Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

These days, I mostly stick to Spotify for streaming my favorite music and Pandora for discovering new music This Smart Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh This Smart Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh Pandora is a great music service, but sometimes your stations get a little stale. Here's an easy way to improve them without any effort. Read More . Gone are the days of downloading gigabytes of data and trying to fit them all on a device. Now I can just listen to whatever I want, wherever I want, as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection.

But there are benefits to downloading music instead The Pros And Cons Of Streaming vs Downloading MP3s The Pros And Cons Of Streaming vs Downloading MP3s I've been a long-time user of streaming music services – from Pandora, to the now defunct online music locker Lala.com, and now as a monthly subscriber to Rdio.com. If you have a computer and a... Read More . The best one? Being able to play music even when you don’t have internet access. You also only need to download songs once (which preserves bandwidth) and you can keep your music forever (as long as you don’t delete any of it).

If you’re going that route, you now have a decision to make: which music player are you going to use? Truthfully, there are a lot of great ones out there, but here are the ones we’ve found to be the best.

1. foobar2000

As far as I’m concerned, foobar2000 is one of the wonders of Windows. It launched way back in 2002, making it one of the oldest surviving apps that people still recognize. And in all that time, it has avoided the biggest mistakes that most apps make: losing focus, becoming bloated, and not staying relevant.

We praised the virtues of foobar2000 several years ago, and still sing those praises today. It’s lightweight enough to let you listen to music on any system, no matter how old, without bogging down performance. And it’s simple enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed. Yet, it’s extensible through plugins, so you can incorporate new functionality if you want.

Advertisement

There’s a reason why we have it on our list of Best Windows Software. And as long as it doesn’t lose its way or make any huge mistakes, it will stay in that spot for years to come.

Notable features include:

  • Lightweight interface is fast, responsive, and customizable.
  • Supports all major audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WMA, and you can always add more support by installing components.
  • Transcodes between all supported audio formats.
  • Accepts third-party plugins.
  • ReplayGain and gapless playback.
  • Advanced media tagging.
  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts.

Downloadfoobar2000 (Free)

2. MusicBee

MusicBee calls itself the ultimate music manager and player, and based on what I’ve seen, it deserves that description. This player really cares about delivering the best music experience it possibly can and giving you the tools to tweak everything to your liking.

Perhaps the best thing about MusicBee, which seems to be missing from a lot of music players these days, is the lively and active community around it. The forums have thousands of active members and hundreds of new posts every day — not just for support, but also for user-contributed content like plugins, skins, tips, and tricks.

Notable features include:

  • 10-band and 15-band equalizers for maximum audio quality.
  • Automatically tags your music for instant organization.
  • Handles WASAPI for serious audiophiles with high-end audio equipment.
  • Supports skins and plugins.
  • Imports iTunes and Windows Media libraries.
  • ReplayGain and gapless playback.
  • Available on Android and Windows Phone for mobile sync and playback.

DownloadMusicBee (Free for personal use)

3. Winamp

If you can believe it, Winamp is even older than foobar2000 — by more than five years! Having launched in 1997, the road has been bumpy at times, and Winamp nearly shut down altogether back in 2013. But the current version as of this writing is pretty good. If you ever gave up on Winamp, now might be a good time to try it out again.

That said, Winamp has always been a love-it-or-hate-it kind of program. It’s packed full of features that are definitely useful, but the interface is unique and some consider it to be a bloated mess that received too many unnecessary additions over the years. But is it terrible? Not at all.

Notable features include:

  • Supports all major audio and video formats, including AAC, AIFF, FLAC, FLV, MKV, MP3, MP4, OGG, WAV, WEBM, WMA, WMV.
  • Handles skins and plugins.
  • Imports iTunes libraries.
  • Discover new artists with dynamic song recommendations.
  • Smart views and dynamic playlists for variety.
  • Available on Android for mobile sync and playback.

DownloadWinamp (Freemium)

4. MediaMonkey

MediaMonkey is crazy useful for anyone who has a massive media library — we’re talking hundreds of thousands of songs. A lot of music players slow down and choke when trying to manage and process that much data, but MediaMonkey handles it with aplomb.

