MusicIP Mixer vs SoundFlavor vs The Filter.

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3 Nov 2006, 4:02

Fiddling around with three programs that automatically make iTunes playlists: MusicIP Mixer, Soundflavor, and The Filter.

Some thoughts (by no means a professional review):

MusicIP Mixer (formerly MusicMagic Mixer) is easily the most customizable program of the three, especially if you pay for the professional version (which I didn't). Want to alternate between loud and quiet songs? You got it. Don't want songs by the same artist in the mix, or want to keep the songs in the same genre? Done. Want to delete a song that doesn't quite work. Go right ahead. And I'm only scratching the surface here, since there are several shuffle algorithms that can be used. The only "drawback" is that you'd need at least two nights in a row for the program to analyze your tracks (say, for a library of 3,000 songs).

Soundflavor is more of a plugin (it also seems to take up a lot of CPU power, alas). Rather nifty interface which you can use independent of the playlist-creation function, but it seems to be connecting to a database somewhere that doesn't necessarily let you save playlists for certain songs (it's limited to those with these "cherry" icons). (It'll let you play songs in a particular shuffled order, though: I can play, say, Ghosts, and it'll queue songs from my library, but I wouldn't be able to save the playlist because "Ghosts" doesn't have a cherry icon.)

The Filter works kind of like Soundflavor, though the interface is a lot more compact (it looks like the iTunes miniplayer). Somewhat slow, though -- you can't tell whether it's actually running when you click certain buttons -- and it seems to depend on some sort of external database as well (but you can enable some offline database, and I'm not sure how that works).

But the proof is in the playlist, so I thought I'd pick two songs at random --
Two of Us and Deeper Into Movies -- to see how the software used them as "seed" songs for playlists.

And here we go (I'm including only the first five songs after the seed track):

MusicIP Mixer (Two of Us):
Two of Us
Tequila Sunrise
Do Right Woman
The River
Heart of the Sunrise
Reflections

Not too bad at all, though Yes seems a little jarring.

Soundflavor (Two of Us):
Two of Us
Danny's Song
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Norwegian Wood
Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
Who Loves The Sun

A better mix, in my opinion, though points off for repeating the Beatles (indeed, more songs by the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Neil Young would follow).

The Filter (Two of Us):
Two of Us
Let Down
Sweet Thing
Holiday
Fool in the Rain
This Charming Man

This was certainly the most interesting mix of all, with more variety. (The first three tracks also begin with rhythm guitar intros.) But how Madonna got snuck in there I have no idea.

I think Soundflavor has the edge here, despite the repetitions.

Next.

MusicIP Mixer (Deeper into Movies):
Deeper Into Movies
Wondering Boy Poet
Temperature's Rising
Not The Tremblin' Kind
Your Love
Have a Day/Celebratory

Hmm. Not sure if this exactly works. Interesting though. (The Outfield track was an acoustic version, which fits nicely with the middle 3 guitar-based songs.)

Soundflavor (Deeper into Movies):
Deeper Into Movies
Supernova
XXX
Sugarcube
What You Do To Me
I Heard You Looking

Again, points off for repeating Yo La Tengo (and another would follow, along with two Guided by Voices songs). But not a bad uptempo mix at all.

The Filter (Deeper into Movies):
Deeper Into Movies
Two-Headed Boy
Double Suicide (Mercy Killing)
Nude as the News
Woman's Realm
Such Great Heights

Probably the best mix of all, nicely alternating between slow and fast songs and drawing from the same indie well as above.

So... I don't really have a conclusion. MusicIP Mixer is clearly the pro choice with all its bells and whistles; because it analyzes your music library (checking it for peaks and valleys, perhaps?), you get a better chance of getting a good playlist even if you use obscure artists as the seed tracks. (Both Soundflavor and The Filter can be quite off the mark if you toss, say, a Filipino artist at it; the playlists they create are nothing more than iTunes shuffle playlists.) But MusicIP Mixer isn't free if you want to use all the other functions, and certain songs seem to come up an awful lot (it seems to favor the Eagles and the Flying Burrito Brothers for practically every guitar-based seed song, even though I only have a small handful of songs in my library by them). Try 'em all out and decide.

Comentarios

  • marshee

    I've only tried musicIP Mixer and I thought it made very good analyses and the playlists were really good. (I used it for Silence in Space and I can say it was a genious mix. I also like the fact that it recommends free new music which you can download based on your seed song. However I don't use it any more for various reasons: 1 It used hell loads of CPU power on my PC 2 It didn't create iTunes smart playlists which is what I really wanted 3 The interface is terrible 4 No possibility to make Firefox the browser it opens web pages in. I'll look into the others though!

    3 Nov 2006, 16:57
  • thewilyfilipino

    MusicIP Mixer really has to be left to analyze your tracks overnight; otherwise it really uses up a lot of CPU power (as do the others). Please do post what you think of the other plugins!

    7 Nov 2006, 3:00
  • DAY45559

    OK - I know I shouldn't be setting a precedent, but most likely will. First off, tend not to be overly keen on paying for software - except the big apps, so wouldn't wanna go for MusicIP although sounds interesting. However I have come across tangerine which I was thoroughly disappointed with. Tried the filter on my girlfriend's laptop (very old & slow so wasn't taken by it). But have since revisted it on my mac and am really quite impressed. Ok some track suggestions are a little odd but overall have decided it's a decent bit of kit. Have got quite a few playlists - old school 80s, love ballads for the woman, chilled, upbeat and yes some unusual choices which i wouldn't put in a playlist, but they work. Haven't dabbled with the others yet. Think I might stick with the filter. Plus they've got this video here.

    24 May 2007, 17:35
  • fullmooninu

    music ip is awesome and does a lot more stuff than generate playlists (in which it excels at).

    13 Jun 2009, 8:59
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