Kaboodle/Noatun vs XMMS

There's a story (print version) on reviewing sound quality between Noatun, Kaboodle and XMMS. Not surprisingly, Noatun and Kaboodle come out on top, with the author stating that "I'd recommend the Noatun/Kaboodle solution to most audiophiles and people with decent sound gear." Unfortunately, the author didn't take the time to discover some of the other features and plugins that make Noatun a better all around player. An interesting, if audio-centric, read.

[Ed: Of course, this is really a review of aRts, KDE Multimedia and all those Open Source audio libraries involved. Noatun, Kaboodle and even XMMS win automatically.]

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by Juergen (not verified)

Fine that it sounds better. But what about hte usability? Listening to one file at a time. who does that. hte playlist on noatun sucks. the app crashes all over the place. So how good is that really? I have my hope high for juk as the noatun replacement. Better functionallity and being part of 3.2. Still has some way to go, but it's getting there...

by ac (not verified)

dude you are fuckin' right... I wonder if the noatun developer ever used it

by mETz (not verified)

I use it all day and have no crashes, no clue what you guys are doing

by LMCBoy (not verified)

Listening to one file at a time. who does that.

I almost never listen to more than one file at a time. It's too confusing! ;)

by kosh (not verified)

I still wish I knew why some people have crashing problems with noatun. I have been using kde cvs version since the kde 3 alphas and I have not had noatun crash at all. I really like noatun for usability since I can turn off its gui pretty much and use the keyz bindings so I can control it from any application just from the keyboard without having to click on something.

I also have to admit that I extremely rarely listen to more then one audio file at a time. However you can have multiple noatuns open and they will play just fine. I am currently use kde cvs head under debian sid.

by Echo6 (not verified)

I dont have trouble with Noatun's stability. only problem I have is it doesnt obey session management half the time. If you are looking for a better playlist, check out hayes. It is a file system base playlist that handles large collections well. Thanks Neil its the bomb! It ought to be distributed with KDE IMHO.

by Sangohn Christian (not verified)

Yes I also I also think it´s time for the noatun::hayes playlist to be ditributed with KDE.
I hope we´ll see it 3.2 or maybee in 3.1.2


by samppa (not verified)

Noatun with Hayes has been my choice for a long time already. No stability problems since Hayes 1.2 release. Everyone who has not yet tried hayes, go try it now! Especially useful if you have large collection of music.

by ik (not verified)

i'm also a big fan of hayes, and i'd really like to see it in the standard kde distribution ...

by Christian Schug... (not verified)

Just want to add:

Noatun (KDE3.1) adds all files in a directory to the playlist, but how can I play txt or jpg-files? :-D

After I added a webradio url all other tracks were deleted.

I really like XMMS with Sunshine-Live skin :-)

by Neil Stevens (not verified)

Playlist problems? Use Hayes.

Yes, Hayes.

The last Noatun playlist you'll ever need (until the Playlist API breaks for KDE 4 and I have to write a new one again, just like I had to scrap Tron in favor of Hayes for KDE 3 :-)

by Shift (not verified)

The Hayes playlist made me remove xmms and use noatun instead :)

by Roland (not verified)

Everytime I try to compile a KDE program it doesn't find

Anybody has a clue in which package that file is?

Thanks a bunch

by thierry (not verified)

"Libart is a 2D drawing library: its goal is to be a high-quality vector-based 2D library with antialiasing and alpha composition."
or search a package according to your distribution.


by lit (not verified)

Wow.. this playlist is pretty cool! Why isn't it included by default with KDE?

by Anonymous (not verified)

Bigotry of the Noatun maintainer.

by Super PET Troll (not verified)

I use to have problems with Noatun crashing, but not too much anymore -- well except for if I use a visualization like Synnescope(sp?) or Tippercanoe. Speaking of those two, why can't you just ditch the one that doesn't have full-screen capability. Why have two "seperate" visualization plugins when both do the same thing except that one can go into fullscreen while one cant?

