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JetAudio's interface is attractive and well laid-out, and a description of each button's function pops up as you mouse over it. Unfortunately, you can't resize the program window, but it comes with three skins of varying sizes. There are also about 25 or so skins online to choose from in addition to three sets of visualizations (three others come with the download).JetAudio Basic 6.0 is well stocked in the features department. In addition to the standard ripping, burning, and file-playback functions, the player offers conversion from any of its supported audio files to any of eight popular formats--alas, none of these is MP3--and Internet broadcasting. The last is one of the neatest features we've seen in a free media player, and it does a nice job compensating for the lack of an integrated music store. To access other users' broadcasts (174 of which were available at press time), you simply click the Broadcasting icon in the main window. If you want to transmit your own tunes, you open a program called JetCast, which is included with the download and lives in the JetAudio folder. JetCast is shockingly easy to use--we were able to begin broadcasting a playlist in a matter of minutes--but we experienced so much buffering when we tried to listen to others' broadcasts that we doubt the usefulness of the feature. Still, the feature is cool, despite the fact that it's not fully integrated into JetAudio. Certain transmissions are even available through Windows Media Player.
Individual features within JetAudio can be tweaked to your liking, though basic audio playback has the most customization options. There are 10 EQ presets, as well as a flat setting and a user-defined mode; you're also free to save as many of these as you like for later loading. In addition, you can adjust the playback speed and pitch, apply and modify surround sound and extra bass, and even choose from four types of reverb effects, all of which are fully adjustable. The player also automatically cross-fades from one to the other when you manually switch songs; this convenient option can also be turned on (and customized, of course) for use when the tracks naturally run their course. JetAudio even includes seven sound effects: Flange, Invert Flange, Robot 1, Robot 2, Slow Chorus, Phase Shift, and Invert Phase Shift.
Yet another unique JetAudio feature is the timer and alarm clock function. Both serve the same purpose, but one counts down, while the other is set for a specific time. You can use either one to exit JetAudio, to exit Windows, to enter the standby mode, and to start or stop playback. Additionally, the alarm can be set to start (but not stop) a recording, so you can effectively use it as TiVo for an Internet broadcast or even, if you connect a radio tuner to your PC, an airwave broadcast.
JetAudio is lacking some key attributes--namely, the ability to sync with devices and encode MP3s. You will have to use either another jukebox or Windows Explorer to transfer tracks to a portable player. Not even JetAudio MP3 players will work within the JetAudio jukebox environment. But you can add MP3 encoding with one of the program's extension packs for $8.95. Additional packs can also be purchased to add enhanced sound features, special recording functions (for example, silence detection and splitting), and audio editing and mixing tools. Alternatively, you can upgrade to the $29 JetAudio Plus, which includes the whole lot.Unlike many other media jukeboxes, JetAudio Basic 6.0 doesn't require that you import all your music files into its own library; you can just open songs, videos, and playlists from their original locations. However, this method isn't ideal for creating playlists since you can't listen to songs while you're adding them. Fortunately, the app is also capable of loading your entire library into its database and monitoring media folders. This is preferable if you're often creating playlists (or albums, as they are misleadingly referred to within the program).
Either way you slice it, JetAudio performs fantastically. The program starts up instantly, especially when compared with apps such as Musicmatch, and will immediately play the song or playlist you select. If you were interrupted in the middle of an album the last time you played it, JetAudio even remembers the exact place in the song it had been playing last. The player also multitasks beautifully; you can tinker with any of the settings and even import hordes of files into the database and edit albums, all while you're listening to another set of music, without the slightest interruption in your tunes.JetAudio's service and support is hard to beat. In fact, we've rarely felt so personally attended to by a support staff for free software. A question sent via an anonymous e-mail was answered in less than 20 minutes, and subsequent inquiries were answered immediately by the same person. JetAudio also offers a FAQ page as well as some highly trafficked forums. Not surprisingly, phone support is unavailable.