Sean Sperte

Key control

20 September 2005

I’ve been on the lookout for the perfect keystroke controller for iTunes. Name it and I’ve tried it; probably twice, actually. I think I’ve finally settled on Sizzling Keys from Yellow Mug. Here’s why … I have a simple set of needs for an iTunes controller:

  1. Quick and efficient to setup and use
  2. Free or cheap (under $10)
  3. Nice-looking (Apple-esque)
  4. Virtually transparent to user (no buttons, extra controller, doesn’t take up screen real estate, etc.) – what do I need extra buttons for if I’ve got iTunes?
  5. Ability to rate songs

While many of the shareware options out there do meet these needs, they do so either with a (relatively) high price tag, or at the cost of performance. I’ve tried Synergy, iMote, Barquee, ByteController, and others. Each fell short in one area or another and caused me to continue my search.

I remember trying Sizzling Keys a long time ago when it was first released … I wasn’t impressed. Now, however, it’s at version 1.6.2, and I think it’s got just enough polish and punch to warrant a Sean-Sperte-stamp-of-approval.

Truth be told, Sizzling Keys could still use some help in the interface design department. The floater fonts and graphics have a horrible shadow, and the preference pane icon and controls are ugly as sin.

What I like best about it, though, is the ability to set so many different keystrokes to so many different iTunes options. There’s an option to hide/show iTunes, one to bring up a search floater, and another to “almost mute” the audio.

If you’re in the market for a good iTunes controller, I recommend Sizzling Keys. There’s a lot of bang for your buck … oh, yeah: I forgot to mention it’s FREE!