Anyway, what I do have problems with now, is Noatun either locking up (rarely but does happen) or Noatun having "lag" problems. I bind the "Show Playlist" option to one of my million extra keys on my keyboard. Sometimes if I open it, nothing happens. So I press it again because I don't know if my crappy keyboard didn't "see" when I pressed it (happens sometimes) or what. Nothing still happens, so I press it again wait a few sec and press it again. Then all of a suddent my music skips a lot and then the playlist window open's and closes a few times. Then about maybe 5% of the time, noatun locks KDE up to the point that the keyboard doesn't work at all but music keeps playing. So what I have to do, is navigate with the mouse to the process viewer and kill noatun. Then my keyboard starts to work again heh. I guess I really should report this as a bug, but I've been way to lazy to do that.

Anyway, I think the main problem with KDE's multimedia "framework" is that it feels all to hacked together. I know if I dont like it,then I should fix it, but I don't have that kind of time to start something or help because I'd have to end up abandoning it. I think now that MPlayer has basically "stabilzed", KDE needs to ditch Noatun and Kaboodle and have one multimedia application like Windows Media Player. KPlayer is just fine for it. I know it reeks of MS, but I think WMP is a nice idea. Really, "regular" people don't give a rats ass for having Kaboodle, Noatun, KPlayer, KMplayer, ... and they just want to play their music and videos. Making this into a better "Part" similar to how WMP is would be nice too. My resolution is 1600x1200, but even in 1024x768, when the Noatun part loads, having only the "progress bar" and the controls looks really crappy. Adding a small view for the part would be better. Also, maybe having a visualization embedded into the part would be a good option -- defaulting with a either "null" visualiztion or a really low-cpu-hungry vizualization.

So basically, I think KDE needs one multimedia application based on MPlayer 0.90 (either a ripped mplayer) or how KPlayer is. For audio, just use the standard lame/vorbis/etc... libraries or whatever. Hopefully someone gets my drift.

by standsolid (not verified)

in my experience, i ahve albums of songs (like over 2000) in direcrtories and the split playlist absolutely sucks donkey balls. what you need is the hayes plugin for ALL of your playlists. even not folderized in my experience it is much more stable.

by Bart Verwilst (not verified)

JuK has replaced XMMS on my desktop a few months ago.. I just LOVE the look 'n feel of it, i really can't live without it anymore :p XMMS is also stuck with gtk 1, and it seems it's gonna stay that way for quite some time... But i would recommend JuK (JuK homepage) to every KDE user out there.. It's based on iTunes, the MaxOS player. It needs some more features (like a search function), but it's nice and stable. IMHO it should replace noatun as default KDE player, since noatun is waaay too slow and ugly imho... That's just my 2 cents though..

by Anonymous (not verified)

Juk CVS has already a search function.

by Bart Verwilst (not verified)

Woohoow! :D

by Rayiner Hashem (not verified)

I'm also a JuK user. It's really cool. It's only a matter of time before it becomes a (gasp!) match for iTunes :)

by Hetz Ben-Hamo (not verified)

Does it supports PLS play streams?


by Someone (not verified)

It looks like an interesting player, but as for that website I've got a sneaking suspicion that the author is colour blind

After I saw my friends using iTunes search feature I was very jealous. Luckily Yammi has a very good search feature (Usability is another issue). Yammi also has issues with xmms and noatun (the integration seems like a kludge). I guess I should stop complaining and submit a patch.....
The other day I tried ripping some albums and I found that abcde worked the best. The KDE 3.1 ripper tool has a pretty good interface, but I couldn't get it to point to another device (other than /dev/cdrom) and the cddb lookup didn't work (but oddly enough it did for kscd....). I tried grip and it worked but the interface is pretty complicated and it also crashed. Once I configured abcde, it worked the best.

I think JuK looks more professional than Yammi... Those next, previous, .. buttons look so amateuristic and ugly :$ Ofcourse that's just my view, and I can't wait as well for JuK to get search possibilities!


As was said earlier, JuK has this in CVS.

As the developer of yammi I also think that the user interface needs some polishing. Anyone wants to contribute some decent icons? As you can see, I am not too much of an artist...

