Music Software Review Roundup

musicsoftware main Music Software Review Roundup

Now that the major players (some pun intended) in the field have all been reviewed, it’s time to take a look at them all and decide which is the recommended choice for music organization software.

The point of these reviews was always to find what software worked the best for organizing the music on an MP3 player. Playback on a computer is one thing, but this site is for MP3 players after all, so if you can’t handle syncing properly you won’t get a good score. WinAmp and Songbird basically became the big losers due to this, with Songbird being too simple and performance heavy without really offering that much and WinAmp having outdated, confusing menu systems as well as being the only software that outright failed several syncing methods such as transferring playlists with the content intact.

Windows Media Player 12 is a nice piece of software that I myself like, but the true usefulness of it more than anything is the Windows 7 support and the fact it’s pre-installed on Windows 7 machines. It does what most people would need without even having to look for additional software, but it’s also very limited compared to the two major players.

The two I’m talking about are of course MediaMonkey and Media Jukebox. Out of all the applications I tested these stood out as the two that really give you a full fledge solution for music organizing. The difference between them lies in the number of features, and the way they handle the free version. MediaMonkey’s free version put limitations on a lot of features that should be free, and that is free with Media Jukebox. At the same time, the full version of MediaMonkey adds only a few things while the full version of Media Jukebox- Media Center – adds dozens of amazing features. MediaMonkey is good, and a lot of people will use it for supporting WinAmp plugins, but my personal favorite and recommendation is Media Jukebox. Having tried the full version I also have to say it’s worth the $50 price tag, and I am going to review Media Center later on to show off the full potential of what I myself can only describe as an amazing application. I didn’t do this now because I wanted to show the free options for syncing, but for a standalone review Media Center is definitely worth some attention.

Of course there are many applications I didn’t review and might not come back to review, for several reason. First off, the point of this was to review free software so that price wouldn’t be a consideration. You might have been able to forgive WinAmp’s flaws if it was the only free software, for example. It’s however a lot more difficult to justify serious lack of features and stability when there are competitors out there that does it right for free. The cost of acquiring the software is 0, so one would always go with the best one. Of course “best” is a relative term, and people might have their own views on what features they want and what the best solution is from that. Still, I find it pointless to spend time on reviewing minor software that while I haven’t reviewed I have looked at and tested and can say for sure it wouldn’t really be a competitor to the big boys anyways. The people who already have their favorite application don’t need my blessing or my review to continue using it, so it’s all about finding the best software for those that don’t already use one- or are out to switch. In my opinion, that is J. River Media Jukebox.

Next up software-wise now is music stores. There are many options out there, most for music but also some for video and audiobooks. Pay per song services and subscription services, international services and country restricted ones. We cover MP3 players all the time, which is what you use to play the music with. I’ve now covered a few music software applications, to handle the organization and syncing of music to the device. Seems only natural that the last piece of the puzzle is also covered, which is how to get the content in the first place.


Big Bear on November 10, 2009 6:25 AM

If you do review music stores, please review the itunes store, for it is the only one that people without credit cards can use… (You can buy points cards)And another suggestion would be to compare with CD retail store to make price comparison.

MarvintheMartian on November 10, 2009 6:44 AM

@BigBear: don’t you need a credit card to set up iTunes in the first place?

Andreas Ødegård on November 10, 2009 7:22 AM

@Big Bear: Both Amazon MP3 and iTunes reviews are completed and queued for release later this week- and both of them covers buying without credit cards, which Amazon can do as well :) @Marvin: Actually no, you can register using gift cards

copeys on November 10, 2009 7:23 AM

@Marv, nah, when you do it you have the option to put in a credit card, and the option to just use the points system ;)

DJAttreides on November 10, 2009 7:30 AM

Where is foobar2000?

mogeansai on November 10, 2009 7:31 AM

@MarvintheMartian nope, there is a perfectly legal work around., the itunes store is a terrible place to get music,and although the quality has stepped up in the last couple of years, it’s still awful.

MIRSKID on November 10, 2009 7:47 AM

I was wondering what happened with the jetaudio review. I thought that was one of the good ones.Thank You.

Andreas Ødegård on November 10, 2009 9:27 AM

@DJAttreides: foobar2000 isnt a music organization applciation as it cant interact with MTP devices. It was reviewed because, well, i wanted to- and its very lightweight and work well on MIDs and UMPCs. It is however not comparable to any of the 5 listed here

MarvintheMartian on November 10, 2009 9:38 AM

Thanks for the info on the setup, everyone….but I won’t be setting up iTunes unless I get an iPod. Any music I have bought online has been from Amazon MP3. Generally, I prefer to buy the CD and rip it myself though. ;o)

Squargle on November 10, 2009 11:50 AM

I’m glad you did a little summary/conclusion of what you thought of each audio application reviewed. Perhaps now you can have an editor’s choice section for audio software as well as hardware?

