Need a music player that won't make me tear my hair out.
January 10, 2012 5:06 AM   Subscribe

Are there any music programs for Android that can also sync with my desktop that make listening to music and managing my library more of a pleasure and less of a frustrating chore? I've tried doubleTwist, Spotify, Winamp and Windows Music Player, all of which have major drawbacks and seem worse than iTunes, which also sucked, but not as bad as the Android ones do.

I have searched previous threads but hoping maybe there is an update:

It just seems incredible to me that in 2012 there isn't a simple, clean program where I can manage my mp3 library on my desktop (and also listen to music easily from there) and then quickly and easily transport that same library to my Android phone. I think doubleTwist has been the best but I hate how long it takes to sync even 1 album, the songs routinely show up on my phone out of order, the cover art gets screwed up and songs often fail to load altogether, as well as lacking playlist and EQ support. I didn't think iTunes for the PC was particularly good, but it seems better than all these wannabe Android alternatives.

Am I overlooking a program that has what I want? Again, nothing fancy, just a desktop management program that works for my home computer and syncs (more or less) flawlessly to my Android phone. Thanks!
posted by the foreground to Technology (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've been doing this dance. I HikiPlayer for a while, it's basically only a file browser that plays audio and changes interface color based on album art. It's lovely and great if our music is organized on the folder level. It doesn't have automatic sync, but I find dragging and dropping files onto the mounted sd card pretty easy.

I've been using UberMusic too, which is a blatant rip off of windows mobile/zune media player and it's more traditional and good looking. Great interface. I'm not sure about how it syncs because I just file-browser my selected music but it's probably worth a try. It's more like what you would want than HikiPlayer, which might not sync the way you would like.

Good luck.
posted by fuq at 5:14 AM on January 10, 2012

I'm surprised Spotify didn't work for you. I use it in the way you describe. But since you clearly hate all of the program you've used so far would Audiogalaxy do the trick?
posted by dgeiser13 at 5:23 AM on January 10, 2012

TuneSync seems to work for me, as an add-on to iTunes.
posted by pw201 at 5:45 AM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: Spotify works great on my laptop, but it's perhaps the single worst mobile phone app I have ever used...other than Facebook. I would also ideally like to not have to pay $10/month for the mobile privilege.
posted by the foreground at 5:57 AM on January 10, 2012

If your desktop is ON most or all of the time, try subsonic. It indexes all your music for streaming; there's search, so you're not entirely dependent on clean ID3 tags or file structure and a browser interface to play music on your desktop.

The offline options of the android app could be enough for your use if you do not have a server running 24/7. There might or might not be a $5 or $10 donation required to get a redirect. Anyway, it's worth it.

Do add album art to each album (easy from within the bowser), makes music browsing so much more fun.
posted by Akeem at 6:19 AM on January 10, 2012

I use Google Music.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:22 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What you want to do is use MediaMonkey, which has, hands down, the most powerful library organization interface I've seen, in combination with SubSonic, which will stream all of that stuff to your Android or iOS device.

I've got something like 18k tracks in my music library, and they're all neatly sorted in a \[artist]\[album]\[artist - track # - song title] format. I have to manage the directory structure myself, but that's simply a matter of paying attention when you add songs to the library.

MediaMonkey lets you get track information for ID3 tags in two main ways: from the file title, and from the internet. The latter is preferable, but the former works pretty well. It will then let you turn around and rename your files, in a batch, according to any format you specify. So I can identify and rename an entire album in two steps.

SubSonic is something you install both on your desktop and your mobile device, and it lets your desktop act as a server for your phone. I haven't swapped music on my phone in two years, because I have 24/7 access to my entire music library anywhere there's connectivity, whether it's wifi or mobile broadband. Thing works like an absolute charm, and handles everything but iTunes DRM easily, including .wma and .flac.
posted by valkyryn at 6:32 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by pharm at 6:33 AM on January 10, 2012

Oh, and I use picard from the MusicBrainz project to re-tag all my mp3s in the first place so that they're easy to index etc.
posted by pharm at 6:34 AM on January 10, 2012

Google Music ain't perfect, but it's designed to do what it sounds like you're trying to. I can't reach it from work, though, so you can MeMail me if they're still requiring invitations or whatever.
posted by phrits at 6:38 AM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Go "manual". Your music files are first and foremost, files.

The only thing that has cured my frustrations is a using file manager (aka Explorer in your case). Get your music files in order with something like MediaMonkey. Then just drag what you need to your Android device. You can use any Android player, several let you browse by folder and a couple (like MortPlayer) are set up for this. If you really need sync, use a file syncing program like Unison.

I switched a couple years ago to doing this with with my (huge? tiny?) 30,000+ track library, and it's awesome.
posted by quarterframer at 7:06 AM on January 10, 2012

+1 to Google Music.
posted by schmod at 8:25 AM on January 10, 2012

This was my only problem when I used an Android phone. For all of the bells and whistles, the music apps were shite.
posted by mkelley at 10:53 AM on January 10, 2012

I also use Google music. But this would be easier if you were more clear about what exactly you don't like about all the other excellent apps you mention, or listed your exact requirements. How do all these that you mention -- other than DoubleTwist -- NOT already do what you want? Also, Facebook is among the easiest to use Android apps, although I find its image handling somewhat lacking. Maybe if you spell out how THAT perfectly fine app is the worst you've used, it will help others understand why all these other ones "suck".
posted by coolguymichael at 10:53 AM on January 10, 2012

posted by kuanes at 12:10 PM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: Also, Facebook is among the easiest to use Android apps, although I find its image handling somewhat lacking. Maybe if you spell out how THAT perfectly fine app is the worst you've used, it will help others understand why all these other ones "suck".

The Facebook app may be "easy to use" yet constantly crashes and is consistently behind the desktop version as far as usability is concerned. You need only look at the cumulative rating of the Android app (2.5 stars) to see many people feel the same way about it...

...which brings me back to what I dislike about all of the apps above I mention. Coming from my previous experience using iTunes/iPod set up, most of these apps and their desktop counterparts feel like something more appropriate to the Windows '98 era. For example, a task as simple as selecting a group of 10 songs together to drag from my desktop jukebox onto my phone is an arduous task with doubleTwist, often resulting in only one song making the leap and even then, after a 2 minute wait time for the song to transfer to my phone. It's ridiculous. On top of that, the desktop jukebox isn't particularly easy on the eyes and often difficult to organize the songs with any consistency. I thought Winamp may have been the savior but I just found the execution of the desktop program to be so ugly and non-intuitive I never even tried using it with my phone.

I think I may have misled some people with word "sync" as well. I'm not even necessarily looking for wireless syncing or all this fancy cloud stuff (although that is a nice feature). I simply meant syncing my current mp3 collection via a standard USB cable to whatever corresponding app I would use on my phone with it, ideally in a singular, neat, functional package.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions so far. It looks like Songbird, Audiogalaxy and Media Monkey are worth investigating for my purposes. Google Music looks cool but I'm not sure I want the emphasis so much on streaming as I would prefer to be taking my mp3s with me, but it could be a cool supplement.
posted by the foreground at 12:46 PM on January 10, 2012

« Older Memory Palace of Doom?   |   Dressing while Pregnant Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.