Leawo Tunes Cleaner Hands-on Review - Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

-By Vaibhav Kaushal

Long, long back the human race was not able to record sound. Music was a luxury limited to the royals and the super-rich. Since then, we have come a long way. An average user with a laptop or desktop would have tens of GBs of music stored. Purchasing or downloading music has become easier than ever and iPods and Walkmans are a common sight. With options like these and the quantity of music available, management of our ever swelling music libraries has become really difficult. Leawo Tunes Cleaner solves the problem, with elegance and smoothness.

Installation, UI and Ease of Use

Leawo Tunes Cleaner Main ScreenInstalling the program is simple. You follow the wizard, the program gets installed. Once installed, you can get the software up and running in no time. If you want to register, click on the down-arrow button on title bar of the main window interface.

The UI is average. To an extent, it tries to copy the interface of Mac and can get confusing when you want to move the window. If you try to just drag the window using any blue part, it might not work. You have to drag the window using the title bar (which is not clearly visible). The buttons look all 3D (skeumorphic design) and are kind-of attractive. Functionally, the UI is perfect, though we did not like the shade the blue Leawo imposes on us – it hits the eye a little. We just wish Leawo had taken a little more care of the UI. Except this minor concern, Tunes Cleaner is just a perfect piece of work.

The software is pretty easy to use. The home screen offers 4 simple options:

  1. Start to Clean iTunes: This option will launch iTunes and read the library. Once the scan is complete, it illustrates the report of the music library.
  2. Open Music Files: This is same as the first option but instead of launching iTunes and reading the library, this option lets you select a folder containing your music. Handy in case you don’t have iTunes or if you want to scan a folder not yet included in the iTunes library.
  3. Clean-up Duplicates: This is an amazing option which removes duplicate songs from your library (or the folder you wanted Tunes Cleaner to scan in).
  4. Load Saved Result: This will allow you to load a half-run project. You can pause the operation at any time and save the progress in a project file. This is a great option for the times when power is down or your laptop battery is running low and the operation is going to take long.

Fly on the broom

Starting off is easy if you have iTunes installed. Just select the first option “Start to Clean iTunes” and it will launch iTunes, read the library and commence scan of the files in there. The process takes a little bit of time depending on how plump your library has grown into. Once done, it would generate a report stating the number of tracks with missing album art, artist info, album info and files which cannot be fixed/overwritten by Tunes Cleaner.

After the report is generated, it will provide you with a button to ‘Fix all’. Press that and Tunes Cleaner shall start fixing the songs one at a time i.e. it would first try to fetch the Album Art for all your songs and then proceed with filling the Album and Artist info in all files.

Tunes Cleaner fetches the Album Art from the Internet using the tag info it finds in each file. So, if album, title, and artist info are all missing, Tunes Cleaner would not be able to fetch the right art for you. That is nothing to complain about because of 2 reasons:

  1. Given the title is present, Tunes Cleaner is pretty great at making the right guess.
  2. If the title and album/artist info is not present, any other software which can get the album art for you would not work well either. In most cases, we have seen other software failing at the task even with title info present in the tags.

Select the album art you think belongs to the trackWhat’s interesting is that the set of songs we tested the software with had a lot of inconsistent titles. Tunes cleaner was able to fetch the correct album art for those as well. Our guess is that it would be trimming out the digits in title name and file name before querying the servers. Also, it was able to get album arts of non-English songs pretty well. For the tracks where Tunes Cleaner gets more than one album art, it’d show the number of album art images it found. You can click on the number to open the album arts it found and then select on the album art you would want on the song. That is something we really appreciate because in case Tunes Cleaner is not able to make the right guess out of the lot, you can help it decide rightly.

Once the album art is done, Tunes cleaner will search the Internet for album and artist info for the files which have them missing. All you need to do is to press a button for that. The remarkable part of this process was that the album and artist info were getting updated into the files by the iTunes process. So you don’t have to re-scan your library to update your library info.

Clean the library, actually!

There are times when you have bought the same track in more than 1 album; e.g. you buy a movie OST album and then you buy another album from same artist which has a common track with the OST album. While it might not be enough of a trouble, when you end up with the same track from different albums and folders with varying and missing tag info, it can not only waste space but also get annoying. At such times, it is desirable that we scan the music for not just tags but also by their acoustic fingerprint.

Quick Scan

When you are about to scan you library, Tunes Cleaner offers you two modes – Quick and Deep. Quick scan probes into the library by tag info like artist, album, title, file size etc. This method is very useful to quickly remove those files which you accidentally copied among folders, of those which were created as you were trying to drag-drop them into another window – a worthy companion for the times when mistakes happen out of haste. It is really quick to read the info out of a huge library and list the duplicates.

