Freeware awesomeness: AIMP3.

The Glory Days

If you’re like me, you tend to find a piece of software for a certain job and stick to it for ages, right up to the point where you can’t bear to live with it any more because it’s become such a bloated piece of crap that every time you open it your PC dies. Well, since about 1997, Winamp was my music player of choice.  I remember with glee the first time I played the “Winamp, it really whips the llama’s ass!” when I updated from version 1.0 to 1.9. Before that, I only really had .mod files and the occasional .wav created with a microphone. The first ever mp3 I got my hands on was “Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag”.

For years I flaunted my audio superiority, with the lightweight Winamp beating all the other players hands-down… well, right up to somewhere between versions 5 and 5.5, where the by then bloated old grandpa of music players started showing it’s age. Slowly I noticed some corruption in the playlist displays, followed by slower and slower loading times and finally breaking the camel’s back by crashing on me at random times. Don’t get me wrong, this is not isolated events, I tested just about every version from 5.5 upwards since then on multiple machines, running Windows XP, 7 and even 8 and they all deteriorated as fast. I tried a few other players, I even briefly switched to *gasp* Windows Media Player (Which actually has decent playlist controls).

Then along came AIMP3. In a fit of rage I had uninstalled all the other players and did a duckduckgo (seriously, switch from google to duckduckgo if you like your privacy) search for lightweight mp3 players. The first result was AIMP3, and boy is it awesome!

The New Standard

The New Standard

If you’ve used Winamp, you’ll quickly notice the similarity, with AIMP3 sharing the same multi-window interface. But that’s where the similarities end. AIMP3 has the greatest integration I’ve ever seen in a music player. Along with the standard maximised interface,it also has a little tray icon which, if you hover over it, brings up a mini player which can be used for the standard controls. It also has this nice overlay when it switches songs which doesn’t interfere with your standard PC tasks. And speaking of tasks, AIMP3 weighs in at 12mb of memory used compared to Winamp’s 49mb with the exact same playlist loaded.

Awesome tray controls

The playlist itself can sometimes be a bit tricky to navigate, but the tagging and auto-updating of media info is superb, definitely comparable to the only task Winamp still does well. And the great thing is that I keep discovering new features every time I use it (And I mean it, I just this moment discovered the alarm, sitting there large as life), yet still manage to actually do more with my PC instead of fiddling with the damn media player while trying to skip, delete or tag music.

So to sum up, if you want a music player for your PC that plays music and doesn’t kill your machine in the process, you can’t go wrong in looking at AIMP3, because once you have it will be running in the background and you’ll hardly ever notice it – which to me is a sign of a job well done. Oh, and best of all, it’s FREE, not shareware or loaded with “free” crap music.

-=Oh, and sorry Winamp guys for targeting you, but seriously, get your shit together and make Winamp useable again, k?=-

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