perjantai 5. marraskuuta 2010

State of Linux audio players

(Last updated: 2.8.2012)

I've been looking for a good music player for advanced users. I have a large music collection (hundreds of gigs) on a server which is mounted over sshfs. My requirements are

- iTunes like UI based on tags - NOT file names and directories.
- Ability to scan the large connection over and sshfs share in reasonable time.
- Must not forget the whole database if the network share is  down temporarily.
- Stay responsive. All programmers know that you shouldn't do any potentially long operations in UI thread, but most players seem to do so.
- Ability to edit tags. A large part of collection is either untagged or wrongly tagged.

- Allow multiple locations to be selected for library.
- Some kind of indicator about what the scanner is doing. Ability to force re-scan of collection.

And now to the players:

Rhythmbox (Updated 30.7.2012)

The Gnome's default music player. UI is pretty slick and nice. Works pretty well, except tagging files doesn't work at all (Unable to save song information - Timeout was reached). And sometimes grays out a little bit.
If the network gets congested, Rhythmbox's UI gets totally confused and grays out. Looks like file operations are done in UI thread. This is the player i use the most, as on good day it can scan the full collection and be usable.

Amarok 2.5.0

Started scanning the library nicely and UI stays responsive. After 6 hours the
scanner progress bar hasn't moved at all and there are 0 tracks in collection.

Quod Libet

I selected the library directory and hit "Reload Library". 0 files found. Maybe it doesn't understand symlinks?
Ok, let's try playing from file system. I enter the library directory and.. The player grays out for a couple of minutes. The UI is very slow.. maybe it's scanning after all? I'll never know as i kill it.


I add the library directory. Ui grays out just a little bit but says "Scanning collection..".
After a while it still is scanning and has found 0 songs. The Radio tab seems to work and i can play a Shoutcast radio while waiting. UI is slow, so looks like some processing is done in the UI thread.
I left exaile scanning for the weekend. On monday morning it was still scanning at 0%.

Banshee (Tested 23.11.2011, Ubuntu Oneiric)

UI seems very nice and possibly even better than Rhythmbox so this player gives a lot of hope. I added the collection directory and the app started scanning very nicely. Now, after almost 24 hours it displays 78%, uses 3.3 gigabytes of memory and is very unresponsive.

Nightingale (Tested 30.7.2012)

Download link and the ppa advertised do not work, so unable to test.

Clementine (Tested 2.8.2012)

UI looks nice and might be a good player if it works. Unfortunately it doesn't. It starts updating library and gets to 99% soon.. but the percentage drops to 85% and then back up.. until it repeadetly drops down. During scanning it doesn't add anything to library to be playable so it's impossible to see if it is really progressing.  To give it a chance i left it running overnight. After over 24 hours of scanning it is "Updating library 98%" and i decide to quit it.


They all suck, more or less. Let me know if you find any good player to be added here. I'll try to update this post whenever i test new players.

1 kommentti:

Unknown kirjoitti...

I have been using quodlibet for exactly this task. I have never been able to get it to scan my whole library remotely and I never really tried. What I have done was scan locally on the machine I sshfs into and then copy the songs file over.It's still a little bit slow to respond and all, but it works decently well at playing and editing tags. Updating the library with new songs is a little bit harder.