Round Up: Great Android Music Players

Lets face it, most of us will agree that the stock Music player for Android is nothing to be excited about. It’s dry and lifeless and when you compare it to the stock iPhone or iPad app it fails miserably.

One of the greatest features of an open source platform is this attraction of new apps. This openness creates competition, and competition is great for the user because it drives down prices and results in higher quality products. Fortunately the Music apps have been infiltrated with competition, producing some awesome (and some not so awesome) apps that give us all an alternative to the stock experience. Today we will be going through what the best Music player applications are, and what makes them so gmood.

Music Player Pro (£2.56)

Music Player Pro: A good alternative

Music Player Pro is a simple replacement for the Stock Android Music app that offers a few more features and does it with better style. For example it will automatically download your album artwork and lyrics for your music collection and scrobble you on Last.fm. Customisation is very easy here; with nine different skins and viewing styles, and several different homescreen widgets, you really can personalise your experience. Having said that, the user interface could do with a overhaul, as it feels a bit bleak and can be slow.

doubleTwist (Free but AirSync is $5.00)

Grid-based layout and slick UI

doubleTwist has a pretty big reputation for bringing iTunes to Android. The desktop application allows for syncing with your android phone (exactly like iTunes does with an iOS device) and then goes one step further with its AirSync add-on ($5.00), which pretty much does what it says on the tin: provides wireless syncing between your phone and your computer (see our guide here). The Android application itself has a fresh design, and with its black grid-style UI you will find it both pleasant and painless to use.

Music [mspot] (Free)

Music (mspot) Now Playing and Live Wallpaper

Following on from doubleTwist, Music (by Mspot), a cross-platform application, describes itself as iTunes in the cloud, and allows you to sync your devices without any cords. This offers a very similar service to doubleTwist, but does it free of charge. The cost is a less well-designed user interface.

It works well, offering almost instant syncing with 2GB free storage and upgradable packages thereafter. Music will also download your album artwork and lyrics. One of the features about this app I love is the free live wallpaper that comes with it, which displays your album artwork beautifully in the background.

bTunes (£0.93)

The iPhone-esque layout

bTunes has mixed reviews about its UI; if you like the iOS music app, then chances are you are going to love this. Yet many hardcore Androphiles wouldn’t ever want anything to do with the iPhone and would never consider buying this music player. This app is for people looking for an interface that’s pleasant to use. If you have ever used an iPhone before you will know exactly what you are doing.

Cubed [aka ³] (Free)

The awesome unique Cubed interface

Cubed is a music player with a totally revolutional interface. With the option to scroll by simply flicking the cube (or several other epic viewing options), using this app is a delight. Having found this while doing research for this post I now use it as my default music player. Although it is still in beta, I haven’t experienced any issues with it. The graphics are fantastically smooth and this is really for those who are looking for something less boring and more artistic; the 4.5/5 star rating from over 15,000 people explains it all.

MIUI (Free)

The purple theme for MIUI

Although the MIUI Player isn’t an app in the Android Market (it comes pre-installed in the MIUI ROM) I felt it deserved a mention for its stunning design and functionality. It can be downloaded here from XDA and I would strongly recommend it. This is another app I use regularly (or at least before recently discovering Cubed) and it would be my number one recommendation for someone who wants to replace their stock app with something that has a much more aesthetic appearance without sacrificing any functionality. It also comes with a Karaoke style lyric scroller which is remarkably accurate and good fun.

HTC Music Player

HTC's own Music player

Again this application can’t easily be downloaded but I thought it was worthy of going into the great Music Apps. Coming pre-installed on any HTC Sense phone this music player is one of the best out there. Its simple yet intuitive interface allows easy browsing of songs, artists, albums and playlists. Other than bTunes I would say this comes closest to mimicking the iOS interface, but does so with elegance and providing its own twist to certain elements, such as in the slider along the bottom of the browser. What is unique about this music player is that it provides streaming of your music via DNLA, enabling you to jam out to you favorite tunes via your living room speakers.

PowerAMP (£3.10)

The very impressive PowerAMP and its equalizer

PowerAMP is considered the big daddy of Android music players. Being the most functional application for those unwilling to just sit back and listen, it is for those craving the best possible music experience from their phone. (Check out our recent in-depth review of it here).

That’s not to say you have to be a musical expert to use it, but with features like the 10 band graphical equalizer, which is renowned for its great functionality, and many different playlist options, such as dynamic queues and supporting more file types that I care to count, it really is aimed at those wanting to tweak and optimise their music playback. This application also comes with several widgets and lock screens to accompany its high levels of customizations as well as scrobbling with last.fm that make this the ultimate geek music player.

