Hokrain Is The Coolest Audio Player That You’ve Never Heard Of [Windows]

Craig Snyder 17-02-2013

audio playerEvery 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!

Download 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.

audio player

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.

free audio player

One quick glance and you’re able to see practically everything you need to begin listening to your music. Hokrain supports the following formats:

  • MP3
  • MP2
  • MP1
  • MPA
  • OGG
  • WAV
  • AIFF
  • MO3
  • IT
  • XM
  • S3M
  • MTM
  • MOD
  • UMX
  • AAC
  • AC3
  • APE
  • MAC
  • CDA
  • FLAC
  • MIDI
  • MID
  • RMI
  • KAR
  • MPC
  • MP+
  • MPP
  • TTA
  • WMA
  • WV

Navigate to a folder, double-click a track, and it will immediately begin playing.


free audio player

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:
free audio player

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.


cool audio player

Another great thing about Hokrain lies within the two Hot Keys tabs.

cool audio player

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.

audio player

If you’re not big on LastFM Free Music Downloads: Discover New Music by Downloading Free MP3s Read More , 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!

Related topics: Media Player, Portable App.

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  1. Shane Marcus
    January 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    AIMP 3 sounds the best of all players there are out there for free... I have never tried any that you have to pay for...

    You cannot beat AIMP 3

  2. Donald Ajaps
    February 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Is this player good? Maybe. It's simple, clean, fast, blah blah blah. . . Buh what happens when that's just not enough - of which it hardly ever is right? What happens when I wanna use playlists, artworks, edit metadata, etc.? Because come on, if all I wanna do is "listen" I need only plug my headset into my smartphone and have at it right? I know most modern players are resource huggers, but so what? I've never had ma system slow down simply because I was listening to some music on iTunes, VLC or MPC-HC (Zune though, maybe) and I use a Netbook at the moment which has jus' 1.66GHz and what not (an Acer One). Video playback is what usually leads to such. If simplicity's just it, like you want a "clean" interface, then sure, go for it. But if that's not the case, I really don't see how this here player supercedes any of the aforementioned, especially VLC Media player.

    P.S.: Sorry for elaborating, couldn't help it. :-)

  3. Mäcky Llöyd Degala
    February 23, 2013 at 6:03 am

    hmm.. i prefer VLC than this because its a package player for both video or music.

  4. Ariel
    February 21, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Mediamonkey FTW.
    You can make it incredibly stripped down or it can handle advanced poweruser scripting. Supports loads of hotkeys, formats and library management functions.

  5. Premarin
    February 20, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Just try XMPlay. You wont go to any other player for mp3.

    Its default theme is very boring. Just try some themes.

  6. Keith Swartz
    February 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Another audio player. Must check it out, fairly. Thanks.

  7. mark fraunhofer
    February 20, 2013 at 5:13 am

    If you would like to change your mind one more time... download a DSP plugin for Winamp named Ozone MP, you can find it free on Winamp site. Sadly Izotope is no longer selling the full version of it, but I have a full version, bought it years and years ago. It blows my mind every time how good it makes the music sound. Biggest regret is that there is no way to use it with a portable player. Izotope makes some killer sound applications, lately I started using one of their basic ones for cleaning up voice and music files, when I can afford it I'm getting their RX 2 Advanced.

  8. gaset
    February 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Winamp, cliche and the best ever, simple and user friendly.

  9. kammak743
    February 19, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I have always used vlc if I am listening to just a few songs in a row or songbird if I am having a long listening session. Now hokrain is used for both mainly because of its incredibly low resource usage (only 7mb compared to the many 100 of songbird)

  10. Xeon Shu
    February 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    but still lack of what I want: a lyric display

  11. Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo
    February 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Seems great, but like most said, it looks a lot like AIMP3. It's not really like most of us want to fix something that's not broken :)

    That said, I think I'll try this on my 'dying' computer which isn't in a that well shape.
    Thanks for sharing this great back-up, in case AIMP3 fails in the future :)

  12. Eric
    February 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Barely makes it into the green in WOT ...

  13. dmachop
    February 18, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Yuck! Interface-less player. Thought winamp was more functional or even aimp3!

  14. GF
    February 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Music from YouTube and similar is often disgusting. It's the perfect example of "digital" sound in the worst sense of the word: cold, cutting, caustic, harsh, metallic. Who has refined ears surely understands what I say.
    I am still looking for a player/tool able to soften that sound.
    Is there something for me?

  15. AHMalik
    February 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    And I use Irfanviewer; runs a lot of picture formats; audios; video; flash; and a deep app for pictures much more to work-on ...

  16. ion popa
    February 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    The simplest audio player I've ever found was Apollo ( ) which I used for a while. Let's try out Hokrain now...

  17. AriesWarlock
    February 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    If I am not mistaken that's the FF7 OST, nice! I wonder if this player works with DFX because I am using it with Winamp and it's better than other players at the moment for me.

