I've been searching for the 'perfect' audio player my whole life... sad, eh? Well, maybe there isn't actually ONE that is always perfect, but there are some things I know I like. I have ended up using 1by1 (http://mpesch3.de1.cc/1by1.html
) which is almost perfect, but it crashes. I've twiddled with it quite a bit, but to no avail. Also, it duplicates Windows Explorer interface, which is kind of redundant. Foobar is too rigid because of it's roots and heritage, it's 'take it like it is or leave it'.
I've seen many different toolbars and gadgets made for Windows (XP) Explorer that enhance its functionality, but none to play media files straight in explorer window. In my wet dreams there would be a small toolbar (Explorer allows 3rd party toolbars to be added) that shows regular playback buttons - play/pause, prev, next, file name, maybe time elapsed/remained/total, bitrate etc. It could be without any configuration interface - registry keys or .ini file can be manually edited that one time when you set it up, or .reg files could be used. It would play the file that is selected in Explorer when 'play' is pressed, 'next' would play next in that folder etc. One could browse around in Explorer while the player would play files from the folder it was started from, when it reaches the end of the folder it would play next folder (configurable option). It would be nice if it could play files and folders based on sorting criteria that user has selected in Explorer - alphabetically, size, modification date etc. When clicking on playing file name (or extra button) on the toolbar it would take user to the folder where currently playing file resides. All other things, like ID-tag editing, file operations, searching etc can be done with Explorer functionality or existing Explorer add-ons. It could use internal codecs, system codecs (ACM, FFA etc) or codec libraries in specific folder (Bass, mpglib etc); which one to use could be user configurable. It would be simple and perfect. In attached sketch there's the bare minimum of the idea, no explorer tree visible etc but I hope it brings some clarity to my rambling.
PS. In addition to or in place of the player toolbar (if it's too difficult to implement) maybe player controls in Explorer's right-click menu? Many programs put stuff in that menu, why not audio player controls and some info on the track playing there? Take a look at my second sketch.
PS.PS. I've found another, new player that plays from explorer-like interface - Resonic at http://resonic.at/
. But it's alpha quality and although it looks attractive it's quite slow on older hardware. The interface pretty much duplicates Windows Explorer interface, only it's slower, and adds huge visualisation of waveform which I have no practical use for... And it only sorts folders alphabetically. So the same theme is done again, but also with same mistakes/shortcomings.