Killer Tech Tips

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Top 10 Free Programs to make the most out of your MP3 Collection

with 135 comments



Ok, you’ve got loads of music on your computer – but is that all cluttered, unorganized, unmanaged and simply not easy to access? May be you need to do something. Literally hundreds of free software let you play, organize, burn and do lots more with your digital MP3 music collection. Have a well tagged, sortable music collection that you can be proud of!

Here comes a carefully chosen list of free programs that might help you squeeze the best out of your MP3 collection.

Part I – Audio Players

winamp

The default audio player software on your Windows is probably not enough, when it comes to extensive features and customizability. Here’s a pick of the best media players that can let you sort through and efficiently play most audio formats on your Windows computer:

VLC Player – It’s more light on resources that you would imagine. VLC is a very versatile player – throw any odd format, and it plays them for you instantly (FLV included).

Winamp – Winamp has its own fans, it’s customizable to a large extent and can come as a great saver. If you listen to music every other day, you need to have Winamp installed. A similar player is Jet Audio.

Songbird – A feature rich application that has great looks, go for it if your Windows computer has got some memory to spare, it’s reviewed here. You can customize it by adding extensions (similar to Firefox).

Part II – Organizers/Taggers/Jukeboxes

mmpanel

Jukeboxes are music software that come with amazing capabilities. Go for them if you have huge music collections scattered all around – not just in your computer, but also in audio CDs.

Media Monkey – The best piece of software out there that you’ll love using. Tag editor, format converter, CD recording, iPod support, you name it – it’s got all the tools that squeeze the best from your tracks.

J River Media Jukebox – Very pretty, has good features. And might serve as a good jukebox.

>> I missed out Foobar, thanks for the heads up Ashwin!

MP3 Tagger – The best ID3 tagger out there in the market, that’s free as well.

Magic MP3 Tagger – Update: Oops, sorry guys this is not freeware.

Part III- Rippers, Converters

grab

Audio Grabber – Fantastic audio ripping software, with FreeDB tagging support included. Another similar ripper is FreeRip. Another one a few commenters have mentioned is Exact Audio Copy

Part IV – Audio Editors

audacity

Trust me, as far as I know, there’s no free editor as much capable as the professional ones out there. But still if you’d like to do some basic recording and effects, you could try these:

Audacity – Open Source, and is very light weight.

Wavosaur – Comes with no installer, and is a single exe file that does the job. Supports WAV format

Part V – Other

Last.fm – A social networking site for audiophiles out there. Listen, get interesting tracks based on what you’ve played, and add friends! More such music sites here.

Tunatic – A song is playing on your head, but you just can’t get it’s title right? Then download this, install, hum the song through your mic and let Tunatic locate info on the song for you! Quite cool for show off as well ;)

Audio Files GDS Indexer – Google Desktop Plugin – Install this one if you have got Google Desktop installed. Adds a bunch of functionality to the Desktop Spider to make it more friendlier towards Audio files.

That’s it. What else do you know? Share with us in the comments.

Written by Killer Tech Tips

February 18th, 2008 at 5:35 am

Posted in software tools

  • EAB

    MediaMonkey is good, but if you’re looking to tag songs without any information at all, then Musicbrainz’s Picard Tagger is the only real solution that I’ve found so far. It actually scans the song and compares the results to an online database of songs to find a match.

  • Chris

    “Trust me, as far as I know, there’s no free editor as much capable as the professional ones out there.”

    http://www.ardour.org
    It may not be the best, but it’s at least better than ProTools.

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  • http://www.newsmavens.com Brent

    What about doubleTwist?

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  • DavidE

    Media Monkey is very nice, but the organizer aspect needs work. If you have files with long names, it doesn’t do automatic renaming very well. If anyone knows of a better organizer, I’d love to hear about it.

  • Missy

    check out super mp3 recorder, it’s a recorder, editor and player. great for podcasting development, nice to set up automatic recordings of games, npr, et. al. supermp3recorder.com

  • James allen

    OK….I’ll be the black sheep of the family here. I still find Windows Media Player as my go to program. I’ve tried a lot of others and they all seem to be more trouble than they are worth. WMP along with MP3tag works just the way I want it.

