MetatOgger: audio tagger with “acoustic fingerprinting” and other powerful options

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MetatOgger is a free, powerful program for tagging and renaming MP3s and other audio files.

It offers the functions you would expect from a tag editor (e.g. mass renaming, tags from filenames or path, scripts to perform editing functions) as well as a few that are not so common, such as “acoustic fingerprinting” of unknown songs using the MusicBrainz database, built in album art search, importing lyrics from lyricwiki.org into your audio tags, and the ability to download a massive audio tag database that it can use as a tagging resource.

Applying the correct tags and cover art to your audio library may feel like a never ending quest or even an impossible one; fortunately, however, there are sophisticated tools such as MetatOgger to help with the task.

I’d previously written about Mp3Tag, an excellent audio tagging and renaming app, but MetatOgger it notable because it has a couple of interesting functions that Mp3Tag does not, including acoustic fingerprinting and audio tag lookups via its own downloadable database.

This software has a lot of potential, but also needs to iron out some significant kinks. Here’s a list of some of the features that MetatOgger has that I like the most, as well as a list of those I do NOT like so much.

My favorite MetatOgger features (also known as the PROS section):

  • Acoustic fingerprinting: is your recourse for audio files that has no information whatsoever (or simply for identifying missing info). Acoustic fingerprinting is a process whereby the software “listens” to the audio and compares its digital fingerprint with the huge Musicbrainz community database. MetatOgger can query this database on demand to instantly populate missing audio tags without user intervention.
  • Metatogger Screenshot filtersColumn-header filters: you can easily not notice that you can perform this really useful function (see image to the right). Would have liked the ability to filter by rules though, Excel-style, such as “all entries that begin with x”.
  • Tag from Database: this will prompt the downloading of a massive database which apparently comprises millions of titles. You can then simply do a search, find the album you want, and use the tags found in the database on your local files.
  • Lyrics: simply check the songs you want and choose “get lyrics from lyricwiki.org” and voila – your songs will incorporate lyrics inside their audio tags. Useful for media players that offer a lyrics display with playback option.
  • Cover art lookups: use the cover art search box to find cover art online. The program gives you a choice between storing the image data in the tag in the file itself, or otherwise to store it in the folder (if in doubt, go with the former). Note that you will need to manually identify the most suitable match from the list of results (the screenshot above shows cover art lookups).
  • Allows saving workspaces: which is to say you can decide on which columns you would like to work with and their width on-screen and save that configuration. This turns out to be indespensible.
  • Support for a wide range of audio files: including Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Speex, MP3, Musepack, Windows Media, WavPack and Monkey’s Audio
  • Preview changes: this is standard practice for apps of this sort, but I will mention anyway that the program allows you to fiddle around with your audio library to your heart’s content, and will only save the changes once you are good and ready and click “save”; until then everything is virtual and un-doable.

My not-so-favorite features (also know as the CONS section):

  • The user experience: is not as friendly as it could have been, and may cause some degree of frustration before getting used to. It always takes me too many clicks to check/uncheck the files that I want to work with because it involves using too many right click commands.The various interventions, moreover, could definitely have been made more intuitive.
  • It can be slow: navigating is somewhat slow, and saving changes can be slower than you’d at first expect.
  • No search box: despite the coolness of column-header filtering, I was surprised that there was no overall filter/search box.
  • Cover art: will at times not produce results that are nonetheless easily found in, say, a Google images search. The good news is that you can download these separately and point to them from within MetatOgger.
  • No context menu entry: one of the things I like about Mp3Tag is that it adds a context menu entry whereby I can quickly right click on a bunch of audio files and load them into that app to edit their tags. I am wishing that MetatOgger had an equivalent.

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

The verdict: a very powerful tool that can be immensely useful. I especially like the “acoustic fingerprinting” option and to be quite honest would prefer to access the Musicbrainz database from this program that using Musicbrainz’ own “Picard” app (the latter being rather atypical in its interface and design).

If you are using Mp3Tag or another similar program and are happy with the way it works and feels and it is performing well for you then, you might get a sense that MetatOgger is somewhat clunky or that its not as smooth and intuitive as it could be. However, if you want the added functionality (acoustic fingerprinting, database lookups, lyrics lookups) then MetatOgger is certainly a very nice software to have, and that is why I am giving this one my highest “Freewaregenius Pick” award.

Version Tested: 3.9.1.0

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Seven. Requires MS .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

Check out the MetatOgger page (in French, but click here for a Google English translation). The download link is in the blue box, (approx 5 megs).