With MP3s slowly taking over the music world, you need to be ahead in the game, and Maximum MP3 tries to put you there. I never really thought that something like this would be of any use to me, but as soon as I installed the software and started listening, I questioned that logic. One thing that did surprise me was the length of time it took to install.
The key to Maximum MP3 is letting you do what you want with your music. The premise is let you record, rip, edit and tag your music, organise it burn to CD or DVD and take on the roll of your music player. It also allows you to record music from internet radio, your soundcard and so on. You can even preset your internet radio recordings so you’ll never miss the pocket-lint Editor’s radio interview again.
It comes with a range of conversion options so you can change file between formats OGG-WMA-WAV-MP3. It’s not rocket science, but it works well. The edit function means that you can chop out parts of songs that you don’t really want, like those stupid endings, or studio banter that just ruin a decent track. Of course, the track information is also pulled in, and you can have the album art on display or not - what you see is what you want to, to a certain illogical degree - it seems difficult to actually get the interesting things to all display together.
It all sounds very good, but on first look, the only simple thing is playing music, and with no manual in the box you are left to poke buttons to see what happens. I don’t doubt for a minute that many functions are overlooked on ‘poke and play’ mode. The manual lives online, as seems to be the trend with European distributors. If you don’t have an MP3 encoder, it will direct you to where you can find one, which is a welcome gesture, but you have to install it, and then point out where it is.
This review started out rosy, until the software started to get confused. Okay, so people will say that it does what it is told, and only the user can do things wrong, but I found that it started previewing tracks, playing 5 seconds then stopping - for no reason. I didn’t want it to. It also refused to play a particular favourite, as though it was already worn out. The flat and customisable interface gets even harder to navigate once things start going wrong - it’s almost impossible to actually tell what is going on. Function did not meet form in Maximum MP3 and ultimately left wondering whether it is worth the money.