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Clementine vs Songbird (vs iTunes)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Clementine - After using clementine as my first music player for Mac OSX away from the standard iTunes, I was very pleased. Very easy to use, instant Album Cover searching, very good organization and notifications. However it has some flaws. Some things I miss from iTunes and other benefits that iTunes does not have. For example, iTunes allows lots of flexibility in renaming your collection. Simply double click or single click + enter and you can fill out the text field to whatever you want. Changing names, artists, song title, etc. are very easy. Clementine does not allow you to do that. You have to right click the album or selection and choose "Edit track information" and even then, it does not change some things. It made an Artist called "Various Artists" and put half my albums in there. I tried to rename some of them to the MAIN artist such as Betsie Larkin album to Artist "Betsie Larkin" so when I look for her material, it will be under the alphabet "B". Instead it remains with "Various Artists" up top as does many of my albums. I believe it's because these albums have various "featuring" artists and co-artists. Pretty annoying. I have to search through "Various Artists" by Album title on top of that, not by artist. A pretty annoying organization flaw but overall it organizes things every well. 

I also like that you can access music very simply without having to wait a century like iTunes when you "drag and drop" into your library. It also auto updates so if you delete, move or add anything to your designated music folder, it will follow.

The BIGGEST gripe about itunes for me was that whenever my music was moved or deleted, it would drive me crazy that it wouldn't update on its own. I would have a bunch of songs with exclamation marks next to them and would have to go searching. Not to mention highlight and manually delete them all. Also, if i get a new album or song and want to first test listen and open it in iTunes, it will be jacked up when I move the song/album from my Desktop or "Downloads" folder to my Music folder should I decide I want to change its location. Organization for iTunes is seriously a F. Clementine also plays FLAC which was the main reason I was looking for another music player. 




Songbird - I would have just stuck with Clementine but that problem of being unable to edit the song and artist information was bugging me so on my free time, I checked out Songbird since it was free. Painless install, took 10 seconds. I forgot to mention, the other thing that bothered me about Clementine was the interface of selecting and playing music. If you double click an album on the left in your library, it will add it to the playlist and then you have to double click again from the playlist to actually play it. This is fine, it's kind of nice. but it leads to problems. Sometimes right clicking an album will automatically add or start playing it, you have to manually add things to the playlist to play anything, whereas Songbird is more like iTunes where you choose directly from the library and it's instant play. It will play through your entire library if you leave it, which is what i like. I like listening and choosing directly from my library and having playlists for special situations, not the other way around. 


Sound quality - Songbird is NOTICEABLY better in SQ. I was actually kind of shocked. I was somewhat satisfied by Clementine only because I didn't think a different music player software would actually change the SQ. I wasn't even using an amp or DAC, just using my onboard soundcard's headphone out. Clementine was good because everything I added was newly converted FLAC and lossless files from my previous 120-260kbps MP3s so the improvement there was good by itself. But I used the same files for Songbird and IMMEDIATELY I noticed a huge change. My jaws dropped. Everything is much clearer, detailed, and defined, including the bass. This makes the soundstage a bit better and makes the music much fuller. Both EQ were off. Kind of amazed that a software using the same files can make such a difference, I can't wait to try it with my amp and DAC. Songbird looks cooler IMO (the colors and interface), the library is very similar to iTunes in its organizations but also has the flexibility that Clementine offers. Allows for integration with Last.Fm and what not. I believe I will stick with Songbird for now. 


If anyone's looking for some good FREE music player for OSX, I'd try Songbird. I also tried Fidelia but not my cup of tea having that large looking virtual receiver. Rather have music organization. 


I'd like to hear if anyone tried Songbird and found something even BETTER. That'd be great, I'd like to try it but otherwise it's pretty damn good if you ask me. 

Edited by pancakeplease - 12/10/11 at 2:50am
post #2 of 5


...Clementine was good because everything I added was newly converted FLAC and lossless files from my previous 120-260kbps MP3s...


Not sure if I'm reading this right, but are you saying that you took mp3s and converted them to FLAC/other lossless file types?

The files that come out as a result of this conversion, at best have the same information they had as mp3s (a lossy codec).

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by LostOne.TR View Post



Not sure if I'm reading this right, but are you saying that you took mp3s and converted them to FLAC/other lossless file types?

The files that come out as a result of this conversion, at best have the same information they had as mp3s (a lossy codec).

Naw lol I know what lossless is. I meant I was getting CDs and ripping them and downloading FLAC files to replace my existing songs that are low quality MP3s. lol




post #4 of 5


Thanks for your comparison reports.

I will give songbird another try now. (Had done that some time ago, but somehow not continued my testing)

I must say that I am totally annoyed with the way iTunes behaves when managing files. Strangely enough, I cannot find any users who report about the same problems.

I have a music collection of roughly 22,000 Titles, so about 160 GB -> this seems to be too much to take for iTunes. Whenever I want to play a song, it takes about 4sec until it is loaded into RAM to play. This is partly due to the Harddrive I guess (connected via FW400/USB 2.0) and/or its fragmentation. But still: iTunes doesn't handle its XML library file very elegantly.

Any Mp3-Tag edit (which most of the times means rewriting the file name + location) will take ages as well. This just is not smooth playback /file management at all.

For the mentioned problem of iTunes "forgetting" the place where the files are to be found or just not being able to update the HD location dynamically I also looked for ways to correct the entry in the XML file manually - it doesn't work all the way. iTunes overwrites my corrections and the only path left is relinking every file one-by-one! (And again: much time spent on waiting while doing this).

So overall, I am desperatly looking for an iTunes alternative which still offers the ease-of-search through the library that iTunes has and also the management of playlists.

With hopefully faster algorithms for handling the library database files - no matter how big your collection is.


Thanks for the report!

post #5 of 5

I LITERALLY just noticed the exact same SQ difference comparing Songbird to other media players listening to M83!!! At first i thought i was losing my mind because I had no eq's on, no change of volume, just literally pause and playing on both players. The easiest way to explain the difference in SQ is that songbird just removed one extra plane of glass from view compared to itunes, so you to see/hear the music that much more clearly. At first i thought it was possible volume normalization or some jazz like that, but it definitely wasn't. Reverbs would tail off longer, i started hearing instruments that i never heard while I'd stream the exact same song via Rhapsody, vocals popped out more, everything just got better!


The easiest tracks IMO to compare this SQ change with on the M83 "Hurry Up We're Dreaming" album would be: Intro, Splendor & Wait. I played flac's in Songbird and alac's in iTunes. Also, for the record, i even played the alac's in Songbird just to cover my bases and make sure the conversion didn't make it sound different, and yeah it wasn't the conversion. Songbird just is better for lossless listening, and 320 listening as well darthsmile.gif. I'm going to make Songbird my primary lossless library from now on.


My only complaint is that sadly when I tried looking for a flac player on my iPhone, none could compare to the SQ that the desktop Songbird app put out, even the actual Songbird player in the App Store frown.gif. I was comparing the stock music player, Songbird app & the Aphex arual exciter app when listening to the M83 tunes, and they're pretty much all close to the same, except for the dsp in the Aphex player that I honestly love. So for portability wise, you're best bet IMO is to get a copy of that Aphex Aural exciter app, and play alac's off that using the dsp for extra clarity. 


Now I'm officially gonna be "that guy" who says you GOTTA listen to your lossless collection via Songbird from now on! L3000.gif

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