Science and technology

eight audiophile-quality, open supply audio gamers for Linux

In the first part of this collection, I write about the important thing necessities for an audiophile digital music participant and shared the standards I exploit to guage open supply music gamers. Here within the second half, I am going to use these standards that can assist you choose the proper software program in your wants.

First off, there are a variety of open supply music gamers on the market! Which is an excellent factor, as a result of each is designed to make somebody (or a number of someones) joyful, relying on the options they require. Various very thoughtfully designed and fashionable gamers do not serve my criterion of passing music immediately by way of to my DAC, together with Amarok (see this discussion), Clementine (see this discussion), and JuK (the only information I could find about setting output units dates again to 2005).

Several gamers—Jajuk, Lollypop, Lplayer, Museeks, Musique, Qmmp, and Rhythmbox—comprise no controls (that I might discover) to pick out an output gadget.

I additionally handed on Aqualung (required compilation from supply), Alsa Player (core dumped on attempting so as to add a 96/24 FLAC file to the playlist), Elisa (web site signifies it’s nonetheless in heavy improvement and at the moment at model Zero.2 or Zero.three), Exaile (appears that the present model four.Zero.Zero-rc3 requires compilation from supply), GNOME Music (waited a looooong time with no signal of my music library being efficiently loaded), and LXMusic (might solely add MP3 recordsdata to the playlist).

Eliminating these purposes left me with eight to evaluation. First, I am going to let you know a bit about every after which I am going to share my rankings.

eight open supply music gamers


Audacious is offered in my system’s repositories. After putting in it, I configured the ALSA output plugin possibility, which helps automated bit depth, to make use of the hardware possibility for the DAC. My DAC’s location, /proc/asound/card1, confirmed that a 96/24 monitor was enjoying appropriately. I might see a static bitrate, however no signal of the bitrate as a monitor performs nor the pattern price/phrase size. There is type of a spectrum analyzer that offers a tough concept of the music degree. Cover artwork appeared to work nice. As far as I might inform, the consumer should construct the playlist and run the participant on the playlist. My library of some 7,500 songs imported in lower than 10 seconds—wow! I had some hassle determining the left-hand aspect of the show; after loading my library, it confirmed 15 genres (I’ve many extra), then 4 artists, then one album by a type of artists. I might add URLs, however there was no listing of streams. All in all, not dangerous. Especially for individuals who have fond recollections of Winamp however need one thing open supply.


DeaDBeeF—such a reputation! But anyway, I put in the .deb file out there from the positioning, which required two steps:

sudo dpkg -i deadbeef-static_0.7.2-2_amd64.deb


sudo apt set up -f

I used Edit > Preferences to pick out the ALSA output plugin and choose my DAC’s “Direct hardware device without any conversions.” I might see in /proc/asound/card1 that 96/24 tracks performed appropriately. The participant reveals a static bitrate, pattern price, phrase size, and some different gadgets. Oddly, the participant offered a quantity management that labored, which implies there may be some type of conversion happening, at the very least when that management is used. There’s additionally an choice to configure digital sign processing (DSP) in Preferences, together with an equalizer and a resampler. I eliminated the resampler however could not make the equalizer keep away. I discovered I might change the format by enabling Design Mode—there are many customization choices there. Neither the spectrum nor the scope choices gave me a strong indication of their degree. Cover artwork appeared nice. This participant additionally appears to be playlist-oriented. URLs may be added, however there doesn’t appear to be a predefined listing. Like Audacious, my library imported in a short time—I estimate lower than 10 seconds. It seems to be fairly good, with a severe concentrate on efficiency and suppleness, much less on eye sweet.


