I’ve been using WinAmp for the last 11 or so years. I’ve been a loyal fan of “whipping the llama’s ass,” but it seems as if development and functionality died out long ago. I mean look at WinAmp’s website! It looks like it’s stuck in the early 2000’s web design.
I’m all for not fixing what isn’t broken, but their player seems to still be stuck in the Windows XP era. I mainly used WinAmp for streaming from my favorite classical station 99.5 All Classical and some other ShoutCast stations. Lately I’ve noticed some odd sound effects and weird behaviors while streaming music. It hasn’t been from my new headphones!
Anyhow, I’m sorry WinAmp, but we’re parting ways. 🙁
I ended up replacing WinAmp with foobar2000. Although it doesn’t appear to be developed as much as I would like again if it works well with few bugs then I am fine.
I kept seeing references to this application pop up on the Head-Fi forums as I was browsing for information regarding the Objective2 Amp and ODAC. This morning I finally decided to give it a try.
Out of the box the customization is pretty impressive. The first time you open the app you get a quick setup that asks about the layout and theme you’d like. The layout is really responsive; you don’t have to restart the app to make pretty significant changes.
Of course the reason I switched from WinAmp was that the sound was slowed down, glitchy, and otherwise unappealing. I don’t know if this is an artifact of Windows 7, my machine, or bugs in WinAmp. However, once I installed the ShoutCast streaming plugin I was surprised how good the sound was coming out of the headphones.
After listing to some FLAC and high bitrate MP3 files for the better part of the afternoon I can say that I’m impressed with the audio quality. I kind of assumed that after seeing the program mentioned on Head-Fi, an audiophile forum, that it had to be somewhat decent. I’m just glad it’s free! I should probably look into if the source is open as well. I’d like to see if I can get the default visualizations to work with frequencies under 50Hz.
Speaking of visualizations, foobar2000 has a bunch of cool default visualizations including a spectrogram. There are even plugins available to wrap old WinAmp visualizations so that you won’t miss those awesome MilkDrop scenes!
All in all, I’m impressed with this application. My only gripe is that I can’t minimize the application to a single toolbar/titlebar mode like I could with WinAmp. I would like to be able to do this and set it to “Always on top” so that I can have the info float at the top of my screen. I guess I can just get used to having it minimized in my system tray.
Let me know if you have any suggestions for other high quality players. I use mine mostly at work with a 64bit Windows 7 machine. That’s where I have my headphone amp, DAC, and headphones. Give me a shout out!