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Topic: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac? (Read 1496 times) previous topic - next topic
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Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Hi, I have a situation in which two different tracks are one. Something like an Intro/Prelude then the actual song.

Cyndi Laupers's CD She's So Unusual (1st US pressing):

Track 9+10:  He's So Unusual & Yeah Yeah

As far as I know having an ampersand in the name of the song is accepted in the FLAC metadata, I mean in the TITLE field of the FLAC itself (in the VORBIS metadata), but how about the file on the filesystem? Does any of you had problems with something like this?:

09 - He's So Unusual & Yeah Yeah.flac

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #1
Why not try it and see?  :)

An ampersand in Windows is fine.

When there are two or more tracks/songs per audio file* I use a / in the TRACK TITLE tag field as a separator.

I separate artists in the ARTIST tag with a ;

btw I use foobar2000 (and mp3tag sometimes too).

* excluding a long DJ mix with many individual songs mixed together - in which I'll often create a cue sheet ;)

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #2
This is not something you can just try and see. I need feedback from those who use the ampersand for long term and on different operating systems.
 
The "/" is one the most prohibited characters on Unix-like systems because it is used for paths so it should be avoided at all costs. I'm using Linux ext4.
I might use the / in the FLAC vorbis, but even there I'm not sure if it's a good idea.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #3
I looked on discogs at the first few US releases expecting that the two songs were indexed separately on track 9, but they seem to list them as two different tracks.

Did the CUE sheet look something like:
Code: [Select]
TRACK 09 AUDIO
    INDEX 01 XX:XX:XX
    INDEX 02 XX:XX:XX

In terms of the separator, MusicBrainz has the style guideline of using ' / ' (space, slash, space) as jaybeee suggests, so that's what I'd use, although I do convert it to ' / ' for use in filenames.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #4
I looked on discogs at the first few US releases expecting that the two songs were indexed separately on track 9, but they seem to list them as two different tracks.

Did the CUE sheet look something like:
Code: [Select]
TRACK 09 AUDIO
    INDEX 01 XX:XX:XX
    INDEX 02 XX:XX:XX

In terms of the separator, MusicBrainz has the style guideline of using ' / ' (space, slash, space) as jaybeee suggests, so that's what I'd use, although I do convert it to ' / ' for use in filenames.

But that only applies to the Vorbis metadata. Right? I read that the use of / is not recommended on filesystems.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #5
I'm using Linux ext4.
Then you should've stated this to start with. Just use a comma: <title 1> , <title 2>

afaik you can enter any characters in tag fields.

And yes, don't use /'s in system files.

Cue sheet could look like this:

Code: [Select]
FILE "09. He's So Unusual , Yeah Yeah.flac" WAVE
  TRACK 01 AUDIO
    TITLE "He's So Unusual"
    INDEX 01 00:00:00
  TRACK 02 AUDIO
    TITLE "Yeah Yeah"
    INDEX 01 00:45:00

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #6
In terms of the separator, MusicBrainz has the style guideline of using ' / ' (space, slash, space) as jaybeee suggests, so that's what I'd use, although I do convert it to ' / ' for use in filenames.

But that only applies to the Vorbis metadata. Right? I read that the use of / is not recommended on filesystems.
I use a unicode "equivalent" of / for use in the filenames so it doesn't cause any problems yet looks like what it should if viewing at the filesystem level. I don't have this problem for track titles as I just use discnumber.tracknumber but I have a bunch of albums with / in them and the unicode equivalent has worked fine. I use this method for the other invalid characters too e.g. ?, :, .(dot at the end of a filename in windows)

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #7
Cue sheet could look like this:

Code: [Select]
FILE "09. He's So Unusual , Yeah Yeah.flac" WAVE
  TRACK 01 AUDIO
    TITLE "He's So Unusual"
    INDEX 01 00:00:00
  TRACK 02 AUDIO
    TITLE "Yeah Yeah"
    INDEX 01 00:45:00
You mean joining the tracks together post rip? I've split tracks by index before but never thought of joining them.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #8
OP says that tracks 9 & 10 are joined together on their US pressing. So the above cue will simply create two tracks from the one file.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #9
I tried the CUE method, something like this:

Code: [Select]
  TRACK 09 AUDIO
    TITLE "He's So Unusual"
    PERFORMER "Cyndi Lauper"
    INDEX 00 34:26:12
    INDEX 01 34:30:37
  TRACK 10 AUDIO
    TITLE "Yeah Yeah"
    PERFORMER "Cyndi Lauper"
    INDEX 00 35:16:59
    INDEX 01 35:16:59

The problem is that there is absolutely no pause between the tracks, or should I say maybe a fraction of second. The Track10 starts suddenly with no gap at the beginning:



Notice how Time after Time has a bit of emptiness at the beginning, before actually the track starts (and that's true for all other tracks):



If I don't have that gap, then what's the point of splitting. I rather leave it as the original, both "He's So Unusual" and "Yeah Yeah" together.
Of coure I can insert gap with Audacity but it requires me to export to WAV and probably re-encode the whole thing, which I think is just a dirty hack or over-complication.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #10
OP says that tracks 9 & 10 are joined together on their US pressing. So the above cue will simply create two tracks from the one file.
I appreciate that your CUE could be used to split one file into two tracks, but I was asking about the original structure/CUE.
If the original CUE had multiple indexes (or you modified the CUE similar to what jaybeee suggests) then it can be split into two tracks and could be tagged accordingly. I've done this on albums like Foxtrot, otherwise the track title of track 6 in incomprehensible from a controller point of view.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #11
Ok, so you've ripped this CD as an image file (one long track) and then already use a cue sheet to separate the tracks right?

