Leaving iTunes Behind – Moving To MediaMonkey And Lossless Music

I love it when I read a post that makes me decide to do something totally differently. CyberNetNews are doing a series of daily giveaways of useful software, and yesterday they were giving away three copies of MediaMonkey Gold the reknowned music player.

I don’t know what possessed me to read the story, as I thought I was happy with iTunes, but when Ryan started that MediaMonkey provided full iPod support I had to check it out. I’m glad I did, as not only has MediaMonkey helped me to finally break free from Apple’s iTunes/iPod stranglehold, it’s also provided to the solution to the problems I was having building a lossless music collection.

I have a very big music collection of around 20k tracks that I’ve accumulated over the years. Although at home I listen to these via my Vista Media Centers, I was still using iTunes to manage my playlists and my iPods. The problem this was creating was that now that I have tonnes of storage available on my home server, I want to re-import my CDs in a lossless format, but if I use the format available within iTunes I won’t be able to play my files on my Media Centers (I did manage to find a way to play the files but without the metadata which was a waste of time).

Media Monkey

The beauty of MediaMonkey is that it provides support for both ripping and tagging various lossless formats such as WAV, FLAC and APE. FLAC in particular is an open format, so I’ve chosen it as my lossless format as it provides the greatest compatibility. Although FLAC isn’t supported by MCE out of the box, it only took one search to find a way to play FLAC in Windows Media Center. Much better than the hours I’d spent trying to play AAC files in MCE……

I think Apple should hang their heads in shame after looking at the iPod sync options available in MediaMonkey. Not only can you control easily what parts of your library are synchronised e.g. albums, artists etc, but you have full control over how much is synced. The most important option for me though are the conversion rules that can be created. If I were to sync all my lossless files, even with 160GB on my iPod Classic I wouldn’t get far. With MediaMonkey I can create rules so that when big filed are sync’d, they are converted on the fly to a smaller format, so that they can all fit onto the device. Brilliant!

What was even better with the move away from iTunes was the ease with which it was done. All I add to do was scan my music directory, and MediaMonkey added my info. Because my music was so well tagged, nearly all my iTunes library info was available. The info that was missing e.g. playcounts was added at the second pass automatically by MediaMonkey using a very cool wizard (an option was available for WMP in addition to iTunes).

There are so many options available in MediaMonkey I’m going to enjoy managing my music collection again. The interface is so much quicker to use, and I love the inbuilt tagging tools and album art import. It’s also considerably faster than iTunes – when you have 20k files iTunes is a real drag to use. I can’t wait to have fun creating new playlists faster, listening to my new lossless music tracks and also messing around with MediaMonkey plugins.

V3 of MediaMonkey is out soon and I really can’t wait!

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38 Responses to Leaving iTunes Behind – Moving To MediaMonkey And Lossless Music

  1. McDave December 5, 2007 at 3:04 am #

    I’m with you on iTunes’ need to manage additional ‘instances’ of media far better though for me it’s video (Original/AppleTV & iPod). Some kind of automatic or selective creation of additional audio/video tracks in the main file and smart sync to the appropriate device would do it.

    On the audio side I’m finding 256kbps AAC managed with smart playlists great. Why would anyone buy kit that doesn’t support AAC now it’s the official & defacto standard?

    McD

  2. McDave December 5, 2007 at 3:04 am #

    I’m with you on iTunes’ need to manage additional ‘instances’ of media far better though for me it’s video (Original/AppleTV & iPod). Some kind of automatic or selective creation of additional audio/video tracks in the main file and smart sync to the appropriate device would do it.

    On the audio side I’m finding 256kbps AAC managed with smart playlists great. Why would anyone buy kit that doesn’t support AAC now it’s the official & defacto standard?

    McD

  3. Everton December 5, 2007 at 7:02 am #

    @McDave

    When did AAC become the defacto standard? How can it be a standard when it’s a proprietary format?

  4. Avatar of Everton
    Everton December 5, 2007 at 7:02 am #

    @McDave

    When did AAC become the defacto standard? How can it be a standard when it’s a proprietary format?

  5. Andy December 5, 2007 at 8:06 am #

    Nice post – I’ve been looking for an itunes replacement for a while, so this will come in very handy.

    The cybernetnews link at the top of your article, by the way, is broken.

  6. Andy December 5, 2007 at 8:06 am #

    Nice post – I’ve been looking for an itunes replacement for a while, so this will come in very handy.

    The cybernetnews link at the top of your article, by the way, is broken.

  7. Chris at LG December 5, 2007 at 10:19 am #

    Good review – MediaMonkey also works with many other devices apart from iPods as well though. Also another thing is that it’s more plugin-friendly than iTunes, which is great if you use services such as Last.fm

  8. Chris at LG December 5, 2007 at 10:19 am #

    Good review – MediaMonkey also works with many other devices apart from iPods as well though. Also another thing is that it’s more plugin-friendly than iTunes, which is great if you use services such as Last.fm

  9. Everton December 5, 2007 at 12:39 pm #

    @Andy

    Link fixed. Thanks

    @chris

    Do you have a link for the last.fm plugin – I’m a big fan of the service. Any others you recommend?

