6 years ago

Best Music Player! Review Between Windows Media Player, Winamp, iTunes, & MediaMonkey!

Ever wondered which is the best player to play music on your PC? Or do you believe that nothing is perfect and that everything has its advantages and disadvantages and we have to carry on with what we have got. Or is the default (provided by Microsoft) Windows Media Player good enough? Or further still do you believe in not locking down to one particular application and believe in having a variety of applications on call? Some of these reasons may seem absurd to you, but believe me I have come across each one of them and many times over.

If on the other hand you are looking for a great application to play your music, as well as do something in addition like tag your mp3s, sort them, generate playlists, post to Last.fm or your personal blog, then this is for you. Hang on though! I am not offering the Holy Grail of music players, just some of the programs that I have used and have liked and not liked for many reasons which I will be stating as we go along.

Winamp

First things first! If you have noticed I have headlined this review as Windows Media Player, Winamp, iTunes, & MediaMonkey! Well I would rather you do yourself some service and give iTunes a miss altogether, unless of course you would like a software that wants to take over your computer. I still remember the day I installed iTunes and whoa before I knew it iTunes was running the show. Even transferring songs to the Motorola RAZR that came integrated with iTunes was a difficult chore as iTunes would accept songs only if they were loaded in its library. A simple drag and drop (something we take for granted in Windows) would not work thanks to iTunes. There is a lot more that one could say about iTunes, but suffice it to say that just do not bother with iTunes and you are best served by giving it a miss. Now I agree if you are an iPod user then you need iTunes, but I have always used my mobile to play my music i.e. Motorola E398, Sony Ericsson K750i, Nokia N70, and now the Motorola ROKR.

Anyways moving on now onto the real choice and a choice it is. As many are aware there are many freeware music players available and since they are too many in number I have narrowed it down to the big two i.e. MediaMonkey and Winamp all things considered. I have been a Winamp user for many years now, and have loved it for all its many features, be it its CD ripping abilities, its graphic equalizer/presets, its integration of album art or many of its plug-ins which allows for a great deal of customization to your own personal preferences. Winamp when it started out was freeware, but now there is a pro version where if you pay a little all the features are unlocked, and the features available in the pro version are CD ripping with higher speeds and burning software. Now anyone with a CD/DVD writer would obviously have burning software and definitely would not rely on Winamp for burning CDs. Ditto for ripping CDs, but if you are a newbie and want to find out about CD ripping then EAC is the best there is. All of this means that the free version of Winamp is very good for 99% of the users. Of note, Winamp also handles video files, but that is something that is left out of here as we will only be concentrating on music players. Winamp has an inbuilt media library i.e. it scans all your hard disks or folders that you specify and adds all the music files to the media library. What this means is that you have all your songs displayed in one location along with their path shown and you do not need to remember exactly where each song is stored if you want to listen to them. The search feature of the media library is the best in Winamp and just does not get any better. It is accurate and displays results very fast. The media library also is very good when you add songs or move them to another folder Winamp keeps track of them and will only scan for newly added/moved media content and its rescanning is very fast. Tagging is supported in Winamp though for all practical purposes it is nonexistent as it will require you to go to each individual file and tag it. This is very cumbersome and does not give the functionality of an online tagger like Tag&Rename which is supported and very well by MediaMonkey.

Winamp also connects to the AOL Music Store with a collection of 2,000,000 songs for you to purchase and download. Winamp also lets you connect and watch old episodes of TV programs. There are other online services like SHOUTcast Radio & TV, AOL Radio Featuring XM, SHOUTcast Wire Podcast Directory, and Predixis MusicMagic Dynamic Playlists, but honestly these are features many will not be accessing on a regular basis or not using them at all. One area where Winamp scores is in the skins department and you can download a lot of different skins so you can have a different looking Winamp whenever the fancy strikes you. On the whole, Winamp is a great music player, but it is a resource hog and does take some time to start up, which may put people off.

