East of the Sun, West of the Moon

2005/9/24

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 5:59 pm

Having acquired a distinct frustration with how NFS was no longer behaving for me recently I’ve started to look around for alternatives, or in this particular case I was looking for clients that might adapt better over NFS or its alternatives (ftp or Samba based pseudo-filesystems).

The alternatives I tested:

  • Whamb – Development on this one appears to have stalled or stopped, version 1.2 is the most recent one available. It’s decent looking but I’ve been unable to load my entire music collection into a playlist, it crashes somewhere past 3000 entries and that’s just not good enough.
  • Cog – A barebones player (still in beta, mind you) that is capable of loading the entire list at least. The downside is that it (version 0.04c) does not cache any meta information so when restarting it it takes a (long) while to request it all over again, especially when the files aren’t actually local. It also doesn’t seem to have a very big input or output buffer which can cause the audio to stutter when the machine is under some CPU load. It has all the basics in place otherwise.
  • MacAmp Lite X – Another discontinued player. Looks good but seems to want to buffer way more than its settings would indicate, causing music to stall when switching tracks (that aren’t on the local HD, as usual). Impressive set of plugins for input, output, sound-effects, etc.
  • Audion – Yet Another Discontinued Audio Player. Yup. Looks good, plays well, has a nice collection of skins to pick from, several useful plugins, and now that NFS (or rather, the network) is up to snuff again, sufficiently fast to start up as well (it actually stores the meta-data).

I’m sure there are others worth investigating but I’ve only looked for freeware players that can at least play MP3 and Ogg Vorbis, which reduces the playing field a bit.

Given the lacking of caching of Cog, the inability of Whamb to load my entire playlist, and the insistence of MacAmp Lite X to read the entire track when starting to play it, I’m sticking to Audion when it comes to listening to my entire collection (so Ogg Vorbis tracks included). Until I find a solution that also manages the podcasts I’ll be using iTunes for that, still.

When I hear or read about other options that satisfy the abovementioned requirements, I’ll definitely test them and write about it here.

Now playing: The Clash – London Calling

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