A new challenger in the arena of YouTube converters

RipTunes is one of the newer entries to the YouTube-to-MP3 conversion world. The program is a combination of a YouTube search engine, downloader, MP3 converter, music player, and audio cutter for making ringtones.

The RipTunes user interface is simple and straightforward. At the top are four tabs: Search, Library, Queue, and Ringtone. Search is self explanatory, Library is where you can view all downloaded files, Queue brings up a page showing current downloads, and Ringtone is where you can cut MP3 files to make ringtones.

The Search tab is where you want to go first. Inputting any artist name or song title will bring you to a new page. Overall the program works amazingly well downloading and converting to MP3. A typical song will take about 30 to 45 seconds to completely download and convert. (Your mileage may vary depending on Internet speed.) The files are saved in your regular Windows Music folder, and there is currently no option to change this default path.

RipTunes also includes a simple player for you to listen to newly grabbed tracks. You also have the option to post your search results and downloaded files directly to Facebook or Twitter. However, this doesn't seem to be a useful feature besides advertising RipTunes to all of your friends; they can't use the link until they have downloaded RipTunes themselves.

Additionally, the ringtone maker feature is a sweet addition to an already good software program. Select any track from your library and highlight the area you want to export to a ringtone. It'll cut the song and save as an MP3 (Android/Windows) or rename it to M4R (iPhone), depending on your selection. We like the simple and easy-to-use interface, and the seamless process going from search to listen.

We encountered some gripes during our test. RipTunes' search engine doesn't work the same way as a regular YouTube search. The result will always end in an artist's page with a listing of all available songs, even when you input a specific song title. This would be good if you were trying to discover a new artist and want to listen to that singer's entire catalog, but it could also be an annoyance if you just want one particular song.

As the search page is sparse on information, showing only artist name/bio and track length next to the song title, looking up a specific song will require a few extra steps. Searching cover songs can be a chore if you don't know the exact artist's name. Inputting song titles brought up only the original performers and also had trouble finding obscure but viral hits. We would like to see the search feature improved; a future update could include filters or add columns for popularity and view counts as well as support for grassroots artists.

That being said, it is still finely tuned software that works just as advertised and does offer some great extra features, a step up from your usual YouTube converter.

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