|Version:||2; build 126.96.36.1990 © 1995-2000 RealNetworks Inc.|
|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|
|Minor Flaws:||Playback: high frequency errors, clips end off file, low level accuracy|
CD-writing: no problems
|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.
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Copyright 2000 David J M Robinson. All Rights reserved. You may not re-publish any information or content from this site without the authors' express permission.