Jukebox Pro 2, by MusicMatch
Posted: 28-May-2001

3 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: MusicMatch Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Robert Hanno Class: MULTIMEDIA

MusicMatch Jukebox 2 is a utility for managing MP3s. Its features include a 10-band graphic equalizer, AIFF file support, CD-burning, line-in recording, the MusicMatch Music Guide, multiple skins and multiple CD drive support.

Requirements: G3 or greater, OS 8.6 to 9.1, 4 MB hard disk space, speakers/headphones, Stuffit Expander.
Price: $19.99US ($29.99US - lifetime free upgrades).
Test machine: B&W G3, OS 9.1, 384 MB of memory (no CD-RW, so unable to report on this feature).

MusicMatch Jukebox Basic, the freeware version of this product, was the first MP3 software I ever used. After Apple's free iTunes arrived, the overriding question was: What does MusicMatch Jukebox Plus offer that would inspire us to plunk down our hard-earned $19.95?

The download consists of four skins, Cyborg, Digital Age, Oxygen, Xenon which are composed of a couple of dozen bitmap files that display a bunch of doodads and geegaws that mostly don't do anything and fail to respond to the usual Apple re-sizing actions. Coming under particular criticism is the resizing handle which is missing from some windows and nearly impossible to find on others. Scrolling in the skinned application is halting and unbearably slow. The graphic equalizer, tag info, AutoDJ and other subsidiary windows are only available in the built-in skin. The Built-in skin (Mac OS) is homely, but resizing is reliable and scrolling is crisp. Changing skins while listening to audio resulted in the advertised Type 2 error.

The 10-band graphic equalizer with pre-amp is a nice feature improving the output from my Altec Lansing computer speakers. Track Info allows you to choose General (Situation, Tempo, Preference and Mood join the usual topics like Title, Artist and Album), Bios, Lyrics Notes, Art and URLs (File, Artist and Buy CD) if you are so inclined. Editing multiple tags is a new feature with 2.0. ID3 tagging is supported.

Jukebox uses a CDDB connection (or the alternate Freedb) to retrieve album information. The Personalization Preferences selections are grayed out and inoperative (assumption: the PC version has this as a functioning feature which allows you to upload your playlists to MusicMatch for recommendations based upon your own listening and that of similar listeners).

Encoding is allowed at CD (MP3 at 160 kpbs or 128 kpbs), Near CD (96 kpbs), FM Radio Quality (64 kpbs), Custom MP3 Qualities (MP3 VBR and MP3 CBR), and AIFF (uncompressed). Ripping a CD took marginally longer than the advertised 2.5x/2.6x at CD quality (160 kpbs.)

AutoDJ will automatically create a playlist based upon information entered in the General section of the Tag Info. These are Situation, Tempo, Preference (Excellent, Very Good, Fair, Poor, Bad Taste and None) and Mood. What this allows for is the choice of a play time (in hours) of up to three criteria (e.g., "Rap", "Rock" and "Easy Listening" just in case your mother-in-law is coming over for dinner).

Help is provided via HTML files, and a FAQ (frequently asked questions) sheet and MusicMatch feature tour are available with a web connection. The MusicMatch Music Guide was quite reliable returning music recommendations which met my preferences. While using help, I discovered folders for CVS (Concurrent Versions System) that must have been inadvertantly shipped in the final product (or may have been hanging around since the upgrade from the Basic version).

Pros

  • Graphic equalizer and pre-amp enhance listening
  • Extensive opportunity for managing music information in tags
  • AutoDJ quickly creates playlists based upon your criteria

Cons

  • It costs $19.95 and iTunes is free
  • No individual track volume control
  • Skins have confusing interface and scrolling within skinned windows is quirky

Rating Breakdown
Ease of Use 2.5 mice
Effectiveness 3 mice
Functionality 3.5 mice


Overall Rating

3 out of 5 Mice