SoundJam MP Review for PROMAC

Scott Williams <> 8/10/00

by Casady & Greene SoundJam free FREE

by Casady & Greene SoundJam MP plus v2.1.1 $39

Requirements: Mac OS 7.6.1 or later, Power Macintosh with ax 603 processor at 100 MHz or faster, G3 recommended, CD-ROM Drive for physical product, but you can download both at the SoundJam web site:

Until recently, MP3 software prohibited many Mac folks from making (encoding) their own MP3 files. Encoding an MP3 file meant using at least three our four different audio programs, one to rip (take music from) the CD, one to convert the file format, another program,... well it goes on enough that I simply couldn't be bothered. However, during the attempted shut down of Napster, I looked again and found SoundJam Plus and SoundJam free. After one free day, I purchased the $39 Plus version. This one of the best programs I've ever owned - ranks with the game SimCity. I downloaded an mp3 from, to play it they suggested RealPlayer 7 Basic, Quicktime 4, or MacAmp. I own all three, but on my stereo speakers, SoundJam played it better. Macworld's November 1999 Buying Advice says, with four mice, SoundJam MP 1.1 is hands down the best MP3 player for the Mac. All of their cons have been satisfied in the currently available program v2.1.1.

What are the properties possessed by Soundjam:

  1. You can create, MP3 files from audio CDs. (put a CD into your drive and a track list window will open up in SoundJam MP. If you're connected to the Internet, all you have to do is click a button and SoundJam MP+ will get the album name and track names from the CDDB, the enormous web-based CD database, to fill in song information on ID3 tags an online database (So you don't have to do it your self the way Toast Extractor requires.). Select the tracks you want to convert and click another button that adds them to SoundJam's converter window.
  2. You can play back locally stored MP3 files that are on your hard drive.
  3. You can play back MP3 streams from Internet radio stations.
  4. SoundJam MP can play back variable-bit-rate (VBR) files, whereas Apple's QuickTime Player can't.
  5. In the converter window you can choose to translate the audio cd files to AIFF (if you wanted to make your own audio CD) MP3 or MP2. I'm told its far more stable than free and sharewarecompetitors MacP3, Audion, QuickMP3, or MacAmp.
  6. I use SoundJam MP's default settings - standard 128 bits and 44KHz format; however, you can also set the encoding quality with bit rates between 32 and 320. The higher the bit rate the better the sound fidelity. You can also set the sampling rate for the track from 16KHz to CD quality 48KHz. Finally the encoder is faster than the popular program Toast Extractor.
  7. You can choose from several types of look (called skins) of audio players. A skin converter that will change skins from WinAmp, the most popular windows player to SoundJam skins.
  8. There is a screen saver which reacts to music played.
  9. version 2.1.1 is now compatible with USB subwoofers.
  10. A preview of the Carbon build of SoundJam MP Plus for Mac OS X is available from

SoundJam free has nearly all the abilities of SoundJam MP plus - for 14 days. The exception is that SoundJam MP Plus is currently the only Macintosh MP3 software supporting the following popular MP3 portable audio players. For example, I-Jam and NOMAD II from Creative Labs.

Want to know how to get free mp3s from Napster? Read my review of Macster. Want to know more about mp3s and the programs used to manipulate them, read my article: Your Macintosh & MP3s


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