Author Topic: Musicbee vs. Mediamonkey Throwdown (a comparison)  (Read 12658 times)

theta_wave

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In the past, I installed Musicbee on a few occasions, imported a few albums and fiddled around with it for half an hour before ultimately uninstalling it.  However, during the past two weeks, I've been testing out the latest stable and beta builds of Musicbee (MB) and I must say that I'm very impressed with it.  However, it isn't my full Mediamonkey (MM) replacement (yet) but it still sports several advantages.  I'll just list several pros and cons of MB with respect to MM from my subjective point of view.

Bottomline (TL;WR): Musicbee sits comfortably between Mediamonkey and Foobar2k offering good looks and sane defaults while providing a ton of customizing options for more adventurous users.

Pros:
1) Speed - Good god is MB fast and its database compact.  In Mediamonkey, I center my experience around auto-playlists because sorting options set there are retained, something that never really worked in MM's music node.  With 170,000+ tracks in my library, I'm concerned with the speed of the respective music\media managers I use.  When querying autoplaylists in MM, it can take 5s or more at times to display them.  In MB, results from using the same criteria is near instantaneous.  The only music managers I've experienced that were this fast are mpd and Amarok (1.4.10 + mysql), both linux software that are in many ways more limited than both MB and MM.  Lastly, my MM db size is 1.7GB and MB's 294MB!  I regularly optimize my MM database ("Quick" b/c it is stored on an SSD), yet MB's db is stored on a 5200rpm HDD and still outperforms MM by a wide margin.   

2) Design - MM has become quite the ugly duckling over the years and working with its theme editor brings little joy.  Also, MM's skinning community has stalled in the past year or so.  MB, on the other hand, has a very active skinning community with new additions everyday.  Here's a cool one someone published yesterday: http://albertnis.com/php/darkmod/index.html.  Here, a user can select which shades to color MB's skin and download the xml file for it.  Wrt to MM, someone recently tried to bring MM skin design kicking and screaming into the modern era (http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=80902), but sadly he doesn't have time for it any more.

3) Virtual tags - This is MB's killer feature (IMHO).  Here, MB took MM's file masking functions or FB2K's formatting functions (whichever way one likes to look at it) and applied it to virtual tags; one can also use MB's functions wherever the user can enter a tagfield.  Now I can sort <Album Artist> one way and if <Album Artist> = <Various Artists> I can sort it another way all in the same playlist!  In MM, I have to split up my playlist between <Album Artist> and Compilations for each <genre>.  Another example in MB, I can split titles in <Title> via a delimiter and have the first half serve as a grouping function (see my MB classical layout below, [img=http://i.imgur.com/H4I0ZWv.jpg]http://first pic in the MB album[/img], where a <Title> format of "Piece: Movement" is now split with "Piece" grouping the "Movements").

4) Customization (namely, different views) - I don't want to view every genre the same way.  For example, I like to view soundtracks differently from other genres.  In MM, if one sets one view, that's the view for all.  In MB, I have a different views saved for soundtracks (album art), classical music and regular music.  I wonder if this could be done using the collection function in MM?  Regardless, I like to have these playlists in the same tree.

5) Auto-playlists and views stored outside of the database - This is key, as I can load up my saved views and playlists all in NP++ and make mass changes to all of them quickly.

6) Options discoverability - I believe that MB's preferences/options UI is better laid out than MM's.  Although both can use massive cleanups, I feel that I've been able to discover MB myriad of options much more easily than MM's.

Cons:
1) Does not play all music formats "out of the box" - MB plays all of the popular lossy and lossless codecs out of the box.  However, for me (and probably one other person or two here), I have quite a few tracker modules from the early 90s that I've kept to this day and MM plays them (almost) flawlessly; I converted problematic ones to FLAC using OpenMPT.  MB does not play them unfortunately and despite adding support for in_mod.dll recently, it is buggy for some (myself) and seems to work for at least one other person. 

2) Podcast handling - MB's handling of podcasts is rather limited and presents only a few options to users.  For example, one cannot instruct MB to save podcasts that have a certain rating.  MM wins big here.

3) Closed off database accessibility - On the very few occasions (probably 4-5 the past seven years) that I needed to jump into MM.db to make some changes (hardware ID's for example) or fix a location issue or two, it has come in handy.  MB's db, as of this moment, remains closed.  I don't know how it recognizes hardware, but if it is by an assigned ID, the MB user may be SOL.