Winamp (Free)

Winamp's simple yet likeable interface

Winamp is one of those classic music players that has built up a loyal fanbase over the years. Starting originally as a desktop music client, it is a powerful application developed by the online giant AOL. Winamp, like many others, provides wireless syncing with your Winamp desktop application over WiFi (though this feature is PC only), while also providing many other features that make this app very versatile — including Scrobbling with Last.fm and SHOUTcast which allows for online radio playback combined with a myriad of add-ons.

This application has a rather unique design that although its still in Beta works exceptionally well and is recommended for those looking for a simple upgrade from the stock app. Check out our in-depth review of it here.

Conclusion

As you can see there are a fair few music players out there, and I chose what I thought were the best ones, from functionality to design. Hopefully from the screenshots and overviews you can see what apps are right for you — and if not, why not download them and share your experience in the comments below?

If you are looking primarily for a beautiful design, I would recommend either Miui or Cubed; if wireless sync is your thing then I would go for doubleTwist, as it has such a strong team of developers behind it; and if its all about the sound quality, I really don’t think there is any competition to PowerAMP. Your choice, boys and girls. Let us know what you go for.


  • Adam

    *MIUI, not muiu.

    Interesting, though, how you somehow managed to spell it correctly in the summary paragraph…

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Whoops. Thanks for pointing that out — corrected!

  • http://bundlesite.com JD

    I’ve tried most of the players listed here and find that I keep coming back to the Songbird Beta because of the interface.

    Definitely worth a look, it has a lot of potential.

    • William Duan

      Songbird Beta has a beautiful UI, but I found the customisation and features largely lacking, so I switched back to PlayerPro. I’m very excited for when they release a stable version though!

    • dixhuit

      +1 for Songbird (and the desktop version is getting better all the time).

  • William Duan

    Great round-up! I’ve always used PlayerPro, but I decided to download Cubed thanks to your brief summary here. Terrific app, with a very stunning UI – the only reason I refrained from using it before was due to the fact that I thought there was only one UI available (the cube), but the other visual options are so much better! I think I may be converting from PlayerPro… only time will tell, hopefully more features will come into Cubed soon!

  • http://www.whatsthelatest.net zplits | whatsthelatest.net

    cubed all the way. :) simply the best and works great. Plus it’s free!

  • http://fromrussia.name fromrussia

    Hello! Your review was interesting, so i’ve translated it into russian. It can be found here: http://habr.ru/p/114727/

    I hope you do not mind

  • Toxxsin

    You forgot “Mort Player”

  • Robert

    What, no love for Tunewiki? I think that one deserves a mention, because of the excellent lyrics display function alone, but is also incorporates shoutcast and last.fm functionality.
    I do agree with your assessment of the others. :)

  • Mavvdog

    I have used all of the apps listed here and my favorite has to be PowerAMP. The sound quality is amazing in my car through Bluetooth.

  • oc rocks

    Hi, i loved the article! I am new to the droid phones, converted to HTC TB from BB and i have to say the stock HTC looks awesome, although I had difficulty because it kept deleting my playlist plus I would prefer to make the playlists through my PC…After I placed my files on my SD Card, I had difficulty creating the playlist because it shows all the music on the phone…ie stock all sound files that i had to avoid…I think im going with the cubed player 😀

  • http://www.ijustutter.com Mrinal

    Say whatever. I tested all. PowerAmp rocks and wipes all. When the equalizer and bass hits the ears… you come to know that you love Rock and real Music…
    Also, no one updates and fixes any app in comparison to PowerAmp. New update, feature, and fix almost every 7th day. Now that’s piece of work and real developer caring for money.
    Try it. At the end, all you want is Real Rocking Sound… So only talk about that. Lol…

    • charlie

      all well and good but it doesn’t support any different file types.

  • Steph

    Hi, I’ve tested all players and the best is definitely PlayerPro. No other player competes to this one. The UI is beautiful and higly intuitive and looks really professional. The others are amateur. Navigation in Poweramp is way to complex and the themes are too limited.
    The sound quality in PlayerPro is also the best. The last version includes an equalizer which a lot of other players are missing. It also supports stereo widening or reverb effects for Android 2.3 phones. No other player supports this. The UI of the equalizer is the best and very well thought … Equalizer in poweramp is not too bad but the UI is badly done and the volume is too low.

    Finally, it has many other features that are for me show-stoppers when choosing a music player: ratings, lyrics, sharing on social networks … No other player has this. Double twist has got ratings but it can’t sync them so it’s useless. PlayerPro supports syncing to windows media player, itunes (via isyncr), media monkey etc. What else can you except from a player ?

    Conclusion: PlayerPro is a must for all music lovers !!

