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  MP3Stock dadiOH's dandies
A Few Favorite Programs

MP3Stock a definite dandy! It is a free program to create a database from MP3s. It can read and incorporate them from the hard drive, CD data discs or both. It works in conjunction with Winamp v2.x so if you don't use that it is no good for you. If you do use Winamp, you might want to take a look at it because...

It is fast! It will open a database of more than 25,000 MP3s in less than 3 seconds with my 1200 MHz CPU. It will sort on any column in less than a second. Others I have tried take up to several minutes to open the database.

The database is compact...3.2 MB in my case. Another program's DB for the same files is 7.3 megs.

It is flexible. You can use your folder structure - regardless of its complexity - to define fields in the database. You can also add the files using either the file name or ID3 V1 tags.

You can globally edit the database fields of selected files....change 1000s at a time nearly instantly.

It will create playlists. It will play files with Winamp directly via the database, either caching them to the hard drive or reading directly from the CD.

Selected files can be written back to the hard drive and Stock will prompt for insertion of the correct CD. The files can be cached for playing or for the purpose of writing a compilation CD. In the latter case, Stock will inform you when you have written enough to fill the CD.

It has excellent search and sorting functions. I can find any of 25,000+ songs in a few seconds.

It will export lists in either text or html.

You can augment the ID3 V1 fields. For example, you can sub-categorize the "genre" field as I have done as an aid in sorting/finding things.

You can add a numeric rating for files (in the column with the asterisk) so that you can find your favorites easily. You could also use that column as a way to create sub-genres rather than do it in the genre field itself as I have. For example, let 30 = jazz...

30 = general jazz
31 = big bands, pre 1940
32 = big bands, post 1940
33 = ragtime
34 = dixieland

Stock will only write a numeric value in that field so it would be up to you to remember what the numbers stand for. You could also use the BPM column (beats per minute) for the same thing.

As you can see from the screen shots, MP3Stock uses a spreadsheet format. Most other programs for MP3 databases use an Explorer format. There are advantages both ways. The advantage of the explorer type is that you can see just the songs under a particular artist, genre, etc. With a spread sheet format, you always have everything right in front of you. I have come to prefer the spreadsheet style. If you think you would like the explorer style better, take a look at MP3Cat. It too is free. I haven't used it much and only with 1000 or so songs so I don't know how fast it would be with a large DB. It doesn't have nearly as many features as Stock but seems quite nice.

A couple of MP3Stock tips...

1. Ctrl + F brings up the search box. By unticking the column names in that box, you can search in just the column(s) that remain ticked. Case and spaces are ignored.

2. Shift + <letter> will jump to the first artist beginning with that letter.

3. There are numerous keyboard shortcuts, all listed in Stock's "help".

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