Recommendation for a new (non-itunes) media player
August 4, 2008 12:56 AM   Subscribe

I need a new media player for music as itunes has finally driven me over the edge. Does anyone have a good windows-based media player to recommend?
posted by Carillon to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
How did it drive you over the edge? What are you looking for in a media player? (For starters, do you need something that can handle video?) Unless you provide details, this will become another "name your favorite media player" thread.

The complete opposite of iTunes is probably foobar2000. No hand holding, very customizable, and quick.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 1:10 AM on August 4, 2008

I've just been running through some music players (on Windows XP) and arriving back at iTunes.

Winamp Pro was ok but braindead about organization -- that is, I'm too dumb to use winamp. Windows Media Player has great visualizations but wants to keep you captive. Media Player Classic is too bare. (VLC not tried.)

Foobar is a bit hard for me, though lots of people are clever enough I'm not. Life is too short.

iTunes sucks (why oh why won't it track in the listings what's playing? Am I too dumb for Steve?) but overall it sucks least for me.
posted by airplain at 1:19 AM on August 4, 2008

Another iTunes-hater here - I switched a year ago to MediaMonkey (also free) and am very happy with it.
posted by ceri richard at 1:20 AM on August 4, 2008

Sorry, here's the link for MediaMonkey.
posted by ceri richard at 1:21 AM on August 4, 2008

Here is a wiki article on VLC. VLC WIKI Ever since i started using VLC i never been disapointed. I have a rule if VLC cant play it then it cant be played as far as i am concern. It was VLC that made me a true fan of the open source movement.
posted by Rolandkorn at 1:54 AM on August 4, 2008

Foobar is awesome. It supports tabbed playlists and is mighty fast. Its got a ton of features that you can safely skip over, I usually use it at default settings.
For videos you should use VLC.
posted by arungoodboy at 1:58 AM on August 4, 2008

Here's my rundown of some I've used depends on what you're looking for.

Winamp: Increasingly bloated, but it still does the job, and can have a nice minimal interface if you set it that way.
XMPlay: My favourite "Just play the damn MP3" media player. Bare, but simple and functional.
VLC: Rolandkorn is pretty much correct. It does play anything. Pity about it being ugly, play list features sucking, no real media management.

If you want something that will organize your library, has a built in list of streaming radio / tv stations, allows remote access to your media, has wicked visualizations, then Winamp is still worth a try.

If you just want something you can throw music files or playlists at and have it work, try XMPlay.

If you want a media player that can handle all sorts of weird and wonderful audio and video file formats, but something that is purely functional, try VLC.
posted by Jimbob at 2:02 AM on August 4, 2008

At the moment still a little bit bloated and unstable but evolving quickly into something very nice: Songbird. Lots of addons and free software.
posted by criticalbeaver at 2:07 AM on August 4, 2008

Another vote for MediaMonkey, particularly if you have a large collection of music. The scripting facilities make it (almost) infinitely extensible, and even without customisation, it just seems to work intuitively as you'd hope a player would...
posted by benzo8 at 2:44 AM on August 4, 2008

I use Foobar too. It takes some elbow grease, but here is a link to making it work for you from Lifehacker.

I read that Amarok is coming out for Windows soon; it kicks ultimate ass on Linux systems, so keep an eye out for it.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:44 AM on August 4, 2008

iTunes sucks (why oh why won't it track in the listings what's playing? Am I too dumb for Steve?) but overall it sucks least for me.

Mine does track what is currently playing, the only time it doesnt is when im flicking through playlists looking at other tracks. Then to flick back to tracking i just press cmd+L
posted by moochoo at 3:12 AM on August 4, 2008

I like MediaMonkey
posted by winston at 3:38 AM on August 4, 2008

nthing foobar
posted by benign at 4:42 AM on August 4, 2008

foobar. wish a mac version existed.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:18 AM on August 4, 2008

I'm in the Mediamonkey camp and really happy with it. The interface can be a bit intimidating on first glance, with a multitude of icons all over the place, but you can easily hide the bits you're not using. It's really good for keeping a large collection of MP3s tidy and neat, with great tagging utilities to boot. It also has the best support for the iPod Classic I have seen so far among Windows-based media players, with the obvious exception of iTunes itself.
posted by doctorpiorno at 5:52 AM on August 4, 2008

I use winamp and love it. If you used iTunes before you're probably looking for a media library organisation system as opposed to just a program that will play anything you throw at it (VLC is what you want for that). I remember trying to set up foobar and not being bothered to configure it until it lookes nice. Winamp works out of the box.
posted by katrielalex at 6:05 AM on August 4, 2008

The suggestions you get from this thread are going to be pretty vague and useless unless you give us some specific explanation of 1.) why you hate iTunes and 2.) what features you are looking for (or trying to avoid).

In other words,..there are a variety of media players out there. No doubt some of them are "better" (or possibly "worse") than iTunes, but everyone has their own personal preferences. What are yours?
posted by jmnugent at 6:46 AM on August 4, 2008

Importantly, do you need library features?

I don't use them personally, and find Winamp the best. It does have library features but I don't know if they're any good.

When I've seen people using foobar to play music for a group of friends hanging out, the person who owns the computer ends up having to do most of the music duties because the thing is damn confusing and unintuitive. Could be their configurations.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:52 AM on August 4, 2008

nthing foobar2000. It's amazing. Also nthing pending Windows release of Amarok. I was getting used to Bento (style) in newer versions of Winamp (built-in library, etc), but I always feel like I'm wasting extra display space when it's open. It always feels a bit clunky to me. I suppose if iTunes is what you're used to, though, you may not feel the same way about Winamp and it's very easy to use.
posted by disorder at 6:55 AM on August 4, 2008

There's a post at Lifehacker, under their "Hive Five" tag, where loads of people of have recommended different stuff.

Here's the call for media player recommendations.

Here are the "hive five" or top five, most-popular.
posted by metajc at 8:02 AM on August 4, 2008

Foobar all the way. That Lifehacker guide to it is based on an older version; the current version's default user interface is very easy to configure and gives you complete control over the interface. Here's a screengrab of my current setup; here's a thread from the official forums full of other people's layouts.

Basically, Foobar is as feature-ful as you want it to be. It does take a bit of legwork to get everything out of it, but I find that it's definitely worth it.
posted by sinfony at 8:25 AM on August 4, 2008

I enjoy Quintessential Player with this skin. It's winamp-esque, but much cleaner.
posted by anthill at 8:40 AM on August 4, 2008

Nthing MediaMonkey -- it's fantastic. I use it to organize a 160gb+ music library without any problems at all.
posted by ThomThomThomThom at 9:40 AM on August 4, 2008

JRiver Media Center or Media Jukebox if free is important. It rips, tags, plays and organizes music (and other media). It supports podcasts and works fine with extremely large libraries. It will even sync your iPod, (but not the iPhone.)
posted by cnc at 2:10 PM on August 4, 2008

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