Next version will be ready in a week or so and focus on functionality, but afterwards I really want to polish the dialogues and interface in general. Any help is more than welcome!

Why XMMS is __still__ better than noatun as a mp3 player for me:

because of the crapability of aRts.

Noatun and artsd use about 13% of my CPU while listening to mp3s.. this is because arts is doing software mixing. my sound card, a sblive, can do hardware mixing. xmms can use OSS, alsa, as well as artsd. using OSS or alsa, xmms takes about 1-3% CPU time.

I reallly hope that artsd will support hardware mixing (no more sound server!!), or that noatun will support direct OSS or alsa playback.

It's cool that juk supports multiple ways of playback! Hope it supports direct playback soon.

by Neil Stevens (not verified)

aRts is not a soundserver.

yes, but doesn't it's capabilities include that of a sound server? (that is, mixing two or more steams together into one)

Quite a few users don't actually need that these days since their cards can do it much faster by themselves. The emu10k1, which is probably the most used card in Linux, can do this with both OSS and alsa drivers.

by Christian Schug... (not verified)

I'm using a Typhoon Acoustic 6 with the C-Media 8738-Chip.

It's quite good but perhaps not the best accelerated card.

It supports 44,1khz natively, has optical/coax digital in&out.

Even many mainboards use it as on board sound but then many conncetors are missing.

I use alsa 0.9.3 now and it seems like this card needs artsd or esd to mix sounds,


by Andras Mantia (not verified)

>Noatun and artsd use about 13% of my CPU while listening to mp3s.. this is because arts is >doing software mixing. my sound card, a sblive, can do hardware mixing. xmms can use >OSS, alsa, as well as artsd. using OSS or alsa, xmms takes about 1-3% CPU time.

This is also my main concern about the KDE multimedia players (noatun, kaboodle, juk). When I compile or do some CPU intensive task, they tend to stop and you hear clicks in the playback. The situation with XMMS is much better. On my machine XMMS uses around 1-2%, while the artsd uses >5%. But I agree, Noatun sounds warmer than xmms.


by Daniel Molkentin (not verified)

With JuK, you are free to use gstreamer, which doesn't have a daemon. This might help.

I agree completely. I say, either make noatun have the ability to use alsa or oss, or speed arts up. Quite frankly, I would use noatun instead of XMMS if it wasnt for that damned arts. Noatun's playlist, IMHO, is much better than XMMS'. You can select/deselect songs without removing them from the list, or use the handy "type to search" feature that every kds list has to quickly jump to a specific artist (if your list is sorted and artist name is first). Extremely useful, I think, vs XMMS' rather simplistic playlist.

Do you understand the whole point of this? Noatun sounds better because it uses Arts. Arts isn't about being a sound server, that secondary to it's main purpose of produce high quality sound. It would be good if it does get faster, but I'm more interested in having good sound.

> that secondary to it's main purpose of produce high quality sound.

Then why is arts a part of KDE then?

> It would be good if it does get faster, but I'm more interested in having good sound.

And I think most people are interested in the former, considering the popularity of xmms and the sheer number of people who hate arts.

No, I think you have misunderstood my cristicism. I am simply saying, outside of sound quality, it would be nice to be able to do other things while the music is playing, and not have it skip and jump. Quite frankly, music quality is a meaningless measure if arts can't even play continuously while the system has any appreciable load on it.

by Michael (not verified)

On RH 9 my system with galeon (6 tabs), 3 Nautilus, OO 1.1 my system uses about 5% CPU. After using XMMS my CPU usage jumps to 29%! WTF!

BTW: KDE should really looka t Nautilus, it is extremely easy to use and very professional and good looking. I love the way it does selecting, the zoom feature, the sidebar (with emblems which can be placed on desktop icons too), the nice shadow for pictures, view as audio and list modes, notes sidebar module, burn to cd feature, fonts viewer etc. It is jsut so much easier to use too, there are only a few buttons only for waht you want. Context menus are clean, not like 20 options in KDE and its fast like Konqueror. Technically it is not superior, but its usability IMO is far better. Please improve Konqueror.

