Free Music Player Overview

This has more to do with fun than work … but what the heck, it’s a nice comparison of the major free music players …

There are heaps of music players for the Windows operating system. Even if you discount all media players that support music as well, you are left with hundreds of free players for the operating system. This overview takes a look at some of the more popular choices when it comes to music players.

Before we dive into the review we are going to establish some criteria. Instead of looking at the usual like supported formats, we are going to look at the player’s resource usage and feature set as a whole.

AIMP2

aimp2

aimp2

What the developers say:

AIMP is a full-featured music player designed with sound quality and wide, customizable functionality in mind. Over twenty audio formats are supported. Audio is processed in 32-bit for crystal-clear sound. The player features a 18-band graphics equalizer with extra built-in sound effects. You can extend the existing functionality adding Input, DSP and Gen plug-ins from Winamp. All local and global hotkeys are customizable. Full Unicode support. You can convert AudioCD to MP3, OGG, WAV or WMA. Similarly, you can grab sound from any audio device on your PC to MP3, OGG, WAV or WMA formats.

AIMP2 is a very compact music player that comes with a lot of extras build in. The player supports skins, plugins, hotkeys, comes with multiple interface languages, a tag editor, cover art downloader and full playlist support. In addition to that it can record Internet radio, be configured to automatically shut down, and integrate several Winamp plugins into the player. The resource usage of the player ranges from 5 to 12 Megabytes of computer memory.

XMPlay

xmplay

xmplay

What the developers say:

XMPlay is an audio player, supporting the OGG / MP3 / MP2 / MP1 / WMA / WAV / AIFF / CDA / MO3 / IT / XM / S3M / MTM / MOD / UMX audio formats, and PLS / M3U / ASX / WAX playlists. A load more formats are also supported via plugins. When XMPlay was first released in 1998, only the XM format was supported, hence the name “XMPlay”.

XMPlay is probably the underdog in this overview. The developer has not updated the music player since December 2009 (but plugins related to that) which does not necessarily mean that development has stopped. There is only that much one can add to a music player, and once that’s done there is virtually no need to update the player, unless other variables change.

XMPlay is a portable application. Like AIMP2 it supports some Winamp plugins, skins, and all the bells and whistles that someone expects from a media player. It’s memory usage is among the lowest of all music players in this guide. It uses roughly 6.5 Megabytes of memory.

Winamp Lite

winamp lite

winamp lite

What the developers say

Not quotes, as Winamp Lite appears to be more of a side project

Winamp, the granddaddy of music players. For this review, we have downloaded and installed Winamp Lite, the least resource intensive but also least feature rich of the Winamp editions. Interestingly enough, it also means that Winamp Lite is the least feature rich music player in this test. It provides basic music playback with everyone would expect, as well as plugin and theme support.

On the resource side, Winamp Lite uses more than 20 Megabytes of memory while playing music.

Foobar 2000

foobar

foobar

foobar2000 is an advanced freeware audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include full unicode support, ReplayGain support and native support for several popular audio formats.

Foobar 2000 for a long time was known as a lightweight highly customizable music player. To our surprise, it used the highest amount of computer memory of all test participants. The mp3 player used more than 32 Megabytes of memory during music playback.

It does however offer a lot more than just music playback. It supports visualizations, audio ripping, a music tagger and converter and more. Having said that, players like AIMP2 have a similar functionality with a lower footprint.

Contenders

VUPlayer

vuplayer

vuplayer

1by1

1by1

1by1

1by1 is a small and versatile audio player for MP3 and dll/plugin supported audio formats like WAV, OGG, MP2 or CD Audio. Without the need for a playlist it plays multiple files from a directory or a whole disk. You can simply start your tracks in an explorer-style file view, load them through the command line (e.g. if associated with file type) or drag them over the window.

QuuxPlayer

quuxplayer

quuxplayer

QuuxPlayer is a sleek audio player that allows users to import and organize music already on their computers as well as access a multitude of online radio stations. The program combines an intuitive interface with useful features, making it a nice alternative to other popular audio players

MooPlayer

mooplayer

mooplayer

Moo0 AudioPlayer is a very simple audio player.

It is very small and simplified for easy use. If you are looking for a lightweight audio player, this may be the one for you. Also, it includes skins in various colors to suit your liking.

Not basic music players, still worth mentioning

Jaangle

jaangle

jaangle

Jaangle (formerly Teen Spirit) is a free music player and organizer software. It categorizes your mp3, ogg, wma, avi etc collection and displays it in easy to browse, user interface. It has a quality audio – video player and also an integrated tag editor.

Musicbee

musicbee

musicbee

If you are looking for an application geared toward managing extensive music collections, easy to use and with a comprehensive feature set – MusicBee is that application. MusicBee makes it easy to organize, find and play music files on your computer, on portable devices and on the web.

Atunes

aTunes

aTunes

aTunes is a full-featured audio player and manager, developed in Java programming language, so it can be executed on different platforms: Windows, Linux and Unix-like systems, …

Currently plays mp3, ogg, wma, wav, flac, mp4 and radio streaming, allowing users to easily edit tags, organize music and rip Audio CDs.

Which music player are you using? Let us know in the comments.


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