Thursday, July 3, 2008

FLAC Players on Mac OS X

iTunes doesn't play FLAC files by default, which is not suprising given Apple has kept ALAC proprietry and FLAC is an open competitor.

Cog is a free, open source audio player that supports FLAC. It works, but is fairly minimalistic. I couldn't find any way to manage playlists in the UI (version 0.07), although the Help indicates it supports M3U and PLS. There is no real concept of a library of music - just the files and folders as organised on the filesystem.

Songbird is a free media player built on top of the Mozilla stack. I think the idea is to access media from the web and your own local media in the one tool. Apparently it has FLAC playback issues. It also doesn't read album artwork from metadata yet.

Fluke is small utility that enables FLAC files to be played in iTunes. The version I tried (0.11) was a little cumbersome to use as you need to import the FLAC files with Fluke, which I found to be a slow process. Secondly, the track number and album art from the FLAC metadata did not show up in iTunes.

Play is a free audio player. It shows your music as a library that can be browsed via different attributes, has playlists and keyboard shortcuts. No cover flow or album artwork though, but for me that is icing, rather than a necessity.

I am trying Play for now and will give Songbird another go once it is more reliable.

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