Winamp 5 is All The Way Live
December 15, 2003 4:28 PM   Subscribe

Winamp 2 + Winamp 3 = Winamp 5 (download lite or standard) . After it's admittedly dissapointing and rushed effort with Version 3 of their popular media player, the Nullsoft team seeks to make amends with their newest release, combining the stability of 2.x with the extras of Winamp 3, adding several new features while they're at it. Though already long-considered the standard for Windows machines, Winamp 5 puts more pressure on other competing, low memory-footprint audio players that have cropped up like Foobar and QCD. More cheerleading/zealotry inside...
posted by lotsofno (44 comments total)
Their official site hasn't caught up to the release, but I've read that it'll be up later tonight.

For those of you who haven't been following their ChangeLog, or are unfamiliar with the software:

- built-in and plug-in support for dozens of formats (i.e. MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AAC, etc.)
- compatible with thousands of Winamp 1 and 2 classics skins, and Winamp 3's freeform skins
- compatible with thousands of winamp 2 plug-ins
- thousands of streaming radio stations for nearly every genre imaginable
- included video player, as well as streaming video with up to 40+ channels (personal web cams, trance videos, Family Guy/Futurama episodes, full length movies, pr0n, anime, etc.)
- media library provides easy, searchable access to playlists, bookmarks, local audio or video, internet radio or tv stations, recently played, never played, most played, etc.
- media library automatically scans defined folders every X minutes in the background, updating itself
- ratings settings for songs and albums
- advanced query editor
- notable AVS updates
- user definable global hot keys (control winamp while in any application)
- now playing window displays album cover and artist news/biography
- limited burning and ripping capabilities (they have a pay-pro version without limitations). then again, there's always CDex
- and i assume more
posted by lotsofno at 4:28 PM on December 15, 2003

Like it much, then?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:42 PM on December 15, 2003

wow, that query editor is hideous. who would want to know all songs that were last played 220 weeks after the 3rd of this month in 1998 at noon? seriously!

I used to be a die-hard WinAmp user until iTunes for Windows came along... There are lots I hate about it (slow UI, memory hog, can't drag files off the iPod, etc...) but it's such a dream to find and play songs that I haven't switched back.

Too little, too late?
posted by krunk at 4:50 PM on December 15, 2003

I get file not found when I try to download the standard version...
posted by tiamat at 4:57 PM on December 15, 2003

5's good stuff, I agree, but do you seriously think there's anyone here who hasn't heard about it?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:57 PM on December 15, 2003

Did they add back in the feature they removed in winamp 3, that being the feature where it would add up the total time a playlist would take to play?
posted by shepd at 5:01 PM on December 15, 2003

krunk: i think that's an old screen shot of the query editor, from back in it's beta days. looking at it now, it's a lot slicker and XPish. i just put it up to show a sample of the flexibility.

stavros: now that you mention it, i guess everyone has.

shepd: it's a the bottom of the playlist window (in between the buttons), and at the bottom of the media library window when you select the playlist.
posted by lotsofno at 5:27 PM on December 15, 2003

Yes they did, shepd. Winamp 5 is good (well better than Winamp 3 anyway), but it's still a bit slow and buggy. I can't move on from Winamp simply for all the amazing plug-ins it can handle. No other player can handle that many file inputs, outputs, DPSs, and other do-whackies. I can't drag a pile of OGGs into iTunes and have them output as a single crossfaded MP3, for instance. I can't make iTunes sound like an old school record player. I can't control iTunes by remote telnet commands (should I have the need to).
posted by Jimbob at 5:27 PM on December 15, 2003

I can't control iTunes by remote telnet commands (should I have the need to).

that took 30 seconds in google.
posted by machaus at 5:37 PM on December 15, 2003

umm.. why does still show version 3 as the latest download? why do you have to go to to download it? am I missing something when won't announce its own beta release?
posted by PrinceValium at 5:39 PM on December 15, 2003

They've also done a lot of work with the mp3 output, I think. My previous DSP, Wowthing (which was taken off the market for Winamp (predictably) when Microsoft bought it and integrated it into WiMP), actually distorts the sound with decently ripped songs, whereas it improved the sound markedly with Winamp 2.x.

And I'm still underwhelmed by the NSV streaming format (although a Aqua Teen Hunger Force marathon from saltwaterchimp the other night was most welcome).

Tried 3 back in the day, uninstalled within a couple of days.

Been using 5 since alpha, with the 'classic' (ie non-CPU eating) skin, and I don't reckon I'll go back.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:41 PM on December 15, 2003

oh, duh, you meant on the PC.
posted by machaus at 5:41 PM on December 15, 2003

5's good stuff, I agree, but do you seriously think there's anyone here who hasn't heard about it?

