July 25, 2008

Listen 0.5 - Yet Another Good GTK Audio Player

Listen is a not so widely known audio player written in Python and using the GTK toolkit, with an interface similar to the one of Rhythmbox, and including features like a music library, podcasts support, lyrics fetching, Wikipedia integration, and Last.fm song submission.

Playing Metallica and visualisation

The interface is divided into several sections for the currently selected action. For example, if you select Current from the actions list, Listen will display all the albums by the currently playing artist, favourite songs and recently played songs by the same artist.

Context tab

I really missed the option to sort the playlist by song location, but otherwise, it includes mostly all other criterias. You can sort by artist, title, album, bitrate, play count, date, year, genre, track number and so on. I'm not sure what the 'Feeds' sorting option does, since it has no visible column in the playlist.

I liked the Wikipedia integration, the browser offers several basic functionality options, like searching for album, artist or song, opening in an external web browser, but it doesn't include an option to specify what browser you want to use. It also has back and forward buttons.

Wikipedia information

The Context tab will show favourite albums, songs and last played songs. Listen automatically detects cover images in the currently playing song directory and shows them whenever possible: in the context tab, in the library at the albums section or in the now playing area. It also allows you to search for default or specific names on Amazon.com and Google Images, but the Amazon search currently doesn't work. It works fine for Google Images though. Allowing you to enter a custom search term is useful in case you don't find what you want but you want to put any other cover or image instead of it.

Cover fetching from Google Images

Listen can be customised different ways using the Preferences window. To mention a few settings you can change: splash screen, start minimized, visualisations, OSD (on-screen display).


Last.fm integration

Populating playlists doesn't seem to be very intuitive. For example, after creating a new playlist and going to Music -> Import Folder, the playlist remains empty. However I could do it by selecting all the songs from the Media Library with CTRL+A and dragging them over the playlist name.

Overall, I found Listen to be pretty nice and rich enough in features, but I missed statistics and the option to sort the playlist by location. Otherwise, it's very nice, with a clean layout, and offers a very good audio experience.


Official website


Anonymous said...

I didn't like that Winamp clone library window, also, it's the worst part from Winamp. The best library ever made is that from Amarok, because "Tree View" are always best (also, the reason that made me hate iTunes, the library view is slow, poluted, horrible!!). But I'll try this soon, didn't knew it before. Also, I like those screens from yours, always rocking!! =)

Craciun Dan said...

I agree Amarok's library is very well arranged and powerful (I'm an Amarok user and fan), but the only thing I miss in functionality is that it doesn't have a Play option when right-clicking on a song in the library. It has Load, Append to Playlist, Queue Track etc, but no Play.

PS: Glad you like the screenshots, they're just normal KDE3 or GNOME usually. Or you were referring to the music playing?

Anonymous said...

It is very cluttered. Is the left hand window intended for the active playlist? Otherwise it seems like a terrible waste of screen space.
Generally, this player requires a widescreen to make any sense.

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Anonymous said...

I just re-discovered Listen and it has one feature which really pleases me: it gets the cd information from musicbrainz and not from freedb. Exaile and Amarok can't do that.
For last.fm submitting purposes I still haven't found a player which can handle "various artists" cds correctly.