Download link: MUSICMATCH Plus Price: only 19.99$
Musicmatch 10. MusicMatch Jukebox brings together a useful set of music related technologies into one consistent and simple interface. It allows you to collect and organize music from your CDs and audio files into a single database from which you can create play lists automatically and manually. It works with the super popular MP3 file format (and other MPEG types) using ID3 Tags to store information about each track including the title, source CD track number, artist, album, year, comments, genre, tempo, mood, situation, preference, artist e-mail, Buy CD and Artist URLs, Lyrics, Notes, Artist Bios and even a BMP, ICO or JPG graphic for album cover art (no GIF support).
The program provides five main windows, the Music Library, Play List, Player, Track Info and Recorder. All of these windows can be opened, closed, and moved individually or “snapped” together and moved as a single unit (very cool). A minor constraint on snapping the windows together is that they must be linked in a specific order.
The Music Library Window is at the heart of the MusicMatch Jukebox. Here you add, remove and organize all of the MP3s stored in your computer. You can sort the listed tracks and clips by any field (song title, album artist, etc.). Using the Music Library, you can create play lists by draging and dropping entries into the play list window. Unfortunatly you can not drag and drop a single track directly from the Music Library Window to the Player to play just one track.
One cool feature of the Music Library is the ability to exported the database to a tab delimited text file which can be imported into spread sheet and database applications for external use. Other similar programs may also be able to import information in this format.
WAV files can not be directly added to the Music Library. They must be converted (this can be done automatically) to MP3s before being added. This is too bad because many people have a lot of WAV files they may not want to convert to MP3, but would like to include in the database.
The Play List Window is used to setup and organize the tracks in the Music Library for a specific playback order. You can create multiple playlists which can share some or all of the same tracks. In my opion the coolest feature of MusicMatch Jukebox is available from the Play List Window. AutoDJ allows you to generate play lists by filtering out or including tracks in the Music Library based on Album, Artist, Genre, Tempo, Mood, Situation and Preference.
One thing I noticed in the Play List Window is that updates to track information in the Music Library is not reflected in previously created play lists, leaving title and artist inconsistancies between the Music Library and Play Lists.
The Player Window provides the basic functions of a simple MP3 player. The common transport controls found on a CD player, a volume slider and track artist and title. The lack of extra graphics and other bells and whistels keeps it clear and easy to use. For animated graphics, spectrum analysis, oscilloscopes and other visual feedback, there is built in Winamp support which starts the external player passing it the song or play list you have setup.
Like the Music Library, the player is not capable of working with CD audio or WAV files directly. Audio tracks and WAV files must first be converted to MP3.
The Track Info Window displays information about the currently playing file including Lyrics, Notes, and Bios which you must manually enter or paste into the database. You can also select the Buy CD option which will open your browser and take you to the CDNOW web site where you can purchase a CD. A nice marketing technique, but also a useful feature for quickly finding and buying CDs from the computer.
The track/ID3 TAG information can be edited by clicking on the TAG button in the Track Info Window. There are check-boxes next to each field that, when checked, apply the particular field’s information to all tracks from the same CD, making album oriented changes easy.
The Record Window is where you extract audio from your CDs and turn them into MP3, Real Audio or WAV files. If you extract to an MP3 file, it is automatically added to the Music Library with the appropriate track and artist information that was either manually entered or downloaded from the CDDB. There are a number of settings from the options dialog which allow you to control how audio is extracted from your CD-ROM, which drive to use and what output compression and format to use. The settings are presented in a very clear manner and on-line help describing each setting is also available. Constant bit rates of 16 to 320 kbps and variable bit rates of 1 to 100 are supported for MP3. CD and FM Radio quality compression is supported for RealAudio output.
MusicMatch Jukebox automatically configures itself to work with your CD-ROM or CD-R drive(s). It worked great on the tested SCSI NEC drive, but failed with an error message for a SCSI Philips OMNIWriter. Audio could not be extracted from this drive, even after following the on-line help which offered a couple suggestions. While it did not provide an answer for getting the Philips drive to work, the on-line help has an informative list of errors and possible solutions, which is far more than most other CD Audio extraction software offers. Using the NEC drive, the Recorder flawlessly produced quality MP3, Real Audio and WAV files.
One fairly important feature left out of the Recorder is the ability to listen to a track from a CD. Without this ability you are left to guess which track is the one you want to extract (if you don’t know the track number or title provided by CDDB) so you must close the recorder window and open an external CD player program to find the track(s) you want ahead of time.
Converting from WAV to MP3 and MP3 to WAV is easy with the clear dialog box and good conversion speeds. The program can convert one or more files in a single run. An entire play list of MP3s can also be converted to WAV files in one run. For some reason WAV files can only be converted to 64, 80 and 128 kbps MP3s which is odd because more rates are available when extracting audio from a CD in the Record Window. Also, there is no overal batch file conversion progress meter, only one for the file currently being processed.
The program didn’t crash once the entire time it was tested. There was however one very minor glitch that occured after converting an MP3 playlist to WAV files where the MusicMatch Jukebox player refused to play because it thought that the conversion process was still in progress. This was easily fixed by simply restarting the program.
Although it isn’t really a bug, minimizing MusicMatch Jukebox causes all of the windows to be minimized as expected, but restoring the Jukebox causes only the Player to be restored, leaving the other windows (Track Info, Music Library, etc.) minimized. You must restore each one individually to get them all displayed again. Moving each window before restoring the next has an interesting effect if the windows were “snapped” together before minimizing.
The MP3 playback and audio extraction worked great even while multitasking several fairly processor intensive programs. Playback is far more steady than other MP3 audio players I’ve tested (Microsoft’s Windows Media Player for example).
If you’ve ever thought it would be great to have instant access to all of your music and be able to organized tracks into your own play lists, MusicMatch Jukebox is the software of your dreams. It is packed with cool features, is very user friendly, and has clear on-line help that covers everything from getting started to explaining advanced options and features. I recommend this program to any music lover with a decent amount of free hard drive space.
Download link: FREE MUSICMATCH Plus Price: only 19.99$
MUSICMATCH is the Internet’s leading digital audio jukebox. Rip music off your CDs, vinyl, and tapes to download it on CD-quality MP3s, create customized CDs, print and design jewel case covers, organize all your music files in an easy to use library , and listen to over 25 of the best programmed internet radio stations ever. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Price: only $19.99