Every month or so, I’ll come across a piece of software hidden in the depths of the internet that really hits me as a surprise. How are some of these applications so unpopular?
I’ve preached on my loyalty to Winamp Lite in a previous article. It’s old and many would consider it to even be deprecated, but it’s always done the job for me. When I’m listening to music downloaded to a local drive, I don’t need Spotify or iTunes in charge of my music. However, for the past week, I’ve slowly started to fall in love with a new, free, and portable alternative to Winamp Lite that seems to incorporate the same elements of simplicity while also offering some really awesome extra functionality. Let me tell you about Hokrain!
First worth mentioning is the website that Hokrain calls home. Though I’ll echo and help explain much of it in this article, Hokrain’s website is one of the best examples of a one-pager that I’ve ever seen. All of the information that you’d be interested in, including a direct link to download the application, exists on a single page.
It saves you from wasting time and makes you want to download and give it a try. It’s one click away and you know everything that it has to offer, so why not?
Hokrain is completely portable and can be run from a flash drive. Hokrain runs perfectly on any version of Windows, from 98 onward. It’ll cost your disk 600 KB of space and I’ve yet to see it go over about 7 MB in RAM usage. Compared to one of the applications I mentioned earlier, Spotify or iTunes, the difference in resource intensity is extremely significant.
Out of the box, Hokrain’s interface is very simple and clean.
One quick glance and you’re able to see practically everything you need to begin listening to your music. Hokrain supports the following formats:
Navigate to a folder, double-click a track, and it will immediately begin playing.
Let’s break down a few of the more interesting parts of the audio player’s interface:
- Hokrain has a nice CPU usage monitor that shows just how much processing power it is consuming while playing. It’s near the top-right of the interface, and just 0.42% in the above screenshot.
- Hokrain’s volume slider is very large, running all the way up the right side of the interface. Unlike many audio players, it’s vertical rather than horizontal. Being so large, it really allows you to easily set an exact volume percentage, if you’re into round numbers like me.
- There is also a quality spectrum that lets you visualize the current track’s visual quality.
- Below the spectrum, you’re able to graphically seek your track. Some audio players have a simple slider that lets you seek through the track, but a graphical seeker really lets you pinpoint a particular part of a song at just a glance. No more hearing around and wasting time to get to the part of a song that you want.
The application’s settings are filled with goodies. Hokrain comes stocked with six different themes that you can choose from. Here is the Windows XP theme:
The General tab offers a lot of information and lets you set more than just your theme. There is an OSD (on-screen display) every time you change tracks to notify you of what is currently being played. It can be turned on or off. You are then able to toy with shell integration options, your tray icon, and a few other small tweaks.
Another great thing about Hokrain lies within the two Hot Keys tabs.
If you’re using a media player, you need to use hotkeys. It’s just that simple. Hokrain supports a ridiculous amount of hotkeys that let you control playing, stopping, pausing, muting, seeking, and plenty more. I’d argue that there are possibly even too many hotkeys!
The coolest part of the settings is something that I’d consider to be a “quality of life” feature, one that isn’t exactly necessary but it’s really nice to have: Scrobbler.
If you’re not big on Last.fm, Hokrain lets you keep local records on what tracks you play, how long you’ve listened to them, and how many times you’ve played them. You can sort these records to make out what your favorite songs are. It’s just an example of Hokrain thinking outside the box and doing more than the average audio player.
Hokrain is an audio player that I’m happy I’ve found. Even if you’re pleased with your current audio player, it’s a piece of software really worth appreciating. Give it a try and see if you like it. Let me know what you think in the comments!