PDC Real Jukebox Basic

Decoder Source: http://www.real.com/jukebox/index.html?src=downloadr
Version: 2; build © 1995-2000 RealNetworks Inc.
Price: Free
Settings: none
Similar products: Real Jukebox plus costs $29.99 and offers more features
Grades below are for playback / CD recording performance.
Verdict: Good / excellent
VBR: All / All
Full file: Sometimes / Always
Major Flaws: none
Minor Flaws: Playback: high frequency errors, clips end off file, low level accuracy
CD-writing: no problems
Output level: correct
1-bit relative accuracy: Good / Excellent
1-bit absolute accuracy: Poor / Excellent

The jukebox software provided by the people at real.com is available for free - if you download the Basic version, rather than the plus version, which costs $29.99. Be warned: the basic version is increasingly difficult to find on their web site, but it is there.

On playback, Real Jukebox sometimes clips the ends off files, gives slight high frequency errors on many files, and has poor low level accuracy (see the 16-bit LSB test). These things may or may not be audible. It also inverts the waveform - a few people claim to be able to perceive this.

When writing to CD, Real Jukebox decodes mp3s faultlessly on-the-fly. My only concern is the use of "Track-at-once" mode: this inserts a 2-second gap between the audio tracks on the CD. There is also a consensus that it is better to write audio discs in disc-at-once mode: all "real" CDs are mastered in an equivalent manner to disc-at-once. However, I've yet to find a CD player that rejected track-at-once discs, so this concern may not be relevant.

In conclusion, for high quality playback you must look elsewhere. However, for on-the-fly CD-writing from mp3 files, Real Jukebox does an excellent job.


Real Jukebox 2 main screen
Real Jukebox main screen.

About Real Jukebox v2
About Real Jukebox v2 Build

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