  18. AHMalik
    February 17, 2013 at 5:44 pm


    Before your certain bloggers claimed to to bring hidden jewels deep in internet.

    I posted my replies to like: The software which changed /made easy your life
    etc. etc. but never found a single comment from them till now.

    There were lot of such small programs and I am using those still from the era of previous millennium. Some started just from their student life and was only for 1 item say view pictures and now it is a versatile MM job and free.

    A archive app in the reign of Winzip ; while Winzip was still in the age of Spanning files on floppies; and it offered the splitter + archiving a folder or a Directory; all free

    and like ...

    Thanks any how to bring one now.
    Hope for future ...


  19. Bilal Ahmed
    February 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    very small and very useful music app. thanks

  20. Ashutosh Dave
    February 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Will it scrobble songs across Currently, I am enjoying using foobar!

    • Craig Snyder
      March 1, 2013 at 5:14 am

      It won't, but I'd suggest such a feature to every developer from here on who creates any sort of audio player.

  21. Richard Steven Hack
    February 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    The reason it's relatively unknown is that there are about fifty million "audio players" out there. One more just gets lost in the crowd.

    I'll probably download it and add it to the pile I have, since it's portable and appears pretty clean in user interface.

    I run Linux anyway, but Windows for portable stuff. On Linux I just use VLC. I used to use Kaffeine but it went bonkers on me at one point so I had to uninstall it. Actually I use VLC for movies, but I use Exaile for audio - because it has a simple directory browse that stays open on my music directory so all I have to do is click on a file name to play the file. That's why I was using Kaffeine before - it had the same feature. VLC requires you to open a directory browser.

    I never use these complicated music players that have fifty million ways to set up playlists that don't match how *I* listen to music - which is one at a time selected manually. I also hate "music libraries" - all my music is under one directory structure and I know where everything is already. Most of those programs try to force you into doing things "their way", rather than how you want to do it.

  22. Gary Volk
    February 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Well, didn't like it. Too slow browsing to networked drives, kind of ugly looking interface as well. I'll stick with MPC-HC.

  23. Gary Volk
    February 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    "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."

    You make a statement like that, but you don't back it up with anything. What's a scrobbler and why is it a "quality of life" feature. Pretty much I use media monkey to manage my local music, heck ALL my music is local. When I have wanted to get to it remotely I've used Orb and a web browser. I've used WinAmp, but feel as you've stated that it's "old", it does not bring anything new to the table. For quick listening, I'll browse to the songs I want in explorer and play it in MPC-HC or VLC. I just downloaded Hokrain and will give it a try.

    • Craig Snyder
      March 1, 2013 at 5:13 am

      The paragraph just below that one explains what a scrobbler is and what the exact feature offers.

      • Gary Volk
        March 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

        Not really, you say its "Quality of Life" show a picture of scrobbler, which as far as I can tell looks like a media library function, which is useless if you have to go into the options to access. The next paragraph starts about lastfm and statistics, you never backed up that statement or explained what a scrobbler is. What am I missing? Why would I want to use Hokrain and this quality of life feature? What does it do that would make me want to use it? Not trying to come across rude or anything, I'm just trying to understand why you think this program, and that feature in particular, is so great to make me give it a second chance. Thank you.

  24. raymond mcnatt
    February 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    downloaded and installed

  25. Vic Benson
    February 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I'm a fan of jaangle and I think I will stay with it.

  26. Scott Macmillan
    February 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I always use VLC.This doesn't really give me a reason to switch.

  27. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    February 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I stop searching for media player after I have Billy and Daum Potplayer. By the way, nice to meet other Uematsu fan.

  28. Ray
    February 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for the find. Though I remain a staunch fan of Winamp, I will give it a try.

  29. Anonymous
    February 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I'd still use aimp!

    • Anonymous
      February 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

      no, i just installed and set it to default!!!!!!!!!

  30. Nevzat Akkaya
    February 17, 2013 at 6:58 am

    My favs was AIMP and foobar2000, but I think I have to try this too. Thanks.

  31. Koshy George
    February 17, 2013 at 4:29 am

    I use VLC for everything.

  32. Pax
    February 17, 2013 at 3:53 am

    I don't bother with music players but this one I have to try. I'm impressed that it went out of its' way to support old-school MOD (and the other tracker formats) as well as MIDI. Portable, compatible with Win98 and up, small size... Really nice find!

  33. Harshit Jain
    February 17, 2013 at 3:23 am

    I have just installed VLC player forgot about anything like other media players. It just plays everything!

  34. bin
    February 17, 2013 at 3:15 am

    AIMP3 is much better

    • Santosh Mitra
      February 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

      There is another alternative for Hokrain - "WinyL". Works well with all popular media formats.

  35. bin
    February 17, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Don't you ever hear about AIMP3? Unbeatable since few years in Music Players category.