Flamin_Spirit on November 10, 2009 1:37 PM

You can use the Zune Marketplace without a credit card as well (points cards work)@MIRSKIDJetAudio is terrible IMO, the only reason I use it is to trans-code videos so they work on my D2. Its playlist interfaces and media management features really lack in comparison to a player like Media Jukebox or MediaMonkey.I think that foobar2000 is a media management software, you can have it completely automate your music library, moving files according to tags, or tagging according to folders. it really does manage your collection on the computer side well, but it is true it doesn’t talk to MP3 players, but as most people here (that I’ve seen) prefer drag and drop it doesn’t matter if it can support MTP devices or not.

Andreas Ødegård on November 10, 2009 4:04 PM

@Flamin_Spirit: The majority of non-iPod MP3 players use MTP, not MSC. This site is for everyone, not only the ones who scream the loudest, so the fact that most active commenters use MSC doesnt really say much about the other 99% of people who read the articles but doesnt comment. No MTP support, no deal.

Andreas Ødegård on November 10, 2009 4:05 PM

@Squargle: Good idea. Will have to look into that a bit later one, once the music store reviews etc are done. At least one each from music store and music software could be nice to have.

Jordan on November 10, 2009 6:40 PM

I use eMusic a lot for downloading music. I think it should be in the reviews. It’s great because they always have a 50 free music downloads. If you leave then come back, you receive an extra 75 free downloads.

Francisco on November 10, 2009 6:50 PM

The best is Windows Media Player, works perfectly arranging music and files managment.

Joseph on November 11, 2009 12:07 AM

Thank you so much for this round-up; I’ve been looking for something like this since getting a decent MP3 player and discovering that my pretty decent Creative MediaSource organizer that came with my Creative X-Fi soundcard can’t sync to my Creative MP3 player. :-) I’d never heard of Media Jukebox or foobar2000 before and am glad this article brought them to my attention. Before I make my final decision, however, I want to try experimenting with VirtualBox or even better, a version of CoLinux (that runs directly under Windows) and see if I can get Amarok or Banshee to run under Windows and see how that works. I think this stands a greater chance of creating a black hole than the Large Hadron Collider, however…. :-)

DJAttreides on November 11, 2009 7:37 AM

@Joseph: Better don’t try CoLinux, the last time I did that it destroyed my MP3s. But you’re right, Amarok is by far the best music player I’ve ever seen (and I’ve tried manny!). But why would one want Banshee when Amarok is there?

Joseph on November 11, 2009 5:05 PM

Eeek, DJAttreides, that sounds like my black hole theory was correct. If I do try that experiment, it sounds like working with a copy of my music collection is in order (and a full backup!).In regards to Banshee/Amarok, I haven’t used Linux enough to have really put either through their paces yet. Banshee is also promising a Windows version RealSoonNow.My thoughts regarding coLinux (or another distro coLinux-ified) is that Virtualbox emulates a rather wimpy sound card, and co-running a Linux distro might make for better sound quality (not that my Creative X-Fi is more than minimally supported under Linux at the moment anyway).This could all make for a good project during my December holidays (although needing to re-rip all my CDs would make it much less so). :-) Anyway, going to try Media Jukebox now….

Tom on November 12, 2009 6:49 PM

How do mp3 files ripped from CD’s using Windows media player 12 sound compare to other ripping software? Does WMP use the LAME encoding method?Thanks.

MarvintheMartian on November 12, 2009 6:56 PM

All the previous WMP’s did not use LAME. I know that WMP11 was not a very good ripper, unless the CD’s were brand-new/scratch-free. I did my whole collection with it last year, and many of the rips had skips. So over the last couple months I’ve been redoing the entire collection with EAC. A very time-consuming process, but better than buying new copies of all the CD’s!

cartucho r4i on November 14, 2009 5:44 AM

Hi,I am such a big fan of music when ever i free i turn on my i pod and listen music from it whole day…I also searching for music info like lyrics albums singers and much more….My favorite music types are sad songs , Fast Rock and Roll type songs and some really Hip Hop…So this article will make me more better in music knowledge and also some kind of fun…..Thanks for sharing some valuable info…

Chas. on March 29, 2010 5:16 PM

Thanks for the review. It’s going to save me some time by staying away from a couple of the product that didn’t quite have the sync-ing up to snuff.Thanks again,c.

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