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I’m always on the hunt for new music players. Nothing has completely satisfied me yet, though some programs have gotten close. Whatever is the next, newest, coolest, still-undiscovered music player – I want it. And I’m lucky that I found GOM Audio because, based on my impression so far, it fits the bill quite squarely.
GOM Audio is from the makers of GOM Video, a Windows media player that seems to have more clout over in Korea than in the West. Personally, the only reason I know GOM Video exists is because it has ties to competitive Starcraft 2 video streaming – or something like that – and GOM Video always felt clunky to me. But GOM Audio? Boy, they’ve done something right because this is a music player that could really catch on.
GOM Music Player Interface
After installing GOM Audio, this is the welcoming interface that you’ll see: the main player on the left and an introductory panel on the right. If you’re still wondering what GOM Audio does exactly, it tells you right there: a lightweight audio player designed to make it easy to listen to music on your computer. I can dig it.
A cursory glance at the GOM Audio welcome screen evokes in me one feeling: this audio player is clean. The interface design is minimal in the sense that it doesn’t use flashy gradients or rounded edges. Everything is a straight line, all of the colors are evenly toned, and the contrast is pleasant on the eyes.
This is an interface that has been designed well because I find myself wanting to look at it. Sure, the layout may be reminiscent of something like Winamp, but GOM Audio has captured an element that takes it to the next level.
Speaking of layouts, GOM Audio’s way of positioning interface elements is easy and intuitive. Things that immediately stick out to me: icons are extremely good at conveying their meaning, consistent interface design, and clear demarcation between sections. All of these things make for enjoyable music listening.
GOM Audio has a few tiny details that may not seem like big deals, but really improve on convenience. First, the playlist switching buttons – simple but effective. Second, the total playlist time length displayed at the bottom. Third, a mode changer for the top player portion so you can customize the way it looks.
As you might have guessed by now, GOM Audio is not a music library. It’s a music player. If you’re looking for something like iTunes, then you’ll need to look elsewhere. GOM Audio is more of a playlist manager.
GOM Audio comes with three prepackaged skins: the brown-and-orange skin in the prior screenshots, this rounded white skin above, and a third compact skin that gets rid of everything but the actual player buttons. It’s not the greatest variety, but I really love the default one, so I don’t have much room to complain.
Though you can add new GOM Audio skins, and even though the skinning system is powerful, the problem is finding them. It’s not the most popular music player and it doesn’t have a central community, so skins are sprawled across the Internet in hard to reach places. The best I’ve found were in random blog posts and DeviantArt accounts.
I’m not sure how many people still use software-based Internet streams, especially with the popularity of services like Pandora and Songza, but GOM Audio has a list of streaming radios in case your own playlists have grown stale or you want to discover some new music. Feel free to add your own Internet radio URLs if you have a few that aren’t included in the default list.
Other features of the GOM music player that you may like:
- Supports MP3, M4A, OGG, WMA, WAV, MID, FLAC formats and more.
- Alter audio playback speed from 0.1x to 2.0x.
- Apply audio effects like reverb and surround to live playback.
- Plugin system for feature extensibility.
- Timer for automatically shutting down, restarting, or sleeping your computer.
As I near the end of this review, I’m struck by one truth: GOM Audio isn’t very distinctive from any other music player, but it just feels good. If you were to ask me why I like GOM Audio, I couldn’t give you any technical reasons – it doesn’t have any standout features – because I just like it. It melds into the background and never interferes. It plays your music for you and lets you do your own thing without being a distraction.
So if you’ve been like me, on the prowl for a clean music player that feels both fast and complete, then you should really give GOM Audio a try. It definitely gives other lightweight music players (e.g., Foobar2000, AIMP3, etc.) a run for their money.