Music Bee

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How I learned to stop worrying, and love Media Monkey

Postby NewtonBoy » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:09 pm

I get it, Media Monkey works perfectly for a great majority of people. Awesome! Keep doing what you're doing. But there are a subset of users who have issues, and I'm the current most vocal about it, and this is what I have to say about it.

First of all, having now spent some time with MusicBee, I can say that I have determined the source of all of my Media Monkey issues. I don't like to wait for software to accomplish my goals.

With no indication in Media Monkey that there is processing happening, I assumed that the interface was quick, and I could change views at will. I tend to go click around from one thing to another, often quickly. For example switching from "Entire Library" to another collection before "Entire Library" is fully populated. Or, typing a letter to go to a specific album without waiting for the columns in the column browser to finish populating. I have very little patience for interfaces, and it seems that a 600MB database is too much for my system to run Media Monkey the way I want to use it. (Interesting to note is that Windows reports very low resource usage for Media Monkey, even when it is processing large groups of data, and there are lots of available resources.)

I've been doing the same things in Music Bee, and I've noticed a distinct difference. First of all, it is very difficult to switch from one thing to another before the interface finishes updating, because everything loads so quickly. If I do try to switch before it is fully loaded, the display does not update until it is done. (I think this is the key difference.)

Here are the issues I'm having with Media Monkey. Notice that very few of them have to do with "bugs" in the code.

  • Speed. I timed this with a stopwatch; Music Bee takes 2 seconds to load from File Explorer to a full list of all my music, ready to play. Music Monkey takes 40 seconds for the same procedure. If I switch from a subset of my tracks to the full list, Music Bee is instant, Music Monkey takes 5 seconds.
  • Reliability. Apparently, If I switch between tabs, or collections before Media Monkey is done loading, I get strange results. I don't know if that is the case in Music Bee, because it won't let me make a mistake like that. If I try to get results before the previous results are done, it either discards the previous search, or won't let the new one populate right away; it maintains database integrity. Something Media Monkey doesn't do, otherwise my issues would never be possible. If the database is only being read, there should be no possibility of corruption.
  • Features. There are some things I can't do in Music Bee that I can do in Media Monkey. The Discogs plugin is better in MMW, and I have to do more complex work to do things that "RegExp Find and Replace" can do. The basic features, are all there. Video, sending files to a media player, Auto-populated playlists, tags, Auto-DJ, and exploring my library. I haven't installed any plugins, because I can't find anything more I want to do. Although, I can't sync wirelessly to my Android phone, I can't sync my iPhone, and there is no Android Music Bee player. (I don't currently use Android, or Apple.)
  • Consistency. Media Monkey has all kinds of very minor inconsistencies in the interface. Music Bee has zero. I have a list of inconsistent behavior somewhere, unless I stored it in a previous MMW installation that got corrupted.
  • Media Monkey is very reliant on plugins, and so seems to be limited on what major behind the scenes changes are made. Music Bee has very few plugins, because there is little missing functionality. I don't know the history very well, but it seems like things that are popular plugins are added to the core, if they are really popular, or fit with the design philosophy. This is what happens in most software, written in the past decade, that allows plugins.
  • Design philosophy. Media Monkey seems to keep trying to be everything to everyone, while maintaining the status quo. Music Bee has a specific design philosophy, and are not afraid to say no, I'm not going to change that, here's why. Sometimes the answer is; I can give you the information to build a plugin, if you want it that bad.
  • Seriously, Media Monkey looks like it was written in 2000, with Visual Basic, using forms for the interface. I get that the visuals aren't important, but we are in the '10s, now.

I've noticed other people having weird problems like me posting in the the forums. I never really see a resolution for them, either. How many cycles do you really expect those people to stay around? Recently there was a post where someone made reference to an "annual database corruption." Obviously you are doing something right if we just accept that as a fact of life. I was one of them for a long time, until I finally had enough, and started posting and complaining loudly, instead of just doing my annual reinstall, after searching for a solution.

