Yesterday, after I wrote about my gripe with self-hosted music on iOS, someone asked me what I use for music since he was looking around for an app. That gave me the idea to start a series that goes through what apps I actually use on my devices. I will post about which specific apps I use for specific tasks, why I use those, the competition, and things like that. First up is music, which is currently handled by Poweramp on Android.
Poweramp is a fairly typical choice for music on Android, but it’s far from the only app I’ve tried. I’ve given most of the music apps out there a shot, and some of them look very good. While I’m generally not a fan of the Metro interface in Windows Phone/Windows 8, the exception is music apps, which I think Microsoft has done well visually since the Zune app. There are apps on both Android and iOS that copy this style to great effect, but unfortunately, these apps leave a lot to be desired as far as other features go. Simple things like being able to specify my Music folder instead of dealing with .nomedia files (that classify a folder as off limits to the Android media scanner) is something I take for granted, and am frankly shocked when I find to be missing in other apps.
So, while I may lose out on a bit of eye candy, even with new skins now available for Poweramp, at least I have a music player that I can configure the way I want. Poweramp has a lot of settings, and I’ve tweaked several of them, from what form of album art has first priority to the Audio Buffer Size on my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus to fix some skipping. Every setting in Poweramp does something, which means that when other apps have only a fraction of those settings, there’s something you can do in Poweramp that you cannot do in those apps.
Poweramp also has a lot of “front end” settings. By that, I mean things like gapless playback, removing silence to better that gapless playback, balance controls, and an excellent set of audio enhancement effects that go beyond just a standard equalizer. It’s still no BBE, which Android got for a few days before losing to some sort of unknown licensing battle, but at least it’s something.
To sum up why I like Poweramp, it basically comes down to one simple fact: It doesn’t assume that I don’t need something. Simplicity has its place, and I know that tons and tons of settings can scare away people, but I just hate apps where I can’t change something that I think needs changing.
If I could change anything in Poweramp, it would be the widgets. Like I’ve mentioned before, I think Poweramp widgets leave a lot to be desired. They basically do middle size well, but tablet sized widgets don’t exist, and widgets also scale rather poorly at smaller-than-usual sizes.
Poweramp has a free trial version and a $5 full version.
Download: Google Play