The way we listen to our music has changed a lot in the last two decades. From cassette tapes to music CDs to the iPod and now our smartphones. The music we have been listening to have been through a lot of different changes.
Today, we have services like Spotify that let us stream our music of choice over the internet to our smartphones and computers. But a lot of people still have their music files on their computers. Managing the music you have on your computer or any other storage device might get a bit painful due to all the genres, albums and everything that are mixed up.
For people who use Apple devices and others who use Android devices, managing the media files on these devices is a lot of work. Especially on Android that comes with no syncing software and the user has to manage all the music files by himself.
A lot of things like file format, DRM and more bring issues while transferring files from one system to the other. For who use for iOS and Android might face the same issues related to file formats and essentially the DRM that protects the music files from piracy.
To help you with these things, there is a music management software named MediaMonkey. You can easily use this single program to get rid of all your woes like cataloging your music, syncing them between your devices and more.
MediaMonkey brings a suite of different music management features that will help you manage your music files in a better way.
Who should get a music manager?
Before we move any further with the review, we need to understand who needs a music management software.
A music management software like MediaMonkey is for those who have a large media library. In this case, they need something to manage and catalog all these files in an organized manner. A program like MediaMonkey has several features over a simple music player program.
MediaMonkey can do a lot of things tagging and editing, downloading proper album arts for your music albums and files automatically and a lot more. A simple music player is limited to what it is made for but a music management software is built from scratch by keeping the handling of a large number of media files in mind.
So, people who have a large number of music files that need proper cataloging, tag editing, and managing can use a complete media library manager software to do all this.
What should you look for in a music organizer?
The need for a music organizer software has already been established above but the real question is, what features should you look for in a music manager software?
A music management software should first of all have the ability to recognize and accept various different kinds of music file formats. The most common file formats like MP3 or AAC are accepted by many programs on the market. But in order to become a good music management software, the program should be able to expand the type of files it can recognize and work with.
It should also be able to identify the music files and fill up the missing info like artist name etc. automatically. A manual tag editor should also be present in case the user wants to add some information on their own.
Other essential features include being able to manage playlists, updating the library automatically, syncing with platforms like Android and iOS and more.
We kept these features in requirements while looking for the best music management software out there and we came to find MediaMonkey Gold that is a premium version of MediaMonkey which is otherwise a freeware.
We will be reviewing MediaMonkey based on the features that it provides and we will see how well the whole package works together.
MediaMonkey is a freeware that you can download for free. The free version has a bunch of great features to offer. The MediaMonkey program that we have at the time of writing this review is v4.1.21.
MediaMonkey 4 free comes with all the basic great features that a music management software should have. You can manage up to 100,000+ music files with the program. The software also has support for video and audio files like podcasts and more.
Other free features include the ability to identify the tracks, editing the tags, managing playlists, syncing your library with iOS and Android devices and more.
But if you want more advanced features like high-quality CD ripping, creating advanced auto playlists, having multiple media collections, you should look at the MediaMonkey Gold version which brings all these features.
What is MediaMonkey Gold?
As mentioned, MediaMonkey Gold is the premium version of the freeware version which brings a lot of advanced features to MediaMonkey suite. You will be able to rip CDs in professional quality, manage multiple media collections, organize your files automatically along with auto-conversion & leveling of audio files.
The Gold version has significant advantages over the free version and you can have different add-ons in MediaMonkey to make the experience even better. The Gold version automates a lot of things like organizing the files, downloading album arts and more.
Let’s take a look at the features that MediaMonkey Gold has to offer.
MediaMonkey Gold Review
We will be reviewing the v4.1.21 version of MediaMonkey in this review and since the program is only available for Windows, we will be testing and reviewing it on Windows 10.
The installation process is quite simple and all you need to do during install the program is choose obvious options like install location etc. There is one option that you will see while installing the program.
As you can see in the image, you can choose to have full skinning which will essentially ignore the Windows system theme. This option won’t affect any feature and it all depends on what your choice of the interface will be. I unchecked this option while installing and verified that we could change this after the program is installed.
