There’s a plethora of music players to choose from, among which iTunes and Winamp usually have the upper hand. However, if you are curious enough, you might find that lesser known alternatives like MediaMonkey offer a reasonable amount of features and tools to organize and equally enjoy your music library.
MediaMonkey automatically scans your device for all types of music formats. If you have playlists from other programs, it’s good to know that MediaMonkey also adds m3u files, sparing you the pain of having to recreate them. The file explorer view on the left lets you easily navigate your music collection by categories like artist, genre or rating. You can convert tracks in MediaMonkey into any format you wish, depending on what size or quality of sound you’re looking for. MediaMonkey also lets you analyze and adjust the volume of tracks to increase your listening experience.
MediaMonkey has made its reputation on its advanced tagging management feature. Every time a track is added, the program will verify its tags. You can automatically fill in missing details with info from Amazon or Filename. The program can clean up your tags, move information into the correct categories and synchronize tags for selected tracks. You can also rename and move multiple files thanks to the auto-organize function. MediaMonkey also supports Winamp plugins and visualizations plus skins can be applied to spice up the interface.
If you want to make your own mix CDs, you’ll be happy to know that MediaMonkey rips and burns CDs and DVDs. Create a virtual CD of your favorite tracks and let MediaMonkey do its job. Budding DJs will enjoy the auto-DJ mode, which mixes tracks for you and the Party Mode, which blocks your configuration but lets anybody play their favorite tune. MediaMonkey’s versatility doesn’t stop there. The music manager also lets you synchronize with your portable music devices like your iPod or iRiver.
If you feel like completing your library with a couple of fresh albums you can browse sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or AllPosters and purchase tracks. However, unlike Songbird, where you can type in a URL, browse and save your favorite music blogs and sites, MediaMonkey only allows you to browse their selection of online stores.
We were disappointed with the web radio selection, which only features Shoutcast and Icecast, and were surprised to see no sign of podcasts anywhere in the application. However version 3.0 is planning on incorporating this to the application.
Despite these drawbacks, we recommend MediaMonkey to anybody looking for a solid alternative to iTunes or Winamp. This original music manager is more than capable of organizing a very large music library and offers advanced tagging management rarely seen in other music applications. While the browser and web radio are fairly limited, MediaMonkey allows you to rip your custom CDs and connects to most portable music devices. If you really take a liking to MediaMonkey, cough up a few bucks and upgrade to the Gold version, which will open up all of the program’s functionalities like finding missing tracks or creating auto (smart) playlists.