Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quod Libet

Rhythmbox (the music player that comes with Debian) is pretty good. Fine most of the time. But it does have a problem with compilation albums. Investigating the issue before, I'd found that Banshee will play compilation albums correctly, but in the process of installing it on Squeeze I noticed it has an obsolete dependency bug, so I gave it a miss. On a whim I tried Quod Libet again. Lenny came with version 1 which didn't impress me too much, but Squeeze has version 2 which is a big improvement. It recognised my compilation albums correctly- and what's more its excellent tag editor allowed me to fix some tagging errors I hadn't noticed before.
The default GUI is pretty basic, can be customised to show a paned browser, album covers, a search feature, playlists etc. (These features are also available in a separate window.)

The basic GUI:

Album cover view:

The Tag Editor:

The download album art plugin:

Quod Libet comes with many plugins that can be enabled if desired. I really liked the album cover search feature which works really well- no more Google searches and file saving- it's all automatic.
I also used the notify plugin to get new track notifications, and the tray icon plugin to put the music player in the notification area rather than close it completely. (I like to keep the bottom panel for documents and keep my music player separate.) This is probably the weakest feature of the player (although it is only a plugin.) Hovering over the Quod Libet icon only gives track information- not album art and track progress like other players. The panel icon is also indistinct when paused (a bug?)
[Update: not a bug. The plugin superimposes the Gnome paused icon (which depends on the theme selected) over the Quod Libet icon. Unfortunately in a dark panel, the Quod Libet icon does not display well, as it is black with a white border (so only the border shows. Editing the Quod Libet icon to white helps.]
Other plugins worth a look would be the MusicBrainz and CDDB lookup plugins for identifying audio tracks. (I looked previously at other programs using MusicBrianz and CDDB.)
Despite the minor gripe about the tray icon plugin, I'll give Quod Libet five stars for handling compilation albums, having one of the best tag editors around, a brilliant album cover finder and an elegant and customisable GUI. And I haven't looked at all the features yet- for example, Quod Libet claims to be better able to handle large music libraries than other players.


  1. Hello.
    Can you post some tips on how to improve Debian Squeeze speed?
    Thanks and sorry for my English.

  2. Squeeze is fast enough for me, and my computer is five years old now.

    If you find it slow on yours, I'd suggest a lighter desktop environment like Xfce or LXDE instead of Gnome. I haven't used either, so you'd be better off asking at the Debian forum.


  3. Thanks for the reply.
    I like the speed of Debian. I switched from Ubuntu to Debian (since Lenny) and liked the Debian speed but I throught that this speed could be improved further.
    My PC config is the follow:
    Celeron D 2,26 Ghz
    1 Gb RAM
    Do you have Nvidia card?
    Do you know the best way to install Nvidia driver?
    Thanks in advance.

  4. Your single core chip probably limits your speed. As I said in my previous comment, a lighter desktop environment would run faster, but I don't have experience of using one. There seem to be many people at the Debian forum using lighter alternatives to Gnome (or KDE) so you could get better advice there.
    I don't have an Nvidia card, but unless you're using a very recent one, the open source drivers in Squeeze should be fine.
    Again you can probably get better advice on the Debian forum because I can't give you much advice on things I don't use.