Author Topic: A Musicbee user's: Day with MediaMonkey (to be updated as testing continues)  (Read 16236 times)

ma_t14

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Introduction

Recently I have been playing around with MediaMonkey to see how it is now that I feel familiar with MusicBee. I never gave that player I chance because I simply did not like it. I didn't like the interface (was way cluttered), did not like how bloated and slow it was (I have a really old computer  ::)) and generally the philosophy of how everything worked. The latest developer version seems to have improved a lot in the interface department (and I don't mean eye-candy) and a bit in usability (or maybe its me becoming more technical?) but the clunkiness and bloat remains. I had to reinstall the player just so it could become usable and it freezed numerous times forcing me to kill its process with the task manager. Furthermore it was slow in general and that was the icing on the cake. No such problems with MusicBee, everything just works and it works wonderfully.  

There was a certain fuss some years ago about MediaMonkey and it was justified with winamp slowly dieing after being bought by Aol and all the other music managers having their share of quirks and problems. Maybe this fuss still exists, I don't know, I stopped following it after discovering MusicBee. I feel complete now and so should users coming from MediaMonkey. Maybe some really specific things are better in MediaMonkey, that's possible, I didn't delve deep enough into its options in the limited time I played with it. Maybe its time to have a look  ;D

The version of MediaMonkey used is 4.0.0.1377 Gold Edition which basically makes you pay for functions you get in MusicBee for free.
Here's the difference between paid and free

I will not run a side by side comparison of each feature but only those that I find worth mentioning

Media Monkey Interface

Full View



Mini Player



Micro Player



As you can see the full view layout is almost completely the same. With the exception of the toolbar in MediaMonkey and the addressbar in MusicBee all the other things are common. The mini player is simply bad. And the only good thing about the micro player that you can't do with MusicBee in the tray is the ability seek the playing song's position. Not that important if you ask me. The micro player is such a waste IMO.

But one thing I liked very much in MediaMonkey is the way you can change between the different player views. It is instantly recognizable and you don't have to go hunting for the option in the menu bar.



Library Views

At one stage in my testing I was just going through the different library views and comparing them to the ones in MusicBee. First the details view. Just a really long list of of tags, it doesn't get any simpler. Nothing to report here exactly the same as MusicBee,except one thing, the horizontal scroll bar. Why can't we have the same thing in MusicBee. Every time you add a column in MusicBee it gets squeezed in there to fit with the other columns. I don't want that, I would better like to scroll to the right to reveal the columns that I need only momentarily  and then scroll back to the left. Why do I have to add a new column each time I would like to see its data and then hide it back when I'm done (because everything is squeezed too much)? Steven please make the horizontal scrollbar an option.
This can be achieved by going to Preferences > Layout > "automatically fit displayed columns to the width of the panel" For anyone who missed the option (like me  ::)). Its there! Thanks cartman005

Next is the artwork view. Here MusicMonkey gets battered by MusicBee. No contest at all. In MusicMonkey you just have your typical artwork view with album pictures scattered on the screen, no customization, no nothing. The only thing I would improve in MusicBee's already excellent artwork view (sorted by artist) is when you click on the album number under the artwork and the context menu appears with the album titles. When you mouse over the album titles please make the album artwork to change accordingly above. That would be a nice touch.



Now here's where MusicMonkey impressed me the most. You know when you have MusicBee in album and tracks view. You have the artwork column first and then the album artist column. That does not work well at all. There's so much unused space under the album artist column for each album that just gets wasted in my opinion. BUT if you could merge the album artist columns with the album title and the year that would greatly improve practicability and would even look better than what it looks currently. That is something MediaMonkey is doing and it looks really good and neat. Another thing that I liked about Mediamonkey is the way it collapses tracks for each album when there are a lot of tracks. Imagine this you are scrolling in the music library, just plain scrolling, you usually want to scroll to some exact point, some specific album. The way musicbee is right now all those uncollapsible tracks are just extra scrolling nothing else you are just interest in the specific album you are searching for and these uncollapsible tracks are slowing you down. So Steven please introduce collapsibility of tracks, not only it is good on its own as a functionality it also look more organized when the artworks are closer to each other.



The final view which MusicBee does not have and is in my opinion completely unnecessary is the cover flow view. Cover flow is just eye candy and nothing else. It's neither more helpful than other views nor it displays more information. Viewing an album one at a time has no point in my opinion. Coverflow is only good on smartphone where you get that satisfaction of covers flow when you swype with your finger. You even don't get that on a computer. If its ever implemented in MusicBee I would like it to be just a plugin and nothing else (Steven shares the same opinion I think).

Tag Editor

The tag editor seems to have around same options as MusicBee. But one thing I really like is the artwork tab implementation. The way it is implemented when you select multiple track their artworks appear as scrolling list of artworks in the artwork tab so you can edit them with ease. BUT you can't actually, the only two option that appears are "view file" and "save as". What a waste :o. Here is where MusicBee will improve upon.





