Mac Daniel's Advice

Picking MP3 Software

Evan Kleiman - 2001.05.29

The latest (dying) craze around the Net is MP3 file sharing. But how do you play these files once you've downloaded them?

There are many different programs out there for you to download, but today we'll go about sorting out your various and most popular of your choices.

First of all, you need to get QuickTime itself from Apple. You need QuickTime because the applications and extensions it contains let you run and play the MP3 and other music files. Once you've gotten QuickTime, you can go ahead and find your music player of choice.

The first cheapest one to get is one you probably already have. QuickTime 5.0 comes with a free and simple MP3 player. All you need to do is double click your MP3 files, and QuickTime's player will open with it. However, this free little application has a somewhat large memory footprint and is also rather feature barren for its size. But always remember that you get what you pay for.

Also from Apple, iTunes is a great little feature-rich application that features play lists and a library-based organizer, as well as many other features such as a built in burner. However, it is only available to those of us with Mac OS 9.0 or higher, unless you get the iTunes Mac OS 8.0 patch. But if iTunes isn't quite your cup of tea, there are other programs out there, too.

Audion is a great, little (only 1.7 MB) program made by Panic Software that has many of the features available in most of the other common MP3 programs. It includes features such as AIFF support, Skip Protections, and the all important play lists.

Music Match Jukebox, my personal favorite, made by Music Match, is great because it offers just as many basic features as Audion as well as many more, plus it's price can't really be beat, since it is free for the taking.

Lastly, my other two favorites that I've both used for a while, are MacAST and MacAST light, because both of these applications are feature-rich and have a low memory footprint. Just like all of the other applications, they have many of the common features plus some, such as a ten-band equalizer.

In the end, not everyone may have the same experiences with the same programs. Everyone will need to toy around with some different programs until they find the one they want that has the features (and price tag) they need. So keep at it and have fun with your online music experience!

Evan Kleiman has been writing for Low End Mac since January 1999. He also runs his own site, Evansite. Evan uses an iMac, along with some vintage hardware. You can read more about his computing experience in The Many Macs of Evan Kleiman.

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