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  • Decisions

    I’m really torn between PlayerPro and PowerAmp and which one to purchase. I think they both don’t use up to many resources, but PowerAmp taking more space I think. PowerAmp definately sounds better, it’s DSP sounds much much better and works flawlessly than PlayerPro. PlayerPro’s equalizer when on, causes lags and the music gets choppy when you’re doing things on the phone even on large buffer, the equalizer sound quality is nowhere near PowerAmps.

    Visually, PlayerPro look so much better than PowerAmp. I really dislike the round buttons and glowing blue of PowerAmp. PlayerPro looks really nice with the album covers, artist pics, skins etc.

    PowerAmp’s gestures (like swiping album to change tracks) is very refined and responds as it should. With PlayerPro, I find myself swiping the cover numerous times to try and change the track, very annoying.

    ATM, I uninstalled PowerAmp and using PlayerPro. However, I uninstalled PlayerPro’s DSP after trying to use it, because it simply isn’t usable, and its sound quality is not at all worth having it installed unfortunately. It’s UI alone kinda won me over and it looks good in any way I have my phone UI set up, but I am really, really missing the sound quality of PowerAmp as well as it’s superior EQ.

    My dream player would be PowerAmp’s sound quality in PlayerPro UI.

    Really tough decision which one to get.

    • iskandar

      THIS; is worth reading

  • Chris

    But what about compilations…. why can’t any of these players do what Apple have managed to do for years. When I click on ‘artists’ I don’t want to see that they have one song in a random compilation. I just want to see their albums. Does anyone know of any players which supports compilations????

    • http://www.machv.co.uk mach v

      Chris you read my mind. The only reason I want to dump HTC music player is it’s dreadful inability to understand the simple concept of Albums. For instance Take “Gloss Drop” by Battles. HTC sense sees this as 5 separate albums because there are 5 different artists on the Album. If I actually want to listen to the Album in track order I have to create my own playlist. Now that’s a retrograde step, imo. The weird thing is that a various artist compilation can appear fine. All very confusing and rather frustrating. I don’t want to spend money on chasing this problem around.

  • mrtimdog

    … and there’s jukefox.

    I sometimes try others to see if they’re any better, but I’ve always stayed with it – there’s got to be a reason for that!

  • cust0mercare

    Stock android music app with embedded lyrics (lyrics3v2) support!
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.kayan.nurav.music

  • Vincent

    Zimly is the best…. and fre 😀

  • Charlie

    This round up appears to only really touch on the aesthetics of the players in any real detail. I have PowerAmp and it does not support half of my music! Which player supports the most different types of music file? I really couldn’t care less what it looks like! PLEASE HELP!!

  • nou

    thanks for article…
    find another articles about Android at http://newsonlineupdate.com

  • http://www.rad.io Rad

    Talking about music apps, here at rad.io we just launched our new radio app for Android. Maybe you wanna check it out and tell us what you think. The app offers more than 4000 international radio stations and we are constantly adding new ones. Can’t find your favorite station – we’ll add it for you. [email protected]. Hope you enjoy!

  • https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zgui.musicshaker ethan

    well, I guess all those player add lot of features compare to the stock one, but what about people who want a player even simplier than the stock one ?
    I listen my music in ‘shuffle’ 95% of the time, and I’m more interested in players that offer me to do that with great simplicity.
    For example, ‘NEXT!’ allow me to skip a track using different sensors, and I think THAT is a real bonus..

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  • http://home.beardeddonkey.com/ Catfish

    I am looking for a music player that lets you add items to the playlist then randomize the playlist items. I don’t want it to randomly play from the list, I want the actual list randomized itself, so I can know what songs are coming up and do as I please with them. winamp on pc does this, but I haven’t found an android player yet that does. I even emailed winamp asking for it in the android player but nothing yet. If anyone knows of something drop a reply here please.

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  • Sushil

    A recently added music player in Android market is “Fusion Music Player”. Fusion music player is completely free and void of any advertisements. Designed with a philosophy that nothing should come between ” U and Music ”
    Key features:
    1.A Music discovery platform to find music based on Album & Artist.
    2.An Intuitive Search mechanism and instant access to online music.
    3.Simple elegant design based on Ice Cream Sandwich UX.
    4.Seamlessly update cover art,artist images & biography.
    5.Powerful equalizer with 12 presets and virtual surround sound support over headphones
    6.Internet Radio with access to over 7400 stations across all regions
    7.Rate your favorite songs and fusion player will create dynamic playlist for you.
    8.Weekly Online charts for top songs and top artists with support for Bollywood
    9.Song visualization with multiple effects.
    10.Share via Facebook & Twitter
    11.Song trimmer to cut and save any part of the song or save as ringtone etc.

  • Will

    Check for Picus Audio Player, best Audio effects

  • roflbot

    I use Tom Player for 3 reasons
    1. adding lyrics
    2. supports all media files
    3. elegant design

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