Question on using Vinyl Studio

I have all my ripped CDs on an external HD and stream them to a PS Audio DirectStream DAC with BridgeII using JRiver and JRemote. Now I’ve started recording my LPs to digital files with a Tascam DA-3000 which puts the files on a CF card. The CF card then goes into a card reader attached to my computer from where I transfer the files to the HD using the same directory structure as the CDs. For instance if I already have 3 Cannonball Addererley CDs in the artist folder with his name on it, that is where I’ll put the newly digitized LPs. I append the names of the LPs with (DSD) or (24 – 96) depending on which format was used.   So it would look like this on my HD:

Shared Music

    Cannonball Adderley

          In The Land Of HiFi

          Somethin’ Else

          Somethin’ Else (DSD)

          Things Are Getting Better

          Know What I Mean? (DSD)

Now I’m ready to start using Vinyl Studio to split the tracks, name the tracks, maybe remove clicks & scratches. When first starting VS it prompts you to create a collection and asks where you want to store it. Should that be on the HD where JRiver looks to find my music files? And is this new “Collection” the location I should tell JRiver to find the new digital files?

The VS documentation has a drawing showing: VinylStudio – Collection: “My Albums.mcf” and says “Within a collection, VinylStudio stores your recordings as a list of albums. These are recorded a side at a time and these recordings are then split up into individual tracks. It is important to realize that VinylStudio is not an audio editor. That is to say, it does not directly edit your recordings or any audio files you might have imported. Instead, any changes you make within the program are stored (in My Albums.mcf) and then ‘overlayed’ onto the original audio when you save your tracks.”

Can anyone familiar with VS help me out with this? Maybe an explanation is all that’s needed and I can just let VS do it’s thing once I know where to locate “Collection – My Albums.mcf

I’m interested in the process steps and how much time it takes users per record to produce properly tagged output files with Vinyl Studio.
Maybe I made the original question too complicated.  So my raw DSD files go on the external HD in artist folders. Then I use VS and it positions track breaks, adds track names, cleans up audio (if desired) and stores all that in a folder it creates called "Collection: My Albums.mcf". And lets say I let that folder go to the default location on the internal drive. Then I play the digitized LP with JRiver. How does JRiver know where the track breaks are when they are not part of the DSD files on the HD? I'm missing something which will probably become obvious once I use VS.
Let me go over how I use VS and some details about the various files. Maybe more than you want, but here it is. The basic concept is that VS accesses you input file but then outputs separate track files that you use with JRiver. Those track files look just like the files you rip from CD.

Collections are unique to VS. Each collection is a file where it stores the data it needs to process your files, like a unique name for an album and the file location. It is basically VS's library, somewhat akin to the JRiver library. You can put it wherever you like or use the default location. I have a collection for jazz, one for jazz vocals, one for classical, one for blues etc. They are all stored in a folder I call Vinyl Studio Collections and it is in the main directory I use for all my general stuff. But, it can be anywhere, just be sure it is in directory that gets backed up. If you look in that directory, you will see a separate file for each Collection. It is in an internal VS format.

The input file to Vinyl Studio is the file that your Tascam produces.  It should contain both sides of the album if possible. Vinyl Studio never changes that file. All the changes it makes are kept in separate files that reside in the same folder as the original file. Once you edit a file with VS, there will be a vsfile and a .crd file in that same folder. The vsfile stores information that VS uses, for example, to generate the wave form. The .crd file contains the corrections, like click, hiss, hum removal.

VS has an option to move your original files into a VS folder. I do not do that. I just leave them on the disk where I original stored them. For me,  they are in a folder called Vinyl Originals with sub-folders of Artist and then Album. I like to be able to see and control where those files are. Once you point VS to them, you should not move them or VS will loose track of them.

Once you process the files (separate tracks, cleanup, tagging) you then write the track files out as separate files. They can go directly into the folder where you store you JRiver albums. You can set the folder structure, but it is usually Artist/Album/ Track Number Track Name. These files look just like the files your ripped from CD. You then import the new album folder into JRiver. You set the folder structure in Save Tracks - Options.

