Saturday 28 June 2014

Linux Music Players for Large Music Libraries

Back in 2009 I wrote a blogpost on Linux music players, about finding a Linux equivalent to Foobar or Winamp, and I've just recently been trying other music players again after a very long time of using Gmusicbrowser


Amarok has improved a lot and has almost got back to it's classic status, however it's still very heavy in resource usage. This is probably not helped by being a KDE app so running in Cinnamon isn't perfect. It just takes a long time to load my admittedly large music collection (not far off 49,000 tracks). i think it takes about a whole minute or two to start and load my collection, even using a MySQL database. It does detect duplicate tracks in the database which is very useful. Once it has started it runs fairly well, though can sometimes be a bit unresponsive with high resource usage. It is also very customizable with add-ons and scripts, and has very good tagging and album art support It would be my default player if it wasn't so sluggish, especially on startup. In that way it very much feels like the iTunes of the Linux world.

Amarok with Radiance script

Banshee and Rhythmbox

I am lumping these two players together since they are quite similar. Rhythmbox has been around long time and it still takes far too long to scan my collection, but it gets there in the end, which is more than I can say for Banshee, which I left over night (and it took all of that night) on my other PC and it used all of it's 4GB RAM and 4GB Swap space and froze up the machine! It promptly got uninstalled after I discovered what it had done!


Banshee on my laptop


Clementine is a port of the old Amarok 1.4 for those who do not like what Amarok has become. It's best feature for me is it's transcode function, useful for transcoding FLAC to Mp3 for example which I think is on a par with Foobar's transcoding abilities. It's not bad, but still doesn't scan my large collection quick enough compared with Gmusicbrowser. Also I wish I could change the colour of that brown sidebar!

Clementine running on my laptop



So for now it's back to Gmusicbrowser. I've been using it since writing that article in 2009. It is still the quickest at scanning and rescanning my collection. I also love the way you can easily Google a track from it's own notification pop-up or from the player itself. And you can easily change to a different track in the same album or a different album from the same artist from the same Notification window. It also has fairly reasonable tagging support, not quite as good as Amarok's though. The lack of decent integration into a modern desktop is it's only downside. You can use the native Notify system but you lose those aforementioned abilities.

Gmusicbrowser (on my laptop)

So I'm sticking with Gmusicbrowser for now, but I do wish there was one or two perfect music players for Linux that can cope with very large collections, have good tag and album cover support and doesn't take a day to scan my collection! There are far too many other random music players that are form over function to mention here. There are also lots of small players like Audacious and Aqualung that are great for playing a few tracks but they do not have a proper library. Please do suggest music players that might fit my requirements in the comments below.


Unknown said...

I reloaded Clementine recently. Only to remember why I got rid of it last time. It created duplicates of all tracks in all albums. This is 2/3 years on since I first tried it. Shame because it's the only major issue. There seems to still be no clear cut fix.

Carl Draper said...

@ich Not sure why that's happening for you, works fine for me, with 62,000+ tracks, with no duplicates :)