Media players?

Friday, August 18, 2006 Labels: ,
My wife, Carol, asked me recently what media player I use and what I suggested for her to start using. That got me thinking about what I use myself and I was curious what others did, as well. I think I might be a bit different from most people on this though. I have almost every player installed on every machine, but I have a dominant favorite and use only that one on different machines. I’ll explain why later.

Listening to music
At home I use MusicMatch.
At work I use WinAmp.
On my laptop I use WinAmp or MusicMatch.
Watching videos
I use Windows Media Player (and QuickTime when needed) on all computers.

I predominantly use WinAmp over the others because it is the most light-weight. For instance, it doesn’t take 15 seconds to update the UI (like iTunes) and doesn’t lock up (like MusicMatch). But, I don’t like watching videos in WinAmp, because it clears out the play list and I lose my current song. I consider it the “old faithful” of the players. It is fast, stable, and reliable. But, it’s for music only.

MusicMatch is overall my favorite player, but it hangs occasionally. It does this enough that I’m hesitant to put it on my laptop because it gets really annoying. MusicMatch also requires more processor than WinAmp to play music. MusicMatch is also my favorite for ripping music from audio CD’s. I don’t rip with anything else.

iTunes has a nice UI to look at, but it’s so slow it irritates me too much to use it. It also uses way too much of my CPU to play music (and I have a fast machine). It has some stability issues as well. Since, I don’t own an iPod, I really only have it installed at all because I use it to purchase and download music, then burn it or convert it to MP3 format so I can play it in MusicMatch or WinAmp.

I always use Windows Media Player for videos, unless it is in QuickTime format. I like the UI for videos, but not so much for music. The WMP 10 beta looks really promising, though. The new album layout is great, although the more single tracks I have and continue to purchase, the more dead space is generated. They might consider shrinking the album art when there aren’t enough songs to take up the space.

So, overall all, my favorite player is MusicMatch. The player I use most, however, is WinAmp. The most important thing to me is still that it is light-weight and fast.
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