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dBpowerAMP Audio Player by illustrate

review by Richard, July 2006


Richard wrote to tell us all about an audio player he's using.




* The player supports practically every audio type created: mp3, mp4, m4a, wma, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Monkeys Audio, FLAC, the list goes on.


* Easy on system resources - small / fast / modularized: only components used are loaded. It uses 8-16 times less ram than itunes. Works with Microsoft media keyboards.


* The My Music Collection (MMC) library database is the heart of this program. Add entire music folders or individual files or configure to automatically search for new tracks when the program is opened.


* Under collection button you can export, combine, create playlists, clear lists, highlight and search for missing files, set to play random.


* The (MMC) can be used as an alternate player, one main window with all music files / search are right at your finger tips, without using a ton of system resources.


* En-queue tracks to playlist (add as many as you want to the list). Rate songs on a five star basis and play according to the rating.


* There is a (volume boost) in MMC where tracks can be adjusted to knock down clipping, plus the player will remember the setting the next time the track is played. Also, as an added bonus there is a fantastic little program called Mp3Gain. This program is completely free, it analyzes mp3 files to determine how loud they sound to the human ear. It can then adjust the mp3 files so that they all have the same loudness without any quality loss. This way, you don't have to keep reaching for the volume dial on your mp3 player every time it switches to a new song. Go to Mp3Gain for more information and downloading.


* Advanced I.D. tag info. Edit information: artist, song title, album and genre.


* Minimize to minitray control / hover pointer over icon and tiny dbAmp window appears / left click icon to skip to next track.


* User (standard skins) interface is rather sparse and downright butt-ugly. This can be changed by downloading advanced skins created by other users.


* Advanced skins and plug-ins are available on site. To obtain skins created by other users you will have to register with illustrate's site forum. In the forum you will find an assortment of some normal and extremely bizarre looking skins.


* The player has the standard skip back / forward, pause and stop buttons in the context menu. Right click and a option splash menu pops up: here you will find ( Amp ) to set the soundcard, multiplayer to adjust crossfade and gap length, 10 band graphic equalizer, plug-ins, credits (a little surprise here) and selectable skins.


* I prefer the StudioPro II skin: (see screenshot) the interface size is 800x600 and the appearance is palatable. Comes with right / left channel VU peak meters, spectrums, scrolling track info, mini bar and best of all a 18 band graphic EQ to adjust the low - mid - high ranges / volume boost. Included are a number of pre-sets for the EQ which can be found by clicking the load button. You can create your own settings and save them. The creator of StudioPro II skin, who goes by the name Craze, made the console open / close detachable (just click the studio button). He also added a hidden red button - you can find it in between the volume and balance control sliders. Click and you will get an expandable black drop back displaying the artist and song info. And for an extra treat, if either the song title and artist name are really long they scroll.


* There are way to many features to cover in this review, so I'll leave that up to you to discover them. Have fun !


No spyware / adware bundled. Extensive help forum. For those who have trouble installing, the tech team will be more than happy to help. They also have a program to download from the help forum that restores the program to what it should be if you run into instability problems.


If you're looking for a free and innovative audio program placing emphasis on quality, look no further. Sure you can say that dBpowerAMP doesn't have the fancy features that Windows media, the bloated itunes or Nullsofts Winamp players integrate, like visualizations and streaming audio, etc. But, compare the sound quality and PowerAmp wins the contest hands down without the bells and whistles attached. In my opinion PowerAmp has not received the attention it rightly deserves among the popular players, because it does require a higher degree of learning and this will turn off a lot of people. However, once you get a handle on the unique features you will find it fairly easy to use. This audio player will replicate rich studio recordings and make them shine. On the negative side, it will make inferior recordings sound like they were recorded inside of a garbage can. Again, other than the fact that there is a steep learning curve associated with this compact audio player it is still a dynamite product. To quote from illustrate's homepage,"If ever there was a complete player this is it! dAP has a little something for everyone."


P.S. For you hard core music lovers, I highly recommend you get the DB Music Converter as well. Clif has found a site where you can still get a free copy. Also, check out the other products Illustrate has available.


Fully compatible with Windows 95 / 98 / ME / NT4 / 2000, Windows XP




Homepage for more info and download: http://www.dbpoweramp.com/


Thank you Richard, that sounds like a wonderful freeware audio player. Great review!