Uh...I, uh...of course everyone's heard of it. *goes back to cave*
posted by Tlogmer at 5:43 PM on December 15, 2003

winamp 2 FOR LIFE.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:44 PM on December 15, 2003

Tattoed on the back of his neck (not unlike the Bishop of Leicester).

Sorry Tlogmer, I realized that sounded a bit technodweeb snarky the second I hit 'post'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:48 PM on December 15, 2003

Actually, I hadn't heard about Winamp 5, and I don't really consider myself TOTALLY out of the loop.. I just lost faith after Winamp 3 sucked so much, so I stopped paying attention. But I'll give 5 a chance, for old time's sake.
posted by Hildago at 5:54 PM on December 15, 2003

stavros: I'm pretty tech-geek, and while I had heard that there was a winamp5 beta about a week ago, I hadn't heard anything else, and wasn't sure if it was legit...

Not everyone spends every waking moment of the day at their computer upgrading each piece of software they have to the latest alpha++ super 0-day elite release...

In conclusion: thanks for the link and info, lotsofno.
posted by twiggy at 6:00 PM on December 15, 2003

ok, ok, I'm sorry already!

So who can recommend a good DSP for Winamp 5? I've got the aforementioned Izotope, but I find it a bit too big and intrusive, and the defaults don't warm up the sound exactly the way I like it (as Wowthing used to).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:09 PM on December 15, 2003

Maybe I'm a luddite, but I'm staying with Winamp 2. It works fine and does everything I need it to do.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:11 PM on December 15, 2003

I heard about Winamp 5 a couple months ago; I downloaded and installed it, but it was still lame like Winamp 3 ... slow, buggy, and I still couldn't right-click on a folder and say "enqueue in winamp."

I figured that it was a fake, and uninstalled it and forgot about it.

I've been using v2 since then, but I'll give this one a shot....
posted by starscream at 6:13 PM on December 15, 2003

I've been using 5 for a couple months now. The audio is great--classic skin, so it looks exactly like Winamp2 (in fact I sometimes forget it isn't), but it has a smaller memory footprint than 2.

Video support, on the other hand, has not impressed me. I'm on a semi-old but decently powerful machine (1.2GHz Athlon, 768MB of PC133) and .wmv files lag the hell out of Winamp 5. Picture is choppy, sound cuts out once every ten seconds or so and skips a beat. (No such problems in Windows Media Player, but oh how I loathe it.)
posted by Aaorn at 6:15 PM on December 15, 2003

stavros: What kind of setup do you have in your home? High-quality monitor speakers, reference headphones, cheap logitech things...? Iszotope's the most well-rounded DSP for winamp, but there are other very application-specific DSPs that I might be able to recommend, depending on your needs.

Winamp 5 kicks my ass. I used Winamp 3 for about a day before reverting back to 2, and I had been toying with the idea of switing to foobar2000, but WA5 does everything that I liked about fb2k.
posted by Jairus at 6:15 PM on December 15, 2003

Aaorn: I haven't had any problems with the WA5 video player, but I highly recommend Zoom Player for all your video needs. I play a lot of videos, in a lot of different formats, and I have a lot of different aspect-ratio/timing/TV-out demands. Zoom is to video what Winamp is to audio.
posted by Jairus at 6:16 PM on December 15, 2003

I use headphones mostly, a pair of low-end lightweight Sennheisers, Boston Acoustics speakers with a subwoofer, nothing superspecial. (This should be on AskMe, probably. Oops! Site-leak!)

(On preview, FWIW, I'm a big fan of Media Player Classic (not the MS one, although it's styled similarly) and n.player for lightweight players on an old system, especially when coupled with ffdshow for codec-replacement and tweaking.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:20 PM on December 15, 2003

You sinners should all repent and switch to a free operating system.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 6:25 PM on December 15, 2003

Looks like nullsoft took the files down. Here's a mirror. Not sure if this is really the final build or not. There's some back and forth on the WinAmp boards.
posted by yerfatma at 6:28 PM on December 15, 2003

Airbus, I could use a DSP recommendation too. Output through the digital out on my soundcard, into a cheap receiver, then into two old Bose bookshelf speakers and 2 old rear JBL's. No subwoofer. Got any suggestions?
posted by gd779 at 6:44 PM on December 15, 2003

Jairus, I mean. (Airbus? Huh? I must have hit the wrong spell check button).
posted by gd779 at 6:45 PM on December 15, 2003

Nevermind, Jairus. Obviously, the receiver is doing the processing for me. I don't know what I was thinking.
posted by gd779 at 6:48 PM on December 15, 2003

I've been using it for a couple of months now, and the only complaint I have with it is that I can't get mp3s to buffer/stream like Windows Media Player... I have to wait for the whole file to download before it starts.... I don't like that much, but, it's a small price to pay to not have to use WMP...