Gmusicbrowser is offered in my system’s repositories. After putting in it, I used the Settings menu (the GNOME3 gear within the higher proper) to configure the output to make use of ALSA (after passing it by way of GStreamer) and chosen my hardware gadget. I might see in /proc/asound/card1 that 96/24 tracks performed appropriately. Song Properties reveals the static bitrate and pattern price, however not the phrase depth. The participant presents a quantity management, which works and I suppose is managed by GStreamer. Gmusicbrowser features a ton of format choices—it is potential to make it appear to be many different gamers. Also, you possibly can add many alternative columns to the track-level show (e.g., bitrate, channels, dimension, sampling price). Cover artwork seems to be good. Music may be performed from the library or a playlist, however there isn’t any signal of the flexibility to make use of a stream URL. My library import was quick, nicely below 10 seconds. It’s a really first rate participant that matches in nicely with my GNOME desktop.

Goggles Music Manager

GogglesMM has been certainly one of my favourite gamers for fairly a while now. I actually like the truth that it really works immediately with ALSA (i.e., no GStreamer pipeline intervening). I typically set up it following directions on the Launchpad page, then configure Settings > Preferences > Audio to make use of the ALSA driver and the hardware gadget for my DAC, with the No Resampling field checked and Replay Gain off. I can see in /proc/asound/card1 that 96/24 tracks play appropriately. The solely indication of pattern price and phrase size seems on high-resolution albums (for instance, “24/96” in white textual content on a inexperienced field on the lower-right nook of the album cowl within the album show panel). As anticipated, when immediately interfacing to the ALSA hardware interface, there isn’t any alternative to set the amount or in any other case fiddle with the information stream. The total UI group appears fairly first rate. You can fiddle with colours and switch the duvet or lyrics views on or off. Cover artwork appears to be dealt with nicely. It can play music from an album or a playlist and URL streams may be outlined and performed. Library import is decently fast, below 20 seconds for my library. It’s a very strong and purposeful no-frills participant.


Guayadeque has lengthy been my go-to participant. I typically set up it following directions on its installation page, which supplies a very good abstract of working from the supply tree in addition to utilizing the precompiled binaries on Launchpad (for individuals who use Ubuntu). Once put in, I exploit View > Preferences > Playback to configure the output to be ALSA and the hardware interface of my DAC. I can see in /proc/asound/card1 that 96/24 tracks play appropriately. When music is enjoying, I can see the static and instantaneous bitrates, file format, ranges (peak, common, peak maintain… wow!). I do not see the bit depth or pattern price of the recordsdata anyplace. However, having the instantaneous bitrate is fairly cool—I as soon as observed a track that was purported to be 96/24 however had a really low bitrate; it turned out it was 96/16, which is fairly uncommon. Although Guayadeque makes use of GStreamer, there isn’t any inadvertent potential to mess with degree settings and the like when the hardware degree interface is chosen, until the DAC has hardware quantity management. I like the general group of the UI, and it is fairly configurable. Cover artwork is dealt with nicely. Music may be performed from the album or playlist, stream URLs may be outlined, and plenty of stream URL databases are supplied (for instance, Shoutcast). Also price noting is Guayadeque’s nice “smart playlist” function (which queues songs from my library much like the one enjoying). My library imported in below 20 seconds. It’s an important participant.

Quod Libet

Quod Libet has additionally been a daily participant on my pc. It’s in my repositories, so I set up it from there. Configuring the output is barely difficult; this page of the documentation could be very useful (and this might be a very good second to say that the Quod Libet documentation, usually, is superb). In my case, File > Preferences > Playback permits me to set the output (GStreamer) pipeline to alsasink gadget=hw:1,Zero at which level I am good to go. I can affirm in /proc/asound/card1 that 96/24 tracks play appropriately. The participant affords to show an enormous variety of columns and apparently is aware of about bit depth and pattern price, however I have never been capable of get them to point out up on any of the shows. I do see the static bitrate. Quod Libet makes use of GStreamer, and its quantity management features “even when it shouldn’t.” The UI is well-organized “out of the box” and simply configurable. Cover artwork is dealt with nicely. Music may be performed from an album, a playlist, or stream URLs, and stream URL databases are supplied. My library imported very quickly, in below 10 seconds. Quod Libet is an excellent participant with fantastic documentation.


