Banshee Review

key review info
application features
  • Sync your music collection to an iPod
  • (5 more, see all...)

We all need music in our lives. Since most of the music we like is commonly stored on the PC we need a music player that will allow us to play it. If your music collection is fairly large, it would be great if the software application can also do music management. This type of applications is very common these days and we need to figure out which fits your needs best. The subject of this review will be Banshee.

Banshee is a music management and playback application built for the GNOME desktop environment. Banshee is designed with simplicity in mind. With it you should be able to easily import, manage and play your songs. Some extended features include support for ripping and burning.

Now we should take a look at Banshee's interface and see what it has to offer. The GUI is very simple and at the same time functional. It doesn't do a lot of things but it doesn't get in your way either.

You can create several playlists and they will be shown in the left pane of the program. I never create many playlists because I'm lazy and having all the music in one place is ok for me. Because I will not use this feature, I'll hide this pane and make some more room for data related to songs.

The right side of the pane that displays playlists shows the tracks that are imported in each playlist - a library of sorts. For each track you can see information like the artist name, the title of the track, the name of the album abut also some statistics like how many times the song was played and when was it last played. For each song you can assign a rating and the cool thing about it is that you can use them as a sorting criterion, allowing you to listen at some point only the highest rated songs. In the upper right part of the library pane is a search box, a must-have for any respectable music player. This one has it and it works just like it should.

Banshee features a multi-track metadata editor. It can be used to set all the fields in a group to the same value. This is particularly good when you have albums and want to edit them so all the music is nicely ordered in playlists. The fields can, of course, be edited for individual tracks.

As an engine for audio playback you can use either Helix, which is the backbone of RealPlayer, or the GStreamer engine. By default, Banshee uses Helix and therefore it should be able to play all the audio files RealPlayer can play.

I saw some clues that Banshee can communicate with an iPod. I don't have one, but if everything works like it should this is a big advantage because this would be the first Linux software I've seen that is able to do this without the external help of plugins and scripts. Banshee should be able to do importing and exporting out of the box.

The Good

In a way I like the fact that Banshee is very simple and it does most of the things that you expect from it. Functionality like ripping and burning on disk is very nice to have in music management software.

The Bad

On the other hand I don't like the fact that the interface is so simple. I want to have more features in the software I use. It has no visualizations and no equalizer. Another thing that I miss badly is the cue list.

The Truth

All I have to say is that this player hasn't convinced me to use it. Maybe it would be a good alternative for iPod users since the developers claim that it's supported, but since I don't own an iPod I can't really say.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5

final rating 3
Editor's review