Audio Players on the A1222 Plus

OK, enough about setting up the A1222 Plus, let's get into running applications. The first thing I did was download AmigaAmp3, my favorite music player, and load up some of my favorite songs in mp3 format. AmigaAmp3 on the A1222 Plus can play music file fine but it uses a lot of CPU time and, with default settings, causes the GUI response to be very slow and almost unusable. My first thought was what can I change in the settings to improve the performance. I was able to tweak some setting (more on that later) to make it usable, but it still used about 70% of the CPU time. What to do?  Try out other music players of course. So, here starts the journey.  Off to to download and try out a multitude of music players. TuneNet is shipped with the Enhancer package that is included with the A1222 Plus, so of course I tried that out as well. Below you will find the list of players I tried with pictures of their interfaces configured for minimal display space. 

(Open images in new page for a larger view.)

RNOTunes v1.1
DAPlayer v1.4 (Song info enabled)
AmigaAmp3 v3.4 (SmartAmp Skin)
SongPlayer v1.64
TuneNet v2.18 (Skin enabled.)
What I found is that there are a multitude of very nice audio players that work with the A1222 Plus. This is not intended to be a full review of each player as they have so many features it would simply take too much time and space. Instead, I want to focus on how well each one works on the A1222 Plus and point out unique features of each one that distinguishes it from the others. I also use these features as the bases for why I would choose one over the others for a given task. Note that I only tested with mp3 music files and did not do any streaming of files over the web, except with TuneNet. Maybe I'll do a blog another time. Leave a comment if you would like me too.

AmigaAmp3 v3.4 with SmartAMP Skin

AmigaAmp3 with Equalizer and Playlist windows.
This is my favorite player on my X1000 and is still the one I use by default. It has built in support for mp2, mp3. aiff, wav 8vsx, flac, ogg m4a, mod, s3m, xm formats. In addition, it also supports TuneNet pluggins, making it one of the most versatile in terms of supported formats. It also supports streaming from the internet. Unfortunately, on the A1222 Plus, it takes up ~70% of the CPU time and ~80% if you turn on the equalizer feature. The 10 band equalizer, along with the many available skins make AmigaAmp3 the most flexible in terms of customizing the sound and appearance. To make it usable on the A1222 Plus I had to change the following setting in preferences:

Program Tab:

"Scan Method" = "No Scan". (Guru will appear loading multiple files if not off.)

Visualization Tab:
"Mode" = "Off" (Just not enough CPU power for visualations while playing.)

System Tab / Task Priorities:  (To make Workbench usable while playing.)
"Main" = "1"
"Playback = "1"

With these setting, audio can be played with the interface remaining responsive, but you can't run any other programs that need a lot of CPU time.

TuneNet v2.18 (28.6.2022)

TuneNet AmiDoc Interface
TuneNet main interface with no skin.
So, let's move on to TuneNet since it is included in the Enhancer package shipped with the A1222 Plus. TuneNet is probably the most vestal and feature rich audio players available for OS4. It not only supports plugins that allow you to play most any format (to many to list here) but also has good support for streaming from the internet. It is the only player I tried that has the ability to scan for internet stations and the ability to broadcast as well, although I have never tried the broadcast feature. Of all players, it has the best streaming support.  The main GUI could be streamlined but is usable. On my X1000 I just use the AmiDoc GUI but that eats up too much CPU time on the A1222 Plus for my taste. See below.

It runs pretty well on the A1222 Plus and only uses about 8% CPU resources when just using the default GUI. Unfortunately it raised to ~22% CPU usage when using the "SkinFX Display" or "AmiDoc Display" modes. When using both at the same time the CPU usage goes to ~32%. Note that even at this usage, the systems GUI is usable and other programs can be run just fine. This is with the task priorities set to 0 for the GUI and 4 for the Player.  

DAPlayer v1.14 

DAPlayer with song info, playlist and album art displayed.
Now let's try out some of the lesser known but still quite good audio players. 
I'll start with DAPlayer. It's one that I have tried briefly on my X1000 and at first glance it did fine playing mp3 files, but I didn't see anything special about it. However, when trying on the A1222 Plus, I discovered it has some nice features that can be very useful. Not only can it play a variety of formats but by setting environment variables and using the appropriate libraries it can play directly from audio CD's, play midi files, and stream files from the internet. In addition, you can also set a volume level which is used before playing each file to equalize the volume between different files. Unfortunately, the documentation is a bit lacking so it's not always clear how too setup some of these features. Note that you will need to download some libraries, including id3tag, mpega, codesets, and digibooster3, to get full functionality. This is not mentioned in the documentation, but is noted in the download readme file, so make sure you download that as well. DAPlayer supports the following formats: mp3, aiff, wav, flac, ogg, CDDA raw data, midi, dbm, mod, s3m and  xm.  It will also support streaming from the internet with AMISSL is installed.

DAPlayer works well on the A1222 Plus and used about 8-10% cpu time when playing mp3 files. I don't have a CD in my A1222 Plus, so I wasn't able to test that feature. But I have tried in on my X1000 and it seems to work well.   

RNOTunes v1.1

RNOTunes with playlist, song info and lyrics.
RNOTunes is a Hollywood based program which uses MUIRoyale, so it's interface looks like a standard OS4 program that uses MUI. The only downside from using Hollywood for programming is the executable is about 4MB, which is a little more than twice the size of the other players. On the other hand, it is able to take advantage of the Hollywood pluggins to support multiple formats and 4MB in the world of 2GB systems, isn't really an issue. RNOTunes has two features that make it stand out from the others. The first is the ability to display lyrics for the currently playing song. Just open the lyrics window and click the fetch button. The program will then seach an online database and, if the lyrics are found, will display them in a window. The second unique feature is the ability to use the scrobbler feature. As you play songs, info about the song is uploaded to your Last RM account for tracking.  RNOTunes supports MP3, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AIFF, WAV, Protracker, DigiBooster, SID, AHX, FastTracker II, ScreamTracker, OctaMED,  ProRunner, Oktalyzer, Impulse Tracker, Ultra Tracker, Ice Tracker, Liquid Tracker, Quadra Composer, and other formats.

