HMusicCentre has been a project that I have been working on for several years - it all came about when I was listening to some CDs in the front room and found that certain songs often had hard to hear Lyrics and, thus, it was hard to sing along sometimes. I thought about this for a while and found loads of Lyrics on the Internet of course... they were easily searched for and printed off - but that wasn't good enough for me. I decided that the best way would be to write a program (it was only intended to be small) that would be able to read Track Lyrics from files and display them on screen.
That bit was easy... and because my entire CD collection was already ripped to CD-quality WAV files I was able to write a Delphi program that would play the WAV files and extra metadata for the Artist and Album from the folder structure - so it knew which Lyrics file to read and display.
From the point of having around 300 CDs on a 250GB disk, I decided I needed to make a drastic decision to convert everything to MP3s - I did a 'taste-test' over the weekend, listening to a variety from John Lennon to Verdi via The Hives to see if I could tell the difference between CD-quality WAV files and 320kbps constant bitrate MP3s - I could not - not a jot! Converting everything to MP3 took a weekend but I gained a lot of disk space... an MP3 Album in the highest quality only takes around 100MB - excellent!
From that moment on, HMusicCentre was on a roll - a Timings facility was added so that the current Lyrics line would be highlighted to the person listening. However, it was still a little bit manual in its nature - you had to copy the Lyrics off the Internet for one thing and create a file yourself - you had to type things into the Amazon search facility and download the JPG for the CD Cover manually - it was all so 1990s...
Automation was the key... and in-the-background controlling of Internet Explorer. It was time to spend a whole weekend revamping HMusicCentre so that it did all of this automatically... it's taken a while... but here we are... I am very proud. That's the history.
HMusicCentre is written in Delphi 7 Enterprise Edition. There are many CD Rippers out there. There are many MP3 Players out there. There are many Playlist Editors out there. There are many CD Cover downloaders out there. There are many Lyrics Sites out there. There are a few MP3 Karaoke Systems out there. HMusicCentre tries to do its best to bring all of these together in an extremely simple, intuitive user-interface that even girls should like using... it is intended to show off your Album collection and to encourage you to learn the proper Lyrics to your favourite Tracks and sing along with them. It's great for parties on a plasma or a projector.
HMusicCentre was written by me... however, some of my friends and colleagues saw it and suggested they might want a copy... so I provided it to them. Then people suggested it was at least good enough to provide to a wider audience - so, as detailed above, I decided to polish it a little bit and get it ready to put on the Internet... so here it is... if you like it, download it - you will find all that you need to get HMusicCentre up and running in about 10 minutes.
Source Code: As the author of this program, I am quite keen on getting the source code onto this website as well. I think some people might really appreciate that and there may well be a chunk of improvements other people can make... for the time being I am still thinking about that though... first reason is that the code is a tad spaghetti like at the moment, and I don't want to show myself up too much, second reason is that I've put a lot of effort in to this and I want to ensure I have protected my code correctly. Watch this space!
HMusicCentre is intended to be as ''hi-fi'' as the MP3 format will allow, I use it with a Musical Fidelity setup, X-DAC, X-TONE, X10-D, X-PSU and X-A200R, for great results. The program is intended for big-screen enjoyment - big LCDs, plasmas and projectors - and has been tested in resolutions varying from 800x600 up to 1600x1200. See some of the screenshots on this site for my own setup with HMusicCentre.
Privacy Guarantee: HMusicCentre is well-behaved and safe software. It does not install adware or spyware. It does not change any of your system settings. It does not install any drivers. It does not install any files to Windows system folders. It does not make any entries to the Windows registry. It has an installation program using INNO Setup that is clean and safe. It does not email anyone to let them know you have installed it. HMusicCentre is a pleasant application - you can easily remove HMusicCentre by simply using the uninstaller.
HMusicCentre will not interfere with any other programs on your system - it takes all its information from its own files and the metadata provided by the folder structure. It never plays around with existing ID3 tags or changes anything. It doesn't even like deleting files - but it will do if you ask it nicely and you confirm that you actually mean to do it.