Linux offers a variety of programs for playing audio CDs and various music formats such as MP3, OGG, and WAV files. Where possible, the supported formats of the players are listed.
As well as Kscd, which is a pure audio CD player, KDE comes with the amaroK media player, which handles various audio formats, such as MP3 and OGG, and plays the streaming audio broadcast by radio stations on the Internet. The program handles all file types supported by the sound server acting as a back-end — currently aRts or GStreamer.
amaroK enables you to put together playlists very easily. Compile playlists with a few drag and drop actions. Playlists can be created using a number of different views, simplifying management of music titles. You can also drag and drop files from Konqueror. Save playlists in m3u or pls format, so you can share them with any other players using these formats.
After starting amaroK for the first time, the program displays two windows. The smaller window contains the usual controls of a media player and the other shows the playlist. See Figure 15.4. “The amaroK Media Player”. Both windows can be hidden as needed. To display or hide the playlist, click in the player window. To hide the player window itself, set the program's preferences accordingly. When the player window is hidden, the control elements are displayed at the bottom of the playlist window. To open the amaroK application menu, right-click anywhere in the player window or select the menu button in the bottom right of the playlist window. The menu includes a help entry, which describes the program's numerous features.
The right part of the playlist window contains the currently-loaded playlist. Play titles listed in it in the order of your choice. Initially, the list is empty, so you need to create one. The best way to do this is by using the sidebar to the left of the window. To the very left, there are a number of tabs that can be used to open different views. From each of these views, drag individual titles or entire directories and drop them into the playlist to include them in the list. The following is a description of the function of each tab.
This is the top tab, which opens a file browser. This corresponds to the standard KDE file selector dialog with the usual controls to navigate the file system. Enter a URL or directory directly into the text input field. From the contents displayed, drag elements to the playlist to include them in it.
Use this view to manage and display your personal collection of titles. The collection view may include files from different locations. Selecting+ opens a dialog with which to include all your music folders in a list. To scan all these directories, select + . The result is displayed as a tree structure. Using and , organize the two top branches of the tree according to the criteria , , , and . Once the tree view is ready, find titles simply by typing them into the input field. The selection in the tree view jumps to the first matching entry automatically as you type.
With this tab, view information about your collection and various data related to the current artist. For example, the view informs you about your favorite titles, the newest titles added to the collection, and other details.
This tab opens a dialog in which to perform a recursive search for a file in a given directory. To do so, enter a text string for the title and the location at which to start the search. Then selectand wait for the results to appear in the lower section of the window.
This view manages Internet radio streams. After making sure that you are connected to the Internet, select amaroK includes an entry for every reachable stream in the list below. Then drag any entry from this list and drop it into the playlist to listen to the broadcast..
Select the amaroK application menu to open a dialog in which to enable and configure several sound effects, such as an equalizer, the stereo balance, and a hall effect. Select the desired effects and adjust the settings, if available, for each of them.button in the player window or use the
amaroK comes with a number of visualizations that display a graphical effect for the music played. Native amaroK visualizations are displayed in the player window. Cycle through the various available display modes by clicking the animation.
In addition to the above, amaroK also supports the visualization plug-ins of the XMMS media player. To use these, first install the xmms-plugins package then select from the amaroK menu. This opens a window listing the available plug-ins. XMMS plug-ins are always displayed in an extra window. In some cases, there is an option to display them in fullscreen mode. For some plug-ins, you may not get a smooth visual effect unless you use a 3D-accelerated graphics card.
XMMS is another full-featured media player with robust audio support, so that pops or breaks during playback should be very rare. The application is easy to use. The button for displaying the menu is located in the upper left corner of the program window.
Select the output plug-in module with+ + . If the xmms-kde package is installed, the aRts sound server can be configured here.
XMMS automatically redirects its output to the if it is not able to find a configured sound card. In this case, the played files are written to the hard disk as WAV files. The time display then runs faster than when playing the output through a sound card.
Various visualization plug-ins can be started through+ + . If you have a graphics card with 3D acceleration, select an application such as the OpenGL spectrum analyzer. If the xmms-plugins package is installed, try the Infinity plug-in.
To the left under the menu button, there are five buttons with different letters on them. These buttons allow quick access to additional menus, dialog boxes, and configurations. The playlist can be opened with thebutton and the equalizer can be activated with the button.
kscd is an easy-to-use audio CD player. It can be accessed from the menu under + + . To access the configuration menu, click the tool icon. kscd can be configured to search an online CDDB server for the name and track names of a CD.
WorkMan offers a simple user interface with an abundance of functions. It is ideal for those who prefer a CD player without the KDE look and feel.