My life consists of music. Mostly listening to it. All kinds of stuff.. hard, soft, slow, fast, whatever.
Luckly (at least I feel that way) the days of vinyl records and casettes are over. No more endless searches for that one song you so desperately want. Because we got this magic invention we call the MP3! A digital compression format for music. Which offers, most of the time, great quality.
The only thing we still need to make our life complete is the tools to play them.
Windows offers an embedded player with every windows installation. Called, obviously, Windows Media Player.
Not really (as you may have guessed) my personal favourite. It’s rather large, it offers you things to buy and really I don’t need all that crap. I just need a good, simple player which allows me to play each an every format.
That’s why I use winamp, since forever actually. It’s a small, light weight player. Which does one thing. Play music….
Sure you can use it for more things. You got visualisation options, sound effects, several plugins (some even very cool). It even plays video (WMP as well by the way).
The sound quality is great and it doesn’t bother you with all of this commercial junk.
If you’d like to give it a try, you can find it at www.winamp.com. Do mind, because you have a paying version and a free version. Just use the free one, it will do just fine!
In case you are a linux user you can try to use winamp with wine, a windows emulator. But it doesn’t work all that well. A good linux media player is Amarok. You can install it with yum or apt-get. If you can’t find the installer for your distro, by all means check: http://amarok.kde.org.
I however don’t know if it is or was free. But in case it isn’t you can also use Songbird!
This is the mediaplayer that looks and feels the most like winamp for windows. The url is www.getsongbird.com. Offers most of the same features that winamp does. I’ve used it a couple of times (amarok as well) and I was rather impressed. I’ve used other players as well for linux and most of them just were.. well crap :D.
I should also mention that apple has a default player as well. It’s called iTunes. This is a train I completely missed. It is rather complex to use and the interface in not exactly what you call intuitive. What’s maybe even worse is that almost everything in iTunes is linked to the iTunes store which also pushes you to buy things. Which you honestly will never need…
Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely not wrong to pay money for good software. But honestly, paying for software that only does half of the work. Not my cup of cake. And besides, why would you do that if you have free alternatives ;-).
Test a few player and let me know what you think about them!