When it comes to popularity and ease of use, there’s no operating system that can beat Windows. The scenario has remained the same for several decades, almost since the birth of computers. As a result, demand for software compatible to different versions of this OS has only increased over the years. This article will introduce you to some of the most widely used free audio players for Windows.
If you don’t want to be bothered by unnecessary options and confusing menus, aTunes is definitely the audio player you should use. It’s famous primarily for having an absolutely clean user interface. However, this feature doesn’t make it useless. Users describe it as a fairly potent music player.
aTunes’ tabbed interface doesn’t allow its panes to get cluttered. You will find both primary and secondary information arranged elegantly on your screen. Icons located just beneath the Menubar allow users to hide the Song properties, Navigator, and AudioScrobbler windows. This makes the UI appear even more compact. On the AudioScrobbler pane, you’ll find all secondary information about the track. This means you’ll not need to be a tech expert to perform jobs like gathering information about the artist, preventing clutter using tabs and keeping song lyrics and track lists organized. Just having a look at the AudioScrobbler pane would be enough.
One of the most fascinating qualities of aTunes is the minimum time it takes for being installed. However, you might find its tree navigation a bit sluggish when trying to add your song library. The scan that will follow this process, however, would be absolutely flawless. It would not take more than a few minutes to handle big libraries.
The player is also compatible to Mac and Linux. But, installation on those platforms is much more time taking and complex. As a result, this audio player is most popular among Windows users.
You’ll be able to view the digital music collection by filtering based on metadata such as name of the genre, album name etc. This player is compatible to a series of audio formats, which include AAC, MP3, WAV, FLAC and WMA. In addition, you will also enjoy features like duplicate track removal and smart playlists. aTunes possesses a total of 27 skins and can be connected to a series of web-based services like Last.fm. You will not only be able to listen to different radio stations online, but will also be allowed to download podcasts.
The most prominent downside of this audio player is that it has made few supporting documentation available to users. This means if a user needs some help when using the program, he or she will have a pretty tough time to gather the required information.
In spite of being a freeware, MusicBee comes equipped with a series of fascinating features. Other than enabling music playback, this program makes the process of managing and organizing extensive collections of music into libraries absolutely simple. MusicBee even lets users import all their iTunes and Windows Media libraries directly. When connected to the Internet, this program can automatically download missing track metadata (name of the artist, name of the album etc.), if any, within a few seconds.
MusicBee carries a built-in ID3 tag-editor. This component allows users to tag their music manually. In addition, the ID3 tag editor also enables use of different player modes based on the kind of playback environment.
The most prominent advantage of using MusicBee is that it is compatible to every single popular format you can think of. Examples include WMA, MP3, OGG, AAC etc. You’ll not have to worry even if the player doesn’t support the format of the file you are looking to use. You will always have the option of downloading plug-ins for expanding the program’s functionality. Some other pluses of MusicBee include compatibility to web-based services such as Last.fm, Smart playlists, DSP effects and so on. Another promising feature that deserves a mention is MusicBee’s availability as a portable application.
The program is pretty ugly to look at and occupies significant drive space.
At the first glance, you may mistake Foobar2000 for a music player created during the early 1990s. It’s primarily due to the program’s minimalistic user interface. However, the fact is absolutely different. Foobar2000 is one of the most feature-filled, extensible and customizable audio player software you will ever come across. What makes the deal even more lucrative is that it will offer you all these in spite of being super lightweight.
You can tweak the user interface of Foobar2000 granularly by picking modules (for instance, you can pick equalizer, playlist view etc based on your preferences) of your choice.
You will struggle to find a flaw in this program. It supports the majority of the popular file formats including SND, OGG, AIFF, ALAC and FLAC. The player will allow you to add every single media library folder you have in your kitty and manage your music collection without any difficulty. Foobar2000 will keep monitoring your libraries for changes at regular intervals.
With this software, you will never need to worry about adding metadata to the tracks in your collection. You will be allowed to do that both manually or using online music databases such as Freedb. Foobar2000 is also capable of ripping Audio CDs and reading RAR and ZIP archives. If required, you can also use this program as a portable application.
The biggest plus of Foobar2000 is its versatility. This software will allow you to manage large libraries easily and smoothly. In addition, users are also fascinated with the program’s ability to load quickly.
The next feature that users find more enthralling is the series of customization options Foobar2000 offers. Users can either opt for Quick Setup or can make individual selections regarding the kind of facts they would want to be displayed on the screen. In addition, they will also have the option of downloading more skins.
If you are an inexperienced user, you might struggle a bit when using Foobar2000. However, being a bit intuitive might help even if you are a beginner.
The online world is flooded with audio players compatible to Windows operating system. The reason why AIMP can beat a large share of them in popularity is its incredible simplicity. This program doesn’t come with menu options, library scans, sub-sections and other such complex features. Users only need to launch this application, add some songs of their choice, and the player will start doing its job with complete perfection.
