Free But at a Price
MusicMatch Jukebox is a popular free MP3 encoder and player for both Mac and Windows. I used it on my G4 and it wasn't a pleasant experience.
First, I should say that I don't care about skins or visual displays while I am listening to music. I want a simple ripper and player that gets CD information from CDDB, makes high quality MP3s, and lets me make playlists of my MP3s.
MusicMatch does all of this, but does it in the most irritating way possible. If I place a new CD in my DVD drive, MusicMatch detects it and tries to go online to obtain information about the CD. If I am not online it tries to dial in and get online. If I am offline, the CDDB search should fail rather than interrupting whatever I am doing and going online.
One thing MusicMatch does do well is make MP3s. The quality of the MP3s has been exceptional, even at lower bitrates. Some of the MP3s I've ripped at 48MHz sound better than 128MHz MP3s made with RealJukebox.
MusicMatch does allow multiple playlists, but only one can be active at any given time. Once a song is added to a playlist there is no way to remove it. There is also no way to add more than one song to the playlist at a time. This is slow and klunky compared to the playlist management of RealJukebox.
The worst feature of MusicMatch Jukebox in my mind is that it is nagware. I have a free version. Not unregistered shareware, but free. Yet every time I close the application I am prompted to upgrade to the Plus (pay) version. I am also randomly interrupted at other times with the same nag screen. If they wanted to make a nagware application it is their right, but they shouldn't pretend it's freeware.
I still use MusicMatch Jukebox to make MP3s because the quality cannot be beaten. However, it is not a good MP3 player.