So, there you go. My possibly farewell Rant on what I think is wrong with Media Monkey. I'm sure I'll hang around and post about responses, because that's the kind of thing I do. I may well be back, the grass may only look greener on the other side, and Media Monkey really is the perfect software. Somehow, I doubt it. You already have my money for a lifetime license, after I got a Gold license for a previous version, so you just do what you do, people seem to love it.

So, let's see the responses; "I've had the same database for years with no problems." "I've never had any problems with MMW, it's the most solid software I've ever used." "How is it even possible for you to have so many problems with this software, I've been using it for years with no issue." "But MusicBee doesn't sync my iPhone." (easy workaround for that in the Wiki.)
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Re: How I learned to stop worrying, and love Media Monkey

Postby Dan33185 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:42 pm

NewtonBoy wrote:I've noticed other people having weird problems like me posting in the the forums. I never really see a resolution for them, either.


This is one of my frustrations. I've posted numerous problems and never really gotten any clear answers. I might get a response, telling me to send a debug log, or explain further, and then when I do, the topic just seems to die. Rarely do I ever get a solution to my problem, and I just gave up on posting problems I've had because I know it's not going to lead anywhere, why waste my time? MM is a buggy software, I've just accepted it at this point, and live with it because there are certain things I can do in it that I can't in other programs.
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Re: Music Bee

Postby dtsig » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:22 am

You have created a log report using debug and sent it in through support? This has never failed me to get me answers to either the problem or to what i am doing. I get newtonboy .. he has some sw he "likes" better. but if there is a real problem with support it needs to get worked out.
Where's the db and ini stored
Reporting Bugs
Where tags are stored

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Re: Music Bee

Postby Dan33185 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:45 am

dtsig wrote:You have created a log report using debug and sent it in through support? This has never failed me to get me answers to either the problem or to what i am doing. I get newtonboy .. he has some sw he "likes" better. but if there is a real problem with support it needs to get worked out.


Here's examples of where the thread just kind of dies with me being the last to post with no clear answers:

viewtopic.php?f=26&t=84657

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=84631

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=86175 (debug log was sent for this)

viewtopic.php?f=26&t=85715 (here a log was sent and actually submitted to the bug tracker, but I have yet to see any news on it, last update was 3 months ago)

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=78952 (I didn't start this thread, but this problem still happens pretty frequently)
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Re: Music Bee

Postby Lowlander » Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:21 pm

Did you attach a debug log to a Support Ticket? If no one can reproduce that will be required and you'll get follow up there. Most of these problems seem to have only a few or even one user affected, which is why the topic ends up dying. I know how frustrating that can be, but working through Support with debug logs you'll get follow up. Sometimes it will be a bug, sometimes it is user error, sometimes it's a hardware or third party problem and sometimes they'll tell you it won't be fixed, but you'll get more insight into what is happening.
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Re: Music Bee

Postby Dan33185 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:00 pm

Lowlander wrote:Did you attach a debug log to a Support Ticket? If no one can reproduce that will be required and you'll get follow up there. Most of these problems seem to have only a few or even one user affected, which is why the topic ends up dying. I know how frustrating that can be, but working through Support with debug logs you'll get follow up. Sometimes it will be a bug, sometimes it is user error, sometimes it's a hardware or third party problem and sometimes they'll tell you it won't be fixed, but you'll get more insight into what is happening.


I either attached one to the thread, or sent one using a support ticket when I could reproduce the behavior. Syncing is still a major problem most of the time, either not transferring everything correctly, or playlists not working correctly (track count is wrong, or empty). I've figured out a workaround for that at this point, I don't sync playlists, rather just export playlists and transfer it through Windows Explorer to my SD Card.
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Re: Music Bee

Postby dypsis » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:26 am

I'm liking MusicBee, guys.
It's light and configurable and does everything I need straight out of the box. :)
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Re: Music Bee

Postby Lowlander » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:04 pm

Attach them to Support Tickets.

