The new Banshee 1.2 includes several new features over the last stable release, like the equaliser or the music recommendations panel. The full list of new or improved features is here. For those who didn't hear about Banshee yet, it's a pretty powerful audio player for GNOME which received more and more attention lately, featuring things like a media library, support for Last.fm, podcasts, cover fetching, plugins and many more.
I was enchanted to try the so-called 'Amarok Migration' feature, which, according to the official website, lets you import ratings, play counts and podcasts from Amarok. Well, I have Amarok 184.108.40.206 using SQLite but Banshee crashed when I tried to import those using the Media -> Import Media dialogue, already having a media library in Banshee. I tried deleting the file ~/.config/banshee-1/banshee.db and this time the import feature worked flawlessly, and Banshee didn't crash anymore.
The equaliser works very well, except that there are no default presets. I think several default presets like 'Rock', or 'Full Bass' would be nice instead of letting the user setting those.
I was still disappointed to see that the cover fetching plugin doesn't look inside the song's directory for local files like cover.jpg or front.png, but the retrieval of covers from the Internet works pretty well. All of the covers for albums which don't have additions like [2004 Remaster] or [Limited Edition] were correctly fetched.
Banshee looks more improved with every version and it's definitely a very promising player. Compared to 1.0.0, this new release it's much more stable (no more crashes when clicking on the Last.fm tab for example), but I think it still needs some work at cover fetching, and the Last.fm integration won't show all the images for recently played tracks. Last.fm changed the layout recently so I'm not sure whether this is Banshee's fault at all.
Although the 1.0 release was also accompanied by a new, professionally designed website, work at the Wiki seems to be still in progress.
Although I'm not a GNOME or GTK fan, I can warmly recommend Banshee to any audiophile using this desktop environment. It's almost full-featured, and stable enough now, the 1.x series showing real signs of maturity now.