  • aworthyeffort

    As free audio editors go, I can’t think of a better program than Reaper. It kicks Audacity’s butt.

  • http://www.spiffylinks.com Dave Nofmeister

    Very cool! I particularly like that Rippers and Converters. This is much better than trial and error on your own!

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  • Dave

    uh..where’s ITunes??

  • Dude

    wtf, foobar2000 can do all those functions, most of them without a plugin. and it’s the best at doing all of them

  • http://focus27.com/ Ben

    You only added foobar to Organizers/Taggers/Jukeboxes. foobar should be #1 on on Part 1 (Audio Players).

  • http://linmod.com.mx oscar

    …i love winamp , i used to use foobar, but something in winamp, made me go back to him

  • Apollyon

    Foobar2k is the best quality program for audio by far (winamp does not have a chance). And if we talk about lossless compression FLAC also bests anything else.
    Please correct your list!

  • http://infectthesystem.com Adam

    Yea, that new winamp skin is real hot. That’s actually the one I use on my old 2.79 version. It’s really light weight compared to the new versions. I had no idea that its the new default skin for the current version.

  • Parker

    I agree with Apollyon, Foobar2k is the best quality audio program out there. With the ability to play from archived files, FLAC support, and 100% customization, how can the other players compete.

    And as for Ripping CDs and such, what about Exact Audio Copy?

  • Foobar FTW

    iTunes? Are you people kidding me? Why not just add Windows Media Player as well and make the list completely meaningless. This was to be a “carefully chosen” list, not a list of “every subpar audio program everyone already knows about.”

  • Peach1200

    Part III- Rippers, Converters

    …you missed CDex!!

  • Seb

    To everyone bitching about iTunes, the title of the article is “Top 10 Free Programs to make the most out of your MP3 Collection”. This isn’t an audiophiles-only zone. For the average PC or Mac user – and let’s face it, most will have an iPod – iTunes does a great job, it’s quick enough and is incredibly easy to use. And it’s free. Plus I subscribe to numerous podcasts through it which, correct me if I’m wrong, Foobar2K can’t do.

    For ripping tracks I go with EAC and LAME.

  • howie

    this is brilliant, i suppose now im content with myself that i use the bulk of this software!

  • http://www.trisweb.com Tristan

    Gonna have to add my vote for CdEX in the Rippers section… four commenters above me have links, or just google it.

  • egg bone

    Anyone know an easy to use, possible free program that can transfer my reel to reel musi to digital theought my pc?

  • Foobar FTW

    @Seb – I understand that iTunes–bloated as it is–is really all the average user needs. That doesn’t make it good. Whether the average user finds it acceptable or not is a pretty low bar for judging software, and I could come up with a litany of complaints for iTunes simply based on regular, average use. The bottom line is that only the most pointless of lists would tell people about software they already know about. If people who love iTunes read this list and complain because they don’t see what they like, I believe they have missed the point: how to do it better if you feel like giving it more than half a second of thought.

  • bambleweeny57

    Someone mentioned this above already but The Godfather is simply astonishing for MP3 tagging/renaming.

    It thoroughly deserves the top spot on the list above,… shame that it got no mention at all!

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  • the truth

    foobar2000 ftw

  • Tom Buckner

    Buzzmachines doesn’t fit in this subject. It’s a kind of software synth for musicians, no use at all for herding your MP3′s about. I tried it. The demo songs sounded as good as Reason, but it was TOOO HARD TO USE! I don’t know how anyone gets a sound out of it. If it had MIDI recording and decent notation, Buzz would rule.

    Ardour, I’ve heard, is great stuff. However, you need Linux or Apple to use it. I don’t have a computer with either of those types of OS. If you were starting from scratch, you could get Ubuntu Studio, a Linux distro bundled with Ardour, Jack, and much besides.

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  • kambikutta

    Does anybody know any mp3 tagging software for linux. I use Amarok as my music player on my Ubuntu machine. Haven’t seen any mp3 tagging plugins on Amarok. Can somebody suggest.

  • DarkWolf

    *clap* I’m elated to see a list like this without iTunes on it. I think the few people that have mentioned iTunes have forgot a few things:

    1. Not everybody with an MP3 Player, or even every music enthusiast, has an iPod or even wants one. I prefer the Creative Zen.

