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 Tips about Cover Art

As you probably know by now, MLauncher shows your music as files and folders. When it comes to displaying album art, you have several options:

  • Embed the album art in the music file. This should always work correctly, however, it takes a lot of space if you are to embed the same image to all the files of an album, and I am not sure all file formats support embedded images.
  • Place the cover art in a file called cover.jpg or folder.jpg in a folder with songs. This works well for folders hosting albums, but it does not work for folders hosting compilations.
  • Put all cover art images in a single folder, and let MLauncher pick the right one from there. This is what I am going to talk about today!

In theory everything is simple: you put all your cover art images into a single folder, you name them say Artist-Album.jpg so that MLauncher knows which is which, and that's it! In practice, sometimes it is hard to know exactly the names of your Artists and Albums. This is where "hint files" come into help. So this is what you need to do:

  • Make sure you have the latest MLauncher version. Good support for hint files as described here comes in the 0.107 release from October 13.
  • In the Music Playbac view, enable "Hint files" from the Preferences menu.
  • Start playing some music, something that does not yet have cover art and for which the generic cover art is displayed.

After playing several songs without album art, please exit MLauncher and connect your phone to a PC in Mass Storage mode. Look into the Source folder(s) from which you were playing music. You should see a "__Covers" hidden folder. Inside this folder you should see several files, looking like this: Artist-Album.hint, all having a size of zero.

These are "hint" files. They indicate you that MLauncher was looking for cover art of that name, but with the .jpg extension. Now all you have to do is download the real album art images (.jpg) and copy-paste the names from the hint files to the inage files. After that, you can delete the hint files you replaced.

Few more things you should know:

  • The Artist-Album names are based on the music files metadata. If that is wrong or missing, then hint files do not help.
  • If the Artist-Album.jpg cover art file is not found, MLauncher will also look for Album.jpg and Artist.jpg before giving up and displaying the generic album art. However, it will not create an Album.hint nor an Artist.hint file, as not to polute the __Covers folder with too many hint files. This is useful if you have some "Top 100 something" albums, with each song having a different artist, but the album name being the same for all.
  • If you just delete a hint file, next time MLauncher encounters a song with the same Artist & Album but does not find a cover, the hint file is re-created. So just deleting it is not a good option. However, if you manually create a folder called "ignore" and put the unwanted hint files there, they will not be re-created.

This was it! I hope you find it useful. If you have comments, questions or better ideas, please send me an email.

 Ripping CDs

This post is about how to efficiently rip your CD's to listen to them in MLauncher. Well, "efficiency" can mean a lot of things for different people, but here by efficiency I mean small size of the resulting music files without loosing (much of the) audio quality.

As you may know, arguably the most efficient audio codec at the moment is HE-AAC v2, and Nokia phones do support it for quite some time (since N95 at least). To rip CDs in HE-AAC v2 you can use Winamp. In codec selection you should select "SHOUTcast MPEG-2 ADTS-AAC Encoder" and then the "HE-AAC v2" profile. You can leave the bitrate at 56kbps (the default). Enjoy!

Copyright © 2008-2016 Florin Lohan. All rights reserved.