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Comparing mp3s but ignoring metadata in ID3v2

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  • Comparing mp3s but ignoring metadata in ID3v2

    I'm learning that the different music players (iTunes, Windows Media) update the mp3 files' metadata with information.

    When I'm comparing two (what were identical) files, the files display as different because the metadata is different (fair enough).

    So I did the following:
    (1) Created a session "Folder Compare".
    (2) Edited the session settings as follows:
    - Comparison Tab:
    - Unchecked Compare file sizes (in some cases the metadata updates change the file size)
    - Uncheck compare timestamps (because in some cases they are changed)
    - Compare contents is checked, and Rules-based comparison is checked.
    - Override quite tests results is checked.

    When exiting, I selected "Also update session defaults", so future compares would be this way, and clicked "OK".

    - In Name Filters tab, I exclude these files:

    (3) I enter two directories to compare, I select all files/folders and rightclick and select "=? Compare Contents".

    (4) I get results, and see some mp3 files are different, so I double click one to see the differences.
    NOTE: The ignore minor icon/button is selected so I should not see any "minor differences"

    Up to here, everything appears correct.

    (5) In the "compare mp3 view" I see the nothing selected. I toggle the minor differences icon/button and the differences are highlighted or not highlighted depending on how the ignore minor differences button is set. Again this is correct.

    (6) I return back to the session tab, and the not equal to icon changed to a squiggly equal line meaning there are some "unimportant changes".

    My question is this:
    (Q) Is there any way to get Beyond compare to show me the squiggly equal line first so I can skip over the file, or better yet, not even show me those differences because they should be filtered out because "ignore minor differences" button is selected.

    NOTE: One possible complication is that there is one metadata field named: Audio,Data that I do want to compare. My belief is that this field says whether the mp3 audio data is the same size, and if the files are identical that field should be the same size. I also want to compare the ID3v1 fields. I've gone through the appropriate saving these settings to the session (or so I think I have done this).

    I've experimented with this for now a couple hours and can't seem to find a way to make this happen so I'm posting this question. NOTE: I also searched for "mp3" and ID3v1, ID3v2 but did not find this question.

    Best regards, great product,


  • #2
    To compare only a subset of tags in the Folder Compare:

    Open folders in the Folder Compare.
    Double click on a pair of mp3 files to open them in the MP3 Compare.
    Click the Rules toolbar button.
    In the Importance tab, uncheck tags you don't want to compare.
    At the bottom of the dialog, change the dropdown from "Use for this view only" to "Update session defaults" and click OK.
    Close the MP3 Compare.
    In the Folder Compare, click the Rules toolbar button.
    In the Comparison tab, check "Compare contents" and select "Rules-based comparison".
    At the bottom of the dialog, change the dropdown from "Use for this view only only" to "Also update session defaults" and click OK.
    Turn on "View > Ignore Unimportant Differences".

    The key is that you need to update session defaults for the MP3 Compare (defining which tags are important), and for the Folder Compare (defining rules-based comparison criteria).

    After you updated both session defaults, opening a new Folder Compare should compare only the tags you defined if the folders contain MP3 files.
    Chris K Scooter Software


    • #3
      Nothing personal, but this is a *bit* convoluted, and unreliable: I did it exactly as described, and did NOT get the same results. I tried over and over, and eventually got it to go - but I can't tell you which combination did it.

      At some point, the drop-down in the Rules let me choose "Also for parent session", and there was another option, can't remember exactly what. But these *appeared* because I did something different. Then they disappeared - no clue as to why.

      Good UX design would say don't change things dependent on context, as the user may not know what context they set. It's ok to *disable* things, but don't make them appear and disappear (remember the wholesale user protest when Microsoft did this with their "Smart" menu options appearing and disappearing? lol).

      Still, I think it may be that I had to close & re-open the whole program to get the new settings to kick in?

      And why are the extra tags not added to the master list for folder/mp3 comparisons? This would be a *little* more obvious...

      Or, you could query the user when they are in the detailed MP3 comparison and they R-click to deselect "Important Differences", like "Do you want to apply this change to this comparison, or BC defaults for this type?" - or something similar.


      • #4

        The main UI and concept difference is if a session is a part of a parent session. Also, the Folder Compare defaults to a Timestamp/Size comparison, and wouldn't use the importance settings unless you also enable the Rules-based scan in the Folder Compare's Session Settings dialog, Comparison tab. A Rules-based scan is similar to double clicking and viewing every file, and using the default Session Settings for each of those views, and returning those results to the parent folder compare.

        By default, when loading a child tab to look at a pair of files, altering settings and comparison does not update the rest of the files above it in the parent Folder Compare. Instead, all of the individual file pairs use the Default Session Settings for their session type. However, updating the dropdown in Chris' instructions would allow a Rules-based scan to update the default and use the new defaults instead.

        The two strategies are to either update the child settings for that specific Folder Compare session or to update the Default Session Settings for the MP3 Compare. Updating the Default would change the importance for any future comparison of any MP3 files (as a child tab or a blank, new MP3 Compare). Updating the specific Parent folder lets you keep one set of settings for the Default and only update for the specific Folder Compare.

        For your dialog suggestion, we have something similar, but it isn't a prompt. The "Use for this view only" dropdown always shows the option to "Also update session defaults", which would function as you suggest. This would update the default for any future comparisons of that type. However, if there is no parent session (the files weren't double clicked and launched), then we don't have a parent session available to update and those additional items in the dropdown are removed. Showing and Disabling can also be confusing, as that implies there is a Parent available but something is preventing its update.
        Aaron P Scooter Software