Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Audio Apps

CD Players And Internet Radio Scrobblers

CD Players

Goobox (v. 2.1.2)

Goobox is a GNOME CD player and ripper. This application is listed in the Applications menu simply as CD Player, not Goobox. Because of the way it is labeled, we've decided it belongs with players and not rippers, since that is clearly the main intent of Goobox.

The user interface is simple, with just a menu bar, play controls, and a playlist. The playback toolbar isn't as efficient as it could be, housing only play/pause, next, volume, extract, and eject. Essential functions like previous, stop, repeat, and shuffle are hidden in the menu bar.

By default, playback begins immediately when inserting a CD, or if a CD is in the tray when Goobox is opened. Tracks can be ripped to OGG, FLAC, or Waveform PCM formats, each with its own quality settings. There is also an option to create .pls playlist files after tracks or discs are ripped. Album covers and disc information is automatically retrieved, though each can be customized by the user. Overall, Goobox is a good player/ripper, though the notable exclusion of MP3 as a ripper output could be a problem for many users.



KsCD (v. 4.5.1)

KsCD is an elegant CD player for KDE. The user interface is very simple, including no menu bar and only the controls needed for CD playback control. Back, forward, play/pause, stop, and eject are arranged in a cross pattern. Loop, random, track list, and mute are lined up underneath an LCD-style readout of the current track, and volume is controlled by an on-screen knob. In fact, other than a pop-out track list, the entire design of the UI appears to have taken cues from car stereos. The window style is somewhere between KDE Oxygen and the brushed aluminum of OSX.

KsCD does not use system window decorations, but it does support skins in SVG format. While only four skins are included, at least one more is available from KDE-look.org. KsCD does what it is supposed to, and is so simple that no one should have a problem using it.



Internet Radio Scrobblers

This section is for streaming Internet radio scrobblers (players).

Podcatchers and Miro Internet TV were covered in our first installment, Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Internet Apps.

Last.fm (v. 1.5.4.26862)

Last.fm is the official audio scrobbler application for, well, Last.fm. This app requires a Last.fm account in order to work, and multiple user accounts are supported.

The user interface is much like that of a music management application. Below the menu bar is the main toolbar with buttons for your Last.fm profile, share, tag, playlist, love, ban, play/stop, skip, and volume. A vertical left-hand pane lists your stations and and profile controls. The profile controls include recently played, recently loved, recently banned, tags, friends, neighbors, and history in a collapsible view. Last.fm can be minimized to the notification area icon which also provides quick access to all play controls.



Vagalume (v. 0.8.3)

Vagalume is an audio scrobbler for the Last.fm and Libre.fm streaming Internet radio services. Like all scrobblers, you need Internet connectivity and an account for these services in order for this application to function.

The Vagalume user interface is very simple, much like a local audio file player. Below the menu bar sits the album cover and track information for the currently-playing song. At the bottom of the screen are the play controls: play/stop, next, love, recommend, tag, add to playlist, download (which, as far as we can tell is always grayed-out), and ban. All play controls are also accessible via the notification area icon.

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  • 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.
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  • D'oh.... i didn't know before if you can sync ipod in linux (yes i'm a linux n00b).
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  • 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 :)
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  • I miss xmms in the list, just for nostalgia.

    Audacious fits my bill for a music player. Simple yet capable.
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  • does Audacious take winamp 2 skins like xmms does?
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  • 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.
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  • Nice review! I look forward to looking at how gaming works on linux
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  • 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 :)
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  • 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!
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  • 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"
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  • So now Tom's has fallen into the trap of confusing an "application" from a "program." Nice...
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  • 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.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Nice Linux roundup! I love reading your Linux articles Adam.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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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