August 17, 2006

Winamp vs iTunes

Filed under: reviews, software — bardicknowledge @ 1:45 pm

Ok, I said I was going to do it and so I did. I went and downloaded the newest version of iTunes and upgraded my Winamp also to the newest version and put the programs head to head.

***Please note this isn’t just me out to prove that one program is better than the other! I am simply out to compare the two and determine which of the two is the better programs ***

Winamp by far. The file for winamp is just over 6mb’s while the file for iTunes was almost 30mb’s.
+1 Winamp

Winamp wins heres. The configuration options and overall time is better than iTunes which wants to install Quicktime and doesn’t offer and configuration options that aren’t very useful.
+1 Winamp

First Run:
For users that just want the music to play and don’t care how it is done, iTunes is for you. But if you are picky about how files are organized and where they reside, I would choose Winamp. When you first load iTunes, it will scan your pc for audio and video files and then start to convert audio files it doesn’t like. This is very annoying, because not only does it convert the songs, it creates a new folder in your my music and puts the new copies of the songs there, effectively creating two files for each song. Winamp on the first run allows you to choose where to scan for audio and doesn’t need any converting.
+1 Winamp

This is a big selling point for me. When you have a program that is meant to be dynmatic enought to play media files, you need to have plug-ins. But plugins for iTunes are far and few between. For example I looked for a iTunes plugin to play the file type WV, but I couldn’t find one. After a short search one was found for winamp.
+1 Winamp

At first glance iTunes is the better layout, but if you take 5 minutes to go about and play with winamp you will find that it is the better layout. Now before you disagree with me, try it. I only use the librry screen on Winamp which offers everything iTunes does, but in a cleaner and easier to follow manner.
+1 Winamp

This one is tough to give the nod to, so I am going to call it a draw. While iTunes has the radio channels built into the program, it doesn’t have near as many as winamp where you just go to there site to browse through the list. But if you find a channel you like in iTunes you can’t bookmark it for easy nav next time, where as in Winamp you can so you can skip the site and just go your bookmarks.

Podcast wins. Though shoutwire is older (from my understanding) it has nothing on podcasting. With pod casts you can get video while with shoutcast I have only seen audio and text. Plus most of the shoutwires are older and the community seems to be dieing. Shoutcast is only really useful if you are actually looking for it. You don’t have a centralized directory like the podcasts.
+1 iTunes

I have no clue how to stream in iTunes. Its simple enough to listen to a stream. You just get the URL or addy and plug it in. For Winamp playing a stream is just a easy, just plug in the URL you want to tune into. But to stream in winamp, you will need a plugin call Shoutcast. I’ve only done a little shoutcasting myself last year so I dunno how much it changed but was simple enough. You run it and your play now list could be streamed to those that were listening. So on the basis I dunno know to do it in iTunes I will give neither the nod.

This also doesn’t really mattter to me, but I will review it just for those that care. iTunes has a fair number of skins, but overall they suck. Unlike winamp, all the iTune skins do is change the colors, whereas with Winamp the skins can change the total look and real of the program. And has a huge skinning community.
+1 Winamp

System Resources:
This was a hands down win for Winamp. My test was for both to play a internet daio station.

Winamp (total) : 15 000K of sys mem
iTunes (total) : 49 000K of sys mem
+1 Winamp

I don’t know why, but when I had iTunes scan my media library it didn’t pick up several of my videos. May just be a glich or something but I thought I would note it. These are basically the same but again winamp takes the lead but only very slighty here. For iTunes when you play a video it opens a seperate window using Quicktime but file info (such as time and postion) are on the iTunes screen. Also just a plus to winamp is that you can use the file browser to find a file instead of just the library.
+1 Winamp

Both programs have then, but Winamp allows to you customize and add new hotkeys for every function in the program while with iTunes you can only use the premade ones.
+1 Winamp

iTunes won this one hands down with being able to share your whole library or just playlists across a network. (*This in my opinion is the only reason it is so popular amoung university students*) Where with winamp, it isn’t even possible without a plugin. There is a plugin for it, but I haven’t had a chance to test it. But with the plugin it, the developer plans it make it so that you can download songs from those you connect to. So if this actually happens Winamp to get this point but for now it will belongs to iTunes
+1 iTunes

There is no difference between these two. I don’t really see how you can this screw up so neither get anything for this

Closing Notes:
As I finally finish playing with these programs, I would like to voice a few qualms. With Winamp, while in the library there is no track info. And in iTunes, the overall simplicity is annoying. Many features and options have been axed it seems making it difficult for those that like to customize.

In the end both are good programs, and if you have an iPod you will want iTunes since you need it to connect to your iPod (I think… I don’t own one) but if you don’t own an Ipod, I would give the final nod to Winamp

Winamp = 9/14
iTunes = 2/14
N/A = 3/14

Final Verdict:
iTunes = Uninstalled



  1. Your “First Run” section is not accurate. iTunes DOES scan your computer and convert your files… if you let it. I am extremely picky about my music organization and I don’t let iTunes interfere with it. There are options to turn off all that automatic handling of your library files.