  10. Avatar of Everton
    Everton December 5, 2007 at 12:39 pm #

    @Andy

    Link fixed. Thanks

    @chris

    Do you have a link for the last.fm plugin – I’m a big fan of the service. Any others you recommend?

  11. Micah December 6, 2007 at 4:27 am #

    This looks pretty interesting. I’m glad there are some good iTunes alternatives finally coming around. Apple is great at creating a business around their products.
    Wow, I’ve got some downloading to do to catch up with your 20k songs.

  12. Micah December 6, 2007 at 4:27 am #

    This looks pretty interesting. I’m glad there are some good iTunes alternatives finally coming around. Apple is great at creating a business around their products.
    Wow, I’ve got some downloading to do to catch up with your 20k songs.

  13. Brown Baron December 6, 2007 at 6:52 am #

    I used Media Monkey a longtime ago and actually forgot about it until I read this post. I think I’ll take a look at it again.

  14. Brown Baron December 6, 2007 at 6:52 am #

    I used Media Monkey a longtime ago and actually forgot about it until I read this post. I think I’ll take a look at it again.

  15. McDave December 8, 2007 at 3:25 am #

    @ Everton

    AAC isn’t a proprietary. You’ll find MPEG-4/AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) everywhere – HD-DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Satellite & Cable broadcast, Zunes, Sony & other digital music players. It’s the 2004 successor to the antiquated 1989 MPEG-1 Layer3 (MP3). The new HE-AAC version should be even better.

    Apple are close to the media industry so they just adopted it early & I say de facto as it’s outsold all other digital audio formats except AIFF (CD) and most iTunes libraries use it as default (except at 128kbps instead of 256). I believe their lossless codec is proprietary.

    McD

  16. McDave December 8, 2007 at 3:25 am #

    @ Everton

    AAC isn’t a proprietary. You’ll find MPEG-4/AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) everywhere – HD-DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Satellite & Cable broadcast, Zunes, Sony & other digital music players. It’s the 2004 successor to the antiquated 1989 MPEG-1 Layer3 (MP3). The new HE-AAC version should be even better.

    Apple are close to the media industry so they just adopted it early & I say de facto as it’s outsold all other digital audio formats except AIFF (CD) and most iTunes libraries use it as default (except at 128kbps instead of 256). I believe their lossless codec is proprietary.

    McD

  17. Everton December 8, 2007 at 5:31 pm #

    @McDave

    Thanks for that. I’m going to persist with FLAC as I’ve got that working in MCE

  18. Avatar of Everton
    Everton December 8, 2007 at 5:31 pm #

    @McDave

    Thanks for that. I’m going to persist with FLAC as I’ve got that working in MCE

  19. sg60 December 21, 2007 at 4:57 am #

    I couldn’t agree more. I switched to MM about a year ago and I’ve never looked back. For my money MM blows iTunes out of the water. I’ve been using the MM version 3 beta for the last few weeks and it’s going to be great.

  20. sg60 December 21, 2007 at 4:57 am #

    I couldn’t agree more. I switched to MM about a year ago and I’ve never looked back. For my money MM blows iTunes out of the water. I’ve been using the MM version 3 beta for the last few weeks and it’s going to be great.

  21. NachoNYC December 27, 2007 at 2:28 am #

    After being an Apple disciple for many years, I just test-drove Mediamonkey and I’m keeping it for good. It’s low on Vista resources, massive amount of tagging options, 2x rating options, Flac Support!!, skins, minilyrics support, it’s a KEEPER. Highly recommended from a music fan.

  22. NachoNYC December 27, 2007 at 2:28 am #

    After being an Apple disciple for many years, I just test-drove Mediamonkey and I’m keeping it for good. It’s low on Vista resources, massive amount of tagging options, 2x rating options, Flac Support!!, skins, minilyrics support, it’s a KEEPER. Highly recommended from a music fan.

  23. Michael January 16, 2008 at 3:50 pm #

    Great post.

    I’ve been mediamonkey for a couple years now and I love it. I’ve recently been thinking about buying a windows home server (HP MediaSmart in particular) and I’m wondering how difficult it would be to set it up to serve all of my music. Any help?

    Thanks!

  24. Michael January 16, 2008 at 3:50 pm #

    Great post.

    I’ve been mediamonkey for a couple years now and I love it. I’ve recently been thinking about buying a windows home server (HP MediaSmart in particular) and I’m wondering how difficult it would be to set it up to serve all of my music. Any help?

    Thanks!

  25. Everton January 16, 2008 at 4:36 pm #

    @Michael

    Setting up the WHS is a doddle (I have one which I love). You just point MM to the music folder on the WHS in the same way as you would on a PC. Sharing playlists is a bit of a pain as you have to run a script (built into MM so not so bad) to export them to a directory so that other apps like WM, MCE etc can see them. There may be a better way but I haven’t found it.

  26. Avatar of Everton
    Everton January 16, 2008 at 4:36 pm #

    @Michael

    Setting up the WHS is a doddle (I have one which I love). You just point MM to the music folder on the WHS in the same way as you would on a PC. Sharing playlists is a bit of a pain as you have to run a script (built into MM so not so bad) to export them to a directory so that other apps like WM, MCE etc can see them. There may be a better way but I haven’t found it.

