These two old-school music players for Linux let me fine-tune my listening experience

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Penguins are listening to the gramophone

Penguins enjoying “Waltz Me Around An Willy” in Antarctica in 1907 during the British Antarctic Expedition.

Photo by Royal Geographical Society via Getty Images

Walk into my office and you’ll immediately see it’s a fusion of old and new school technology. For old school, I have racks of vinyl and a turntable that proves I love the warmth of analog. And since I work from home, I can listen to vinyl all day.

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That doesn’t mean I limit myself strictly to vinyl. I have a large collection of CDs that contain recordings that are unavailable on vinyl or streaming services. As I mentioned earlier, it’s possible to add your local files to Spotify, which I do. But when I want to dig deep into a track and experience the music exactly the way I want it, I often turn to an old-school music player, like Qmmp. Qmmp is a Linux clone of the old Winamp app (which is a Amazing Resurrection on Android, iOS and Windows)

Or, I can turn to the music player that’s been my default for years — Clementine. I have always considered Clementine to be one of a kind the best in the world Music app because it has all the features I need (playlist, library, files, equalizer, queue manager, CD ripping) and even extra features I may or may not use (internet radio and device connections).

Clementine Music Player.

With Clementine, you get an incredible music manager tool, a powerful EQ, and more.

Jack Wallen/ZDNet

Both Clementine and Qmmp include 10-band EQs, allowing me to fine-tune the music to my exact specifications. While both apps allow you to save custom EQs, only Clementine has a collection of pre-configured EQ settings (like Classical, Club, Dance, Dubstep, Big Hall, Live Hall, Rock, etc.). I’m always amazed at how accurate the Clementine EQ presets are. Plus, both apps offer pre-amp sliders so you can bump up the volume of your favorite tracks until you can feel the beat in your core.

Qmmp music player.

I like the old-school look of Qmmp.

Jack Wallen/ZDNet

In the end, however, my primary reason for opening one of these apps is because the music I’ve collected over the decades isn’t available anywhere else. For example, around Y2K, I attended a Linux convention and picked up a free copy of a CD called “The Sounds of Slashdot” by Sam Mehat. Anytime I need to enjoy some trance music, this is the album I want. I still have the CD and burned it to digital format long ago. The only way I listen to that album is by adding it to Spotify or opening one of my old-school music players.

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I assume no app is running? That’s right — either Clementine or Qmmp. With these two apps, not only can I hear the music exactly the way I want, but I can also watch the visual analyzer show the beats to remind me that I’m still a kid back when an impressive stereo rack made you feel like you. He was the ruler of the universe.

Of the two, I’d say Qmmp offers the best classic feel (and a killer visualizer) but Clementine’s EQ for switching between presets or customized settings is hard to beat. Also, Clementine’s queue management and playlist feature is amazingly simple.

But how to install these two music players?

It is very common.

How to install Qmmp and Clementine

What you will need: To install any of these music players, you’ll need a running instance of your favorite Linux distribution and a user with it. sudo Privilege

First, we’ll install Qmmp, which I recommend doing Flatpack. Any distribution that includes Flatpack has access to the Qmmp package via Flathub, so installation is as simple as:

Confirm the answer y (Although if you’re using Fedora, you’ll need to select a repository, which is done by typing the number associated with the repo you want to use.) After installation, log out and log in so that the Qmmp launcher is your Added to desktop menu.

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If you are using a Debian or Ubuntu-based distribution, the installation command for Clementine is:

sudo apt-get install clementine -y

If you are using a Fedora-based distribution, the installation command is:

sudo dnf install clementine -y

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Once you have the player installed, you can open it, add music to your library/playlist and start listening. If you’re a music lover, you’ll appreciate the ability to play those out-of-print tracks with an old-school twist that only apps like this can bring. Unless you have a turntable, which should always be your first choice when you want to hear music recordings as they were intended.





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