Strawberry is a fork of Clementine created by Jonas Kvinge. I fairly like Strawberry—it affords a variety of Clementine’s attractiveness whereas letting me redirect its output to my DAC. I downloaded the latest build for my distro, put in and configured it to be used with my DAC utilizing Tools > Settings > Backend to pick out “Output to a sound card via ALSA” and chosen my DAC from the drop-down and the hardware interface. I can affirm in /proc/asound/card1 that 96/24 tracks play appropriately. The Context button (the strawberry) on the top-left reveals particulars of what is enjoying, together with the pattern price, bit depth, static bitrate, the engine (GStreamer), and the gadget. These can be proven within the itemizing of tracks. The quantity management works (due to GStreamer, I suppose). Cover artwork is well-executed. Music may be performed from the album or playlist, however stream URLs don’t look like supported. My library imported very quickly, in below 10 seconds. In sum, it is an excellent participant and a really helpful fork of Clementine.


Cantata is a front-end for the MPD music player back-end, and it is an especially nice participant combo. At this level, I do not use Cantata/MPD on my desktop, however I do run Cantata to regulate my dwelling music server (which runs MPD headless). Both Cantata and MPD can be found in my distro’s repositories, and MPD is offered within the repositories for the distro I run on my music server. Configuring MPD is a little more work than the common desktop music participant; you possibly can learn about my efforts. Configuring Cantata is a breeze; its configuration screens embody a variety of helpful hints, and the code works rather well, not like some MPD shoppers I might identify. MPD offers direct entry to ALSA units, and I can affirm in /proc/asound/card2 on the music server that 96/24 tracks play appropriately. Cantata picks up the static bitrate, pattern price, and bit depth of the file from MPD and reveals it within the “info” display screen for the monitor enjoying. Dynamic info, equivalent to instantaneous bitrate or degree, is not supplied by the MPD protocol. Cover artwork is difficult; one of the best ways to deal with it’s to put in an internet server on the music server and configure it to share cowl artwork recordsdata. I cheat a bit and maintain an area copy of the duvet artwork on the desktop I exploit to run Cantata. Cantata may even discover artwork related to the artists. Cantata can play music from an album, playlist, or stream URL, and it features a good database of stream URLs. It’s the very best MPD controller and a very nice participant when mixed with MPD.

Rating the music gamers

The following desk reveals my rankings of the assorted open supply music gamers I attempted. I’ve damaged the gamers into two teams: most are standalone music gamers and one is a music participant front-end used at the side of a music server like MPD.

I evaluated every utility based mostly on the standards I outlined in part 1. Here’s the score scheme I am utilizing:

  • 5 factors for ALSA configurability 
  • 2 factors for absolutely assembly a criterion
  • 1 level for partially assembly a criterion
  • Zero factors for not assembly a criterion
Player ALSA


Sample price/
phrase size
whereas enjoying
Music degree
whereas enjoying
Cover artwork Playlist
Good UX Stream radio Total 
Maximum score 5 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 21
Audacious three.9-2 5 Zero Zero 1 2 Zero Zero 2 1 52%
DeaDBeeF Zero.7.2 5 2 1 1 2 Zero Zero 2 1 67%
Gmusicbrowser 1.1.15 5 1 1 Zero 2 2 Zero 2 Zero 62%
GogglesMM 1.2.1 5 2 Zero Zero 2 2 Zero 2 1 67%
Guayadeque Zero.four.5 5 Zero 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 90%
Quod Libet four.1.Zero-1 5 Zero Zero Zero 2 2 Zero 2 2 62%
Strawberry Zero.four.2-121 5 2 Zero Zero 2 2 Zero 2 Zero 62%
MPD-based participant:
Cantata 2.three.Zero 5 2 Zero Zero 2 2 Zero 2 2 71%

There you may have it. Eight audiophile-grade gamers that keep away from resampling (although I believe I favor the gamers that speak on to ALSA with out GStreamer being concerned) handy the bits over to the DAC to make elegant music. Otherwise, they provide totally different options and totally different group, from the minimalist Audacious to the super-configurable Quod Libet to the chameleon Gmusicbrowser. Worth a particular point out are the superb degree meters and good playlist function in Guayadeque.

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