5 Popular Audio Players – Compared and Tested [ Windows ]

Welcome to the second part of the series. Generally the very preliminary stage of every Geek is either a Music Lover or a Die hard Game Player, the first thing one learns to do on the PC is either of them. I not sure about other countries but probably in India the first software a child interacts with is none other than Winamp, so, here I am going to discuss and enlist the 5 most popular Audio Players with a comparison table at the end.

Winamp 5.52

Winamp is probably the most popular full-featured free audio player. It supports numerous audio and video formats, also plays streamed video and audio content, both live and recorded. It has an extremely customizable media library. Playlists can be saved and managed very easily, “Full-Featured Player with Highly Handy Controls” these words are efficient enough to describe Winamp. Setup file for Winamp is reasonably small i.e. 8.30 Mb. Features of Winamp

  • Audio support includes CDA, MIDI, MP1/2/3/4, AAC, OGG, WAV, AIF, WMA and more.
  • Supports video files like AVI, ASF, MPG, M2V etc.
  • Winamp Toolbar, Control your Winamp from your web browser.
  • Album Art
  • Completely New interface
  • Visualizations
  • Media Library

The only issue that bothers me in case of Winamp is it takes lots of resources, and slows down my computer. Want to know more about Winamp? Try These

Foobar 2000

Foobar2000 is an advanced audio player for the Windows platform, developed by Peter Pawlowski. Foobar2000 is my favorite Audio Player, it is so light weight that the user never ever feels that he has dedicated some resources for audio playing, while working with other applications on his PC. Yet the interface of Foobar2000 is not as attractive as that of Winamp and other Audio Players. Features of Foobar2000

  • Audio formats supported MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, WAV, AIFF, AU, WMA etc.
  • Even large Playlists can be loaded instantly.
  • More audio formats supported through optional components, official or third-party.
  • Full Unicode support.
  • Customizable user interface layout (new in version 0.9.5).
  • Advanced tagging capabilities.
  • Support for ripping Audio CDs.
  • Replay Gain support – both playback and calculation.
  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts.
  • Open component architecture allowing third-party developers to extend functionality of the player.
  • Highly customizable Playlists display
  • Player approximately consumes 1.9 Mb of your RAM which is so much less compared to Winamp or MS Media Player.
  • Small setup download file i.e. 2.64 Mb.

JetAudio Basic 7

Jet Audio 7 is another multi-featured audio player. The long list of supported file formats includes WAV, MP3, PGG, AVI, MIDI and more, but some of them may require third party codecs to be installed. The Basic version of this player is free, whereas the plus version is not free. The best thing I like about Jet Audio is the audio file converter, you can easily convert one file format to other, like you can convert your mp3 files to wma formats in order to save space on your storage device. Features of Jet Audio 7

  • Rip audio CDs
  • Convert various audio files
  • Burn audio CDs
  • Record from various sources
  • Play a wide range of media files.
  • Quite Light weight
  • Visualization
  • Various sound effects
  • Alarm & Timer
  • Equalizer

XMPlay 3.4.2

XMPlay is a Win32 (Windows 95/98/NT/2k/ME/XP/etc…) audio player, supporting several formats. For this player a zip file download of 304 Kb is to be done, no installation required just unzip and start using. The unzipped folder also contains a text file which can guide you to several other features and also help you to reduce the size of this unzipped folder by removing some DLL files present in this folder. Features of XMPlay

  • Net streaming
  • Track information
  • Title formatting
  • Library
  • Saved/preset settings
  • Disk writing
  • Customizable Keyboard shortcuts
  • Visualization
  • No installation
  • Small Size
  • Very very Light Weight

Media Monkey

Media Monkey is also a light weight application, with a wide range of features. It is an easy-to-use organizer for serious music collectors. It catalogs your CDs, OGG, WMA, MPC, FLAC, APE, WAV and MP3 audio files. Its player automatically adjusts volume levels so that you don’t have continually fiddle with the volume control and supports hundreds of Winamp plug-ins and visualizations. Features of Media Monkey

  • Organize music and edit tags in your audio library with a powerful, intuitive interface
  • Automatically lookup and tag Album Art and other metadata
  • Play MP3s and other audio formats, and never again worry about varying volume
  • Record CDs into OGG, MP3, FLAC and WMA files
  • Convert MP3s, M4A, OGG, FLAC and WMA files into other formats
  • Create Playlists and music mixes quickly and easily to suit any occasion
  • Synchronize with iPods / MP3 players effortlessly and convert tracks

A Quick Comparison

Name of Player Download Size Launch Time Features/Issues
Winamp 8.30 Mb 5 New interface, Toolbar to control player from web browser, supports multiple audio and video files, takes lot of memory in RAM
foobar2000 2.64 Mb 2 Multiple file types supported, Unicode and Replay Gain supported, Open component Architecture, Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts,Less user friendly.
jet audio Basic, free version is22.3 Mb 3 Supports multiple file types, File conversions, Alarm/Timer, Rip and burn audio CDs.
xmplay 304 Kb 1 Multiple file support, Very light weight, launches instantly, No installation required, visualization, library
media monkey 6.47 Mb 2 Multiple file support, Convert Audio Files, Synchronizes with iPods and other devices, automatically adjusts volume levels, automatically looks up album art and other metadata.


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