I'm guessing the INDEX 00 times come from the cue sheet created by the ripping program, cos for audio playback you don't need them. They're needed if you want to make an identical CD copy using the cue sheet (like EAC creates a non-compliant cue sheet that will allow you to recreate a perfect copy, if you use EAC's burning prog).

wrt adding extra time for a "break" between tracks. I don't think this can be done. The cue sheet is only informing the media player to split/display/cue-up tracks at these times.

You could edit one of the tracks losslessy in an audio editing program to add some silence to the end of 9 (or start of 10).

EDIT: you edited your post before I responded. Re-encoding is fine so long as it's lossless. If the files are FLAC then: FLAC > WAV > FLAC
If they're mp3 then use a lossless mp3 editor (can't help with linux, but mp3directcut (windows) and fission (mac) will work).

Seems a lot of hassle all round though right. I mean, this is how the artist wanted their album to be heard, so why not leave as.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #12
Yes, you're right. I'm looking to see what software does that losslessly. Maybe ffmpeg.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #13
If I don't have that gap, then what's the point of splitting. I rather leave it as the original, both "He's So Unusual" and "Yeah Yeah" together.
Of coure I can insert gap with Audacity but it requires me to export to WAV and probably re-encode the whole thing, which I think is just a dirty hack or over-complication.
I've only split tracks where the actual layout of the CD differentiates them by INDEX, primarily so that I could see exactly what segment of the track is playing (by title), although I have often thought about doing it for some others.
Definitely don't change the audio by introducing gaps as this will affect future lookups, verifications e.t.c.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #14
Ok, then I will go with:
Code: [Select]
title 1 , title 2.flac
and
Code: [Select]
title 1 / title 2 
in the metadata. That is safe. Right?


Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #16
Ok, then I will go with:
Code: [Select]
title 1 , title 2.flac
That is safe. Right?
Just as safe as "title 1 / title 2.flac" - a unicode equivalent ;-)

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #17
Using Unicode characters in the filename might be unsafe on less sophisticated platforms. For instance, if you want to make an MP3 CD for the car, the primitive player in the car stereo might get confused by Unicode filenames. The comma is definitely safer. A minus sign as a makeshift dash also works.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #18
Hopefully I didn't miss this if it was mentioned.

In Linux (possibly all Unix), using ampersand in the filename is ok.  You can have the file "Track 9+10:  He's So Unusual & Yeah Yeah.flac"   Just remember to enclose the filename in quotes when working with it on the command line. (Even if it has no spaces in it.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #19
I would not recommend any kind of non-alphanumeric character in a filename if you don't know what OS/file system it might be ported to.  The user might be able to select a subset of non-alphanumeric characters *if* they are aware of a limited set of target OSes, but as noted above consumer media players could be using anything as an OS and have primitive handling.

I don't understand the problem.  All my tracks are stored with a unique ID code (pure alphanumeric) as the filename, and the title is stored in a tag.  Just about everything displays the title tag, and if I come across something which doesn't I simply don't use it.
It's your privilege to disagree, but that doesn't make you right and me wrong.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #20
I would not recommend any kind of non-alphanumeric character in a filename if you don't know what OS/file system it might be ported to.
Dash - and underscore _ are widely considered safe "for anything" - at least if you don't start the filename with them. And of course there will be a dot somewhere, but that does not mean you can use too many - and definitely not first.

As Microsoft users should know, case sensitivity is out of the question. Some even recommend to stick to lowercase, but I think that is for different purposes (like, to ensure that you get the filename back exactly).


I don't understand the problem.  All my tracks are stored with a unique ID code (pure alphanumeric) as the filename, and the title is stored in a tag.
Happy browsing using a file explorer, especially if tags suddenly get lost. (How? By user error, most likely - directory/filename structure are part of my idiot proofing against myself.)

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #21
Theoretically one could use some other char that looks like slash, like "division slash ⧸ is U+29F8". p.s. I'd say that would increase the amount of possible confusion by more than 0%.
PANIC: CPU 1: Cache Error (unrecoverable - dcache data) Eframe = 0x90000000208cf3b8
NOTICE - cpu 0 didn't dump TLB, may be hung

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #22
I use fullwidth solidus (FF0F), but would not do so if hit by severe compatibility issues.

(Often, the compatibility isn't worse than a last-resort character like a square being filled in instead - your mileage may vary.)


Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #23
If you have an artist like "Huey Lewis & the News" do you include the ampersand only in the FLAC metadata? or do you add the ampersand to the folder names as well?  I'm not sure how safe is the use of ampersands in folder names on Unix and Windows filesystems.

Re: Is the ampersand okay to use in the file naming of a flac?

Reply #24
There is a table at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filename#Comparison_of_filename_limitations
Ampersands don't seem to be troublesome with anything, but might need to be escaped.

(I still remember how I used ":" between artist and album, and had to rename when I got a Windows computer.)