Audacious Review

good
key review info
application features
  • Playlist editor
  • (9 more, see all...)

Everybody went through a Windows phase at some point, undoubtedly, and I'm going to use that to make a point in the introduction for this review. I think that many of you used to appreciate Winamp as a music player and you had some good reasons for this. It does have a very simple interface, easy to manipulate and, of course, skinnable. Second, you can easily manage the songs in the playlist. Third, you have lots of plug-ins that enhance the musical experience.

How about now? Do we, guys using Linux, have a good alternative? Is there an audio player on Linux offering at least some of Winamp's features? The answer is definitely yes. Actually, we have two players capable to compete with Winamp. One of them is the well-known XMMS and the other is Audacious. I will discuss about the latter in this material.

Audacious is a fork of Beep Media Player 0.9.7.1. William "nenolod" Pitcock decided to fork BMP because the other members of the team which developed this player wanted a new and refreshed next generation player, BMPx.

So, let's start with the beginning: The visual aspect is an important factor of human experience and Audacious is at high stakes in this matter. The graphical interface is somewhat like Winamp's but we can see differences very quickly, Audacious being a little Spartan in this respect. Nevertheless, despite the simplicity of the GUI, the application's functionality is what developers focused on. A thing to note is that Audacious supports Winamp 2.x skins, called "classic skins".

On the front panel, as in every music player, there are buttons for "Play", "Previous", "Next", "Stop" and "Pause". A good thing is that there are associations between buttons and commands for playing. On the same front panel we see the progress bar for songs, the sliders for volume and balance, a display for the time left of the playing song and the usual visualizations. Under the front panel, the equalizer is at its place and it's doing its duty. The playlist window has the usual functions like in Winamp and XMMS, nothing spectacular.

Let's try a right click on the front panel to see what is happening. Well, nothing extraordinary till now, because we are seeing commands for playing, settings for visualization and for graphical behavior. I've left for the ending the Preferences section because this is what I like most at Audacious. I'd say that this is the core of the player and reflects the philosophy of its purpose.

Clicking the Preferences section, we see a somewhat different look than what can be seen in Winamp and XMMS. The menu is not so sophisticated like Winamp's but it does look very good. The first dialog is Appearance where you can select different skins. Second dialog, Audio, is for selecting the audio output, OSS or ALSA. Third section is for Connectivity, which includes settings for listening to Internet radio stations. After that we have Equalizer, Mouse, Playlist options and finally, Plugins. Here I found some interesting plugins which enhance the audio quality, and, I must admit, for me, the quality of audio output is better than in Winamp or XMMS. It's hard to explain, but trust me, I know a few things about sound. We have plugins for different media types (mp3, wma, wav, ogg), general plugins, visualization plugins, and, the most important ones, sound effect plugins. These sound effect plugins are interesting, you can put different effects into sound, like extracting the voice, automatic level change for volume, extra sound effect (this is a very interesting one). Also, some additional plugins can be found on the official website.

I've tried to show so far a good piece of work from open source community, a software which is at start of its evolution, but I think that in the near future we'll witness another interesting surprise from Audacious. So, get it, install it, enjoy it.

The Good

Audacious, at this time, is a simple audio player which meets the wishes of most of the users, without useless features.

The Bad

For me, it has everything I need. So I can't say anything bad about it. Still, a weak point is the lack of documentation.

The Truth

Audacious has a lot of potential and, in the near future, many people will find this player very attractive because of its features.

Here are some screenshots of Audacious:
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user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 3
pricing / value 3


final rating 3
Editor's review
good
 
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