Album Art Issue on Sonos iPad and iPhone app

  • 30 September 2010
  • 43 replies
  • 29137 views


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43 replies

PNG format is ghastly, the resulting file sizes appear 5 or 6 times larger than the original JPEG.


The PNG format is great, something is wrong with the file conversion or the images are being replaced.

I'm not an Apple or iTunes user, but I'll guess that Apple is pushing toward larger artwork, probably in anticipation of moving everyone to a future home entertainment product that encourages larger screens. PNG supports an Alpha channel that allows all sorts of neat transparency effects. iTunes could be simply resizing the images as they convert to PNG and, since it is assumed that the iTunes program has access to the iTunes store, it is possible that the images are being replaced with larger PNG images when available online.
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The PNG format is great, something is wrong with the file conversion or the images are being replaced.

I'm not an Apple or iTunes user, but I'll guess that Apple is pushing toward larger artwork, probably in anticipation of moving everyone to a future home entertainment product that encourages larger screens. PNG supports an Alpha channel that allows all sorts of neat transparency effects. iTunes could be simply resizing the images as they convert to PNG and, since it is assumed that the iTunes program has access to the iTunes store, it is possible that the images are being replaced with larger PNG images when available online.

PNG is a losslessly compressed image format (like FLAC). JPEG is a lossy format (like MP3).

What is happening is that the compressed JPEG image is displayed/expanded and then losslessly compressed into a PNG. No resizing as such is taking place. It is kind of like taking an MP3 and converting it into a FLAC.

Each file format has its purpose and I prefer the losslessly compressed PNG for many uses - it just isn't the right fit for the Sonos iPad app that has a file size constraint.
With regard to small, medium, and large artwork. I think that in the future we will wish that we had high definition artwork. Originally, I used very small artwork, on the order of 112x112 because this was a good match for the original SONOS controller. Eventually, the expanded artwork view, then the newer controllers arrived and my cleverly sized, low resolution little images looked terrible. I replaced all of my artwork.

Currently I am using images in the 300x300 to 500x500 range because they are readily available online and they usually satisfy the controller file size constraint. If I scan an image I'll usually scan at 500x500.

At some point larger artwork will be practical and desirable and I'll be shopping for artwork again. If you have a high resolution copy of your artwork, I suggest that you salt it away as a separate file, perhaps as "large.jpg" (or "large.png") and scale a smaller image from this file for current "folder.jpg" (or "folder.png") use.
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My artwork is 500x500px.
It's smaller than 150kb.
It's embeded in the mp3 tags.
Some ripped, some bought.
Added through right click in iTunes.
Showing in iTunes, Sonos desktop controller for Mac and PC and CR200.
Not showing random album art on iPhone and iPad.
Not showing random album art on iPhone and iPad.
Does the same album sometimes show on the iDevices, and sometimes not?

The Sonos controller has a low patience threshold when it comes to fetching art, before timing out to a blank. Since the iDevices require WiFi one wonders whether the WiFi could be suffering from interference problems?
JBX077,

There is an additional potential issue -- that will be random.

The SONOS software is a little impatient. It will request an image and wait a short while, then assume that the image is not present if the image has not arrived by the deadline. This can happen if the file server is pokey or the display device is struggling with connectivity.

Are your files stored on a wireless computer? If so, I can imagine that the wireless network is on the edge and the increased WiFi traffic on the computer and iPhone/iPad links pushes over the edge. Make sure that SONOS and WiFi are on different channels. Also, restrict your WiFi to channel 1, 6, or 11 and disable "Wide", "40MHz", channels and disable "Auto" channel assignment.
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I've found a workaround! :D

As someone said before, iTunes converts the embedded albumart to PNG. The size of the picture is doubled, sometimes even tripled. In that case some of my 150kb JPGs grow to 350kb PNGs. You can check this when you drag the albumart back out of iTunes. However I found out that this is only true when you Right Click > Get Info and then add a JPG file.

It doesn't convert the JPG to PNG if you drag it to the albumart box in the lower left of the screen. (If the box is not showing click the 4th icon from the left in the bottom bar.)

So if you ad a new album, add the JPG to the albumart box and it stays a JPG!

(PS: Make sure you remove the existing albumart first, otherwise you'll have two!)
The more I hear about the behind-the-scenes-and-out-of-control tricks which iTunes plays on one's music library, the more determined I am never to let it tamper with mine.
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I would have agreed a year ago when I used Windows. But not anymore since I have an iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone. I don't have to worry about file names, folder names, locations, etc. I have an RSync script running on my iMac that mirrors my changes in iTunes to my Qnap NAS. Sonos indexes the NAS and imports the "smart playlists". This way I can overcome the problem of adding multiple genres and song ratings. And I don't have to do anything to sync all my devices. I've got all my music with me all the time and all my devices play nice together, including Sonos. What would I want more?
What would I want more?
It sounds like Resistance is Futile then. ;)

Personally I'm happier with open standards and knowing what's happening to the files and folders which have taken weeks to rip and tweak.
Userlevel 2
Everyone seems to know how to get the album art in the first place; please will someone tell me how. I can only artwork from downloaded songs via iTunes. I have ripped my own CD collection and no artwork appears either on the PC Sonos Controller, or my iPhone 5. Someone said create a folder called "folder.jpg" and put a jpg image into that folder (without the file extension) in the same folder as the album itself. The exclusion of the file extension doesn't make any sense to me, and it doesn't work! Please some help...
Userlevel 1
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Personally, I use mp3tag to embed the album cover into each mp3 file.

http://www.mp3tag.de/

Screenshots:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8355/8312303574_71c0b5ee81.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8224/8312307242_92c53eea1c_n.jpg
Someone said create a folder called "folder.jpg" and put a jpg image into that folder (without the file extension) in the same folder as the album itself...

No, the instructions are to place a picture file of the cover -- jpg, gif, bmp, png -- named with the word "folder", so that you have folder.jpg or folder.png (or whatever supported file type you use) in with the tracks. The picture and the music have to be together.

If your cover art is not named 'folder', simply rename it.
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No, the instructions are to place a picture file of the cover -- jpg, gif, bmp, png -- named with the word "folder", so that you have folder.jpg or folder.png (or whatever supported file type you use) in with the tracks. The picture and the music have to be together.

If your cover art is not named 'folder', simply rename it.


Thanks NoBob,

There was I, creating a folder with a jpg inside, wondering why it wasn't working, and renaming the file to match the album name, still to no avail.

Such a simple thing.

Happy New Year.
Userlevel 2
I'd rather keep the high res image ive gotten from iTunes if possible. Like its been said, I predict the need for bigger artwork in the future.

However, If the Sonos app is struggeing due to network issues, will it somehow resort to the folder.jpg file within the folder instead? All my tracks have the image, default iTunes png, embedded and are most likely over the size limit.

edit: Worked as a charm with smaller jpgs than the original png form iTunes. Smaller than the 250kb ish limit.

For fututre reference, I used Dougscripts to save the png as folder.jpg withing each /Artist/Album folder, then remebedded that jpg into the files. Dougscripts.com/itunes/ has some great solutions for iTunes artwork.

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