Someone else complained about selections too:

by nac (not verified)

If you want something that's easy to use, then why are you using KDE with its many different options and configurations?

by fault (not verified)

Uh, when was usability not on the priority list for KDE development?

Oh wait, usability has always been very important for KDE. Unfortunatly, sometimes the excitement of adding new features temporarily hinders usability work. In the end, I think both will be balanced. :)

There are of course, sadly, many parts of KDE 3.1 where usability is lacking. On the bright side, KDE 3.1 is not the end of KDE 3.x development by any means, and KDE 3.2 should have tons of usability improvements.

One problem is, of course, differing opinions about usability. I for one, would advocate much simplier toolbars for 90% of KDE applications out there. This to the point of removing buttons like "Forward" and "Go" from Konqueror's default toolbars. Other people might say that this might actually hinder usability; as some people are used to these kinds of features being in toolbar, and they would have to look around to put it back. Unfortunatly, both sides have valid points.

by terminater (not verified)

xmms only uses 0.3% of my cpu while playing high quality mp3's, and cd's. P3 533, sblive!. Theres no reason it should be using 29% unless your running lots of stuff in the backround.

Personally, I like both. I have found that they are more than useable and sound great.
So once again, thanx.

by s.f (not verified)

Am i the only person who, throughout reading this, thought "wtf sort of a review is this?"

theres no mention of :
* who the author was (background w.r.t audio etc)
* what sound card he was using
* what drivers he was using (alsa? oss?)
* software versions
* hi-fi equipment
* speakers
* system spec

any one of these could change could change the outcome entirely.

and his song choice was hardly systematic or structured to say the least ("this is one i w4rz3d @ a lan party"). Further, theres no mention of what the mp3s were encoded with, where the original track came from, sample rate, etc, etc.

Everything in that article either points to the guy not knowing what hes talking about and/or not knowing what hes doing.

So, to the dot.kde editors:
Yes, it comes out in favour of a kde app, but *please* try to show *some* integrity when linking to articles. posting something like that is just whoring.

by spooq (not verified)

From the first page...

The testing machine has a Sound Blaster Live! card, with a set of Sennheiser HD 212 Pro headphones. The Audio API in use is RedHat's default OSS drivers, both mp3 players will be using their default options, therefore using the default audio decoding engine provided. There will be no EQ enabled to keep the playing ground fair. I've come up with the following list of songs to try out with each player;

Inertia Creeps - Massive Attack (224 kbps)
Black Coffee - All Saints (128 kbps)
Wake Up - Rage Against the Machine (128 kbps)
What Your Soul Sings - Massive Attack (224 kbps)
Moshi Moshi - Corouroy (128 kbps)
Hero of the Day - Metallica (192 kbps)
Part of Me, Live Version - Tool (192 kbps)
Outlaw Torn, S&M version - Metallica (192 kbps)

by s.f (not verified)

my apologies on not seeing those facts - i think i'd forgotten them by the time i'd got to the end of the article.

However, I still maintain my points about the track selection (which i did not overlook the first time), and the format (random mp3s from unknown sources).
If he was, as stated, using the default mp3 players provided, then the versions must be out of date since (afaik) redhat 8+ doesnt ship with mp3 support. (note software versions sill not specified).
What ive said above fits in with my opinion of the way the article was written, and my overall opinion of the article remains mostly unchanged. its still whoring.

by C++ Lover ... (not verified)
by Ac (not verified)

How well does MAS perform? Does it use less CPU than ESD and aRts? Does it not mess up the sound like ESD does?

by Bharat (not verified)

Not tried it yet . However they calim to have 'low memory print' and the screenshoots look really impressive-a sound engineers paradise. However still got to be put through the rack i guess.

by coward (not verified)

I really hope people will learn from SGI. The SGI media libraries are good from a media application programmer POV. They are simple to understand, they provide access to what media devices export and little else. What you want when you do media is some coherent method to,

1) read data from a device.

2) to write data to a device.

3) control the hardware properties of the devices you use.

Everything else you can put OUTSIDE of the API because given any advanced application it will be highly specific and all the simple applications will only use simple things like read to a device, writing to a device or manipulating the controls of a device...