Sunday, 23 August 2009

Audacious 2.1 Review - Powerful Audio Replacement for XMMS

Audacious is a powerful audio player for Linux which resembles the older XMMS, only using GTK2 toolkit for its interface. It supports XMMS and implicitly Winamp 2.x skins, coming with support for various audio formats, including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) or WMA (Windows Media Audio).

Audacious was forked from Beep Media Player, which was also based on XMMS but development was discontinued in 2006. Audacious is currently maintained and the latest version was released in July this year. For a tutorial on installing the latest release in Ubuntu 9.04, check out this tutorial I've put up a while ago.

The version I used for this review is 2.1 as it comes included currently in the Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic repositories. Audacious comes with the typical, simple interface some of you are used from XMMS. It includes a main window with regular play/pause/stop and volume buttons, a 10-band equalizer and the playlist itself.

The playlist can be arranged easily to display various fields, like only the artist, album, song title and duration, but it can also be sorted by title, album, artist, filename, path, date, track number or (the default) playlist entry. Adding a large collection of music to the playlist can take a very long time, but once they're loaded, Audacious will prove very fast.

Aside from skins and equalizer, this player really comes bundled with a lot of features: visualizations, simple tag editor, a playlist manager, but the true power of Audacious is support for plugins. It comes with a huge number of plugins, which include song submission, alarm, GNOME shortcuts, global shortcuts, status icon for Pidgin, and not only those. Plugins really turn it into a more useful, powerful experience. Local cover art fetching should not be forgotten either.

Regarding configurability, Audacious is very rich. It allows you to select which output plugin it will use, configure the replay gain, customise its appearance by installing new skins, configure playback, also offering a rich variety of options for the playlist.

Audacious is a wonderful player, and it will fit those who like XMMS or users who switched from Windows and are used to Winamp. Also, it takes a different approach than players who share a common interface like Rhythmbox, Banshee or Exaile.


Gareth said...

To be honest XMMS uses only a quarter of the memory and a tiny fraction of the processing power of Audacious.

Other than that Audacious is nice.

Grant Wagner said...

While what Gareth said is true, Audacious is the only player of the XMMS/Beep/Audacious Winamp lookalike players that is still maintained. Xmms is officially a dead project. It's memory and processor usage are both still very small, averaging about 4% of my Atom according to top, and jusst over 15 megs of ram usages.

On top of that, there is no longer the visual conflict of using a gtk1 application in a gtk2 desktop. That keeps it on my system. If you want something REALLY light weight, try MPD.

Anonymous said...

I switched my dad to Kubuntu recently and the one thing missing for him is the Winamp option that allows the player to be twice as big.

Anyone with bad eyesight will find the original size unusable.

Right now, were still looking for ANY mp3 player that makes something like this possible.

Grant Wagner said...

Right click on the main window, select "View" and then select "Scale". That is the winamp-esqe double size for the main window. Everything else is more dependant upon the font settings. Just ratchet those up.

lukerazor said...

Here another thumb up for audacious.

What I like about it is that it doesn't try and organise your music for you (that's what file systems are for :))

I've personally added some Nautilus scripts that give me the old winamp style "Play in Audacious" and "Enqueue in Audacious" functionality

I have had some issues with winamp skins that include transparent regions though

James D said...

Have they finally gotten around to adding to Audacious the add directory feature that was in XMMS? If they haven't, it's still not as good...

Grant Wagner said...

It's called "Add Files" but again it is something that has been in audacious for quite a while.

bones said...

add files is not the same thing, winam, xmmms both had add files AND add directory, i wish audacious would add that too although MY biggest contention with audacous is that some of the shortcuts are different or not there; alt+s used to be the skin browser, i don't see that; though i do like the fact that you can do color adjustment on the skin. would be nice if one could randomly change skins with each track

Dinesh Singh said...

player is very fine .. but the skin slection is not much as compared to xmms ... but the player is as good as xmms, so now audacious