A Jar of Minds

Collecting thoughts in a container

Nightingale, The Best Music Player Alternative for Mac OS X

June 24, 2015 • English, Technology

Recently I just switched my laptop with a MacBook. Due to the new hardware components on this early 2015 series, Linux couldn’t detect the SSD, even with the latest 4.0 kernel. Hence I have to familiarize myself with Mac OS X.

The first thing to do beside migrating all files was to install all applications I regularly use in Linux or pick an alternative if no Mac OS X build or port is available. For those replacements, the most difficult one was to find a suitable music player alternative to iTunes. Long story short, I finally found the best one (at least for my needs) named Nightingale. Since this music player doesn’t come up on top Google search results, I want to share my experience with you fellow readers.

As an old time Linux user, I often use Rhythmbox on Linux. I also use Shuttle on Android. So I need something that works similarly which I could sync the same music files between the three players.

Here is what I need:

  • Must be able to play OGG (Vorbis) format and fully support Vorbis metadata. It also includes displaying cover art from metadata.
  • Doesn’t copy or make its own collection of files like iTunes does. I prefer organizing all my files manually.
  • Have a 3 filter panels to browse songs: genre, artist, album.
  • Optionally, able to display embedded lyrics.

The latest version of iTunes can’t play OGG because it uses 64-bit QuickTime and OGG is not available for 64-bit QuickTime. This reason alone already makes iTunes unusable for me.

Some free/open source music players I have tried:

DoubleTwist. This player has 3 pane browser and plays OGG. However, support for Vorbis metadata is very basic. It can’t show cover art, track number, and so on. Additionally, I encountered a few crashes while playing music with this application.

Winamp. Winamp can play OGG well. And shows cover art too. But I miss the 3 pane browser so much.

VLC. Same overall experience as Winamp.

Tomahawk. Looks good and promising. But still lacks Vorbis cover art support. Also, the song browser is a bit hard to use because you have to scroll horizontally and vertically.

Banshee. No luck running Banshee on OS X Yosemite. It just crashes on start.

Amarok. Unfortunately I’m no fan of Amarok. But if you like Amarok, you can install it on Mac OS X too.

Finally I saw Songbird on Sourceforge. This application was discontinued so some developers have forked it with a new name Nightingale. This player fulfils all my four needs above. It plays OGG well. Fully support Vorbis metadata and its cover art. Has 3 panel browser. Plus it also able to display embedded lyrics. I am so happy with it.