Syncing is working fine here, the last time I had major issues it ended up being the SD card that failed. Playlists sync as expected and update as expected on re-sync. I'm only left with a few tracks that fail to sync each wifi sync, which has been going on forever. As I do a random sync I don't know which tracks are missing or what AutoPlaylist they belonged to. However as I do a random sync of x files anyway I don't miss them.

Debug logs are essential to resolve sync issues as they're often only experienced by a few users at best (unless there is a major bug). Doing this via a Support Ticket is important (attach MMW debug log and/or mention MMA logID) so that there can be follow up from the developers.
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Re: Music Bee

Postby Peke » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:45 pm

Hi,
I just tested this in MMW and Music Bee (MBee) Results are that MM5 Showed my 120k library within 10 sec. and MBee fo same process took 47 sec.

Note that I use single TAB in MMW and not using Explorer but MMW library view as MMW reads tags from all files in realtime and each time folder is changed No cache where Library view query library only.
Best regards,
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Re: Music Bee

Postby jiri » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:00 am

I understand some of the frustration, particularly regarding the dated looks of MM4. The main reason is that we've been working hard on MM5 for last few years and so only limited resources went to MM4 development, mainly just bugfixing. And yes, we've been promising MM5 for a long time. Finally, we plan to release the first alpha this week, so although it isn't perfect yet and shouldn't replace MM4 for your work yet, it's close and hopefully will return back the joy of managing your collections!

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Re: Music Bee

Postby NewtonBoy » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:50 pm

I'm looking forward to checking out the Beta.
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Re: How I learned to stop worrying, and love Media Monkey

Postby theta_wave » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:43 pm

NewtonBoy wrote:
  • Features. There are some things I can't do in Music Bee that I can do in Media Monkey. The Discogs plugin is better in MMW, and I have to do more complex work to do things that "RegExp Find and Replace" can do ... Although, I can't sync wirelessly to my Android phone, I can't sync my iPhone, and there is no Android Music Bee player. (I don't currently use Android, or Apple.)
Since "regexp find and replace" is not included in MMW natively, I don't think it is fair to use that against MB. Then again, MB has regexp search and replace in its Additional Tagging and Reporting Tools add-on (http://musicbee.wikia.com/wiki/Addition ... ting_Tools). You're correct in saying there's no MB android app for music playback (there is one for remote control of the player though). However, that may be a blessing in disguise as I've had nothing but problems with MMA when using it for several months and going back and forth with Ventismedia devs reporting problems; it's not fun having MMW sync wiping out 64GB of transcode-on-the-fly mp3s (~8,000). Although MTP syncing for MB is rather unreliable, directly syncing my phone's microSD to MB is a breeze. With MMW, I have to hold my breath whether or not sync will decide to zap my collection on said microSD. Let's just say that persistent issues with MMW (and MMA) syncing (either MTP or direct syncing with my phone's microSD) forced me to find other alternatives and I've been extremely happy with MB ever since I landed on it.
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Re: MusicBee Album Art

Postby Stigg » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:09 am

It's strange how you have to double click to view album art.
It took me awhile to realise that you could even view album art in MusicBee.
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Re: Music Bee

Postby stax76 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:42 am

It seems it's VB.NET/WinForms based (like StaxRip), I always thought it's WPF based. I was curious how the DPI scaling and skinning is implemented, surprisingly the code was obfuscated. It looks solid, m4a tags don't work, it has significantly better high DPI support then MM ever had.
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Re: Music Bee

Postby CygXanadu » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:09 pm

Dan33185 wrote:
nohitter151 wrote:No iPhone/iPod touch support
No wireless sync to Android devices
Cannot handle video formats
UPnP/DLNA only via a plugin

No thanks :)


You say that as if sync is perfected in MM, which is far from the case. And I'm probably not alone in using a stand alone app/program for video, instead of my music player.

When I turned on my Samsung TV I noticed MediaMonkey in my media center, and it does work.
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