The default user interface of AIMP has significant similarities with Winamp, another Windows audio player available free of cost. Like Winamp, AIMP also consists just of a playlist editor and a “now playing” module. The developers have made sure that users don’t face any difficulty when trying to access standard functions such as crossfade, shuffle, equalizer, and playback buttons. The user interface of the program can be tweaked using a range of pre-loaded, downloadable skins.
AIMP supports almost every audio format currently in use. These include MP3, FLAC, MIDI, OGG, DTS, and so on. That’s not all. You can use this program to listen to online radio stations as well as to capture radio streams of various formats. Some other jobs this audio player can perform include audio encoding, smart playlist generation and library management. Like the majority of the advanced music players of the current generation, AIMP supports plug-ins.
AIMP is a user-friendly program. So, it’s unlikely that you will face any issue when using it. However, if you have any confusion or need to troubleshoot a problem, you will find it hard to get the required support.
Are you in search of a no-nonsense tool for enjoying your favorite tracks? If yes, then you shouldn’t look beyond Audacious. It has a highly functional, yet absolutely simple single window user interface. It’s one of the most user friendly audio players currently in use. You will only need to add the music library folders. The rest will be done by the software. It will load the tracks up for playback along with all the related details (album, artist’s name etc.). The information will show up in different columns. There will be a horizontal bar right at the screen’s bottom featuring “Now Playing” facts along with spectrum visualizer and album art.
The search functionality of Audacious is amazingly powerful. You will need just a fraction of a second to locate the track you are looking for. Some other useful features of the player include shuffle/crossfade, supplicate track removal, advanced playlist support, tag editor and so on. In addition, you will be allowed to extend the feature set of Audacious by downloading plug-ins. One of the most interesting features you will be able to add in form of a plug-in is the option of vocal removal.
Audacious is compatible to most file formats including OGG, AAC, WAV, WMA and FLAC. It is not weighed down by incorporating unnecessary options.
Some users feel deprived as they are not allowed to include their own categories to the sorting fields.
6. MediaMonkey Standard
You might have a tough time getting accustomed with MediaMonkey Standard. It’s because this audio player is filled with a plethora of complex, but impressive features. However, the scenario will start changing the moment you will become familiar with this software.
MediaMonkey keeps scanning all library folders for changes and whenever any change is detected the player updates the collection automatically. The other most interesting features of the player are the option of automatic metadata tagging and advanced playlist support.
MediaMonkey Standard supports the majority of the digital audio formats currently in use, particularly the ones enjoying maximum popularity among users. Some of the formats it supports are FLAC, AAC, MP3, etc. In addition, the software also possess the ability of ripping audio CDs. The program can even be used for downloading podcasts and tracking metadata.
Only the standard version of MediaMonkey can be downloaded for free. If you want to use the more advanced features such as auto playlist, custom music collection etc, you will have to download MediaMonkey Gold (the premium version of the player), which is a paid download.
When it comes to versatility, there are few other free audio players for Windows that can outscore Clementine. This program allows users to add their entire collection of music and organize it effortlessly. This is possible only due to the amazing library management features of the software. Another remarkable quality of Clementine is its ability of directly searching the songs uploaded in various cloud storage applications like Google Drive and Dropbox and playing them. As a user, you will only need to sign into the cloud storage application. The job of adding the detected audio files to your playlist/library will be done automatically by Clementine. Clementine will also allow you to listen to internet radio and streaming music from various online services such as Jamendo, Spotify and Soundcloud.
Clementine is compatible to a series of audio file formats including WAV, AAC, MP3 and FLAC. If required, the program will even allow you to convert music files into formats like FLAC and MP3.
Clementine is known for its potent playlist management features. The program comes with the ability of downloading missing metadata such a music genre, artist name, name of the album etc. automatically. It usually does so from online databases such as Last.fm and MusicBrainz.
You’ll be disappointed if you are looking for a functional sync feature.
It’s a basic audio player for Windows that can be downloaded free of cost. You can use XMPlay to play audio files of a range of formats. Although the majority of the people using this program are happy with its performance, there are some who believe that its design can still be improved. However, that doesn’t mean that XMPlay has an awful interface. It has a pretty compact design that’s soothing to the eyes. However, some people have a problem with it as compact design also means small sliders and buttons, which often makes using the program slightly tedious. If this aspect of the interface is ignored, XMPlay can be described as a user friendly audio player.
Some of the most useful features of XMPlay are pan/volume ramping and interpolation, reverb, automatic gain control, five-band equalizer, skin support and so on.
The biggest advantage of using this audio player is its petite size. It occupies very little drive space. In addition, the latest version of XMPlay will take just a few minutes of your precious time for getting installed. Download the program and unzip the files and folders; that’s all you will have to do to start listening to your favorite songs and instrumentals.
As mentioned above, XMPlay supports a series of audio formats, which include WMA, MP3, OGG, UMX, MOD, MO3, XM etc. In addition, the program also supports ASX, M3U and PLS playlists. XMPlay also supports online streaming.
Its compact interface, which is loved by many, turns out to be a disadvantage for some. The developers may think of making the sliders and buttons a bit bigger without making the UI too clumsy.