MediaMonkey has a stylish user interface and it chock full of features. A very generous portion of these features are available in the free version of the software.
I use MediaMonkey regularly for its powerful MP3 ID3 tag editor. Most impressive is its ability to download large album cover art from Amazon.com and automatically include the image in your MP3 files. Amazon album art is superior most other sources because the images are so large: 300x300 pixels (or better) versus the 120x120 pixel album art that Windows Media Player automatically downloads.
In addition to the big album art, it also retrieves the record label (Sony, Atlantic, etc) and the Amazon review. All of this information can be embedded in your MP3 files. If only it would retrieve the song lyrics, it would be a one-stop solution for MP3 tagging!
Another feature for which I depend on MediaMonkey is its file and folder renaming feature. Most media taggers have a file renaming feature but do not rename folders. Folder-naming is a key part of organizing my MP3 collection. Within each artist's folder, I prefix the album name with the year it was released. By doing so, albums are sorted the way most people would expect: chronologically rather than alphabetically.
MediaMonkey is also my program of choice for audio CD ripping for two reasons. First, it does lossless ripping in my favorite format- FLAC- and lets me convert to MP3 right after. Second, is the aforementioned powerful tag editing with large album artwork.
After 30 days, MediaMonkey refuses to rips CDs to the MP3 format. Instead, it gives you a choice: Upgrade to the Gold (for $20 to $40) or figure out how to install your own, free encoder. Instructions for the latter follow.
MP3 encoding is the only feature that goes away after 30 days. The rest of the MediaMonkey Standard Edition's features will function indefinitely.
Free MP3 Encoding in the Free Version of MediaMonkey
Here's how to continue creating MP3 files in MediaMonkey after your 30 days are up:
- Download the "ZIP Option" of the LAME encoder.
- Open the libmp3lame-win-X.XX.X.zip file when the download completes.
- In the .zip file, look for a file called lame_enc.dll. Right-click it and select "Copy" from the menu.
- Paste the file into your MediaMonkey program folder. It will overwrite an existing file of the same name.
That's all there is to it. You can now convert or rip to MP3 for the life of this MediaMonkey installation.
Other Standout Features
- Volume Leveling MediaMonkey uses a unique algorithm for keeping a constant volume level while playing music called "Replay Gain."
- Convert Files to Different Formats There are at least as many audio file formats as there are letters in the alphabet. MediaMonkey gives you the ability to convert between most of the modern file formats, including OGG, MP3, WMA, WAV, APE, FLAC and MPC.