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Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Audio Apps
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EasyTag (v. 2.1.6)

EasyTag is a tagging application that can handle more than just ID3 tags. Files that EasyTag supports include MP2, MP3, MP4, OGG, FLAC, AAC, Monkey's Audio, MusePack, and WavPack. Bulk rename, playlist creation, and directory rename/restructure are some of the other features found in EasyTag.

Under the menu bar sits the main toolbar, which holds key functions like next/prev, first, last, undo/redo, scan, remove tag, save, file tree/list view switcher, select all, invert selection, search, CDDB lookup, create playlist, stop, and quit. Below the toolbar is an input box to select the parent directory. The bulk of the application window is split into three vertical panes: file tree/list view, files in the current directory, and the tag editor. Under the three panes is an activity log and status bar.

EasyTag does pretty much any tagging operation you can imagine. The most notable features are undo/redo, CDDB lookup, and the variety of supported file formats.



Kid3 (v. 1.4)

Kid3 is an audio file tagger for KDE 4.x. Supported files include MP2, MP3, MP4, OGG, FLAC, WMA, WAV, AAC, AIFF, WavPack, MPC, Speex, and TrueAudio. Tags can be created automatically from file names or the other way around. File names can be changed using 20 different combinations of title, artist, album, track number, and year. Playlist creation and directory editing are also included with Kid3. There are nearly 60 different tag categories available to edit in this application.

As a KDE 4.x app, Kid3 looks great, with highly configurable toolbars that suit anyone. Logical placement of essential elements makes Kid3 complete, without hiding functions within menus or cluttering the UI. This is probably the best choice for users of KDE, and the support for every desktop platform is nice for OS-hoppers. If CDDB lookup was included, Kid3 could be the best tagger out there.



MusicBrainz-Picard (v. 0.12.1)

MusicBrainz-Picard is the official tagger application of the online community-based MusicBrainz database of metadata, with the Picard coming from the famous captain of the USS Enterprise D and E. This application supports most audio file formats. Picard utilizes MusicBrainz for album cover, as well as CD and digital audio file tag lookup, though the file names can also be used to populate that info. Picard can also rename or move files to other directories and create new folders.

The user interface is clean and all elements are well-placed. Directly under the menu bar, you'll find the main toolbar, which houses every essential function from the menu bar The bulk of the window is split between two panes; the left holds files added to Picard with current tag info, while the right contains the new file names and tag data. An optional file tree browser pane can be enabled via the View menu.



Entagged (v. 0.35)

Entagged is a Java-based audio file tagger for MP3, OGG, and WMA files. Other options include file renaming, directory editing, playlist creation, and lookup via freedb. Files can be renamed based on the tag information, or vice versa (tagged based on filenames).

As a Java-based application, Entagged is not the prettiest thing in the world. The UI is composed of different shades of yellow and every on-screen element is made of blocks (there are no rounded corners to be found).

Sorting options are good, though. Audio files in the current directory can be sorted by file name, artist, album, track number, title, length, and genre. Other draws of Entagged are support for WMA files and the availability of a Windows-based version.



Ex Falso (v. 2.2.1)

Ex Falso is the audio file tagger included with the Quod Libet player application, though it can be obtained independently via the Ubuntu Software Center.

Supported files include anything that Quod Libet can play: MP3, OGG, FLAC, Musepack, and MOD. Ex Falso allows for manual tagging of individual songs or in bulk using the file name as a template. Bulk rename is also possible, as well as album-based track numbering (for instance, 1/12, 3/12).

The user interface is very simple, with no menu bar or toolbars. The left-hand pane holds a file tree for folder selection above the list of files in the currently selected directory. The right-hand pane, where the actual work happens, is tabbed to switch between the manual tag edit, tag from file name, rename, and track number editors.



K-Yamo (v. 0.40a4)

K-Yamo stands for KDE--Yet Another Music Organizer. This application edits tags for MP3 and OGG files, but also includes a CD ripper. The CD Ripper can utilize freedb to auto-populate tags and file names for ripped tracks, and MusicBrainz support can fetch tags for files not ripped by K-Yamo.

The KDE 3.x-style UI is extremely efficient. With no menu bar or toolbars, K-Yamo makes use of tabs to switch the main window between tagger, ripper, settings, and the about screen.

K-Yamo is a very basic application for tagging audio files, with no directory creation/renaming, sparse file type support, and only the most basic tags. The included CD ripper and overall simplicity are its strong points.



Audio Tag Tool (v. 0.12.3)

Audio Tag Tool can edit ID3 tag information of MP3 and OGG files. Tags can be edited individually or in bulk, either manually or using the existing file name. Default fields include title, artist, album, year, genre, comments, and track number.

Switching to the advanced view allows for the inclusion of contact, copyright, date, description, isrc, license, location, organization, performer, and version. Bulk rename and and a playlist creator round out Audio Tag Tool's capabilities.

The user interface is simple enough (even in advanced view) for anyone to pick up and use. Split in half vertically, the left pane is home to the file list of the current directory. The right pane is tabbed to switch between single-tag edit, multiple-tag edit, tag clear, bulk rename, and playlist creation functions.

Audio Tag tool is a good tagging application, and there is a .deb for ARM available if you're already living in the future.

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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.
  • 0 Hide
    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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