August 12, 2008

Banshee 1.2 - 1.x Series Getting to Maturity

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.

Banshee 1.2.0 playing

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 1.4.9.1 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.

Importing the Amarok media library

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.

The new equaliser

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.

Plugins

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.

Last.fm integration - Banshee features song submission too

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.

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5 comments:

Кай said...

You joke? While Banshee will not correctly recognize utf8 tags in Russian lang. While can't open files and folders directly from my hard disk, instead of through import a source. And while can't to load radio stations lists from popular sources into internet. Banshee is far up to mature.

Кай said...

I would advise to Banshee developers to redesign their minibrowser. That there it would be possible to adjust different filters, and not just an album and the musician.

For example, I wont filter music by a genre and I like listen music by the certain genres. Even in rhythmbox present filter by genre.

And it is not so convenient to use search for this purpose.

Anonymous said...

I have tried the 1.0 version but it can't access the NT partition, where i keep my music library, i have no troubles with Amarok. for the rest is a fine Media player for Linux

MattJ said...

For cover art it does use cover.jpg in the album folder. I'm using it now for covers it couldn't fetch - that's on 1.2.0 on Ubuntu

Daengbo said...

The killer for me is that it doesn't appear to have any way to monitor your library for changes.

If I could have Banshee scan my ~/Music folder (the way Rhythmbox does) and my ~/Videos folder (the way ... nothing does now), I would kick both RB and Totem to the curb.