This article is about syncing your music library to your new Windows Phone 8 device, but mostly about a new piece of music library management software I discovered.. Am writing this after a few days of frustration with the software I normally use and the continuing problem of duplicate songs appearing on the phone. I hope this saves someone out there some yelling and screaming at phone and software 🙂 And to be sure I am only talking about Windows here and not Mac.
OK, there are many ways to sync your music to your Windows Phone 8 device, including but not limited to
- Windows Media Player (WMP)
- Media Monkey (MM)
- Windows Phone Desktop App
- Windows Phone App
There are probably others but hey that’s the reason you write stuff like this to find out just that, that’s why comments exist. But please, even if it does phone sync please do not mention Songbird which has to be the biggest piece of bloated shitware ever unleashed (it’s even worse than iTunes and that’s saying something). Anyways I digress.
To now Media Monkey had pretty much done everything I had asked of it and I have been using this for years. However over the last few months it had gotten really flaky on syncing my Nokia 820 and I had gotten the same issues with my brand new Nokia 1520, so I could pretty much say it wasn’t the phone and wasn’t the SD card. I am up to date as of today on both platforms and with MM, it got so bad that while trying to sync with MM I would have to do it in batches, as every 200-300 songs MM would just crash.
It might at this point be good to explain what I am doing.
- Library 10,000 songs (subset of full 50,000 song library)
- Phone playlist 5611 songs / 28.6Gb
- Syncing to 64Gb Class 10 Micro SD Card ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CHHTOII/ref=pe_385040_30332190_TE_M3T1_ST1_dp_1 )
- Volume Leveling on (essential if you want to keep your ears intact while jogging)
- No conversion (had already re-encoded anything above 192Kbits to 160Kbits VBR mp3)
So what I am trying to do is
- Clear the phone
- Sync the playlist
- Have no duplicate tracks on the phone at the end of that
Thats it, not a big ask. So after about 4-5 hours of stuffing around with MM, numerous crashes etc I thought there has to be something better. One look at WMP and it’s like forget it, could not even import an exported playlist from MM (m3u format). Winamp was not too friendly and I gave up fairly quickly. The MS desktop and Metro Windows Phone apps are, hmm how shall I say this, crap? so it was search time. A little bit a Binging (surely you don’t use Google ?) and I came across some forum talking about MM and the same problems I was having and a lot of people there saying MusicBee was the ants pants. I had never heard of this software. But that doesn’t mean much!
So heading over to http://getmusicbee.com/ I downloaded said software and installed it. I have to say pretty impressive from the start. Default theme a little staid but that was fixed easily 🙂 Imported my mini library (10,000 songs) with no issues. Now, the big test, I really needed my Playlist that I had built up over the last 2 years for my phone in MM. So, an export from MM and an import into MB went quite painlessly.
So, all set to go, connect my phone but I can’t see it, lucky I had seen a forum post about that. So, Edit – Preferences – Devices and tick “Detect MTP Devices” and you are done. (see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_Transfer_Protocol ) This could maybe be a bit more obvious but it’s not a big deal.
The way the sync and phone setup is laid out is 1000 times more logical than anything else I have seen. So I set this to sync my playlist for my phone, with volume leveling and away it went, it’s about 2500 songs into that and has not missed a beat. Whats more in the MS Windows Phone App it is showing the correct number of songs and no duplicates!! On top of that this is a kick ass music manager with some features I would have killed for in MM, like auto sizing of columns ! A little thing but much appreciated.
OK, so it’s early times yet but so far so good, will hopefully report back in a few days as to how this goes. But from a long time MM Gold user I have to say that this for free leaves MM dead in the water. Donation coming up for the author of this software should it continue to perform like this. Have to say it’s looks really nice also, brilliant choice of fonts and fonts sizes all round. Colors? come with lots and lots of themes, in the screen shots I am using “Burnt Orange”
From the above you get a bit of an idea what it looks like. Here I also discovered that there are tags and there are tags. Some tags from MM were not recognized here. For example what in MM is called “track volume” sometimes does not appear in MB where we have “track gain”. For example the highlighted track should be -9.2db. Another look at MM has this in the tags as “Leveling: Track :” so I am bit lost there. Just means I will have to re-scan some tracks for volume.
As I write this 4,400 songs into a 5,600 song sync and going strong. Also worth noting CPU usage way down on MM. Barely going above 10% CPU and generally <6% use on average here when MM would sit at around 70% for the same sync, go figure ! (Dell XPS 27 i7-3777S CPU)
Updated, using version 2.3.5118, some minor issues
- Playback stops when analyzing volume
- Phone sync went OK but feedback about what going on is minmal
- after phone sync would not see the songs on the phone unless I reconnected
- All in all went OK, no dupes during sync, will give this some further testing and add stuff here as I find it
Updated 1 June 2014
- Phone sync seemed to have worked well, missed one song as it was playing at the time, so 5,609 out of 5,610
- Volume leveling seems have worked pretty well, went for a long walk just now didn’t have to reach for the volume
- Any problems I have found so far are pretty much cosmetic
Next up, re-sync phone and see what happens, will add a couple of extra tracks to the sync list and tell it to delete any oddballs.
Will update as needed.