Scanning a music collection of about 700 Ogg Vorbis files took around 3 minutes and a half, while adding all those tracks to the playlist took about 3 minutes too on my Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz and 1 GB DDRAM2.
Exaile running in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope
Exaile can become a little slow when there are several thousand music files in the playlist, especially when adding and sorting by custom columns. The playlist can be sorted by meta tags and other rules, like title, album, year, genre, rating, bitrate, location, playcount etc. Columns can be shown or hidden. You can shuffle or the tracks and repeat the playlist endlessly. The collection sidebar on the left can also be sorted by several rules, including Artist - Year - Album. See the screenshots below.
Exaile also comes with an equalizer, so those who are used to using an equalizer when listening to music will be pleased by the 10-band equalizer accessible via the Tools -> Equalizer menu. It comes with presets too.
10-band equalizer including presets
I like Exaile's approach to use tabs for track info for example, which is a powerful information widget indeed. It includes several sub-tabs which display track general information, statistics, artist and album info from Wikipedia, and lyrics. These are searchable, and there is an option to open the current web page in an external web browser.
Track info - Wikipedia tab
Another feature of Exaile are vizualizations, which can turn it into a pleasant music experience, especially useful when relaxing or not working at the computer.
Exaile also comes with a blacklist manager, a queue manager and the library manager, which allows to add specific directories to the collection to be scanned.
Support for plugins is also a powerful addition for Exaile. There are several plugins which can prove very useful, especially the Last.fm radio, Desktop Cover (to display the cover on the desktop), Alarm Clock, Shoutcast Radio etc. See the screenshot below:
Exaile can collect album covers from Amazon.com or locally, from the directory where the audio files are located. The good thing is that it allows to customise which files to look for, by default these being cover.jpg folder.jpg .folder.jpg album.jpg art.jpg. It supports Internet radio, podcasts, and it comes with an embedded file manager from which you can drag and drop files to the playlist.
The preferences window is quite rich in options, allowing you to change various settings, including Last.fm song submission user and password, OSD (on-screen display), enable or disable the splashscreen, and many more.
The major drawback of Exaile is that it is slow with large music collections and will sometimes freeze for a while, especially when switching between songs. Although the freeze is not for long, this can annoy any user. I also encountered problems when ticking options (for example when enabling the equalizer). This makes the current song restart, and it can take up to 15 seconds to actually enable the equalizer. Maybe this is only happening to me, but if not, then it's definitely a big problem. The version I tested was 0.2.14 running in Ubuntu 9.04, with all the updates to date.
Exaile really impressed me, since it really looks like a top notch audio player. It has plenty of features, it is highly configurable, yet its interface remains simple and really intuitive. It's not very fast, but neither too slow, in my opinion being on the same level with Banshee or Rhythmbox regarding resources. I liked how well it is organized: you can find anything you want in a matter of seconds, even if you use it for the first time. As a final conclusion, Exaile is definitely a very good choice and can compete easily with any other GTK audio player.