The downside to MediaMonkey, if you can even call it a downside, is that it’s perhaps too advanced for a lot of users. Not that it’s tough to use, but the interface can be a bit overwhelming to navigate, especially if you’re used to something more streamlined like foobar2000 or Winamp. Overall, however, MediaMonkey’s feature set is impressive and worthwhile.

Notable features include:

  • Supports all major audio and video formats, including AAC, FLAC, MKV, MP3, MP4, OGG, WAV, WMA, WMV. Also has a WASAPI plugin for serious audiophiles with high-end audio equipment.
  • Handles transcoding between most supported audio formats.
  • ReplayGain and gapless playback.
  • Jukebox and Auto-DJ features for parties and public events.
  • Advanced media tagging, including auto-identification of songs.
  • Batch and automatic renaming of filenames according to your preferred pattern.
  • Available on Android and iOS for mobile sync and playback.

DownloadMediaMonkey (Freemium)

5. Dopamine

You may not have heard of Dopamine before. Most people haven’t, which is such a shame. Because this nifty little music player specifically targets Windows users. It aims to provide a solid music-playing experience with all of the essentials and none of the bloat.

If you ever used Zune Player, you’ll feel right at home.

Dopamine has a dark and light theme as well as an accent color (which can be set as a custom color or it can automatically match your Windows accent color). Point it to however many music library folders you have and it will automatically update based on changes therein. Simple and straightforward.

Notable features include:

  • Extremely simple and lightweight, essentially barebones.
  • Supports the following audio formats: AAC, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, and WMA.
  • Convenient quick controls in the Taskbar, the system tray, and notifications.
  • Multiple player modes, including cover, micro, and nano modes.
  • Works well on desktop and mobile versions of Windows 10.

DownloadDopamine (Free)

A Final Note on VLC and Groove Music

These two are suspiciously missing from this list. One is a favorite of fans all around the world and the other comes pre-installed on all modern Windows systems. Why did we exclude them?

VLC is an excellent way to play media, but it’s more of a video player The Top 5 Free Media Players for Windows The Top 5 Free Media Players for Windows Strong media player apps always rise to the top and it's not important which one you use. The best media player for you is the one you most enjoy using. We suggest the following... Read More than a music player, whereas some of the apps we highlighted above are music players first and video players second. This is most evident in the interface, which is better suited for video management than music management. But it’s also apparent from the heavy feature set, which may not be desirable for simple music playback.

Groove Music is okay as well, but perhaps a little too primitive at the moment. You can play local music with it but the interface is a bit too clunky to recommend. However, if this article was expanded to include 10 apps, Groove Music would absolutely be on there.

For now, I’d only use this player if you’re also subscribed to Groove Music Pass, which lets you stream millions of songs like Spotify or Apple Music.

At the end of the day, it comes down to whatever you like best. So which one is your favorite and why? Share your thoughts with us in a comment below! And if you think we missed a great app, please let us know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Dwayne
    February 24, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Not a mention of AIMP the small and great music player?

    • Liiverr
      February 26, 2017 at 6:53 am

      +1

  2. David
    February 24, 2017 at 8:04 am

    What about Clementine? It's cross platform and works on windows too.

  3. Kenneth Knudsen
    February 23, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I used to love Winamp, but no more. Its bloated in my opinion, the interface is too crowded. Now I'm using AIMP3, and have been for a few years now, it's sleek both in design and on memory usage. You can get all sorts of skins for it to make it look like whatever you want. I love the multiple playlist feature, currently i have two open, one for all my online radio channels, and one for my music library.

    http://www.aimp.ru

  4. Hilsz
    February 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    iXMPlay with Jammix Enhancer is my choice for music playing and radio streaming.

  5. Doc
    February 22, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    I'm fond of Spider Player - the author made the "pro" version free (by posting a universal serial number on the site), it's portable, compatible with Winamp 2 (fixed format) skins, supports HD Audio (24-bit mixing and playback), and works quite well.

  6. Ron
    February 22, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I have been using WinAmp since windows 3.1 days. I love how I can view my music library and easily search and make plays lists. It's also great to add music to my thumb drive which I use in the car. I have not sync'd music to my android over the network in some time. However, when I did it worked great.

    love WinAmp
    "it really kicks the lamas ass"