That's all for now. Will get to you again as soon as I find anything interesting to report.
Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 09:52:17 AM by ma_t14

Steven

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some great ideas there.
for the album and tracks view, check out the config settings for that view as you can already set the album details to display to the right of the picture. It doesnt have the collapsable tracks though
for the next update i'll try to do the album cover changing when you select an album from the menu (it already changes as you mouse-over the album count so hopefully will be straight-forward to do)

cartman005

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Every time you add a column in MusicBee it gets squeezed in there to fit with the other columns. I don't want that, I would better like to scroll to the right to reveal the columns that I need only momentarily  and then scroll back to the left.

This is configurable, go to Edit > Preferences > Layout > "automatically fit displayed columns to the width of the panel".

phred

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Great report, ma_t14, thanks for taking the time to compare and contrast.  Having never used MediaMonkey, and after all this time with MB there never will be a need to use MM, I'd like to add a big PLUS ONE on the suggestions for changes to the Albums and Tracks view.  I think having a collapsible track list would be a great feature and make it much more usable while providing additional information with minimal use of screen real estate.  

I'd also like to throw in another PLUS ONE for a user-selectable option to enable a horizontal scroll bar in the Details view.

Thanks ma_t14.

EDIT:
cartman005 - I think that's exactly what ma-t14 (and I) are pointing out.  It's when the columns are automatically fit to the width of the panel that the data displayed gets all scrunched up.
Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 10:00:53 PM by phred
Download the latest MusicBee v3.5 or 3.6 patch from here.
Unzip into your MusicBee directory and overwrite existing files.

----------
The FAQ
The Wiki
Posting screenshots is here
Searching the forum with Google is  here

Steven

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phred, with that Layout option unticked it wont scrunch up the columns and will display a horizontal scrollbar in the Track Details view.
the only other place i can think of that it affects is the now playing list on the right sidebar

phred

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Well so it does!!!
Just when you think you know how MB operates, someone enlightens my world.  Just another reason why it pays to read every single post on this forum.

Thanks Steven.
Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 10:27:22 PM by phred
Download the latest MusicBee v3.5 or 3.6 patch from here.
Unzip into your MusicBee directory and overwrite existing files.

----------
The FAQ
The Wiki
Posting screenshots is here
Searching the forum with Google is  here


ma_t14

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Update (29/05)

Basic interface comparison
Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 10:02:13 AM by ma_t14

divot

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I downloaded MusicBee recently after reading an article on Lifehacker. Great player and now my default!

I actually don't care for the collapsible tracks on MediaMonkey. It just tends to create another step when looking for a song.

One thing that MediaMonkey does do better is, in the Album Art/tracks view, you can select the album cover and drag it to the playlist to queue up an entire album. I really wish MusicBee had this functionality. Any chance it will be added?

Another thing I noticed in MusicBee is that when there are only 3 seconds or fewer left on a track, if you skip forward to the next track, it will instead go two tracks ahead! I've never seen this behavior in another music program.

Overall really great program. Looking forward to the updates and contributing here.

ma_t14

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I actually don't care for the collapsible tracks on MediaMonkey. It just tends to create another step when looking for a song.

That is another way of seeing it. But it would be great if it was optional to satisfy both parties.

Quote
One thing that MediaMonkey does do better is, in the Album Art/tracks view, you can select the album cover and drag it to the playlist to queue up an entire album. I really wish MusicBee had this functionality. Any chance it will be added?

That's nice. In musicbee you can still select the album tracks by just clicking the album art. You cannot drag the artwork but you can drag any of the selected tracks to achieve the same thing. But I don't think this extra step should be necessary so +1 for this suggestion.

Quote
Another thing I noticed in MusicBee is that when there are only 3 seconds or fewer left on a track, if you skip forward to the next track, it will instead go two tracks ahead! I've never seen this behavior in another music program.

Confirmed! Maybe starting a new thread in the bug reports section would be more appropriate and would get more attention. Just to make sure this report doesn't get lost  ;)
Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 09:54:13 AM by ma_t14

Steven

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i've implemented some of these items - see this topic
http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=3550.0
- fixed the next track bug
- support drag/drop of an album by dragging the album picture in Album & Tracks view (already supported in the Artwork view)
- when the album selector popup menu is open in the Artwork view, the album cover for the selected album is displayed
Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 10:38:34 AM by Steven

greenday1987

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phred, with that Layout option unticked it wont scrunch up the columns and will display a horizontal scrollbar in the Track Details view.
the only other place i can think of that it affects is the now playing list on the right sidebar
I don't seem to get this bar on artwork view once I open an artist:-



That image has 'auto size all columns' clicked so you can see there is bits squashed/missing. I'd love a (scroll?) bar there
Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 11:31:18 AM by greenday1987
RIP OiNK


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Steven

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the scrollbar only shows if the width of the columns exceeds the panel width. Did you widen any of the columns?

greenday1987

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Oh so it does. Woops. That's pretty cool, sorry I missed it. I hit Auto size and assumed that would fit them so they all showed.
*epic fail on my part*
RIP OiNK


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9cupsoftea

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One thing that MediaMonkey does do better is, in the Album Art/tracks view, you can select the album cover and drag it to the playlist to queue up an entire album. I really wish MusicBee had this functionality. Any chance it will be added?

I would love this. I always play albums shuffled from one big playlist so I usually have to drill down 2 menus to add stuff to it as it plays. This would save me a lot of hassle.