JuK Review

key review info
application features
  • lt;b>An easy to use, playlist and metadata focused interface with several playlist types</b>
  • (2 more, see all...)

This review is about one of the most popular audio players. Its popularity comes from the fact that JuK is included in KDE's multimedia package. If you install KDE with all its packages you'll also install JuK. Now let's see if it's any good.

First thing that happens when you install it is that the software asks for the folders where you store your music so that it will import everything. I like this and it's a very common feature for this kind of software.

Once you import your music files, everything will be sorted using their metadata or their file names. If your files' metadata is correct then they'll be nicely sorted. If you are a regular, normal person however, then probably some files will have messed up metadata and what you'll see probably will scare you. Don't be worried because the built in search feature will find your songs very fast.

JuK tries to identify your files over the Internet using the comprehensive MuzicBrainz database. This rarely worked though with my files and I understand it's because nothing can do this considering how messed up they are. Something that worked amazingly well was the retrieval of covers via Google Image Search.

One of my favorite features of JuK is the track announcer. Unfortunately this is not activated by default so you'll have to do it yourself. I like this feature because it shows the name of the track that started to play and also displays two buttons for previous and next track. Some of you will frequently use the next track button.

But what about the sound quality? Like any Linux audio player, JuK supports several sound engines. In Windows there isn't much variety because Direct Sound somehow standardized sound, but in Linux we have several engines. On the Fedora 5 box I use at the moment, JuK shows three available engines. The default one was aRts and it didn't work for me for whatever reason but I didn't want to use it anyway. I selected GStreamer which is known as a good quality engine. The third one is aKode which is in close relationship with aRts and didn't work either. This is by no means the fault of JuK, perhaps it's Fedora's fault or perhaps mine. It's a normal thing that JuK uses aRts by default because aRts provides the base for KDE's multimedia features. aRts is excellent as a core component of KDE, but I prefer GStreamer as an engine for JuK.

An essential feature for me is the play queue. If a player doesn't support a play queue, it's not a real player. JuK supports it and actually uses an interesting approach for it. When you right-click on a file, the first available action is to add the file to the play queue.

JuK has a tag editor that is well integrated with the program. This is very useful especially when you think that all the sorting is done using the tags. If you want to edit the metadata it will really help you do this in the fast lane.

The Good

I like that it's easy to use and that is has a nice and useful announcer. These are the things that I appreciate the most about JuK.

The Bad

I don't like about JuK that I can't navigate with it through my folders. At best, the collection list can be managed by albums artists and genres but if the metadata is not correct, the lists can get messy.

The Truth

JuK is a good player. Using the search feature will allow you to find a song in large collections. It's far from being perfect but since it comes with KDE you'll appreciate having a good player that you don't have to install.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 4
pricing / value 5

final rating 3
Editor's review