Now onto MediaMonkey, which is an alternative to Winamp and other music players. MediaMonkey is rated very highly by many and was recommended by a friend and hence I decided to try it out for a while even though I was perfectly happy with Winamp. MediaMonkey too offers two versions, a free and a pro for which you have to pay a little extra. The pro version offers file monitoring to automatically update the library, advanced searches and auto creation of playlists, advanced portable device synchronization with on-the-fly format conversion which means you can synchronize and change format of songs so that they can be played on portable devices like the iPod, unlimited mp3 encoding, virtual CD and previews, advanced filters and even a sleep timer. Obviously, most of these features will not be used or required by the majority of users with the exception of iPod users who would prefer to go the iTunes way which is free rather than pay for MediaMonkey pro. The free version of MediaMonkey is a fantastic player and does just about everything. This is the closest you will get to a “Holy Grail” of music players, a do-it-all music player, a Swiss army knife of music players is a better way to put it. It is a very impressive product and has not only met my expectations, but also bettered them on some fronts. MediaMonkey offers a slew of features like managing a library which can include 50,000 plus songs located on the hard drive, CDs or a network. MediaMonkey betters Winamp in this area for it even shows the location of the songs i.e. which drive/folder they are located in. The other day I wanted to listen to Shakira and all I did was search for Shakira and viola all the songs of Shakira were displayed along with the path to their location in the results from which I could select the songs I wanted to listen to. This displaying of location is very good so there is no more losing of songs in some remote folder and it enables you to pool all the songs in one or multiple folders and yet keep track of them through the library. One area where Winamp scores over MediaMonkey is in keeping track of files that are moved, which MediaMonkey does not keep track of on the fly, and you would have to end up rescanning the system or folders, which can be cumbersome as MediaMonkey will rescan from the start and scan everything from scratch. MediaMonkey synchronizes very well with iPod and other portable audio devices in seconds. You can configure MediaMonkey once, and then click the synchronize button to synchronize tracks and related properties including album art, ratings, play history, and playlists with a broad range of portable devices. This however is mainly of use to iPod users and I am not one of them. MediaMonkey lets you burn CDs/DVDs, but then again those with CD/DVD writers would probably go with something like Nero or Ashampoo for all their burning activities. MediaMonkey is very good at encoding and lets you convert audio files from almost any audio format to OGG, MP3, WMA, or WAV files, and preserve tag information when converting from OGG, MP3, WMA, WAV, APE, FLAC or MPC. Tagging is an amazing feature with MediaMonkey and it does this as well as a professional software like Tag&Rename and that too for free. It even surpasses Tag&Rename in that you can add multiple album art images to each track, and add more details to each track than you can in Tag&Rename. With MediaMonkey doing tagging better than professional tagging software it leaves Winamp and others way behind in this area. Another great feature to go along with the tagging is that MediaMonkey lets you rename all files in a single step and I do mean your entire music collection, though be careful when using this feature as a single mistake will mean loss of important information. MediaMonkey even has auto volume leveling which lets you play all tracks at the same consistent volume so no more reaching for the volume control with every track change. Another outstanding feature of MediaMonkey is the Auto-DJ which will automatically play tracks when manually selected tracks/playlists run out so you can have songs playing all the while without having to queue up the playlists. This is very useful if you want something playing all the time or even in the background without having to tend to it every once in a while. MediaMonkey also keeps track of which track is played how many times and also the last play of the track, but this feature is also available in Winamp. MediaMonkey is very lean and does not have any bloatware when compared to Winamp or even iTunes which basically leads the pack in terms of bloatware and other intrusive software getting installed on your system and even taking over your system. Give us back control of our systems Apple!

MediaMonkey

MediaMonkey too does have a lot of online features like NetRadio, which lets you connect to Shoutcast and Icecast so you can stream music and listen to songs, and even has an inbuilt browser which connects to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CD Universe, PlayCentric, AllPosters, and AllMusic. In summation, MediaMonkey is very fast to start up, takes up very little in the form of system resources and responds very well to the demands of any user. In terms of speed and response time and interface it is excellent to say the least.

After going through many music players and also extensively using Winamp and MediaMonkey I can say that these two are the best out there right now and you just cannot find anything that would better either of them at this stage if you are looking for an all-in-one music player, library manager and music tagger. Choosing an outright winner is difficult to state the obvious and it will come down to individual preference and choice so decide for yourself. As for me, I love to listen to music, tag them with all sorts of information that would be available, keep track of them, and also like a utility that does nearly everything if not everything and MediaMonkey is the closest you will get to in this regard. I will be sticking with MediaMonkey for some time now, but that does not mean I will be getting rid of Winamp anytime soon. It will be worth your while if you can download and check out these two amazing softwares for yourself and let me tell you they beat Windows Media Player hands down any day, which reminds me I have not reviewed Windows Media Player at all here, but it’s better left alone what say?

You can read my Review of Foobar2000 here.

You can read my Review of XMPlay here.
 

Rajiv Abraham

Ajith Edassery - 6 years ago

Nice review Rajeev and good to see that you are more regular now.

Hey, I had a question on your plugins and ads.

(1) Which plugin do you use for your feed footer links, I have been toying around with a couple of them, none are showing up the footers.