  27. MichaelQ January 16, 2008 at 10:18 pm #

    @Everton

    1. Thanks for the response; that was very informative.

    2. doddle? (sorry, I’m from Texas) Is that good or bad?

    3. Perhaps this may be a silly question, but:

    Can you put a Mac on a WHS network? Would you get all the advantages? (i.e. shared folders, streaming, back up [with Time Machine], etc?

    Ok, here’s the thing. I’m thinking about getting a HP MediaSmart and a MacBook Pro.
    I want to put all my music on the server then use MM on a MacBook Pro (through Parallels or whatever).

    Would this work? How would you set this up? Alternative ideas?

    Thanks for any help!

  28. MichaelQ January 16, 2008 at 10:18 pm #

    @Everton

    1. Thanks for the response; that was very informative.

    2. doddle? (sorry, I’m from Texas) Is that good or bad?

    3. Perhaps this may be a silly question, but:

    Can you put a Mac on a WHS network? Would you get all the advantages? (i.e. shared folders, streaming, back up [with Time Machine], etc?

    Ok, here’s the thing. I’m thinking about getting a HP MediaSmart and a MacBook Pro.
    I want to put all my music on the server then use MM on a MacBook Pro (through Parallels or whatever).

    Would this work? How would you set this up? Alternative ideas?

    Thanks for any help!

  29. Everton January 17, 2008 at 7:03 am #

    @MichaelQ

    2 – good! It means easy

    3- just answered elsewhere

  30. Avatar of Everton
    Everton January 17, 2008 at 7:03 am #

    @MichaelQ

    2 – good! It means easy

    3- just answered elsewhere

  31. McDave January 18, 2008 at 9:18 pm #

    @MichaelQ

    Not sure about Mac compatibility for the SmartMedia Server but check out the new Time Capsule from Apple. It works with both Macs & PCs, time machine backup, centralised storage. If you get a full .mac account all the web-sharing and multi-system syncing is a breeze. iTunes and iPhoto allow wi-fi sharing and streaming for when friends visit and my AppleTV’s the best HiFi I’ve ever had and it’s all zero-config. A bit more practical than trying to emulate an office server environment in the home.

    McD

  32. McDave January 18, 2008 at 9:18 pm #

    @MichaelQ

    Not sure about Mac compatibility for the SmartMedia Server but check out the new Time Capsule from Apple. It works with both Macs & PCs, time machine backup, centralised storage. If you get a full .mac account all the web-sharing and multi-system syncing is a breeze. iTunes and iPhoto allow wi-fi sharing and streaming for when friends visit and my AppleTV’s the best HiFi I’ve ever had and it’s all zero-config. A bit more practical than trying to emulate an office server environment in the home.

    McD

  33. Kirsty April 25, 2008 at 8:11 pm #

    A have recently downloaded midea monkey and am unsure of how to imort my music off my existing i tunes can some one please help ? ?

  34. Kirsty April 25, 2008 at 8:11 pm #

    A have recently downloaded midea monkey and am unsure of how to imort my music off my existing i tunes can some one please help ? ?

  35. JK December 14, 2008 at 1:07 am #

    well for all of u sayin “dont kno how to import from itunes to media monkey” is simple, on iTunes libary, Select all (CTRL + A) then drag the songs into Media Monkey libary… takes a wile, the applications will freez, but thats a good ting, means its working, give it 10 mins and all the 1000s and 1000s of songs will be in MM and iTunes will have stayed the same :)

  36. JK December 14, 2008 at 2:07 am #

    well for all of u sayin “dont kno how to import from itunes to media monkey” is simple, on iTunes libary, Select all (CTRL + A) then drag the songs into Media Monkey libary… takes a wile, the applications will freez, but thats a good ting, means its working, give it 10 mins and all the 1000s and 1000s of songs will be in MM and iTunes will have stayed the same :)

  37. Brocifer May 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Media Monkey absolutely blows iTunes away, particularly if you are a user that doesn't own an iPod but apparently they even have that covered. I've been seriously impressed by the flexibility of the app, I've got around 30K tracks and have been really pleased with how easy it is to tag & fix up your files. Not only can you autotag and grab album art, but Media Monkey will, move, rename and dress up the files and folder structures as well. That feature alone is what attracted me to it, because I really can't stand the way iTunes splits CDs up at the folder level.

  38. Anonymous October 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    First stumbled on Winamp when I wanted to play Flac.  I felt betrayed that Itunes and WindowsMP refused to give me absolute best quality for my high fi stereo with my Crown amplifier and home computer.  Then I stumbled on M Monkey when looking for something that would find my duplicates and delete them as well as play lossless formats.  I’m still not sure what is the ultimate best player since it will take time to review them all.  Do a Google search on “WMP vs Winamp vs iTunes vs MediaMonkey Rematch” and find an interesting comparison.  There is also one called Songbird by Mozilla.  Yes Itunes should be ashamed.  I expect more from Apple.