As soon as the program is installed, you will be greeted with the main MediaMonkey interface and the welcome wizard. The welcome wizard will guide you through the initial set up process and you can add media folders where your music files are located. You can also choose to share your media files over your network with other users using UPnP and DLNA.
Once you are done choosing your media folders and everything, you can start using MediaMonkey.
Interface & Design
The first time I saw the interface of MediaMonkey Gold, I was a bit confused. The interface looks very basic and for some reason, MediaMonkey is using a lot of small font text for buttons & labels.
There is also no clarity on how things work with MediaMonkey initially. To say the least, the design looks very dry and MediaMonkey should update the design in order to make it more user-friendly.
But MediaMonkey allows you to download and install different skins. You can choose from different skins by going to Tools > Options > Skins.
MediaMonkey Gold – Features Overview
There are so many features that MediaMonkey has to offer so I have broken down a list of features which will be explained one by one.
As mentioned, when the library is empty, the MediaMonkey window look very basic and bare. But you can add your media files easily. You just have to open the File menu and you will be able to see the option to add your library to MediaMonkey. You can choose to add files from various different locations on your computer.
MediaMonkey supports a plethora of file types and formats. You can add MP3 files, AAC files, FLAC files and even more formats for audio, video, and playlists are available for you to use. If you have a large library of music files ripped from CDs in MP3 format, you won’t face any issues to add them in the library.
MediaMonkey also supports Audiobooks and it identifies and separates the audiobook files from the music files. You can see it has support for music videos and TV shows as well. Adding new media files also updates the custom collection that you can create from the Tools menu.
The automatic organizer is an amazing feature that MediaMonkey Gold has. You can basically change your folder system on the basis of the tag information that is attached to the media file. This helps you organize your music by album and artists.
This is the best feature that MediaMonkey has to offer. Using this is very easy. You just right-click on a track that you want to tag correctly and choose the Auto-tag using web option and this will open the Auto-tag from web window.
You might be prompted to install an add-on so go ahead and install it. At first, the auto-tag feature might seem a bit confusing but let me help you. The yellow highlights signify the changes that will be done to your media file when the auto-tagging is complete. Clicking the Auto-Tag button will finish the auto-tagging function.
This is helpful when you have a bunch of tracks in an album that is disorganized. This small nifty feature will automatically correct the tags for you.
Auto-Conversion while Syncing
This is a great feature that only MediaMonkey Gold offers. MediaMonkey Gold lets you sync with your iOS and Android device easily. But what if these files are in a format that your device does not support?
It is easy to download codec packs on a PC and start using the file types but on a mobile device like an iPhone, this isn’t a functional solution. In that case, MediaMonkey will handle the format conversion for you.
The files will be converted to a file type that your device supports. The conversion process will not mess with the meta data of these music files at all. They can also be synced at a lower bit rate if you have a storage issue on the device that you are syncing to.
Professional-quality CD Ripping & Burning
MediaMonkey lets you both rip CDs and burn your music to new CDs. MediaMonkey actually checks for a damaged disc and it throttles the disc rotation to make it slow so it can rip your CD perfectly in order to recover your music.
MediaMonkey also validates the ripped music going through it bit by bit to make sure the tracks that have been ripped are correct and not corrupted. It takes advantage of the AccurateRip database in order to do that.
Now that you have your music ripped, you may want to burn it on a new disc just to keep a backup. MediaMonkey has you covered in this case as well. You just need to use the Burn functionality and you can choose which type of disc you want to burn on.
Media Player & Party Mode
Let us not forget that MediaMonkey is also a music player and a very good one at that. The music player UI is quite simple and does not have any useless gimmicks. You have equalizer support, playlists, rating, queue and everything that a good media player should have.
There is also a Party Mode feature which you can enable. When enabled, MediaMonkey will enter a party mode and the program will go full screen and take control of your PC’s display real estate. You can even password protect Party Mode so that no one can mess with your playlists or the queue that you have set.
You can even enable visualizations and go full screen in order to get into a full party mood. You have full control over how you use visualizations. There is also a sleep mode in the MediaMonkey Gold edition which you can use in order to put your computer to sleep when a time you have set has elapsed.