That is impressive but how much really? There are dozens (if not more) software tools which get the same thing done. Why pay money for that, especially when the other options are free? Fact is, for all that we mentioned, there are programs available with similar features. Even iTunes can get you album arts (though not as intelligently as Tunes Cleaner). Allow us the freedom to introduce the feature we really, really loved, something that is not present in free alternatives.

Deep Scan

We said something about ‘acoustic fingerprint’ above. For the uninitiated –acoustic fingerprint is the signature or pattern created by the sounds inside the music file. Acoustic signature varies only a little with variations in bitrate, format and file sizes. Acoustic fingerprint comparison is not binary data comparison. It is more like comparing the sound graphs created by the tracks, the one an audio editing and mastering software would show you.

Tunes Cleaner is great at what it does - clean up duplicatesWhen you select ‘Deep Scan’ for the scan type, you tell Tunes cleaner to scan files by their acoustic fingerprint. Tunes Cleaner can extract the acoustic fingerprint out of files and then compare them to show you the real duplicate music in your collection. Acoustic fingerprinting is not dependent on the tags and meta-info in the file itself.

To test this feature we ran 3 tests. Well, we had planned only 2 but something did not work out very well. The first test we ran was to scan the iTunes library for the duplicates. The second was to scan the same set of files using the “Add” button. It did not pleasure us because, both tests crashed (the program just disappeared, no error messages, nothing). The media set was huge (around 8000 files of various formats and sizes with only 4-5 duplicates thrown in here and there) and it took time to scan the entire collection. And if something crashes then, how do you feel? However, we believe it was due to of a bug in the program because when we scanned smaller set of files, the software did not crash and actually arranged the duplicates.

The scan time for deep scan is quite high because it reads complete file for all the music tracks it finds in the folder you added, and then runs a CPU intensive algorithm on each file. Once it finds out the duplicates, it will list them grouped by track name. It automatically selects the duplicates (leaving one, of course) and you can press one button at the top to remove the duplicates it found. The tool would automatically de-select the version with higher bitrate so you don’t accidentally delete the track with better sound quality – smart! For each entry, a checkbox and an open-file-location button is supplied. Unchecking, as can be guessed, disallows Tunes Cleaner form deleting the file as a duplicate while the open file location will launch Windows Explorer and situate you to the folder where the file is stored – so you can listen to the file and decide for yourself – whether or not to delete it. To end it, there was another impressive option thrown back – you can ‘undo’ any removal that was unintended. The cleaned files are stored in C:\Users\\Documents\Leawo\Tunes Cleaner\Picture\Leawo_Recycle Bin\ So if you want to remove them permanently, go there and look for the dates when you cleaned up the files and then remove them.

Though we were fairly impressed by what the software did during the album art search and tags search but this feature just rocked. It is worthy for anyone with a messy library with some duplicates and files with missing album art and track metadata. Though the price is fair for the feature set, we believe you might think you’d need this program to run only once and so it’s a little costly. But that’s a different song to sing. We will sing that one later.

The wishlist

Call it a fact: demands never end. When we first used this software, for most of us here it felt like this is the last thing we’d like. However, with time, each one of us here started wishing for a little extra. The list was small with small wishes on it:

  • The UI could be of a different colour – that very shade of blue is not very friendly. Well, that’s a preference but almost all of us wished that.
  • The software did not crash when scanning iTunes library – this must be a bug where Tunes Cleaner cannot figure out a corrupt file or something; and we hope the developers will fix that soon.
  • The program shows up cheesy lines, like “Ah, there are no duplicates here. It’s a good day.” At one point it even said “There are no duplicates on your Mac” while we were testing it on Windows. Well, no troubles but!
  • The program tries to ‘restore last session’ and apparently never does that. However, it opens manually saved projects well. Just remove that prompt, Leawo!
  • After running the “Clean iTunes” option, there were still files left with some meta-data missing. How extraordinary would it be if Tunes Cleaner had those meta-data listed by the acoustic fingerprint (sigh).

How to use it smartly?

Well, this tool is not rocket science and any day-to-day user will be able to use it well enough. However if you follow a procedure, you save some time, electricity bill and get better results. We really recommend that you begin with ‘Clean the duplicates’ option first with deep scan – that will remove any duplicate files. When removing files, delete the ones which have less metadata on them. Then run the ‘Clean iTunes’ or ‘Open Music Files’ option to fill all tracks with metadata and album art.

The Offer

We were lucky to have a hands-on experience of the product. After reading this page, if you are that impressed and convinced that it’s a great product to have, there’s a new-year deal going on. Leawo has a Mac version of Tunes Cleaner as well. In furtherance they have other products like Blu-Ray ripper (and its mac version) and other multimedia software like video converter, iTransfer, iOS Data recovery etc. in the deals and bundles.

So if you interested, now’s really not a bad time to make the purchase and grab the cookies.

Posted on Jan 03, 2014 01:14 AM
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