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Audio Players, Continued

Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Audio Apps
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Juk (v. 3.3)

Juk is a KDE jukebox application that revolves around local audio files. The feature set in Juk includes a player, playlist, tag editor, and cover art fetching. There are no EQ options or visualizations in Juk. This player is certainly capable of doing its intended job of local audio file playback. The tagger and cover art fetching are pretty spot-on as well.

Playback history and the ability to organize music folders from within Juk are two features this app has that most others do not. Juk is an adequate middle ground between simple music players and the much more robust music managers, a good, light solution for people that listen mostly to MP3 files, but have no interest in streaming content.



Minirok (v. 2.1)

Minirok is a python music player modeled after an early version of Amarok.

This is a pretty simple player with no support for tags. Instead, Minirok relies on the organization (or unorganization) of the folders in your music directory.

The UI is also pretty basic: menu bar on top housing mostly settings, and a split pane for files and a playlist. The left-hand pane shows the current directory in a file tree view. Files there can be added to the playlist via drag-and-drop or double-click. Back, forward, play/pause, stop, undo, redo, clear playlist, repeat, random, and a progress slider are located in the bottom-right corner of the playlist pane.

Both the file directory and the playlist are searchable, but without tag support, only file and folder names are scanned. Minirok has a notification area icon, though it offers no play controls, and simply serves as a way to minimize or exit the app. If you are one of the (apparently) many people who dislike the current design of Amarok, Minirok might just be your cup of tea.



Muine (v. 0.8.11)

Muine is a very simple music player. There are no EQ or media library functions, just straight playback and playlists.

The interface is very minimalistic, fitting the playlist and playback functionality in a single window. The standard play/pause, forward/backward, and volume buttons are what comprise the toolbar. There are also dedicated buttons for adding single songs or entire albums to the playlist.

Album art is displayed, but only when embedded into the actual file; there is no fetcher. Muine is definitely a lightweight player, but it is good at what it does.



Potamus (v. 0.10)

Potamus is as lightweight as an audio player can get. Designed for the low-overhead XFCE desktop environment, this player cuts the fat--all of the fat. You can't even open files from within Potamus. Instead, it relies on drag-and-drop from a file browser.

The user interface is similarly Spartan, without so much as a menu bar. Play controls include back, forward, play/pause, stop, clear playlist, and shuffle.

Below the play controls sit a progress slider, the name of the current file, and the playlist. One unique addition is a drop-down that lets you adjust the audio channels to: normal, mono, out-of-phase stereo, phase, left, right, and stop.

If you want only the basics, than Potamus is it, though we can't verify the degree to which this app minimizes system resource usage, considering it relies on a separate file manager to add tracks.



Qmmp (v. 0.4.1)

Qmmp stands for Qt-based MultiMedia Player. This simple audio player is styled after early versions of WinAmp, and can even utilize WinAmp 2.x skins. Therefore, Qmmp doesn't take on the system window decorations.

There are three dockable windows: the player, the playlist, and the EQ. The EQ and playlist can be hidden via buttons in the player window. Fortunately, undocking any of the windows does not create separate entries in the taskbar.

One quibble we have is the lack of included EQ presets. Beyond that, Qmmp is essentially a WinAmp 2.x clone for Linux.



Quod Libet (v. 2.1)

Quod Libet is a simple music player that has some of the more complex sorting features found in music managers. These features include randomized playback by genre, the ability to choose playlists by the frequency or infrequency that tracks are played, and user ratings. This lets you rediscover songs you might have forgotten were in your library, or quickly create a playlist composed only of your favorites.

Quod Libet is as extensible as any lightweight player we've seen. This application comes preloaded with a ton of optional plug-ins for added functionality; you simply need to enable them. If you feel like doing some easy customization, Quod Libet can be made to fit the needs of nearly anyone.

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  • 0 Hide
    nevertell , February 17, 2011 8:12 AM
    Great stuff, I'll try out some of those.

    Although I had tried Banshee a few years ago, and it just couldn't deal with 30 gb of music.
  • 0 Hide
    machvelocy , February 17, 2011 10:11 AM
    D'oh.... i didn't know before if you can sync ipod in linux (yes i'm a linux n00b).
  • -1 Hide
    pelov , February 17, 2011 10:50 AM
    Linux has always been quite robust in the audio segment, particularly if you consider that the majority of apps are completely free and hog less resources. Move over apple.

    Though some apps are .deb or .rpm, or what have you, depending on the linux distro you can still open/install them just fine.

    Good writeup :) 
  • 0 Hide
    haplo602 , February 17, 2011 11:57 AM
    I miss xmms in the list, just for nostalgia.

    Audacious fits my bill for a music player. Simple yet capable.
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , February 17, 2011 12:37 PM
    does Audacious take winamp 2 skins like xmms does?
  • 0 Hide
    admiral_grinder , February 17, 2011 12:59 PM
    I have tried several of the Winamp clones on my Ubuntu box, but I'm using Audacious to be the better. Out of all the clones I have found the playlist sorting options are a bit weak. While you can sort by Artist or by Title, you can't do both. They do have the important one of sorting by path and filename though so you can que up albums in the right order.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 17, 2011 1:05 PM
    Nice review! I look forward to looking at how gaming works on linux
  • 0 Hide
    castlefox , February 17, 2011 2:39 PM
    Thank you Toms for doing a linux article !!!!!