(2) Any suggestion on a CPM network? I am fed up with AdBrite and took it out. Google AdSense somehow doesn't recognize the impressions/clicks that I receive and no reply from their support. I have 800-900 page impressions per day which I think can be monetized better with CPM (No tribal fusion or burstmedia as their requirements are even higher)

Cheers,
Ajith

Rajiv Abraham - 6 years ago

Ajith,

I use Google AdSense and it works well for my site. If you are looking for CPM Network then you can check out Casale Media, Value Click, Advertising, Right Media to start with a few. Widgetbucks is another option for CPM, but their widgets always don't display on my site. Use my referral link from the ad above if you are signing up for Widgetbucks so at least this way I will earn something from them since their widget does not display half the time on my blog. I would say try to sort out with Google since they work out well for the most part. A link to check out is http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t…. Hope this helps. Will be on the look out for others too and keep you posted when I find something good.

One more thing I wanted to add. Check out Affiliate Marketing too. They offer the highest payout even for a single conversion than compared to generic ad networks which pay based on CPC, CPM, CTR, etc.

Matt - 6 years ago

What about QuuxPlayer?

Rajiv Abraham - 6 years ago

Matt,

I have not checked out QuuxPlayer, but now that you have mentioned it I will definitely download it and check it out. Thanks for mentioning it.

Ajo - 6 years ago

No Have you Tried AIMP player

Rajiv Abraham - 6 years ago

Thanks Ajo for stopping by and also for the info about the AIMP player. I have not tried it out, but I will definitely do it ASAP.

shaju - 5 years ago

Amazing

Biraj - 5 years ago

Thanks for your very thorough reviews. I am eagerly looking to substitute my iTunes with something and your comparative reviews are EXTREMELY helpful. There is one question I have i.e. does MediaMonkey and Winamp support album art? Secondly, does it support art that you have inserted from ANY source, and that has no connection to the album? I ask this because presently with iTunes I pretty much choose graphic art that I like for certain tracks. Any feedback on this will be very much appreciated.
Thanks again for your detailed and excellent reviews. I esp. liked the fact that while you decided to ignore WMP, you explained your reason for it towards the end of your comparative review.

Andrew - 5 years ago

Thanks for the review! Very helpfull as I hate downloading anything to my computer without knowing if i truly need it or not first and I HATE APPLE PRODUCTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rajiv Abraham - 5 years ago

Agree with you Andrew. Apple products are way too intrusive for my liking.

Nicolo Maro P. Quimbo - 5 years ago

Great Review! Two-thumbs up!

Chris - 5 years ago

This was a good review, with 4 good media players but i still think Moovida is the best i have come across.

http://www.moovida.com

Rajiv Abraham - 5 years ago

Thanks Chris for brining up Moovida. Will check it out. BTW this review was written a while ago and when my content was lossy like MP3s. Now I've moved onto non-lossy formats like FLAC, WAV and the best player by far is cPlay. I will get around to posting my views and review on cPlay someday soon hopefully. You can Google for it too. It's an awesome player indeed.

ChrisClap - 5 years ago

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment.
Hope you can give a review on Moovida, i would enjoy to read it.

Peace

Rajiv Abraham - 5 years ago

I will definitely check it out and share my thoughts on it too Chris.

Alex - 4 years ago

i hardly agree with this statement (the blog itself) – these players are only useful for managin music and buying new and stuff.. for people who spend money on music :)

Rajiv Abraham - 4 years ago

Only iTunes is for purchasing music and I don't like it or use it or even recommend it. The rest are free and don't sell any music. Cannot see the reason for your disagreement.

jsphmntrl - 4 years ago

mind if i post my favorite audio player here..mine i use AIMP2 its nice and powerful. Its for novice who wants a click to play method. The player was too awesome and non lossy..try it for your self mates..

Rajiv Abraham - 4 years ago

Don't mind at all, but the review was from a long time ago when I used to listen to MP3s and the like.

Now I prefer FLAC and Audio CDs and really use Cplay the most, and very few times its Foobar.

Halthesweep - 4 years ago

I miss Musicmatch. My first music player that I stayed with for many years. I wish it was still available for Windows 7. Hal

    Wayne - 4 years ago

    I agree with Hal and still consider the original MusicMatch Jukebox to be outstanding, better than any other similar free or purchased I’ve found! For some reason older versions such as originally downloaded copies of v7.5 will not fully install on any Windows version including Win XP. For several years I easily ripped my purchased music CDs and could play them on my computer or download them to my mp3 player or burn a CD for my car player all the while keeping my original CD safe at home. I also used MMJB to begin converting my vinyl music collection to digital format for storage on my computer. I’ll just keep looking and hoping to find a suitable replcement. Wayne

jen - 4 years ago

thanks for this blog! very helpful. i have decided to try MediaMonkey first. :)

Goneunreal - 3 years ago

I’ve Installed Winamp Over 20 Times On My Computer, I gave It One Last Try Today An Within The First 5 Minutes Of Use It Became Un-Responive And Stressin My System. It Constantly Crashes And For No Reason The Media Libary Is Blank An Unusable Makin The Main Feature Of Winamp Worthless. On Other Computers I Hav Also Had Errors Wit Audio/Sound, Managing Portable Devices And Visualization Control/Use. It Seems As If the Moer Advanced An More Used It Becomes The Worse The List Of Errors.

