I fortunately don’t have enough time to properly finish my review of the other music players out there (I may elaborate about why in a different post). So this post will be more of a brain dump about the remaining music players. You’ll have to go to their websites for pretty screenshots.
Audacious – rocking originality
I could keep using Audacious, in fact, I stopped reviewing for a bit and just kept using it. It actually has two interfaces, a more traditional (or more modern?) windowed interface and the Winamp like interface (you can just use one). It is the most minimalistic in some ways, while at the same time is still quite configurable, with just enough graphics touches to not be dull.
It uses the least memory, and it was in the good tier of CPU usage as well. In fact, the one area that it didn’t score great on so far was power usage. The developer contacted me about this and is looking into it. It’s the default music player on Lubuntu (generally considered the lightest Ubuntu derivative) and it is what I would pick given Lubuntu’s requirements.
While it has many plugins to extend it, the plugin interface could use some redesigning with regard to what is presented to the user (at least). It shows the path of the plugins instead of a description by default, which doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s best used by people who like managing their music via playlists, but it does have library functionality.
Clementine – Rediscover your music
It is one of the best players for learning more about the artist you are listening to. Of course the usual artist info and lyrics, but also song information from last.fm and more.
Amazing depth of options when it comes to playing music from online sources. A bunch of preloaded stations.
It is one of the best music players available and (in true KDE style) is insanely feature-full. I would actually turn off features before using it, sometimes they can clutter the interface. The search feature absolutely rocks.
gmusicbrowser – ultimate shape-shifter
Has many, many, many different layout options, I think it has the most of any player I’m going to review. You can customize it to look like you want it to. It has many options for sound output, including streaming. It also has a “Reorganize files and folders button” which I did NOT try, but I know some people want this feature.
It is designed to handle big libraries and it shows. Again, it has a great search experience. It can load from multiple folders into one library.
It has all the features you would expect, with one exception – not all of the layouts have volume control, which actually makes a little bit of sense for some of them.
Oh right, and it has this warning on the website;
warning : I use my own mp3/ogg/flac/mpc/ape tag library for reading/writing tags … use at your own risk.
Guayadeque – interesting
The “random” play is an automatically generated playlist. So you can skip through the upcoming random songs if you want. It also has the ability to blacklist songs from being played.
It has good radio and other online music support. It also has fade in and out of songs. Fully configurable, the default is a bit odd for most tastes.
I just don’t like the icons they use, which is my oddest complaint ever. Sorry.
I also had some crashes with it and it scored quite badly on powertop.
The website is a bit odd as well, but it does have screenshots. This doesn’t make my cut of players to recommend trying, but take a look at the screenshots to see if you might find it to be worth trying.
Musique – modern minimalism
It just works, as is, and you have pretty much no options. The benefit of that is it looks really good.
One annoyance is that it informs you when an update is available instead of updating through Ubuntu’s mechanisms (I installed it from Ubuntu’s packages).
Quod Libet – “What Pleases”
A great music player that won one of my previous music player reviews. It offers many different views that make it quite powerful. It really hasn’t changed much since then, it’s still a great player.
Although, gmusicbrowser now has more layouts than Quod Libet. They are definitely competing with each other. Quod Libet is also designed for big libraries and has good support for tagging music.
Rhythmbox – The Default
It’s the default for a reason. It just works. In fact, my wife uses my machine with Rhythmbox to manage her music on her iPod because it works quite well (and Apple iTunes is a hilariously buggy and bloated).
If you haven’t tried Rhythmbox (maybe not using stock Ubuntu), then it definitely is worth a try.
Linux has a lot of great music players available.
So what should you try if you are looking for a new music player? The defaults are always good choices: Rhythmbox, gmusicbrowser, and audacious. Clementine and Quod Libet are my other go to music players. Musique was the most interesting newcomer to me.
But I’m stuck on Windows…
Well then install Ubuntu! Or… Clementine, Quod Libet, Audacious, and Musique (paid on Windows) all have Windows versions, which are great for transitioning someone from Windows to Linux. Transition their programs on Windows first so that when they make the switch they have some familiar programs to use.
So what reviews are next?
I feel like my reviewing of programs in this way is getting a bit outdated, seeing that the Ubuntu Software Center gets you reviews in a much easier format. I prefer doing powertop/memory/performance reviews more anyway… so next time (Ubuntu 14.04 era), I’ll do the top players and look at just those metrics instead.