Review - myFairTunes6 v0.5.5b

Sunday 17th September, 2006
myFairTunes6 claims to assist customer locked into Apple's DRM scheme with removing the copy protection from the music stuck in their iTunes library.


The end result, according to the documentation, is an Apple Lossless file that you can then leave as is, or convert to other file formats. The author made a good decision here, iTunes downloads are already less than CD quality and re-compressing them to another format like mp3 will further degrade the track so it makes sense to let the user decide the destination format. As you'll see from the screenshot, the 0.5.5b version recognises and supports the new iTunes 7 release. But does it work?

I never really got into the iTunes Music Store, thankfully realising early on that not only were they crippling my music but it was not CD quality either. If the downloads won't play on the Sonos system then it's not much used to me, but that wasn't a problem to Jo. All she wanted was some music to play on her iPod at the gym and that's what it allowed her to do quite conveniently without a trip to the music store.

There's a  handful of DRM protected tracks in her iTunes library so I thought I would throw myFairTunes at it to see what happened. It did exactly what it claimed.

On first launch, myFairTunes found the iTunes library and proceeded to list all the protected tracks. Views are created to see tracks by Artist and Album which adds to the convenience of the software if you have a lot of music.

I picked a track from the bunch of protected ones, something I actually owned on CD myself. I figured it was best to kill a track I owned the original of if anything went wrong. But it didn't.

Starting the conversion process launched iTunes and started playing the selected track, the audio data is captured live as it play. This doesn't use the PC Soundcard though, as I understand it, so it should be higher quality.

Tunebite users are supposed to be able to enable a high-speed conversion option but I failed to see this work. No matter what I did with Tunebite or myFairTunes6 the end result was the same, real time capture.

myFairTunes6 did the job though and happily captured the music as I wanted. Exactly as the release notes stated, it failed to remove the original track from the iTunes library...sometimes.

It didn't, however leave me with a lossless file as claimed, I ended up with an unprotected .m4a file. That's fine though, if any recompression has occured there will be negligible loss. Compression codecs do lose vital audio quality, but re-compressing the same codec doesn't harm so can't re-discard audio data that has already been removed.

Some of the tag data is also gone. The original purchaser and account details are no longer viewable in iTunes, just the purchase date is left.

So it works and it's highly recommend to anybody stuck in a DRM hole. It's also free, so a complete no brainer. It's so good, Sonos owners are calling it Pineapple v0.5.5b - long story!

Overall verdict, 8 Jaffacakes out of a possible 10.

Comments/Trackbacks [0]