4) Memory usage - On initial boot with my setup, MM uses 125MB and MB uses 700MB of RAM.  A big win for MM in this department, but I'll gladly sacrifice memory usage if it means snappier performance for the music manager; I have 16GB to spare.  So far, I haven't seen an issue with memory leaks in MB, but then again I haven't been playing close attention to either MM or MB in this regard.

Undetermined:
1) Device synchronization - I haven't tried this in MB, but trying to sync my Samsung Galaxy S5 with MM has been a PITA.  MTP is a horrible protocol and I expect MB to be just as horrible as MM in this regard.  As for wifi-sync, I have no interest in MM's ability to sync my playlists to non-discoverable folders in my phone's micro sdcard.  These days, I take out my phone's microsd card, insert it into its caddy and sync via my computer's sdcard slot.  However, MM even had problems with that when it keeps nuking past syncs (I've worked with MM's devs on trying to figure this out).  Syncing and transcoding 8000+ files every time is no walk in the park.  If MB manages to sync my playlists onto my microsd card and thereafter simply syncs changes or new files in the next go-around, then it will clearly beat MM in this regard.

2) UPnP\DLNA capability - MM's built-in capability is rather nice the times I've tried it.  It mostly does the job without much fuss.  A minor detail I wish it had was to sync tags when it transcodes FLAC files.  As of now, transcoded FLACs display no information on my television screen.

3) Auto-tagging - I have been using MP3Tag and customized Musicbrainz and discogs scripts for many years and I'm not going to change.

4) Movie handling - MM is pretty decent in this regard.  I haven't tested MB's approach but it allows users to select between Windows' default player (mine is set to MPC-HC) and an external one.  At first glance, I do not see the difference in either options offered by MB.

My current views:

Musicbee
Album: http://imgur.com/a/nnZIz

Mediamonkey
http://imgur.com/Pjiqp7U
Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 01:54:26 AM by ssri

Steven

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4) Memory usage - On initial boot with my setup, MM uses 125MB and MB uses 700MB of RAM.  A big win for MM in this department, but I'll gladly sacrifice memory usage if it means snappier performance for the music manager; I have 16GB to spare.  So far, I haven't seen an issue with memory leaks in MB, but then again I haven't been playing close attention to either MM or MB in this regard.
something is seriously wrong if your MB is using 700MB
30-120MB mostly depending on the size of your library would be expected

theta_wave

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memory usage depends on a lot of factors
- number of files in the library and artwork referenced
- panel layout used, and tabs opened
- whether the internal web browser is open in any of the tabs can make a big difference
- artwork size you typically store your album covers
- winamp DSP functions own memory usage
- functions you run eg. editing tags, auto-tag etc
- memory management by .NET itself can see memory usage drop down after a period of inactivity

As a guideline, in my own testing I would have said a 10K track library around 50MB, 40K track library would use around 80MB of memory
But your own results could deviate for the reasons above

1) 170,102 tracks
2) Tabs opened at any given time: Autoplaylist | Now Playing | Music Explorer | AutoDJ
3) All of the tracks are linked to a XX. Front.jpg as artwork in the same folder.  90% of the artwork is 1000x1000 pixels or larger
4) No DSP's running, basszxtune.dll and in_mod-2.2.10b29.dll's for tracker modules (not working on my end), several lyric and lastfm dlls
5) A lot of virtual tags but I haven't seen any slowdowns to MB with them in place compared to a vanilla install.
6) ~200 autoplaylists

Hope some of this info helps.

gpzbc

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2) UPnP\DLNA capability - MM's built-in capability is rather nice the times I've tried it.  It mostly does the job without much fuss.  A minor detail I wish it had was to sync tags when it transcodes FLAC files.  As of now, transcoded FLACs display no information on my television screen.

Do you know that MB has a UPnP plug-in?  Works great!

theta_wave

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2) UPnP\DLNA capability - MM's built-in capability is rather nice the times I've tried it.  It mostly does the job without much fuss.  A minor detail I wish it had was to sync tags when it transcodes FLAC files.  As of now, transcoded FLACs display no information on my television screen.

Do you know that MB has a UPnP plug-in?  Works great!
I guess it was implied since I placed it under the undetermined category.  I haven't had the time to test it out yet.  But thanks for your encouraging assessment.  It makes me look forward to trying it out in the near future!

phred

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2) UPnP\DLNA capability - MM's built-in capability is rather nice the times I've tried it.  It mostly does the job without much fuss.  A minor detail I wish it had was to sync tags when it transcodes FLAC files.  As of now, transcoded FLACs display no information on my television screen.

