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Winamp (PC)
Winamp is perhaps the most widespread audio media player on the market. Their freeware distribution model and early jump on the mp3 player craze fastened Winamp as a permanent fixture on many people's PC. It has a simple and attractive layout and offers a plethora of plugins (some free, some not).

In recent years, Winamp has succumbed to the overwhelming push to make their software profitable, and thus have included some rather sketchy additions to their free version, as well as offering pay-for-use versions. Many Winamp users have kept their older versions of Winamp to be free from the adware, spyware, nagware, and excessive resource usage of Winamp's newer versions. Winamp comes packaged primarily as an mp3 player, which makes it of little use to lossless file traders. It can, however, be configured to play all of the lossless file types that are traded at this site, however each plugin must be individually installed and configured.

foobar2000 (PC)
foobar2000 is the ultimate audio media player for the Windows platform. It has a rather utilitarian interface and lacks many of the resource-sucking graphical features of it's competitors. The list of features that it does have, however, should make all of the commercial players out there embarassed. The open API license for foobar2000 permits users to create plugins for features that may be missing from the default installation, and thus the amount of features available for this player is only limited by the resourcefulness of it's userbase.

For lossless audio traders, this program is a godsend. Here's a list of the advantages this program has over any other media player out there:

  • Small footprint, runs smoothly on virtually any system.
  • Plain but simple, fully customizable interface.
  • Plays FLAC, SHN, APE, WAV, AIFF, MP3, OGG, AAC, etc, etc, etc.
  • Convenient masstagger feaute works as an id3, id3v2, Vorbis, and APE tagging utility.
  • Customizable user interface allows the viewing or sorting by of any tag, standard or non-standard.
  • Fully customizable database feature allows you to setup your own way of viewing your files.
  • Open API with a huge community of developers creating helpful plugins.
  • Plays everything you need, right "out of the box", without having difficult plugins to install.
  • Dynamic creation of seektables for SHN files without them. Never worry about seeking again!
  • (the list goes on and on!)

Here's a list of helpful links for download, setting up, and getting support for foobar2000:

The foobar 2000 blogsite contains the Special Installer, which comes packaged with a ton of plugins including the SHN plugin, the essential Columns UI interface, masstagger, and tons of others.

To stretch the legs of this fantastic little program even further, here's a list of foobar 2000 3rd Party Plugins.

For discussion, support, and new tricks & ideas, check out the official foobar2000 forums

Finally, look at the foobar2000 entry on my personal website which contains a few tricks I've personally configured and some nice screenshots.

Cog (Macintosh)
Cog is a good solid player for Mac Users to use. However, the last update was back in 2008, so I don't know if it's still being developed. Also, the latest version, version 0.07, has a bug under Leopard (probably also under Snow Leopard) that causes the playlist to become corrupted. It can be downloaded here.

Songbird (Macintosh)
Songbird is a new play for Mac users and is very similar to iTunes. You can manage your music in it and it's customizable with add-ons. It does not play shns and it for Mac OS 10.5 or later. It can be downloaded here.

MacAmp (Macintosh)
MacAmp is a tried and true player than many users swear by. At the current time, this player has support for SHN and FLAC only. It can be downloaded here.

Audio CD
NOTE: Burning lossless data files as an audio CD can result in unrepairable errors. If you are interested in trading the recordings that you download, always keep a backup of the ORIGINAL data files as they were downloaded. Audio CDs should be burned for personal use only. All of the file types traded at this site are simply containers used for compressing audio PCM wav data, the same format which can be burned directly to audio CD. For listening to these discs you can decompress to .wav or .aiff (Macintosh) and burn to a CD with your favorite CD burning software. You will not experience a quality loss in burning to CD from these formats, but there are many errors that can occur during either the burning to or audio extraction from audio CDRs.

A few pointers to be aware of when making audio CDRs:
1. Always turn off any buffer underrun protection schemes that your burning software uses. These work fine for data CDRs but can cause skips in audio CDRs.
2. Always burn discs on disc-at-once mode instead of track-at-once mode. Otherwise known as DAO and TAO, these two options can make a huge difference in the playback of your audio CD. TAO inserts two second gaps (adjustable in some burning suites) between each song, an obviously big problem with seamless playback of live audio. DAO burns discs without any gaps between songs. 3. Keep your audio CDs protected in jewel cases. A few scratches that often result when placing CDRs in carrying cases can cause you to be unable to make a flawless rip (re-extraction of audio data).

Note that it is possible to burn to audio CD and then re-extract and re-compress the audio data, but doing this correctly is more the exception than the rule. If you insist upon doing it this way, you MUST use an error correcting CD extractor to rip your CD. Only EAC, iTunes, or cdparanoia in secure mode with proper offset correction can perfectly replicate audio data from a CD. If you are unaware of what these terms mean, it is probably best that you don't attempt this, and simply backup and trade your original data files.

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