If anyone knows how I can change this, please speak up.
posted by Espoo2 at 8:27 PM on December 15, 2003

Thanks, lotsofno
posted by nthdegx at 8:37 PM on December 15, 2003

I'm just happy to be reminded of CDex. I'm done with Winamp. They lost me years ago. Besides, I use my Powerbook most of the time for computer audio, especially as I have a Echo Indigo PCMCIA sound card which kicks ass with my Grado/Etymotic/Shure/Sony headphones.

Headphone geek? Naw... ;)
posted by gen at 9:22 PM on December 15, 2003

I used Winamp3 up until now (call me old-fashioned) and I like version 5. It even uninstalls Winamp3 automatically!

Thanks, lotsofno.
posted by spazzm at 10:43 PM on December 15, 2003

It even uninstalls Winamp3 automatically!
Well, it got at least one thing right.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:54 PM on December 15, 2003

Something must be wrong with me. Not only did I not hear about 5 before this, I've been using 3 for a couple years with no complaints.

posted by scarabic at 11:08 PM on December 15, 2003

stavros: You've got a few options. Adapt-X allows you to use Direct-X plugins with WA, so you can use professional-grade DSPs like Waves (which sells for like $1600 or so). If you have the pro software, this is the best route.

I imagine, however, that most people don't.

For your use, I'd suggest trying Dee2 and/or DFX. I used to use a combination of the two, but a lot of people enjoy just one or the other. There's also Dee3, but I haven't tried it yet.

You might also find the Compressor & Wider plugin does good things to your music. I don't use DSPs anymore, but I think this is mostly because I very rarely listen to music that's rock or instrument based. Electronic music usually sounds great through Winamp without processing because most of the musicians listen to the tracks exclusively through a PC as they're being written.
posted by Jairus at 11:23 PM on December 15, 2003

I have only used Winamp 2. I don't care for it simply because the buttons are so tiny I find it difficult to use. In theory I like its functionality. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be, and I tend to avoid strain. (price of 20+ years staring into computer screens).
posted by Goofyy at 1:32 AM on December 16, 2003

Something must be wrong with me. Not only did I not hear about 5 before this, I've been using 3 for a couple years with no complaints.

I've been using 2.8. I wasn't even aware there was a 3.

Maybe it's because Winamp used to automatically search for updates, and then for some reason mine stopped doing that and I haven't bothered to look for one.
posted by nath at 1:32 AM on December 16, 2003

Am I wrong in thinking that the AAC files it claims to support are different to the AAC files which iTunes rips to by default? That is to ask 1) are .m4a and AAC files the one and the same, and 2) should Winamp 5 be able to play one or other of these formats? It seems to be failing to play any .m4a files I throw at it. Support to play those files will be the deciding factor in whether I move to Winamp 5 or stick with the tried-and-true Winamp 2

ITunes sucks too much of my all-too-precious RAM for my liking, and "stutters" on window redraws of unrelated applications, but I have yet to find any plugins which support m4a/AAC files in Winamp.
posted by John Shaft at 1:55 AM on December 16, 2003

Thanks for the advice Jairus. I'm familiar with DFX, but I'll check out Dee2 and the others....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:10 AM on December 16, 2003

john shaft: this plug-in will play m4a's, mp4's and he-acc's, i believe. the plug-in described here will play iTMS m4P and m4B.

their updated page with official downloads should be up now. thinking about it now, maybe i should've waited until their main page caught up before i posted all this.
posted by lotsofno at 3:43 AM on December 16, 2003

Gah. All I want is double-clickable MP3 and OGG, and a drag-'n'-drop playlist. I really don't need skins, plug-ins, DSPs, music collection management or mile-wide options windows. Why does every player have to have the kitchen sink?

I've taken to using Foobar because of the plain Windows-style interface, but it's still the Mozilla of music players - where's the Firebird?
posted by BobInce at 4:33 AM on December 16, 2003

Goofyy: Winamp 5's default skin is about 20% bigger than Winamp 2's. Also, WA5 allows you to scale up/down any skin to whatever size you need it to be.

John Shaft: This is the AAC/M4A plugin I use for Winamp, although there are several others if that one doesn't work for you. AAC support's still in beta, Nullsoft is working on a full plugin.

BobInce: Winamp doesn't use skins, plug-ins, DSPs, or music collection management if you don't want it to. I don't, and my Winamp's memory footprint is under 3mb.
posted by Jairus at 7:17 AM on December 16, 2003

Is there a bittorrent link for this out there?
posted by mecran01 at 1:53 PM on December 16, 2003

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