I use to be a die hard Musicmatch Pro (yes I actually paid for it) fan. It had the best features, media library, and user customization that I had found. I think it has been dethroned.
Since Jess has an iPod and I will very soon have an iPod (yay X-mas!), that got me thinking. To sync with your iPod you usually have to use iTunes which comes with it. All in all, iTunes is ok and has some cool features, but there was more about it that I didn’t like than what I did. I found myself still using Musicmatch to rip, and alternating between MM and iTunes for playing and messing about. The problem with this setup is that when you rip a new CD you have to update both MM and iTunes if you want to keep your libraries up to date. MM used to have an iPod plugin, but due to some dispute with Apple, MM support told me it was no longer available.
Enter Winamp. I went researching the web to see if I could find a single solution. I used to use Winamp long ago when it was about the only mp3 player around. It’s come a long way. I found that it had almost all the features I liked about each of the other programs, and was highly customizable to your own likings. Most importantly, it has a plugin for the iPod.
One of my biggest concerns in a player is flexibility with how I rip my CDs. This is where iTunes failed horribly. When it rips, it creates an artist folder under which it puts an album folder under which it puts the tracks. If you don’t like that system, then too damn bad. iTunes has spoken and you will live with it peon! MM was much more flexible, though I still had to do a little folder editing in the end. Winamp seems completely customizable to allow you to name your directories/tracks in whatever fashion you choose.
My one bitch is that you really need to purchase the Pro version for $14.95 to unlock what I consider necessary features (such as being able to rip to mp3 at all as opposed to AAC), while with MM, the pro version just adds some nice perks (like ripping faster) but isn’t quite so restrictive in it’s free incarnation. I do think Winamp is worth the purchase. Of course some people are known to get the “pro” version without paying for it, though I would not condone this behavior, of course.[/disclaimer]
I’m still in the initial discovery stage with Winamp, but I think I’ve just found my one media player to rule them all. There are tons of other players out there, but these two are pretty much the kings of the hill, I think, and the only ones which I really have experience with. We’ll see if Winamp holds my attention as I use it from now on.