Software Review Of The Moment

Winamp 2.8

20th Of February, 2019
(Updated a bit on 31st of May, 2022.)

Who doesn’t know good ol’ Winamp? It was (and still is, I would say,) one of the most popular music players, especially when MP3 files started coming in. It was efficient, may have had a version for Windows 3.1 (which I’m really not sure about), and even had neat visualisations to really funk up your computer screen, and make your music put on a great show! With its ability to let you add your own plug-ins, you could add even more formats, like Ogg, FLAC, Monkey’s Audio, ADX, M4A and whatever else had been made for it. (Later versions have M4A support without requiring a plug-in.) You also got the special llama related audio file, which used to say: Winamp — It really whips the llama’s @$$. They then beefed that version up, and later had one that went: “Winamp (Winamp, Winamp) — Llama tested, mother approved.” It’s as bad as DeviantArt with their llama fetish.

The default theme. In case you find it hard to read, WinAmp also has a pixelated double sized mode, which makes the main window, and optionally the equaliser, twice the size in both directions.
Even the credits has this 3D music visualisation.
(Click on this picture for a full size view.)

Winamp’s play list adds up the total time of your song line up, and you can toggle between time left for the current song, or how much time has progressed.
You can of course load and save play-lists & adjust the tone of your music with the equaliser. Stick on the repeat feature and shuffle, and you can have random tunes going all the time for your evening cocktail party or just simple daily listening, while you do other stuff on your PC. Even the equaliser can have saved presets for various conditions.
One of the coolest features of Winamp, are the visualisations, which put on a fancy graphical show in time to your music. The ones that come with the program are pretty impressive as it is, but you can get more!

The advanced visualisation studio plug-in has heaps of preset styles, and can be run in a small window or in a full screen mode. They can be quite CPU intensive. Even on my 2.4 GHz CPU.
Here’s a second example of the same plug-in. This is one of many AVS files, which can be used for some pretty nifty effects. This one is Justin And Tag - Brainbug 2.
A funky, 3D plug-in.
(Click on this picture for a full size view.)
Geiss. This is a free plug-in for personal use, but needs to be registered for a fee for commercial environments. I dunno if the chap’s e-mail address is still the same after 20 years.

One of the plug-ins I have, Tripex, was quite awkward to get working again. I remembered that it was designed for 3Dfx cards, and this was no trouble back when I had my Voodoo Banshee in use. (Now I use a Glide wrapper, which also allows for 32 bit colour.) Anyhoo, if you enter the configuration section for the plug-in in Winamp, it crashes. But simply starting the plug-in works fine. You can edit its accompanying INI file if you need to make tweaks anyhow. It will also notify you when you start Winamp, if Glide2x.dll is missing. (It should be in your main Windows directory.) Compared with an old screen shot I had of it from 2002, the time display went a bit wonky at the bottom, so perhaps the wrapper rendition of the Glide DLL file is a little off somewhere.
Anyway, most of the old Winamp stuff I have, is zipped up in archives, since I don’t often use the visualisations. There are even a neat pair of speakers that pulsate to your music, which are put on either side of Winamp’s main window, and one of Bart from The Simpsons, skating. Although that one isn’t that brilliant. Besides fancy graphics, there are also numerous plug-ins that do other things too, such as outputting to different formats, stuff to correct sounds and cross-fading between tracks.

Tripex. Get trippy with your music!
(Click on this picture for a full size view.)
Fancy looking speakers that pulse about with the music. (This is a RollerCoaster Tycoon skin.)
The preferences, showing the section on file associations.
(Click on this picture for a full size view.)
You get different file information windows, depending on the plug-in the file is using. You can pretty much edit the extra data for any type of file. Well, nearly any one. Song cover images for MP3 files are not supported in this version, so you may end up erasing them if you edit the tags.
(Click on this picture for a full size view.)

One of Winamp’s other handy features, is the ability to record to a wave file from anything playing. This makes it easy to listen to the likes of modules and MIDI files on portable systems that don’t support them. You can also make playlists for the Cowon S9 & X9 players, which I have. You just drag in the files to the order you want from your plugged in PMP, and then save the M3U file(s) into your Music directory. When you use your Cowon player, just go up from the Folders level, to Playlists, and the M3U file should be listed there. You will need to have support in Winamp for the files you wish your S9 or X9 to play though, such as the optional FLAC or Monkey’s Audio plug-ins. There are official ones of these specifically for Winamp as well.
When it comes to playing CDs, I initially thought that you could only drag in CDA files from Explorer / your file manager. Unlike Macs, Windows doesn’t handle enhanced CDs all that well. It only shows the data tracks, rather than multiple partitions. (In Mac OS X, enchanced CDs show up as 2 discs. One with the bonus files, and one with the audio tracks as AIFF files.) Anyway, you can get Winamp to play these after all. You can just right click anywhere on its main window, and select Play, then which optical disc drive you want to play from. Although I can’t really see a way to append such tracks onto an existing play list. This can be done though if your CD just shows up as CDA files by Windows.
It is possible to do your own skins too, but I haven’t done any for yonks, and I think they changed how they were done at some stage.
Overall, Winamp is a must have music playing program. While it keeps things simple, there are enough cool extras to make this flexible for all kinds of purposes. Module playing is not as accurate as XMPlay however, so that’s the better choice for such files as I see it. Some of the later versions of Winamp were apparently a bit bloated, and some people didn’t like them. Well, I haven’t gone any further than version 2.8, so this is the latest version I have any familiarity with. It does what I need it to do, so that’s good enough for me.
With all the plug-ins and skins, my Winamp directory only comes to 6.73 MB, which is probably considered pretty small, especially compared with iTunes. In fact, without the plug-ins directory, the whole lot only comes to 1.22 MB! So you could even fit it on a floppy disk.

Other Reviews In This Monthly Dealie:
• Art Of Illusion 2.5
• Corel CHART! 3
• Corel DRAW 8
• iMovie 6 + iDVD 7
• JES De-Interlacer + Microsoft Works 3
• Mac OS X Tiger
• My titler programs
• Open Office 3.3
• Power DVD 6
• Various small programs
• Windows ’95
• Windows 10
• XMPlay + Cog + MacAmp Lite X