Catalog your physical CDs
If you have physical CDs, you can add them to your MediaMonkey catalog easily using the Virtual CD feature. MediaMonkey will create a virtual CD from your discs and the tracks will be copied to your computer so you can view the catalog without inserting the CD time and again.
Add-ons & Skins
MediaMonkey has a collection of add-ons developed by different independent developers. These add-ons will add more functionality to MediaMonkey. These add-ons can be for various different things.
There are different categories for these add-ons. You can download a different skin for MediaMonkey or you can choose to download an add-on that lets you listen to audio and watch video content in a better way.
There are also management add-ons that will help you change a few things about MediaMonkey and how it works. You can find the add-ons on this page.
MediaMonkey Gold – Summary & Pros & Cons
MediaMonkey is definitely a great and powerful music management software but yes, it does have some quirks and shortcomings. It actually works very well and can do the music management better than many other software out there in competition. But it has to change a few things before it becomes perfect. Take a look at the pros and cons of MediaMonkey Gold below.
- Powerful & works like a charm
- Auto-tagging and Auto-conversion are the best features
- Being able to catalog physical disc is amazing
- Flexible with add-ons to improve functionality
- Can work with all kinds of media file types and file formats
- Can integrate with services like Last.fm
- Can be used to sync iOS and Android devices both
- Very complex design; New users have to struggle before getting started
- Only available for Windows
Other apps we considered
Let’s take a look at some other software that the market has to offer. We will be looking at programs like iTunes, MusicBee, MusicZen and Tuneup Media.
Apple’s very own iTunes USED TO BE a good program for music management but it has been changed to a music, apps, TV shows and another marketplace for your iOS device. iTunes is limited to iOS devices and it has become very closed and limited.
iTunes is now a marketplace focused program. Even though it works on Windows, you are still better off using another program that focuses on music instead of selling apps. Apple had a great opportunity to create iTunes a powerful media management suite but they chose the commercial route.
It makes sense for iOS devices but if you were someone who used or uses iTunes for the media management capabilities, I can tell you there are better solutions like MediaMonkey out there.
MusicBee is the only music management software that can get even close to MediaMonkey. The best part about MusicBee is the interface which is beautiful and easy to understand. Things look clean and clear, unlike MediaMonkey.
But MusicBee essentially falls apart when it comes to comparing the tagging and organization. MediaMonkey remains a king in terms of features. MusicBee also carries similar features to MediaMonkey and has support for add-ons and skins. There is a theatre mode available in MusicBee as well which competes with MediaMonkey’s party mode.
MusicBee is a completely free program and if you are looking at something that is close to MediaMonkey in terms of functionality, then MusicBee is something you should go for.
MusicZen was created especially by keeping the MP3 organization in mind. It does not come with a media player and is a pure music organization software.
There are two versions of MusicZen. There’s a free version and an Advanced version that costs $18 and it brings some extra features and updates to future versions.
You have all the basic music management and organization features such as reconstructing music folders and directories, renaming music files, and a few more. Keep in mind that MusicZen only works with MP3 files so if you need to deal with other formats, MediaMonkey is something you should prefer.
TuneUp Media is an interesting software. It isn’t a standalone music management software as it needs either Windows Media Player or iTunes to function.
The functionality is exactly the same as compared to MediaMonkey but it falls apart due to the fact that it is just an add-on for iTunes or Windows Media Player.
You can add missing album art, clean and organize your music collection and do more. TuneUp Media costs $39.95 annually and for an add-on to Windows Media Player or iTunes, it doesn’t justify the price.
We looked at MediaMonkey Gold and the features that it has to offer. Yes, MediaMonkey has a few quirks related to its UI and the platforms that it supports. It currently only runs on Windows and you can use it on Windows 10.
MediaMonkey Gold costs $24.95 for version 4 license and you will get all the updates to version 4. You can alternatively go for a lifetime license that will cost you $49.95 and you will receive all the updates for all the versions of MediaMonkey.
When it comes to music management, MediaMonkey remains the king while MusicBee is another program that comes close to it but it isn’t functionally superior to MediaMonkey. We can conclude that MediaMonkey Gold is the best music management software for Windows 10 that is available.
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