Digital music lovers have a seemingly endless assortment of choices when selecting jukebox software to help them enjoy their music collection. Ultimately the best choices are those that offer the versatility and functionality that will keep the music playing to everyone’s delight. Ventis Media’s MediaMonkey is our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner for offering an impressive variety of features sure to please even the most demanding music collector.
MediaMonkey’s easy-to-use interface makes organizing any size of music collection a snap. Immediately upon installation and setup, the program automatically goes to work identifying and organizing all music files in sight. Important features such as tagging, searching, and file format conversion are handled with ease. With such a wide range of features, it’s surprising that MediaMonkey is comparable in price to many of the jukebox products we examined.
Be sure to read all our reviews of jukebox software to determine which has the features that will best suit your needs.
Versatility, simplicity, and ease-of-use set MediaMonkey apart. Most of the popular audio file formats are supported, and you can easily convert from one format to another without loss of existing tag information.
The software’s interface is very simple to grasp; you can expect to be comfortably organizing files and creating playlists within minutes of installation. Most all of the product’s functionality can be accessed directly from the startup screen. Many features can be accessed via a toolbar and there is a familiar tree-style file manager pane for organization of titles and searches. Drag-and-drop functionality further enhances ease-of-use.
As musical libraries grow, the need to better organize them grows. Larger collections can give some jukebox software products fits, but MediaMonkey can manage collections from small to those in excess of 50,000 files. You can organize, browse and search music by genre, artist, year, rating, composer or even classifications such as tempo or mood.
When music is collected from various sources, it is likely that tracks will appear that are missing album or artwork information. MediaMonkey quickly and easily locates this missing information online, and renames and re-organizes tracks as needed. Missing details can be found automatically through external sites like Amazon, Freedb, CD-TEXT and Allmusic.
A File Monitor is available that can update your music collection automatically to reflect changes, such as when new files are downloaded. Additions, deletions and changes made by other applications are automatically reflected in your library.
Of course, a key feature of any jukebox software is the ability to create and manage playlists. MediaMonkey shines here as well. There are several options for creating playlists. They can be mixed manually, using drag-and-drop functionality. Alternatively, playlists can be automatically generated based on search criteria. There is even an Auto-DJ that will create a mix for you. Management is straightforward and stable; playlists will remain as created even when files are renamed and/or retagged.
With so much functionality, it’s almost easy to take for granted the primary objective of jukebox software: playing music. MediaMonkey plays CDs and most digital music formats and allows users to create made-to-order sound. Volume levels can be adjusted automatically and a built-in equalizer provides plenty of options to customize the sound to individual taste. Also available are a variety of DSP (digital signal processing) plug-ins to add a variety of audio effects.
If the objective is to play your music on a portable device, MediaMonkey can help. It supports a variety of portable devices. It will sync iPhones, iPods and most MP3 players and smartphones. A simple sync button will sync tracks and related metatag information such as album art, ratings, play history and playlists. The software will automatically convert and level tracks so users won’t miss a beat. Player controls are located on the main screen and visual choices during playback include album art or visualizations.
A sure favorite of those who would like to bring the music to the people will be the Party Mode functionality. Using Party Mode, your guests can actually make requests at the PC. And you can enjoy the party and rest easy knowing that your collection is protected; while in Party Mode users are unable modify the music library in any way.
The experience doesn’t stop with the music; MediaMonkey adds to the effect by providing the means to add visualizations during music playback. If the built-in effects aren’t enough, there are hundreds more available via download on the MediaMonkey website.
In fact, the look and feel of MediaMonkey is completely customizable, via skins, scripts, and plug-ins. Scripting interfaces can be used to edit the MediaMonkey user interface, customize features, and even integrate the navigation tree with external applications. Custom skins can also be developed. An artwork forum is even available for creative users to share ideas and work.
Those who collect digital music from multiple sources will not be disappointed with the flexibility of MediaMonkey. The software supports most major file formats, including MP3, MP4, OGC, WMA, FLAC, etc. MediaMonkey will not only play music in these formats but can also record and convert files from almost any format.
MediaMonkey has a well-designed user interface that is very intuitive. Most of the functionality can be accessed directly from the startup screen. There is little need to navigate through multiple screens or menus. A navigation pane makes it easy to create and manage playlists with simple drag-and-drop functionality.
Straightforward player controls are located on the main screen. All track information is clearly displayed in an easy-to-read manner. Users can toggle between various views or alter the sort order of playlists with a single mouse click.
MediaMonkey’s embedded help content is easy to access and use. Topics can be navigated via a traditional navigation pane or searched using keywords. There are also helpful hyperlinks within topics. While easy to navigate, the content is a little lacking beyond the very basics of setup and use.
More impressive are the online support options. A link from the Help menu will direct users to MediaMonkey’s eSupport site, which includes a searchable knowledgebase, community forum, wiki of community-contributed documentation and the means to submit a question directly to the support team. This one-stop shop also allows for downloads of software and support documentation.
MediaMonkey offers a great deal of flexibility and functionality in a simple-to-use and affordable product. If you have a growing music collection that sometimes feels like a herd stampeding out of control, this is the tool to help you rein it in. It is easy enough to use for beginners and powerful enough for the most ardent music collector.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the versatility. Whether the need is to organize, tag, search, or even copy and convert music, Ventis Media’s MediaMonkey Gold makes simple work out of whipping the largest music collection into shape.