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MP3 Software Recommendation?

337 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  JerryW
Hey -

I have pretty simple needs, but I wanted to see if anyone knew any reasons for me to retire good ol' Winamp 2.9.

All 16gb of music is ID3 v1 and v2 tagged and organized into a folder system on my PC. Finding things is fairly simple for me. I will be moving to a decicated HTPC with a PIII 800 and a Revo 7.1 card in the near future, and I want to be able to get the best audio quality with that hardware, and make it easier to use a Gyration kb and mouse, if possible.

Any suggestions? J. River's Media Jukebox looks great, but I don't know if it offers me anything that Winamp doesn't, looking ONLY at audio. With the kernel streaming plugin and using PCM over SPDIF, would anything offer better quality than Winamp? How about a full screen player or visualization that is cool enough to leave the TV on to view? I hope to have it hooked up to a Samsung 46" DLP TV, so I have the screen resolution to play with. One concern is that Winamp will be unreadable from any distance at 1280 by 720...

Also, I am in love with the idea of using NetRemote on a PDA to select music, would this work with a program like Media Jukebox, in terms of viewing and selecting playlists and directories of music?

Thanks in advance!

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Not a recommendation, but stay away from musicmatch. In my case with my REVO it broke bit perfect playback. I had to go into the registry and manual delete a ton of leave behinds after musicmatch uninstall did not clean up itself.
Thanks for the tip. I have music match installed now, but I use it only for ripping... I'm going to do a clean install on this machine before its guts become my "left over" HTPC. I guess that should clear those pesky registry entries up ;-)

Still questing for the ultimate software... all I need is perfect audio, NetRemore compatability, and a great GUI that will look nice and big (and good) on a 46" TV...

I would like to recommend re-ripping your music to a lossless audio format like .ape or one of the others. I'm new to the lossless format so it would be better if you did some searches to find out more. All I know is, it is better to have a whole of a thing than just a part of it, and that is about as perfect as you can get.

Simjedi - good point. Unfortunately, I did away with most of the CDs that I own, so I don't have them to re-rip. Besides, it took me forever to rip the music I have now, and I don't want to go through that again. Honestly, I want the best qualtiy I can get - within reason. I aspire to audiophile status, but honestly my ears aren't soooo picky. I can tell the difference between 128k mp3 and cds, sure, but it isn't worth it to me to invest in the storage needed for lossless compression. My whole world runs on MP3 - car player, computers, portable players, etc. so I am not going to switch. Then I would need TWO libraries, one for home listening and one for portable, and that isn't going to happy.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestion - good luck with your setup!

I know you asked for players, but since you mentioned using music-match for ripping, I figured that I would mention the combination of EAC (Exact Audio Cop) and LAME (LAME Ain't an Mp3 Encoder) for ripping (EAC) and encoding (LAME) both are free and are best-in-class on a technical level and work together. Do a search in google on them for details.

The user interface ain't the spiffiest, but it is functional and will get the job done with minimum razzle-dazzle.

And, if your playback is only on a PC, look into the Ogg Vorbis encoder, it is better than MP3 at the same bitrate (e.g. for most matieral an Ogg file at 128kbps sounds as good or better than an MP3 of the same music encoded at 160kbps). Only problem with Ogg is that it is not as widespread as MP3 so most portable devices don't yet support Ogg - on the plus side (besides the better quality of Ogg) it is totally free, the software is free and there are no patents either. So in the long term, Ogg should become more popular with hardware manufacturers because supporting Ogg won't cost them any fees, unlike MP3 which requires a per-player royalty to a German company.
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