Monday, August 1, 2011

Media Jukebox

MJ is the best of the entertainment centers that I found. It is free, easy to use and has a reasonably good player -- playback of MP3s are clear and pleasing to my ear and so far none of the files has stopped while playing nor has there been pops and and crackles.

Like many others, I have hundreds of albums, many bought during phases of interest in particular artists or music type which I now do not listen to. All these are on 2 portable drives, one a duplicate of the other serving as a backup, and what I have done is to copy 50 or so albums into the folder My Music which I use as my database for MJ. This folder is the first place that MJ goes to when building a library of digital music. If your albums are well tagged and with cover art included in the album folders, these will be read by MJ and cover art displayed without problems. If you have compilation albums, depending on the tagging, you might have to so some work recombining albums because MJ like other software will break these up into artist and original album, which may not be the way you want them displayed.

You might want to get MJ to organise your entire music library because you can tag and edit tags within this program. But I found the tagging facility a little limited for my liking, preferring to use a dedicated tagging program.

Some tips:

1. Your choice of library views are many, play around with the library views available and select those that you like using the option "view/add view/add library view" in the left pane. You can always go back to the default, which is for me the best.

2. Merging or Combining Albums

If you have 2 albums of one title but designated Disk 1 and Disk 2, you can combine them in the MJ library by a simple drag and drop using the left hand pane in the standard view. This works well if the tags of the two albums are identical except, of course, the label "Disk 1" or "Disk 2" etc.

A more difficult merging of albums can be done in the same way even if the albums are markedly different. Be aware that this will change the tags in the original database, and so if you still want access to the original, make a copy of the album and store it somewhere else. To combine the Freddy Fender in the example above with Country Oldies drag the Freddy Fender title in the left pane and drop it into Country Oldies. The album title Freddy Fender will become Country Oldies and the tags in the Freddy Fender album will change - the artist name will become Various Artists to follow the Country Oldies compilation. If in the center pane the albums appear as two separate albums with the same name you will have to change the cover art of the Freddy Fender by pointing it to the art in the Countries Oldies folder. Refresh the screen and if the two albums still appear as separate albums with the same name and same cover art check the tags and make them identical (except for song title, of course.) Sometimes even a comma difference will prevent a successful merge.

Exporting and importing Library Files
You can do this if you are getting a new computer and want the exactly same media center library. The file will be exported as a albums.mpl. This will contain all your albums, but not the database containing your media files. You need to duplicate the database in the same directory of your new computer. The advantage of this is that if you have combined albums, these will remain combined in the new setup. To export all your album information Select(highlight) Albums then use the Files / Export Playlist /export as mpl / options and send the .mpl file to a thumb drive or sd card. On the new computer use File/import playlist/ option. To export only some of the albums you need the select the name of the albums and then export it as a playlist.

To export just a playlist, select that play list and use the same File/Export playlist/ option. Note that only the playlist will be exported and not the actual media files. To copy the actual media files in the playlist you need to use the copy and paste function under Edit (left panel second option.)

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