Posted by: Odzangba | October 7, 2007

Amarok is great but…

I finally found some time off from school Sunday to do some blogging… it’s been a while since I did some of that. 🙂 My music playing habits have undergone a major but very peaceful revolution. On decent hardware, my player of choice is Amarok… seriously, it rocks. Herein lies the problem, I don’t have decent hardware… my box would embarrass a Neanderthal. 🙂 It’s an ancient Compaq Deskpro with a Pentium II 348Mhz processor, 384MB SDRAM, a 40Gb hard disk, and ATI 3D Rage Pro AGP 1X/2X (rev 5c) video card, the BIOS versaion date: 1998… and that’s not all. The hard disk whines constantly and would go off for no reason at all… I suspect I need a new power pack, I have to do some delicate balancing with my memory chips because one of them is faulty and would not work in some slots… bottom line, my box has issues. 🙂 So I always spend the first few days after a fresh install – I never do upgrades – applying speed tweaks and such. But lately, Amarok has become very sluggish and would sometimes crash without explanation – maybe one of my updates is to be blamed.

Anyways I decided to go shopping for a speedier solution that would give me a near-amarok music experience. I was particularly interested in a console based solution because I only fire up GNOME to watch television these days. So there was mpg321 and sox on the console side, and XMMS, Banshee and Rhythmbox on the GUI side. None of them fit the bill. For one, only Banshee and Rhythmbox had any “music management” capabilities and I totally wanted that BUT I have a deep distaste for both applications. In the end, I decided to take a look at (MPD) Music playing Daemon. I got it installed, set up the music database – that took a while because I have a huge music library – and was left wondering what to do next. The thing is MPD on its own isn’t much help if you want to play music… a client application is required to do the actual playing of music.

After some looking around, I settled on two clients- MPC and Sonata. MPC is a console based client to MPD while Sonata is a GTK+ client. This mix is so sweet, it makes giving up amarok bearable. Basically, I create my playlists with Sonata because I find it easier that way, and do the actual playing of music with MPC. 🙂 But I’m even lazier than that… I’ve set up aliases to the MPC commands I use most. So instead of typing mpc play to play music, I only type mplay; or play instead of mpc toggle, vol instead of mpc volume, playlist instead of mpc playlist and so on. 😀 Oh, and did I mention that it is seriously fast? Well, it is plus the “autoresume” feature of MPD allows me to shut down the box in the middle of a song and pick up from where I stopped next time I fire the box up without any user interaction at all. I just love it. Here’s a screenshot:


Later this week, I’ll write a full blown review of my set up.


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