RNOTunes runs well on the A1222 Plus and it's nice that the required plugins are included in the archive. I've moved the plugins to the libs Holleywood directory, so they aren't duplicated on my system. RNOTunes interfaced is adjustable from showing just a volume control, position gadget and player controls, to displaying album covers, song information, lyrics and more. It only uses ~3% of the CPU, which is the lowest of all these players. 

SongPlayer v1.64

SongPlayer with playlist, Karaoke editor & display, which can be full screen.
SongPlayer was initially developed in 1994 for the 68k Amigas and supports OS4 as of version 1.64. I used to use it on my A3000 many years ago. It was quite an accomplished player in those days and still holds it's own among the more recent OS4 audio players with some unique features. It is the only player that supports a karaoke display mode and editor for displaying lyrics with proper timing. I used it to create and play a karaoke file on the A1222 Plus and it works quite well.  In addition, there are two other features for controlling the sound output. First it has a stereo expand feature, that mimics stereo with mono files. If you turn it on with a stereo song it seems to provide some depth at the expense of some bass reproduction. The second unique feature, and the reason it is currently my default audio player on my A1222 Plus, is that it has bass and treble adjustments. More on this later.  SongPlayer  is an older player so does not support some of the newer audio file formats like AAC, FLAC or OGG. It does support IFF, AIFF, WAV, AU, MP2, and MP3. 

SongPlayer runs quite well and uses ~ 5% of the cpu, which is the second lowest of this group of players. Its interface uses MUI so it's nothing fancy but is functional.  It allows you to display song information but does not show album covers from ID3 tags but RNOInfo can be used for that. (See next item. 

One Last Item.  RNOInfo.

RNOInfoScreen showing song info, album picture and player controls.
This concludes my round up of audio players on A1222 Plus, but there is one last audio playing "add-on" that should be mentioned. That is RNOInfoScreen. This is not a song player but an add-on that optionally displays the album cover, artist, song title and album title for the currently playing song.  The information is taken form the ID3 tags in the song file if any exist, and if not, it can obtain this information from the internet automatically, if enabled.  In addition, it can display controls which allow you to play, pause, play next song and play previous song.​ In addition, it supports the Last.FM Scrobble feature by sending information about played songs, but it doesn't display statistics like RNOTunes can. RNOInfoScreen is a nice add-on and can be used with all the players included in this round up.  I encourage you to check it out.

So, which player is best on the A1222 Plus?

As is often the case when this question is asked, the answer is, it depends. Each player has it's strenghts and unique features, so insead of picking a best, I'll ouline the strenghts and in some cases the weakness of each player and let you decide.

AmigaAmp3 v3.4
Allows for the best cutomization of the sound due to it's 10 band equalizer.
Best looking interface and allows for custom skins. There many skins widly available.
Has built in support for the most popular formats and can use most TunNet plugins to play a large variety of formats, 
Unfortunately, it uses 70 to 80% (with equalizer enabled) of the CPU, so doesn't multitask well.
Good if you want the best sound and just want to play music and not do much else at the same time.

TuneNet v2.18
Included with the Enhancer package and works well.
Supports a huge number of formats via plugins.
Can be used to broadcast, although I didn't test that feature. 
Uses 8% CPU when playing music but jumps to 22% when using a skin or the amidock interface.
Best for finding and streaming stations form the internet.

DAPlayer v1.14
A competent all-around player which only uses ~8% of the CPU time.
Supports a variety of modern formats including CDAA, MIDI, and MOD files. 
Has ability to equalize volume of each song so they all play at the same volume.
Best if you have songs with varying volumes. 
Best for playing CDDA files from music CD's .

RNOTunes v1.1
A very nice player that uses the least amount of CPU time at only 3%. 
Supports a variety of formats via Hollywood plugins. 
Programed with Hollywood so it is about twice the size of other players. 
Best for use with Last.FM scobbler.
Best for searching the internet and displaying song lyrics.

SongPlayer v1.64
A nice simple player that uses little CPU time at ~5%.
Does not support currently popular file formats, with the exception of mp3.
Second best at allowing customization of sound with bass and treble controls.
Best for creating a Sudo stereo effect for mono files. 
Best for easy creation of Karaoke files and displaying timed lyrics in a window or on their own screen. 

So which do I use on my A1222 Plus?

Since I store all my music in mp3 files, I currently use SongPlayer as my default player when I just want to listen to music on my A1222 Plus.  This is due to the fact that it has bass and treble controls. I have a 10-watt amplifier and two 3" speakers built into the case of my A1222 Plus, so by tweaking the bass and treble setting I can get pretty good sound out of this setup. If the music is in a format that SongPlayer doesn't support, or I want to see lyrics of a song I'll use RNOTunes. For streaming from the internet, I'll use TuneNet.  If I had a CD drive, I'd use DAPlayer to play music CD's.  The bottom line is that each player has unique features that make them useful in different situations. The good news is that most of these players work quite well in the A1222 Plus. 

Feel free to leave comments about which player you use and why.  Next month I'll cover how I installed and 10-Watt amplifier and speakers inside my A1222 Plus case to create a truly portable system. If you made it this far, thanks for reading.