Do you know that MB has a UPnP plug-in?  Works great!
I guess it was implied since I placed it under the undetermined category.  I haven't had the time to test it out yet.  But thanks for your encouraging assessment.  It makes me look forward to trying it out in the near future!
This plugin has been around since late 2014.  It works great for me.  But if you look through the plugin thread, some folks have problems with it.
Download the latest MusicBee v3.5 patch from here.
Unzip into your MusicBee directory and overwrite existing files.

----------
Check out the MusicBee Wiki.
How to post screenshots is here.

HHM

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6) ~200 autoplaylists


May this be a reason? 200 autoplaylists seems to be unusually big amount and as far as I'm concerned they have some influence on memory usage.

theta_wave

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6) ~200 autoplaylists


May this be a reason? 200 autoplaylists seems to be unusually big amount and as far as I'm concerned they have some influence on memory usage.
It is probably one of the reasons.  There are ~260 auto-playlists and 173,000 tracks in MM and yet memory usage in MM is far less on startup (124MB vs. 700MB).  However, as stated in my comparison between the two, MM feels far more sluggish than MB.

Steven

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i would be staggered if it was auto-playlists using that amount of memory. I would say its most likely a plugin
basszxtune.dll and/or in_mod-2.2.10b29.dll

Bee-liever

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i would be staggered if it was auto-playlists using that amount of memory. I would say its most likely a plugin
basszxtune.dll and/or in_mod-2.2.10b29.dll

can't be those
i have them installed and MB gives a peak of 90.3MB on startup - and that's with checking for updated and missing files turned on
MusicBee and my library - Making bee-utiful music together

theta_wave

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i would be staggered if it was auto-playlists using that amount of memory. I would say its most likely a plugin
basszxtune.dll and/or in_mod-2.2.10b29.dll
Took out my library and playlists, started a new blank one, left those two .dlls and all of the other dlls from other plugins in and started it up.  Memory usage: 35MB.  Quit, unrar'd my library; Memory usage: 704MB.
Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 11:51:43 PM by ssri

chrisjj

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> Undetermined:
> 1) Device synchronization - I haven't tried this in MB

I have. Disappointing, to say the least. http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;area=showposts;u=6411

However, I echo your praise for MB generally. On general quality of code, it beats MM into the ground.



Sigma

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MediaMonkey was my favourite music player before I tried MusicBee.

What made me look elsewhere is that I'd been reporting bugs and asking for 1 or 2 features to be added for ages on their forums, but it felt like nobody was listening to me.

Every bug I've reported in MusicBee has been fixed and it usually takes no longer than a day or two, and Steven is open to implementing feature requests. For instance, when I first tried MusicBee, if you used album art view you couldn't double-click an album to play it - you had to click on a little "play" button - so I asked for that feature to be added and it was added in next to no time. That's the stuff that keeps me coming back, aside from the fact that it's clearly a well-designed and feature rich piece of software.

Steven

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i would be staggered if it was auto-playlists using that amount of memory. I would say its most likely a plugin
basszxtune.dll and/or in_mod-2.2.10b29.dll
Took out my library and playlists, started a new blank one, left those two .dlls and all of the other dlls from other plugins in and started it up.  Memory usage: 35MB.  Quit, unrar'd my library; Memory usage: 704MB.
could you PM me a link to your library zip file?

vpsaxman

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MediaMonkey was my favourite music player before I tried MusicBee.

What made me look elsewhere is that I'd been reporting bugs and asking for 1 or 2 features to be added for ages on their forums, but it felt like nobody was listening to me.

Every bug I've reported in MusicBee has been fixed and it usually takes no longer than a day or two, and Steven is open to implementing feature requests. For instance, when I first tried MusicBee, if you used album art view you couldn't double-click an album to play it - you had to click on a little "play" button - so I asked for that feature to be added and it was added in next to no time. That's the stuff that keeps me coming back, aside from the fact that it's clearly a well-designed and feature rich piece of software.
This wasn't really a reason for me to switch, more like "icing on the cake" so to speak.

The reason I switched from MM to MB is simply that MM got bloated and slow, and the dev team kept adding features instead of focusing on improving performance. Nothing worse than slow software.