Winamp has been around for ages. It started as a media player, and through community support and original internal developments, has become a leader in the audio suite market â€“ mostly because it offers virtually every desirable feature for audiophiles â€“ including an MP3 converter.
This MP3 converter software has all the standard options: choose between several output formats (AACPlus 1.3, AACPlus High Bitrate, FLAC, LC-AAC, MP3, MP4/AACPlus, MP4/AACPlus High Bitrate, MP4/LC-AAC, WAV, and WMA).
Some formats offer the ability to choose the resulting bitrate, frequency, and/or conversion speed while others have no extra options.
Options exist for specifying the output folder and naming scheme (e.g. track-artist-album). Simultaneous conversions are not possible, though you can select multiple files and convert them, Winamp still handles the files one-by-one.
The conversion speeds are contingent upon which output format you choose and how high the final sound quality will be. Because no simultaneous conversions are available, converting a large number of files takes a long time.
One of the newer additions is the ability to import your entire library from iTunes. Judging from iTunes’ prevalence, this feature will be welcomed by a large percentage of Winamp users. Once imported, the files will automatically be organized.
All files are editable, so you can alter track names, artists, and more. In some cases, such as when users rip a CD without metadata attached to the files, Winamp’s Auto-Tag feature will consult the internet for all relevant information and then attach it to the corresponding files.
Playlists are also widely supported by Winamp, both in terms of playlist formats and the type of selectable playlists.
A relatively standard equalizer is included.
Winamp also contains a large number of applications indirectly related to music and MP3s. They have internet radio services, podcasts directors, a Tour Tracker, Winamp Charts, a Song of the Day, and MetroLyrics for extracting pertinent lyrics from the internet.; An internal browser gives users the ability to surf the web without resorting to external browsers.
iPods, Creative devices, Microsoft devices and generic USB players are compatible with Winamp.; CD ripping and burning are included, with maximum burn speeds of 48x.
The above applications are included with the default download, but once you explore the seemingly infinite amount of plug-ins and addons available on the Winamp site, you’ll be even more impressed with just how much Winamp can accomplish.
Upon installation, Winamp provides a few choices for the default skin. The â€œclassicâ€ skin is included, which will evoke the nostalgia in users who remember the older versions of the program. New skins were added. However, most of them are along the lines of a â€œBuenoâ€ skin, which resembles the classic skin with a sleeker, darker look that displays more windows and sections for organization purposes.
A pane along the left-hand side contains branching nodes much in the manner of MediaMonkey; click on Local Media and a twirl-down effect reveals the categories of Audio, Video, Most Played, etc.
Ease of Use
The other main categories sit in the left-hand pane as well, including Playlists and Podcasts Directory.
Winamp is now comprised of a grid structure, which evenly proportions the sections so the interface becomes much less cluttered and more easily navigable.
However, because the program contains such an abundance of features, finding some applications becomes an extended process. To access the MP3 converter software, users must right-click on a file and choose Send To: and then click Format Converter.
Considering Winamp’s depth and versatility, one would assume operating it takes a tremendous time investment to learn just how to navigate to the MP3 converter software. This is not the case, however. All the buttons and icons are fairly self-explanatory, and most of the relevant destinations sit on the main window for easy access. A learning curve is there, but it isn’t stifling.
Winamp’s Wiki page allows constant manipulation and iteration. Every time a new version gets released, users can access the page and add tips and tricks to their hearts’ content. Of course, Winamp’s staff takes pains to keep the Wiki page free from clutter and retain relevant content.
Their FAQs page is large and highly useful. Plus, their forum possesses even more vital information from the staff and users.
While the MP3 converter software isn’t top-of-the-line, it serves its purpose fairly well. We didn’t encounter any hiccups or skipping when converting even to FLAC. It isn’t the fastest or the highest quality, but considering the multitude of other applications Nullsoft must keep track of, we understand the lack of deeper features within the converter.
All-in-all, Winamp is one of the best audio suites on the market — and for good reason. Its wondrous versatility and unbelievably long list of plug-ins and addons make it a fantastic choice for a media suite. If you’re only on the hunt for MP3 converter software, we advise Switch. But if you’d like a converter and a ridiculous amount of extraneous applications, you won’t find a much better program than Winamp.