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best mp3 playersThere are some desktop applications that suck the nostalgia right out of our hearts. mIRC maybe? Off the top of my head: AOL Instant Messenger, Paint Shop Pro, BearShare, WS_FTP, ICQ, and RealPlayer. Most of these are considered to be dinosaurs by today’s standards. Another name that may ring bells is Winamp.

When you weren’t using Napster’s built-in capabilities, what were you using to listen to all of those MP3s you downloaded? My bet is either Windows Media Player or Winamp. It’s 2012 and I’m still using the same Winamp that was around way back then. Why get rid of a good thing? Consider this article to be my pitch to get you to go back to using one of the web’s simplest media players!

Winamp Lite is still my MP3 player of choice. But why?

The Interface

Take a look at the face of Winamp Lite and compare it to other media players you can think of.

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It’s so small and compact and achieves exactly what it needs to. The above screenshot shows all available “windows” of the interface aside from the equalizer (which I’ve never made much use of). Now, you and I both know why an all-around media player would need a more bold and busy interface. If you’re trying to watch a movie, perhaps VLC is a better choice. If you’re looking to load and listen to an MP3 playlist, how can it get any better than this?


The buttons across the bottom allow you to add tracks, load playlists, and more. Changing the volume, enabling shuffle and repeat, and basic controls like starting and pausing your music is obvious to any user from one of the tiniest little interfaces you’ll ever see.

Very Lightweight

Right now, I’ve got a playlist of 3,314 songs actively shuffling and Winamp is only eating at 10MB of memory.

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To put that into perspective, my Task Manager process itself (used to find that info) is at 15MB. Firefox, with a few add-ons and around 10 tabs open, is well over 500MB. Winamp Lite should definitely be considered a preferable media player for those of you using netbooks!

Extensive Options

For an application that is so light and simple, Winamp Lite has a lot going for it underneath the hood.

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The above screenshot goes to show how customizable the application really is. You’re able to change how Winamp interacts with Windows Explorer, change how Winamp preloads ID3 information of your playlists, play with your playback preferences to tweak Winamp to optimal performance, and more.

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Winamp also has an entire library of skins and plugins for you to check out, many of which work in the Lite version. Installing plugins is as simple as dragging and dropping files included in an archive into a folder in the Winamp directory. As the screen shows in the screenshot above, you’re able to customize them.

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One feature that I think every media player should have is hotkey support. Winamp Lite does it perfectly. Global hotkeys can interact with your keyboard or with a combination of modifiers and keys.

MP3 hoarders, what more are you looking for in a media player? Winamp Lite is clean, light on resources, and takes care of every technical aspect you’ll need to effectively control your listening experience. Let me know what you think of Winamp Lite in the comments. I know some of you still use it!

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