panel. After you select the destination genre, you will see a list of the keys for the primary metadata in the source genre on the left and the keys in the destination genre on the right. In general, these lists will not be the same. They will be the same when you are moving a recording from one subgenre to another subgenre of the same genre (as in the screenshot above). When they are not the same, you will need to tell Wax how to map the metadata. To change a destination key, click on it once to select it and again to get a popup menu with a list of the possible choices. Once you have specified the mapping, you can effect the move by dragging the recording to the move panel or by clicking the “Move one” button. Note that one of the choices on the popup menu for destination key is blank. Select it when you do not want the corresponding source primary metadata key to be mapped to any destination primary metadata key (in which case it will be demoted to secondary metadata).

Wax disallows moves when the specified move is invalid. You will see a message explaining the problem. Here are the conditions that Wax enforces:

  • No move is permitted from a supergenre (e.g., Symphonic (All)).
  • Move one is forbidden if your track selection includes a subset of tracks from a track group (you cannot move only part of a track group).
  • Move all is permitted only when the destination genre is different from the source genre. Note that Move all moves entire recordings (all tracks), so selecting tracks before initiating Move all accomplishes nothing.

If you move a recording to a genre with more primary metadata fields, Wax will promote any secondary metadata with the same key. If it does not find any, it will create placeholders. You will want to go into Edit mode to replace their default values. If you move a recording to a genre with fewer primary metadata fields, Wax will demote the unmapped primary metadata to secondary metadata (so you will never lose metadata) except that placeholders created in a previous move are discarded.

After a move, primary metadata will appear first in Play mode, ordered as in Edit mode. Wax will preserve the order of any secondary metadata (irrespective of whether they are permanent or extended).

You do not need to move all the tracks in a recording. Just select the tracks that you want to include in the move before you initiate the move. This capability is useful when you change your mind about how you want to catalog a recording. You might discover that some tracks that accompany a string quartet in genre Chamber (Ensemble) are actually a solo chamber piece. You can select just those tracks and move them to Chamber (Solo). Note that the new recording in the destination genre will have primary metadata based on the source recording, which is probably not what you want. Continuing the previous example, the solo chamber piece will appear in a recording whose primary metadata includes the title of the string quartet – the recording that move left behind in Chamber (Ensemble). Select the new recording and go to Edit mode to make the necessary changes (edit revising).

Moving a recording to the same genre is useful for two reasons. First, such a move allows you to swap metadata values, if you need to correct a mistake. Second, when performing such a move, Wax will check before creating a new recording to see whether one is already present that came from the same CD. If it finds such a recording, it will merge the source recording into the existing one. This operation is useful in situations complementary to the one described above: Suppose you created two recordings from a CD, each with a single string quartet, and now you decide that you would prefer to merge them into a single recording with two string quartets. Simply move one to the same genre. Again, you will probably want to edit the primary metadata to reflect the change. If you want to merge two recordings in different genres, first move one to the genre of the other – both recordings will now be present in the same genre – and then move one to the same genre. Wax requires that you perform this operation in two steps because you might want to move a recording to a different genre without merging it with any siblings already in that genre.

Use the Move all button to move every recording in the source genre to the destination genre. This feature is useful if you decided to rename a genre. Create a genre with the new name in Config mode (create genre). After moving all the metadata to the new genre, the source genre will be empty. You can delete it in Config mode (delete genre). Of course, you can also use the rename genre operation in Config | Genres | Edit genre, but Move all is convenient when you also want to change the primary metadata keys.

Another scenario in which the Move all button is useful is after a bulk transfer from a legacy sound archive. When you perform a bulk transfer, Wax creates a genre for all the recordings that you transfer. The recordings are assigned to subgenres according to their genre tag. Those tags most likely have no relationship to the genres that you use in Wax as they were probably assigned by the people who build the large commercial databases used by Windows Media Player and iTunes. Use the Move all button to move the recordings in each of those subgenres to their intended place in your Wax catalog. See the Bulk transfer section (bulk transfer) in the appendix for more information.

Hidden panels

Select mode has two hidden panels with controls that you will need less often. They can be made visible using the show/hide panel item on the Options menu. Leave them visible if you find them useful; hide them if you prefer less clutter. Both panels are related to things that you put in the play queue, so they appear on the Queue page. Use the play queue file panel (below) to save, read, or delete files that contain play queues. To save a play queue, provide a name for the play queue in the box. You can either type in the name, or use the drop-down list to select a name. Once you have provided a name, the save button becomes sensitive. If you provide the name of an existing play queue file, the open button will become sensitive. You can either append the content of the play queue file to the current play queue (with the open button) or replace it with the current play queue (with the save button). The third button is for deleting a play queue file.

Tip

Wax maintains two play queue files automatically. The first is called HISTORY. It contains the 10 recordings that you played most recently. The other is called NEWRECORDINGS. It contains the 20 recordings that you created most recently.

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The second panel is for random selection of items to play. Use the first item on the random panel to specify whether you want the random selection to apply to entire recordings (“All”) or to individual tracks within recordings (“One”). When you choose All, Wax will play the tracks in their original sequence – unless you engage the random attribute for the play queue item (random attribute). The next widgets are used to specify the desired duration of the random selections. Wax will add selections until their total duration exceeds this value. The Spin button is used to activate the random selection. Note that Wax will make random selections only from the current genre. Also note that Wax will not repeat a selection. If the genre does not provide enough choices to fulfill the request without repeating, then the added selections will have the longest duration possible.

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Options

We have discussed most of the functions of the Option menu elsewhere, but we’ll summarize here:

  • Remove item: remove the currently selected item from the play queue.
  • Clear play queue: remove all items from the play queue.
  • Show/hide panel: offers a pullright menu to show/hide hidden panels for inserting random selections in the play queue or for managing files containing play queues (hidden panels).
  • Sort recordings by: offers a pullright menu to sort by Date created, Date played, or Times played (sorting).