Note that if you are using DSD files, your can do track brakes but any cleanup will not be written to the output tracks. You cannot do cleanup on DSD files. If you want ot do cleanup, you need to output them as DSD. I started with DSD but switched to PCM for all but my absolutely cleaning records.

mapman - I can usually input a raw file, break it into tracks and tag it is 15 minutes or so. This is greatly simplified by using VS's ability to look up albums in the database.  It has a remarkable numbers of albums in it. If VS finds an album it will import the track names and track times and apply them. The timings are never exact and you have to move the track brakes around to account for the lead in time and the time between tracks. But it becomes an easy process for most normal albums. Live albums with lots of applause and albums where tracks merge together can take a lot longer to figure out where to break the tracks. There is also an option to search for track breaks, but using discogs is usually easier.

Tagging is pretty simply. You can set album, artist, composer, genre, conductor for the whole album and you can edit them for each track if you wish.  Take a look here at Splitting Tracks here

In the VS General Forum there is a post with a couple of tips on looking up albums in discogs using catalog and release numbers. They can be helpful for hard to find albums and for albums with lots of versions. I use those tips all the time.

The time consuming task can be cleanup. You can do hum, rumble and hiss removal in a few minutes. Running click repair is also quick, but you may have to do manual fixes which can take time. Once you get used to it, you can scan through the corrected waveform and spot potential problem spots. My record is about 3 hours for a very damaged recording, but that was also when I was knew to doing it.  But, for most albums there is little manual work needed. It all depends on how clean you want the resulting tracks. Scratches across the record are easy to fix. Anything that runs parallel to the tracks can be very hard to fix.

Total time without doing a lot of manual click repairs usually varies for 15 to 30 minutes.

Dtc thx for that detailed description.  

In in my case I would want to output Flac files all tagged and ready to go to move to my library folder.   
You can certainly output Flac files with the tags that VS handles set directly into your library folder. That is what I do. The tags it handles are shown in the helpfile screen. You cannot add other tags. Those would have to be added by your player or another tagging program. I use JRiver and always add a couple of custom tags when I import, but those mostly happen automatically on import into JRiver. You set the tags for the whole album, but you can also change each field for each track, for example, composer for a non-classical piece or for different pieces by different composers on a classic record.  I use the comment field to put in the name of the recording company and the record number for future reference.

Thanks dtc, that is an excellent and informative explanation, and what I was hoping for.
Glad to help. I am a real fan of Vinyl Studio. And the price is hard to beat.

You can get a trial version of VS. If I remember correctly you can do the whole process just when you write out the track files the corrections are not saved. And you get 5 albums I think. So, give it a try.

You said "All the changes it (VS) makes are kept in separate files that reside in the same folder as the original file. Once you edit a file with VS, there will be a vsfile and a .crd file in that same folder."

And "Once you process the files (separate tracks, cleanup, tagging) you then write the track files out as separate files. They can go directly into the folder where you store you JRiver albums."

Based on your comments my understanding is that the  "track files" go to the folder JRiver uses for my ripped CDs.  The vsfle and .crd file stay where VS created them, but the track files are dependent on them, so make sure VS continues to know where they are and that they are backed up.  Correct?

If the track files are dependent on the vsfile and .crd file, then the track files are not complete and self sufficient files, so they differ in that way from ripped CD files.  Correct?

Yes thanks.  I will likely give it a try sometime in the near future.  
Jeff - You are correct - the original file, vsfile and .crd files stay in the original folder and the output files (the tracks) go into the JRiver folder.

The track files are independent of VS, just like CD rip files. Once you create them, they are stand alone files. You need the original file, the vsfile and the .crd file to create the output files (tracks), but once the output file is created it is independent of VS. You can move it anywhere you want, including to another computer.

The reason to not move the input files is in case you want to re-edit in VS - such as correcting a click you missed. VS needs to know where the original files are to do that. You would the open up VS, call up the album, add the new corrections and write new output (track files) into the JRiver folders. So, you do not want to move the original files, just in case you want to make more edits or re-create the files. Actually VS can recreate the vsfile easily, but the .crd file has all your corrections in it and you do not want to have to redo those. Therefore it is important that you back up the .crd files.

Again, the track files are independent of vsfile and the .crd file. You just need those files if you want to do more corrections or if you, for some reason loose the track files and need to recreate them. You do not want to loose the corrections that you have already done in VS.

As an aside, if you create new track files, you loose any custom tags you may have applied to the old track files by JRiver. However, you can re-create the custom tags in the new track files by using Library Tools to write the library tags for the tracks to the files.

Hope that helps. Sorry for the confusion.