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This page contains tips, tricks and suggestions about tagging: the process of manually setting various cue points for an audio file (usually a single song). It is assumed that you are using the mAirListTag program, but most of what is written here applies equally to the Item Properties dialog in any mAirList program.


Tagging Tutorial Videos

Two tagging tutorial videos have been created by Charlie Davy:

How To Override The Default Fade Duration

Change the Fade duration in the song's Properties. Usually you will do this in the Playlist rather than in mAirListTag (which would make the change 'permanent' for that song).

DO NOT set a Cue Out point in mAirListTag for this purpose, because that will cause problems when the song is played in Assist mode.

How To Tag Songs Quickly

If you are just starting to tag your existing audio library for mAirList, or you suddenly acquire hundreds of new songs, you obviously need to tag songs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are our suggestions to help you use the mAirListTag program effectively.

  • Never start a tagging session if you have anything else on your mind, or if you are in a bad mood. Tagging—especially 'speed tagging'—requires a surprisingly large amount of your concentration, and preferably all of it!
  • Try as far as possible to stop distractions and interruptions while tagging: switch your telephones off, and either find a quiet room or use headphones.
  • Tag files in sessions no longer than an hour. After an hour of tagging, you will need to take a break of at least five minutes, because you won't be as sharp as when you started (and it's also good ergonomics!). During your break, get up and walk around, and be sure to look at a distant object to rest your eyes as well.
  • The fastest way to move to any point in a song is to drag the Position slider.
  • The tick marks on the Position slider are usually twenty seconds apart. This can help when you are judging how far to drag the slider.
  • Shift+click on a +/– button moves a cue point by 0.1s, and Ctrl+click moves it by one second.
  • Don't 'linger' over a song: once it's tagged and tested, Save it and move on to the next one.
  • Work out your own best 'routine' so you can do the job as quickly as possible. Aim for a 'target time' of about one minute to tag a typical 'simple' audio file with all its principal cue points.

Sample Tagging Checklist

Following is a sample 'checklist' to get you started, but we encourage you to change it if you discover a method which works better for you.

  1. Load the song by double-clicking it. If the song is completely instrumental, or the vocals start immediately, skip the next five steps (which set the Ramp 1 point).
  2. Click Ramp 1 in the cue point list, then let the song play, but move your pointer over the SET button, ready to click it when you hear the Ramp point. Alternatively, if the intro is very long, drag the slider to find the Ramp.
  3. Click SET to initially set Ramp 1.
  4. Use the TEST and +/– buttons to adjust and check the exact Ramp 1 point.
  5. Move Ramp 1 backwards by 0.4s (to allow for presenter reaction time).
  6. Play the song from a point before the Ramp 1 point, and watch the progress bar as a final test.
  7. Set the Ramp 2 and Ramp 3 points (if any exist) in a similar way.
  8. Click Fade Out in the cue point list, then click END MON and listen for the 'right' Fade Out point. For a long fade, this should be on a beat; for an 'end,' it should be just after the final note. The 'right' Fade Out point is the moment when you would start the next track for a smooth segue over the fade (or end of) the song you are tagging. In most cases, the song will have faded down to at least 12 dB below peak by this point.
  9. Use the TEST and +/– buttons to adjust and check the exact Fade Out point.
  10. If the Fade Out point is less than 0.8s from the end of the song, move the Fade Out point to 0.8s from the end unless this would genuinely 'crash' the end of the track (this ensures there are never any 'gaps' during automated playout).
  11. Find and mark the Outro point, if any (the vocals in some songs continue right to the end, or near enough to make an Outro point unnecessary). Usually this will be the end of the vocals, or the start of the third repeat of the chorus or hook.
  12. If you want to use hooks, find and mark the Hook In, Hook Fade, and Hook Out points in a similar way.
  13. Click the appropriate Export to… button to save the tag infomration to a Metadata (MMD) file, Database entry (if configured), or in a special mAirList File Tag (custom ID3v2 tag) stored within the MP3 file. The song will be ejected from the Player.
  14. Load the next song to be tagged.
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