iTunes includes most of the features people need for encoding, organizing, and playing music. But anyone who has run a search on iTunes at VersionTracker.com knows there are a host of utilities and add-ons that extend the iTunes experience. Here are some of our favorites:
Wincent Colaiuta's $5 Synergy 1.0a8 ( More Mac Software Bargains," May 2003; http://synergy.wincent.com) places iTunes playback controls in the menu bar; provides systemwide hot keys; and adds a fading, translucent display for track information.; "
Infinity-to-the-Power-of-Infinity's free (donations accepted) iChatStatus 1.2.1 (www.ittpoi.com) dynamically changes your iChat status to reflect whatever you're currently playing in iTunes -- a type of musical voyeurism.
Jay Tuley's free iEatBrainz 1.0b5 (http://homepage.mac.com/jbtule/software.html) accesses the MusicBrainz Web site (http://musicbrainz.org) to fix poorly tagged MP3 and AAC files in your iTunes Library, using acoustic matching.
Yoel Inbar's free (donations accepted) Fetch Art for iTunes 1.1 (http://staff.washington.edu/yoel/fetchart/) uses Amazon.com's vast library of album covers to download and add cover art to your iTunes songs.
Sprote Rsrch.'s free Clutter 1.0d14 (www.sprote.com) creates draggable desktop CD covers for your iTunes albums. Double-click on one, and that album begins to play.
Visualizer plug-ins such as SoundSpectrum's WhiteCap 4.5.8 and G-Force 2.5.3 (http://soundspectrum.com), Volcano Kit iTunes Visualizer 1.0.2 (www.volcanokit.com), MacZoop's LED Spectrum Analyzer for iTunes 2.0.3, and ArKaos Visualizer 1.5.4 (www.arkaos.net) are free ways to add visual spice to your iTunes experience -- especially when you're sick of the visualizer Apple includes. If you don't have installers, just open your user folder, go to Library: iTunes: iTunes Plug-ins, and then drop them in that folder.
Chaotic Software's $25 MP3 Rage 5.8.1 ( Mac Gems, April 2003) is an ideal tool for people with large MP3 collections. It helps you look up and fix improper ID3 tag data, rename files based on that data, look up lyrics and album covers, find duplicates, create a catalog file (to use with a database program), move and reorganize files, and more.;
A cross between iEatBrainz and Fetch Art for iTunes, LairWare's $20 MPFreaker 1.0b5 (www.lairware.com) helps find artwork and missing tag information from around the Net. It works with MP3 and AAC files, and it can read iTunes playlists directly.
Octiv's $20 Volume Logic plug-in digitally remasters your iTunes music in real time, improving the sound quality and evening out the volume between songs. Just turn off Sound Check and turn iTunes' volume up to maximum; then let Volume Logic handle all of iTunes' musical output. -- js