capsule review

Helium 2

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Helium 2

The real question with any music manager is how it stacks up to the ubiquitous--and free--iTunes and WMP11. Helium Music Manager may not be quite as elegant in appearance or easy to use as its popular rivals (not that they aren't obtuse in spots) but it beats them in the features department. For instance, it imported .acc, .mp4 (acc), .ogg, .ape, .flac, and every wave file I threw at it up to 96kHz/32-bits. Neither iTunes or WMP 11 support the high-quality, lossless .ape or .flac natively.

Beyond the wide codec support, Helium offers plenty of options for your music files. The program's SQL database back end can handle very large collections, and there are tagging and data options for miles--including support for vinyl and lending. Sadly, the lack of the ability to sync to MP3 players is a deal-killer for many. When all is said and done, Helium's a very capable music manager with some unusual features. But at $40 with no sync, it's for collectors and audiophiles only.

--Jon L. Jacobi

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Helium 2

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