Siren Jukebox

At a simple level, Siren Jukebox will play CDs and .mp3 (MPEG compressed audio) or .wma (Windows Media Audio) files for you, but it does a lot more than that. You can record music from audio CDs to your PC hard disk using compressed music formats like .mp3, organise your music into playlists, store information about each track, download music from the Net, create CDs and transfer music to a portable music player.

There are plenty of tools around for doing these things separately, but Siren Jukebox is the first tool I have seen that successfully combines all of these functions. In addition, Siren Jukebox includes some features such as a graphic equaliser and integrated file explorer that are noticeably absent in other players. These features make finding and playing your music simple and easy. If you have had experience with "jukebox" programs before, you will probably be pleasantly surprised at the depth of features available in Siren. For example, the .mp3 recording can be set to several modes from 96Kbps to 320Kbps and you can alter the playback speed of your CD drive for audio CDs. Sonic has been careful also to include some of the more aesthetic features popular in other music players, lest you get bored by lack of action. Included are two visual effects plug-ins, both of which can either be run in windows or full screen. Siren Jukebox can also be run in compact mode, which includes several "skins" that change the interface in weird and wonderful ways. While these ideas are not new (Winamp is to be thanked for both, in fact), they do mean you can switch to Siren without sacrificing the aesthetics.

But what does it sound like? The sound quality on my Pentium II 233MHz system was excellent and compared favourably with other players I have (MusicMatch Jukebox and Winamp). It chews up some processing power if you leave all the pretty effects running, but hey, you're in it for the music, right?

Siren Jukebox

Price: $59.00

Distributor: Moore Music

Phone: (03) 9419 0344

URL: www.mooremusic.com.au;

www.sonicfoundry.com

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Mark Tigwell

PC World

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