Don’t you just hate it when a music player is so bloated that it takes forever to install, even longer to load, and slows your computer down to unbearable speeds? There are some lightweight music players out there, like Foobar2000 (our Foobar2000 review) and GOM Audio (our review), but maybe you don’t like them for whatever reasons. Well, have you heard of Jaangle?
Jaangle flew under my radar until a MakeUseOf reader, DiogoCosta, recommended it as his personal favorite program for light, simple, and efficient music playing. Seeing as how Jaangle was originally known as Teen Spirit, I was a bit skeptical at first, but it turns out that Jaangle is a fantastic program worthy of your attention. If you have any reservations about this one, put them aside and check it out.
On first glance, Jaangle looks simple. It’s not minimal by any means, but you can tell that there wasn’t much of a graphical budget behind this program’s development – which, frankly, is fine. Jaangle was created by a single developer and released for free with the source openly available. For what it is, the aesthetics are as good as can be.
My immediate impression: Jaangle is indeed very fast. The interface is simple and grows on you over time. The layout of it can be customized, but the process isn’t drag-and-drop and thus not very intuitive. Otherwise, my overall impression is very good. It has the speed and flexibility to be a real contender in the lightweight music player genre.
During your first run of the program, Jaangle will ask you if you want to automatically import media into the player. If you say Yes, you’ll be asked to select a folder or folders on your drive(s), then Jaangle will scan through all sub-directories and import available audio files. I was up and running in less than a minute thanks to this feature.
Jaangle gives a solid delivery when it comes to the basic features you’d expect from a music player. In some cases, “lightweight” might be synonymous with “stripped down” and “bare essentials only,” but not here.
- Multiple panes. You can enable or disable seven different panes in the interface. You have to add new panes relative to a current pane, which is why the layout setup can be a bit difficult to get just right, but there’s a level of flexibility here that’s great.
- Multiple collections. Jaangle is one of the few music players that can handle multiple collections. Typically, you would separate your entire music library into different playlists, but Jaangle lets you subdivide a library (or multiple libraries) into collections, which you can then browse independently of one another.
- Information retrieval. For music files with incomplete data, Jaangle can pull information automatically from Amazon (album covers and album reviews), Last.FM (album covers, artist bios, artist photos), and Google (song lyrics).
- Tag editor. Jaangle doesn’t have the most sophisticated tag editor – in fact, it’s a little more basic than the average music player – but it does have one that you can use to manage your library. If you need something more advanced, check out one of these music library management tools.
- Global hotkeys. Control your music even when Jaangle isn’t the focus window. Global hotkeys are so convenient that nowadays it could be a dealbreaker to not have them. Fortunately, they’re available here and quite useful.
- Visualizations. Jaangle utilizes Winamp’s AVS system for creating eye-catching visualizations. There are a few default ones that come packaged with the program, but you can also add more by scripting your own AVS visualizations or downloading them from the web.
- Skins. Jaangle comes with dozens of different color schemes along with the ability to edit or create your own. It’s very easy to set it up so that Jaangle matches the colors of the rest of your operating system.
- Mini player. For those times you don’t need to manage or browse a playlist and instead you just want the player tucked away into the edge of the screen.
And for those of you who are more adventurous or demanding of your music players, Jaangle does have a few advanced features that you can use to wring out every last drop of value from this awesome program.
- Equalizer. Jaangle comes with a built-in 3-band equalizer, which may seem a bit dinky if you’re used to 5-band, 8-band, or even 12-band equalizers, but I’d have to say that Jaangle’s 3 bands have proven themselves more effective than any other equalizer I’ve tried. In this case, less is more.
- Advanced search. You can use Jaangle’s advanced library search options and filters to quickly find songs. Potential filters include song titles, artists, albums, and even lyrics (if you have them downloaded). You can even search for songs based on the ratings you’ve given them OR by the date you added them to your library.
- History tracking. Jaangle will keep track of your recent plays, your most played songs, your most played artists, and you can filter through this history based on date, title, and artist. Not a core feature but I can see it coming in handy sometimes.
- Online scrobbling. With Jaangle, you can scrobble in two ways: using native Last.FM scrobbling support OR through Jaangle’s own online scrobbling service. The latter is in beta and it may not last forever, but Last.FM scrobbling works just as well.
- Music quiz game. There’s a cool little game in Jaangle that plays clips from various songs in your library and presents 4 possible song titles. The goal of the game is to guess as many songs correctly within 60 seconds. It’s a fun distraction when you have nothing else to do – and, surprisingly, it’s actually fun.
All in all, Jaangle may not be the prettiest music player on the block, but it has a deceptively dense set of features that will make your music-listening experience as good as it can be. Jaangle falls in line with other lightweight players, like Foobar2000, as it has fast performance and doesn’t take up many resources. I definitely recommend giving it a go if you haven’t done so already.
What do you think of Jaangle? If you’ve used it before, would you recommend it? If not, what’s keeping you from trying it out? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Image Credits: freeimages.co.uk