    2. Songbird can manage an iPod just as well as iTunes can.

    3. iTunes takes up more memory than anything should.

  • http://www.makesitgood.net Alex

    You list a lot of Apps.

    iTunes fits in every single category you list, especially other where you can buy music legally, discover new artists, read reviews, listen to streaming radio stations, sample songs before buying, etc.

    Really you need two or three of anything else mentioned to even cover the features, let alone the ease of use.

  • L K

    Quite simply You are mistaken there is a FREE High Quality Audio Editor aout there its ARDOUR, but it runs on LINUX

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  • axl

    iTunes does alot of the stuff mentioned and is the best music app I ever tested. All other is just nerdstuff.

  • http://anglictina.zaridi.to anglictina

    nice set, thankx

  • Seb

    @FoobarFTW – I’m pro iTunes because I acquired my first iPod 2 weeks ago (gift). Until then I was very anti-iPod/iTunes. I’d find lists like this and try everything out, constantly tweaking my setup and never quite happy. I pretty much settled on EAC+LAME, mp3tag, mp3gain and VLC to manage my music but now… F that. I can’t believe how easy iTunes makes everything and compared to separate apps or real bloatware (Songbird), it’s great. It’s an app that does everything well; in that sense it’s the top of its class (WMP, Songbird, etc).

    My point being maybe it should be on a list like this. If it was I might have tried it sooner. :)

  • sam

    Or just use Itunes, its free and it replaces all but last.fm and the audio editors. =D

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  • http://www.musicbrainz.org handchop

    Re taggers:Have you looked at Picard, this uses Musicbrainz but is free and much better than Mp3 Tagger. Alternatively Jaikoz (www.jthink.net) is very good at fixing your data including album art and gives you more control than Picard. Its not free but they donate some of the money to musicbrainz

  • FrankZA

    I would not use VLC to play music, I quite like it and also KMPlayer – which handles unrivaled number of formats for a free player (check out Wikipedia’s media player comparison) – and GOM Player. All three are awesome.

    Two MP3 apps I cannot live without that have been left out (besides iTunes or Amarok if you’re on linux) are MP3Gain and mp3DirectCut.

    MP3Gain is the best software available that allows you to normalize the volume of your mp3s. It is far better than the built in normalizers that some players (such as iTunes) include. Furthermore, it is easy to use and allows you to change the volume back to the original if you so wish. The volume change does not affect the quality of your mp3 and may in fact enhance it if clipping occurs.

    mp3DirectCut is a fantastic program that allows you to edit an mp3 file without having to uncompress and recompress it. I used it to remove those annoying “chatty” parts of some songs, where someone is talking before/after the song has completed.

    The bonus is, all these programs are free.

    Shankar Ganesh, I seriously suggest you add these to the list.

  • Norumu

    I’d like to give a thumbs up for Winamp. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s never let me down. A particular favorite is the ability to output to an MP3 writer instead of speakers, thus being able to rip any song Winamp can play (CDs, iTunes, iPod, any other DRM sort of thing, other audio files), with necessary input plugins for any odd format out there.
    I saved my sister a trip for a CD she made for our grandfather, but forgot at home, a few states away. I was able to plug in her iPod, and just play the music to the MP3 encoder with Winamp. Got all her files, and burned her CD no problem. :D

    Winamp is love. Has some sexy skins too.

  • Jeff

    This post needs…
    1. Musicbrainz
    2. G-Force
    3. VolumeLogic plugin (but it’s discountinued =\)
    4. Mention of Amarok as it is hand down the best player out there, but sadly currenly only for Linux

  • http://www.braincellsoup.com Bill Vincent

    Surprised at all the complaining about not seeing iTunes. iTunes is a horrible resource hog, installs hidden apps, and has tons of features most of you will never use, while at the same time, does not have features that you have no idea you’re missing, but should. As is usual from Apple, they’re all about presentation, to hell with function and engineering. But, with people who don’t know any better, that’s what it takes to grab market share. Doesn’t matter if it sucks, if you can convince them it DOESN’T suck….you win. Marketing genius, engineering FAIL. :)

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  • http://how-to-answers.blogspot.com cgpandey

    nice article…….thx 4 guiding us.