    I didnt know those ipod syncing programs actually worked. I cant wait to try out Banchee in Ubuntu 11.04

    PS> Type O Negative and all the other metal put a smile on my face :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Crazy Hitchhiker , February 17, 2011 2:59 PM
    Nice to see that you are still doing linux articles! I'm a little curious why several programs were left off, though: VLC, Audacity, and WinFF. Oh well, just keep up the good work!
  • 0 Hide
    castlefox , February 17, 2011 3:10 PM
    Crazy HitchhikerNice to see that you are still doing linux articles! I'm a little curious why several programs were left off, though: VLC, Audacity, and WinFF. Oh well, just keep up the good work!


    VLC is more of a video thing.... it does stand for "video lan client"
  • -1 Hide
    Dave_69 , February 17, 2011 3:38 PM
    So now Tom's has fallen into the trap of confusing an "application" from a "program." Nice...
  • 0 Hide
    gmgj , February 17, 2011 3:51 PM
    Of interest to some of us would be LIRC and other remote control - smart phone capabilites. I am a windows Media Monkey fan. I exercise to music and watch milkdrop visualizations. I installed projectM, a milkdrop replacment last week and it has been working great.
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 17, 2011 4:05 PM
    castlefoxVLC is more of a video thing.... it does stand for "video lan client"
    It's changed over the years so the abbreviation doesn't really fit anymore. It can transcode and serve streams.
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    hangfirew8 , February 17, 2011 4:20 PM
    Good timing for this article. I'm tired of my Gentoo/KDE latest-and-greatest Amarok crashing 50% of the time when connecting to Internet Radio. As soon as I'm done transitioning boot to SSD, I'll be checking out Banshee et al.
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    Phu5ion , February 17, 2011 4:22 PM
    I've been using Pithos for my Pandora listening pleasure and it works pretty well. The only problem I've had with it is that if you pause and then restart the station you will lose your stream. This probably has more to do with Pithos closing the connection to Pandora's stream than anything else, but it is frustrating when you have to pause a great song.
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , February 17, 2011 8:45 PM
    Really sorry for the late responses everyone, didn't know this published today, doh!
    nukemasterdoes Audacious take winamp 2 skins like xmms does?

    Sure does, version 2.x WinAmp skins supported.
    castlefoxThank you Toms for doing a linux article !!!!!I didnt know those ipod syncing programs actually worked. I cant wait to try out Banchee in Ubuntu 11.04PS> Type O Negative and all the other metal put a smile on my face

    The older and simpler iPods should not give you any issues, can't speak for the iPhone or iPod Touch though. LOL, I tried to break it up a bit with classic rock, but my collection is overwhelmingly metal ;) 
    Crazy HitchhikerNice to see that you are still doing linux articles! I'm a little curious why several programs were left off, though: VLC, Audacity, and WinFF. Oh well, just keep up the good work!

    Audacity is in the next segment: Audio Production. VLC and WinFF are in the one after that: Video Apps ;) 
    Dave_69So now Tom's has fallen into the trap of confusing an "application" from a "program." Nice...

    We used app/application/software/program interchangeably, otherwise we'd have the word 'application' about 3,000 times in this series.
    gmgjOf interest to some of us would be LIRC and other remote control - smart phone capabilites. I am a windows Media Monkey fan. I exercise to music and watch milkdrop visualizations. I installed projectM, a milkdrop replacment last week and it has been working great.

    Smartphones software will not be in the Roundup, maybe sometime down the road. LIRC will not be covered here either, possibly in the final segment of the Roundup, but I can't promise anything because I have not fooled around with that yet (due to Netflix streaming and Blu-Ray, my HTPC is, unfortunately, running Windows). Is projectM really close to MilkDrop now? I tried it about 2 years ago and it didn't compare. God I miss MilkDrop, hell, I miss WinAmp. Nullsoft: MAKE A LinAmp!
    HangFireW8Good timing for this article. I'm tired of my Gentoo/KDE latest-and-greatest Amarok crashing 50% of the time when connecting to Internet Radio. As soon as I'm done transitioning boot to SSD, I'll be checking out Banshee et al.

    Have you given Arch or Chakra a spin yet (I'm pretty heavily in the weeds right now and haven't gotten around to it yet)? Let me know how the SSD works out - another thing I have yet to tinker with :( 
    Phu5ionI've been using Pithos for my Pandora listening pleasure and it works pretty well. The only problem I've had with it is that if you pause and then restart the station you will lose your stream. This probably has more to do with Pithos closing the connection to Pandora's stream than anything else, but it is frustrating when you have to pause a great song.

    Although I missed that app, Pithos does not qualify for the Roundup due to it not being in the default repos, nor offering a DEB/RPM installer.
  • 0 Hide
    mayne92 , February 18, 2011 1:45 AM
    Nice Linux roundup! I love reading your Linux articles Adam.
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    bit_user , February 18, 2011 1:46 AM
    Hey, great article! I usually just stick to what I know, so articles like this help expose me to new progs.

    I just wanted to put in a plug for GStreamer. It's kind of like DirectShow in that you construct a processing graph with nodes that are data sources, sinks, and some number of filters. It's pretty technical, but it's by far the most powerful tool out there for converting, decoding, or streaming just about anything. There are some GUI front-ends, or you can just use gst-launch to build graphs from the commandline.
  • 0 Hide
    Dave_69 , February 18, 2011 5:04 AM
    Quote:
    We used app/application/software/program interchangeably, otherwise we'd have the word 'application' about 3,000 times in this series.


    Oh, okay. Well, technically they're programs.
  • 0 Hide
    compton , February 18, 2011 5:34 AM
    One aspect of music playback is supp)ort for ASIO and WASAPI. While I have a couple of options for Windows (Foobar, J.River), I'm not sure what my options are for Linux. Any thoughts?
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