Media Monkey and Winamp both use the MSC connection. So you’d need to re-transfer your music.
Easiest thing to do is try them. There is a free Media Monkey and if you want to get the crucial feature of the gold version, all you need to do is replace the lame.exe file–the mp3 encoder-that’s in the free MM with the one from LAME.
Winamp also has a free version. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include an mp3 ripper unless you pay. Foobar is all free, but not as fancy an interface.
There is, however, an advantage to WMP (and Winamp). They use the CDDB tag library–the official, commercial, licensed source-- to tag your albums. Media Monkey uses freedb, which is user generated with all the fun inconsistencies and errors you might expect, and usually no tag info for brand-new releases. CDDB isn’t perfect–it tags Young Marble Giants as Young Marble Gaints, no lie–but it’s better, and actually has tags the minute an album comes out, if not before.
And speaking of library software, there’s an obscure little program called iTunes. Minuses: It is a big bloated resource hog that also installs its unnecessary Bonjour networking software (to which I say Au Revoir) and tries to seize all your default filetypes.You also have to burrow into Edit/Preferences/Advanced to get it to rip mp3s at 320 kbps instead of the m4a files the Fuze can’t play.
However, iTunes does give you free CDDB tags. They are, unfortunately, ID3 v2.2 and the track numbers are 1/12, 2/12, etc… The Fuze can’t read the slash, so 10/12 and 11/12 will play before 2/12 unless you have wisely installed mp3tag
and used the Tool called Auto Numbering Wizard to change it to track numbers with Leading Zeroes: 01, 02, etc. You can also make mp3tag’s default Write into the Fuze’s favorite: ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1 (Windows text encoding).
When a CD comes along, I use iTunes for ripping, mp3tag to fix tags (Auto-Number them, which also changes the ID3 version by my defaults), and Winamp for playback. All that to spite Windows Media Player. But that’s just me–and the real audio heads will tell you that the iTunes mp3 encoder isn’t as good as LAME.
I don’t use playlisting, which it seems to me is the main reason to deal with any music library software. I just drag actual albums over via MSC and…listen to them the way the musician hoped I would.