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Getting the most out of Winamp
Member Name: davidwicks99
Date: 19/02/01, updated on 19/02/01 (866 review reads)
Advantages: easy to use, free, visualization plugins, decodes mp3s to wav files
Disadvantages: minibrowser is annoying, equalizer not that helpful at improving sound quality
Winamp is synonymous with mp3, it is one of the oldest and greatest mp3 players around. The player has all the basic functions of play, pause, stop, forward, reverse, next song and last song. It also has a little window that displays the author, title and bitrate of the song that is playing. The latest version of Winamp, 2.72 includes a minibrowser, playlist, and equalizer.
In my experience, the minibrowser is a complete waste of space and should be removed. You are supposed to be able to use the minbrowser to find plugins for your winamp or view artist information or maybe (ahem) purchase music cds. If I am going to do any of these things, I will do them using a nice big, normal browser window rather than the little minibrowser winamp provides.
The playlist has been improved over previous versions as you can now drag mp3 files from directories and drop them into your playlist rather than having to use the add file button. The add file buttion is actually worse than in previous versions as you now need to press it twice in order to add a single song whereas in previous versions you only had to press it once. As in previous versions you can sort the playlist my title or randomize it. You can also view additional information about any song by right clicking on the song in the playlist and choosing "file info." Playlists can be created and saved as files for future use.
The built in equalizer is fairly explanatory and does a decent job. However, if you want to get the fullest sound out of your winamp, then I suggest that you download and install the Arboretum Realizer. It is available for download at Winamp and it dramatically improves the sound of your mp3s using some advanced algorithms that I don't understand, but they really work. You will not believe the difference this plugin makes.
Plugins, in general, are what really separates Winamp from the rest of the pack. Winamp comes with a few built in plu
gins, like the ability to decod an mp3 into a wav file so that you can burn it on a cd to make a regular music cd. However, winamp is lacking a plugin that allows you to rip songs from a cd and encode them as mp3s. The best plugins are those the "visualization" plugins. These plugins will create images to go along with the music as it is playing. The best plugins in this category are Geiss (random images), Tripex (more random images), Albedo (even more random images), and Power Render Dancing Can (a soda can dances to the music!). The visualization plugins bring a new level of enjoyment to winamp as you can now create a full audio-visual experience.
Another way in which you can improve your "visual" experience with winamp is to install one of the many skins for your player that are available at Winamp.com. Skins range from Anime and cartoon characters to celebrities to 3D images to movies and games to really anything you can imagine. There are literally thousands available at the site and if you don't like any that are there, there is also information on how you can create your own skins.
Winamp is free and available for download (along with all the plugins mentioned above) at Winamp.com. Despite its lack of mp3 encoding ability and the disappointing "improved" add file button, this mp3 player is still the most complete and user-friendly on the Internet. However, to truly enjoy it, be sure to download the Arboretum Equalizer to improve your sound dramatically and visual plugins to complete your music-listening experience.
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