Cabrio 1.1, by Melonsoft
Posted: 5-Dec-2004

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Melonsoft Type: FREEWARE

Reviewer: James Satterfield Class: PRODUCTIVITY

Cabrio is a basic MP3 player that, by design, is simple, easy to use, and takes up little real estate on the screen. Devoid of all the bells and whistles of iTunes, Cabrio offers a straight forward alternative. Melonsoft, the create of Cabrio, describes Cabrio as an MP3 player that "combines ease-of-use, stylish design, power and performance into one small application."


  • Simple, stylish interface
  • Drag and Drop simplicity
  • Powerful playlist window
  • Customize with skins
  • Reads ID3 info
  • Alternate pop-up playlist menu
  • Sleep Timer built-in
  • Scrolling track info with custom speeds


Cabrio is freeware. There is a version for Mac OS 9 as well as a native version for Mac OS X, and both can be downloaded from
Melonsoft's web site.

Installation is as simple as unstuffing the file and dragging the Cabrio Folder to the destination of ones choosing.

In Use
The user interface is stripped down to a very simple control set consisting of play, stop, pause, skip forward and back, and volume control. Included on the interface is a track display, similar to the digital display in most CD players. Unfortunately, Cabrio's track display is unreadable due to size and lack of brightness of the text being displayed. The interface is very small, and as a consequence, the track display is hard to read
. This should be corrected in future versions.

Cabrio MP3 player

Cabrio comes with nine interchangeable skins ranging from a plain yet pleasant default skin to a neat G4 processor scheme. The readability of the track display varies depending upon which skin you are using.

Cabrio controller and play list - Controller is using the G4 skin

Cabrio lacks the "Smart Playlist" feature of iTunes where one can select songs by artist, album, or genre. In iTunes I can set up a playlist for let's say, Alice Cooper, by highlighting all songs by the artist in my iTunes library and in the file menu select "Playlist from Selection. I can also select "Smart playlist" and specify "Alice Cooper" and have a playlist of the artist without having to go to the iTunes Library. These features are lacking in Cabrio. To create playlists in Cabrio, you need to open the music folder and select tracks one by one.

On the other hand, utilizing your existing iTunes music folder, setting up playlists in Cabrio is a breeze. The iTunes music folder sorts and catalogues the files by artists and albums. Utilizing the iTunes music folder, you can not only select single music files, but can also select an entire album or artist folders for the Cabrio playlists, saving a lot of time and effort.

On the interface, in addition to the standard play, pause, etc., buttons, there is a button marked "List". Clicking on this button displays a small pull down view of the current playlist. This is a neat widget. The window is small and does not take up much screen space. This is an advantage over iTunes. In iTunes, you do not have access to the playlist from the minimize mode. To view the playlist, you have to expand iTunes to a full screen view. In Cabrio, you get access to your playlist and still maintain a small footprint on your screen's desktop.

In using Cabrio, I was able to listen to music, change playlists, and use AppleWorks without sacrificing any meaningful screen space. I found it less obtrusive than using iTunes, and the quality of the playback is great. Cabrio provides good frequency response without distortion.

Cabrio is a very stable, easy ,and attractive solution for those that need a small footprint MP3 player. While it is not really an iTunes replacement, Cabrio is a perfect compliment to iTunes. It includes nice features such as a selection of different skins and the ability to view a playlist without stealing the majority of my screen real estate. My only grumble is the unreadable track display. Overall, Cabrio provides a very nice MP3 player at a great price: Free.


  • Does not take up much screen space
  • Interface is small and clean in appearence
  • Simple to use
  • Interchangeable Skins


  • Lacks Smart playlist capability
  • Track display is small and unreadable with some of the skins

Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice