Android Music Player with precise movement controls
June 18, 2012 6:10 PM   Subscribe

I want an Android "music" player app that will play MP3's and allow me to move forward/backward through the MP3 rather precisely (details inside)

I listen to a lot of speech based MP3's. While listening I often would like to go back to listen again to what was said in the last few seconds.

The default music player I currently use has a single slider. The significance of moving the slider, say, 1 cm is dependent on how long the MP3 is. My MP3's are frequently more than 30 minutes so on a phone screen it's really difficult to move less than 2 or 3 minutes at a time (and pretty hit and miss even then).

I'd like an app that would allow me to move with much greater precision over small time periods but still allow me to move over long time periods if I wished to.

Can anyone recommend an app that does this ?
posted by southof40 to Technology (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
winamp has an android app. I don't think you're going to find an app with a variable-width slider, but by just sorta holding my thumb in one spot and rolling it over I can move winamp's one second at a time...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 6:33 PM on June 18, 2012

* an app specifically designed for podcasts _might_ have such a feature. But for general music apps, I think you're going to have a harder time...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 6:37 PM on June 18, 2012

These results are just from a quick Google, but I would look at transcription apps.
posted by rhizome at 6:53 PM on June 18, 2012

There is one answer. Mortplayer. This is specifically the audiobook player, he also has a regular player here.

I have not used the regular player, I listen to probably 10 hours of audiobooks a week while on the road. You can set bookmarks and scrub forward/back with the slider, set your jump buttons to whatever interval you want (I leave mine at 10s), or move to an EXACT specific audio position. I recently had a 22 hour long book in 2 parts, and it had no trouble hopping to a specific point.

It's also nice because it jumps back 10 seconds from where you hard paused/stopped it (you can turn this feature off) so you can remember where you were.

Also, FREE, and the developer responds very nicely.
posted by TomMelee at 7:26 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

The music player on iDevices has works this way. Dragging the slider directly moves the absolute time. Dragging your finger towards the bottom of the screen progressively slows down the movement of the slider until you can jump with single second resolution.

It is called "high precision scrubbing", but a brief google search turned up nothing useful for android but you might have more luck using those terms.
posted by AndrewStephens at 7:30 PM on June 18, 2012

Some apps let you hit one button to skip back a set, small amount (15 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute) when listening to an audiobook or podcast. Unfortunately I'm on iOs and can't recommend any Android-based ones. (In case knowing this is helpful while searching for Android-based equivalents, on the iPhone the standard Music app does this with audiobooks; Downcast has a similar feature for podcasts.)
posted by Lexica at 7:55 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tinyplayer has a user adjustable fixed interval for the scroll buttons. (And is otherwise an excellent piece of software.)
posted by eotvos at 3:58 AM on June 19, 2012

Sounds like TapeMachine would work for you. It's a recorder but the best one I've found and lets you move back and forth very easily. Try the free one; I did and it was a no brainer to purchase it. I use it all the time to record people and it's awesome.
posted by dozo at 10:50 AM on June 19, 2012

Oh, and you can listen to files too, I realized it sounds like I think you want to record. You can load the file, zoom in and out to your liking, and easily go back and forth as slightly as you need, plus you get the waveform to easily calibrate where you might need to go back to.
posted by dozo at 10:54 AM on June 19, 2012

I'd try DoggCatcher, too. It's a podcast app but it's extremely customizable, even to the point where you can determine exactly how much it'll skip every time you press the back or forward buttons. Of course, that's all in addition to the slider (which you can make long-press only to reduce the chance of an accidental skip, etc.),
posted by speedgraphic at 12:27 PM on June 19, 2012

I use doggcatcher, and I use the skip forward button to get passed commercials. It has skip fwd, skip backward, slider for total control, and skip to next podcast buttons by default. I hadn't played with the settings speedgraphic mentioned until just now to verify, but it can be changed from the default of 10 seconds skip fwd or back up to 300 seconds.
posted by garlic at 7:58 AM on June 21, 2012

Response by poster: I'm very sorry I haven't previously provided some feedback to this great set of answers.

So far I've tried MortPlayer and Tinyplayer - both are a significant advance on what I was using previously in fact both fulfil just what I was looking for. Particularly good in MortPlayer (maybe Tinyplayer as well ? Can't remember) is when you pause it the audio automatically goes back 10 seconds ! Great idea.

The only thing I did find odd about both is that the default HTC Music player is looking (as far as I can tell) at a single directory but (I guess) uses the meta data from each of the MP3's to produce a view of all the MP3's as if they were in a logical directory tree (all 'BBC World Service' podcasts appear to be in a directory which then appears to have sub-directories for each programme). I was unaware this was happening - I thought the download process was automatically creating the directory structure. Anyway the point is that as far as I can tell neither MortPlayer or Tinyplayer are able to duplicate this process so you have to wade through a lot of files in one directory (until I get around to creating my own 'real' directory structure).

Having said that the ability to easily more back and forward by small increments is such a good thing I'm happy to put up with this change.

Having tried both for what it's worth I have a preference I can't explain for MortPlayer but there's not much in it.

When I have time I will try DoggCatcher and TapeMachine just to see what I'm missing out on.

Thanks for all your help.
posted by southof40 at 3:26 PM on July 2, 2012

I'm not entirely clear on what you're saying. Mort's not going to look in multiple folders because it's expecting to see numerically formatted audiobook files in 1 directory per book (or at least one directory per book PART. I believe, however, that if you set the "home directory" to the most "root" directory you have, it will climb from one folder to the next inside that directory. Example:

will wade through /external-sd/audiobooks/book 1, then .../book 2, etc.

I may be wrong about that, and it will rely on valid naming convention to do what you want.

If these are straight up podcasts, you need to be organizing the downloads-per-podcast, and for that you want Pocket Casts. PocketCasts destroys DoggCatcher. I have used PC to keep track of the Zombie Podcast since I learned about it last year, listening to something like 25 episodes in a row jumping intelligently from one to the next. Supports a playlist, but doesn't require it.
posted by TomMelee at 5:21 PM on July 2, 2012

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