As For Itunes, The Audio Quality Is Rubbish Without An Audio Plugin Like DFX.
Windows Media Player Has A Lack Of Support For Many Files Which Is Unfortunate Considering Windows Media Player Has One Of The Best Audio Quiality Outputs I Have Ever Herd.

Well MediaMonkey Soundz Good, I Hope It Has None Of The Other Problems As The Others.

If MediaMonkey Doesn’t Fix This I Will Continue To Use AlSong, Its Small And Simple To Use, It Also Has An Amazing Audio Plugin That Comes Wit It. There Is Just One Flaw, And That Is That There Is No Media Libary Which Is Fine… But Only If You Hav Under 1000 Songs.

Well Guess Ill Keep Lookin… :)

Brownel - 3 years ago

You are obviously a well versed person. However, as a pushing 60-year-old who LOVES her music from past and present, all these details and letter short forms are too much. I just want a compact MP that is easy to use. help. why do companies make these complicated? I cant even post this as you want too much info :) I just want to listen to my music. Guess I’ll just stick with CD’s and live simply.

Soumitra - 3 years ago

quite right…
adding a free cpro plugin which is free adds a lot to winamp.
try it if you haven’t

Bruce - 3 years ago

Thanks for the review of MediaMonkey and Winamp. I have been wrestling with MediaMonkey over the following problem. I have a large classical music collection, many of the CD’s I have ripped have different artists on different tracks and/or different orchestras. MediaMonkey insists on displaying them in multiple sets which are grouped by artist or orchestra. I want the CD art work icon to appear only once on the display and with it all the tracks on that CD. The same thing happens if I load ripped CD files on my Zune or if I try Windows MediaPlayer. How can I get a player that will only sort by Album and ignore artist, orchestra, etc etc. I do not want to erase the artist tags or the orchestra tags either. Thanks for any help.

Alexis - 3 years ago

I am glad to sdee oyur comments about itunes. I had that program and it took over everything. Now, when trying to use winamp, I get tons of duplicated files, mis-identified files and all sorts of bizarre behavior. For example, I might hit play for a file and something else entirely begins to play! What is the best way to restructure music files and then allow winamp to pull them in for playlists etc? Thanks!

    Rajiv Abraham - 3 years ago

    Winamp is not good for management. MediaMonkey is a better tool to manage and organize your music collection.

Ramesh - 3 years ago

Give a try to foobar2000 nowadayz its my best audio player……just give it some time and u will come to know its capabilities…..I love the player because of its high customization capabilities.
title formatting is so easy just have to spent lill time….

Randy - 3 years ago

Have you tried Zune 4.8? I have (had) lots of mediaplayers (iPods, Creative, etc…) I am using a Cowon now, greater sound ;-)
I have been iTunes (like 3 years ago) using because I had an iPod, but I had several i’Gadgets’ so it sucked bigtime. (sync issues etc) I started using Media Monkey for a year or two and way back in the days Winamp just for playback, but since my collection grew to over 200k files I had a need for good management, so I am using Media Monkey, but it’s fairly flat, that’s why I like Zune (mainly because I also have a Windows Phone) Was just wondering if you have any experience with Zune 4.8 and what do you recommend for good management or is Media Monkey still the way to go? Thanks man for this site ;-)

    Rajiv Abraham - a couple of years ago

    Don’t use media players myself. I prefer to PC.

K Tjoelker - 3 years ago

Your review is interesting but you indicate yourself that it is a little (out)dated). By the way, the original date of the review is not visible which is a great pity (common error on the web: time and place are omitted. I once ordered pizza from Guatemala to Burkina Faso, they didn’t deliver).
A new review would be welcome distimguishing various aspects, as all users don’t need the same features.
I would want to know about ripping, various audio formats, tagging, organizing, compatibility with other audio-related programs (e.g. tag editors), playing, transition between songs ….. Apparently quite a few readers are much more interested in skins and other visual aspects, so that would have to be taken into consideration as well.
Of course it is important that the software doesn’t take over the PC nor impose specific commercial links nor formats etc.
Thanks again, K Tjoelker

    Rajiv Abraham - a couple of years ago

    Yes its outdated… need to write a new one… hopefully I can make the time for it.

Nitya - last year

First of all, I must say what a thorough description. You have covered almost every aspects to give a best shot to your readers. Well, If you ask me then my vote is for VLC and Winamp media players. Both are capable enough to impress any music lover by letting him to play almost all the formats he can think of. Thank you Rajiv for your great review and suggesting us other options too.

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