Monday, 13 September 2010

Awesome Music Player That Rocks: Jajuk

Jajuk is a free, cross-platform music player available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, written in Java. I never used Jajuk before, so I tested it for the first time today, an I'm really impressed. Let me explain.

Jajuk 1.9 RC2 running in Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

Introduction
The version I'm going to talk about is 1.9 RC2, which is the version currently included in Ubuntu 10.10 Beta. Jajuk is written in Java and it uses the mplayer engine for playing audio files, and comes with a full set of features, most of them reviewed here.

First, the interface...
I must say, the interface of Jajuk is really cool and will probably fit any person who likes to have the widgets and layouts organized in a different way from the default. Why is that? Well, first of all Jajuk offers tabs (which actually look like some kind of sub-windows) for each different item, like: different tab for playlist, cover, lyrics etc. These sub-windows can be moved around, minimized/restored, and even organized in tabs. This is very powerful and very useful in my opinion. Take a look at these screenshots, which show Jajuk's GUI organized in various modes:


Every possible widget in Jajuk has a pop-up tooltip, so it will be easy to figure out what everything does. Also, the icons are very appealing, making Jajuk a pleasant experience to use.

Full-featured
Let me quickly list some of the features which are present in almost any decent audio player for Linux out there, and also in Jajuk:

- Jajuk offers a playlist which can be sorted depending on many factors, like artist, title, duration, genre etc
- lyrics fetching from the Internet
- cover fetching (including detecting covers from the local directory where the current playing file is located); covers can be displayed in many sizes
- Wikipedia information about the currently playing artist, album and song
- Last.fm song submission
- file browser
- Audio CD player
- collection statistics
- web radios
- ratings

Cover (album) manager

Jajuk doesn't include a graphical way to configure an equalizer, but according to the info that I could find on the official website here, you can pass arguments to mplayer to configure an equalizer. To do that, go to the Config tab on the left tab, click the Advanced tab, and fill in the Mplayer arguments field, for example:

-af equalizer=0:0:0:0:0:-1:-1:-1:-1:-1


The Wikipedia information allows you to change the locale, and can show artist, album, or song information, however it has one frustrating downside: it's very, very slow when scrolling up and down the page. Other than that, it rocks!

One more nice feature is the Stats tab: it uses a visual approach to show how the collection size changed from one month to another, total numbers of tracks played each month, percentage of genres or disk space occupied by the music collection.

The official website offers RPM and DEB installers, as well as Java multiplatform installers for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. To install it in Ubuntu, just type in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install jajuk

Or use the Applications -> Ubuntu Software Center. Also, Jajuk can be tried live on the official website.

Configuration
The Preferences tab is pretty rich and offers the user the possibility to change the way it behaves, providing ways to:

- set the application language (included are English, French, Galician, German, Greek, Korean, Russian and Spanish)
- change the cross fade duration, limit for best of playlist
- set the system tray settings
- change the font size of the UI (this is a great feature in my opinion)
- what to do (play) at the start-up of the application
- change the collection encoding, configuration path
- change/add names for what covers you want Jajuk to detect in local folders
- set your Last.fm submission information
- change the history duration for ratings

Later edit: Adding new music files to the collection may be a little confusing at the beginning. To do this, go to the Configuration->Device Wizard menu entry and select the music collection folder in the pop-up window that appears. This will append the selected folder to the music collection, and you can find your music folders by clicking on the Files tab to the left of the main window.

Conclusion
One word: amazing! Jajuk truly rocks. I can't remember exactly when was the last time I tested an application for the last time and got so positively impressed. It has a powerful interface, it's full-featured, it's well organized and stable, it's intuitive and configurable. If you haven't tried it yet, it's definitely the time to do so, because I think it can really make a lot of converts among the Linux users who use another audio players.

Pluses
- one of the biggest pluses: configurable interface
- lots of features
- lots of configuration options

Minuses
- as every Java-based application, the GUI is pretty slow
- lack of a graphical equalizer

More screenshots


The stats tab offers various information about the collection in a visual way

File browser and the Preferences tab

Wikipedia information

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I use Jajuk on Windows and Linux (via Webstart) for quite a year now and I totally agree with you!

Jacob said...

It looks nice, but the 153MB of Java dependencies is not appealing.

María Inés said...

Great review!
It would be great to know how heavy it is (memory and CPU mainly). I hate opening Amarok and having 200 MB RAM in used just for listening mp3. With 45 MB, I'd rather use Rhythmbox

Online Penny Auction said...

That's lookin pretty awesome. Actually still it requires some more refines. It must be tested at least 2 to 3 times before launching the final edition.

Mark said...

Been using Jajuk for a long time now.. great app.
The graphical equalizer will come, I believe it's being worked on, or a least on the roadmap.
Personally I don't have any problems with slowness of the Java-Gui, it's at least as fast and responsive as comparable 'native' jukeboxes, (Amarok for example).
Remember.. it's not a mediaplayer, it's a mediamonster!

Thanks for the fine review.