    Also, the real reason iTunes is used by Windows users at all is because of iPods. It used to be that the only viable option for iPod users would be to install iTunes. That fact has changed, but people are now too set in their ways.

    You should also mention the fact that iTunes does not let you easily switch from iTunes to another program. It doesn’t offer playlist export to non-iTunes formats (like .m3u), it had terrible ID3 tag support, and Apple was originally trying to keep iPod users from being able to use anything else.

    The comparison between iTunes and Winamp is a microcosm of Mac vs. Windows: Mac is like Communism. Apple makes everything work, but you have very few options and they make it difficult for you NOT to do it their way. Windows is like capitalism. It doesn’t always work, but you have lots of options and, even though you have to try a little harder, your results will be more customized to what you want out of the experience.

    Comment by Steve — October 18, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

  2. […] I was stuck today about something to write about until I noticed a new incoming link. I don’t normally see very many of those so I checked it out. My post of Winamp vs iTunes today was recognized in someone else’s blog as “The best of the web”. This made me rather pleased, so just to let everyone know, please feel free to link to me! […]

    Pingback by Linking to me and affiliates « Paper Kingdoms — October 25, 2006 @ 10:56 am

  3. I just got my 2000t and all of my songs are skipping in iTunes, and I cant figure out why. If someone could help me out and tell me how to fix this I would really appreciate it because its driving me crazy. Thanks for the replys.

    Comment by Dorian — November 28, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

  4. On the playlist section you gave a nod to neither. I disagree. The dynamic playlist in Winamp is the main reason i love it over Itunes. I don’t want to have to sit there and create a new playlist, every time I want to hear a particular set of songs. With Winamp, I just enque anything that I want to hear. I can take them out and add them to the dynamic playlist. If I WANT to save it as a permanent playlist, I have the option.
    With iTunes, you have to search for your music and then you get stuck playing anything that comes up in that search window or else you have to create a new playlist EACH TIME.
    I think the nod definitely goes to Winamp for this one.

    Comment by invisiblemonki — December 20, 2006 @ 6:58 pm

  5. I haven’t really tried ITunes. The only think that would set it apart is the sound enhancements you can do for winamp and plughins.. If apple had that then nm that suggestion. Also I’d rather organize everything through explorer cause it makes it easier burning files/ sharing etc. But I will try it out sooner or later when I get THAT iPHONE or that 80gb iPOD. Till then I’ll stick with my winamp. Hopes this helps.. 🙂

    Comment by ultra — January 11, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

  6. “Your “First Run” section is not accurate. iTunes DOES scan your computer and convert your files… if you let it.”

    Yeah, exactly. If you let it being the key phrase here. This is supposed to be a review for the layman who knows nothing about these kind of things and just wants to listen to music.

    I was a die-hard apple fan, but have since been converted to winamp after downloading the iPod plug-in, and now that I can play my m4p (iTunes music store) files in Winamp as well, I’m sold. I have a 20,000+ strong MP3 collection and iTunes handles it very badly. It kept crashing and glitching and stuff. Annoying, to say the least.

    Winamp wins.

    Comment by Matt — January 22, 2007 @ 10:56 am

  7. Having extensively used both programs, i am compelled to respond to the author as well as some of those that have responded.

    I must agree on almost every point the author lays out. I believe winamp to be the far superior of the two programs because it fills two distinct roles, that of just a basic and straight forward player for the layman, but also a highly configurable and very diverse player for the power-user.

    That is not to say that iTunes does not have its own appeals. I like much of the GUI on iTunes, such as the playlist feature to the left of the GUI and other things. What i do not like about it is the lack of an easy jump feature (i.e. one you don’t have to use your mouse to navigate to) and the lack of a good keyboard shortcut for FF, also something you must navigate to with the mouse.

    That said i must finally respond to some user’s comment about Apple vs. PC and Communism vs. Capitalism. I am not sure how much experience this user has with both systems, but this generalization is far from the truth as i would say many programs for mac are on par with Winamp’s level of “power-user” perks. If you just want your machine to be a jukebox, buy some shotty Dell and install winamp. If you want your computer to be much more, well you would have to have an intel mac with bootcamp so you could still enjoy your winamp. Otherwise i guess us apple users are relegated to the land of iTunes.

    Comment by Scott — April 26, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

  8. Hey guys you all are overlooking something important here.

    Winamo by default comes with a plugin to transfer the files to iPod, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360 etc. whereas Itunes supports only iPod and iPhone. Also, while winamp might not look nearly as neat as the iTunes, it has extra features like format converter, DSP enhancer plugins – DFX audio enhancer etc which when used increase sound quality more than 3 fold. iTunes is bloated.

    Besides, Winamp can transfer files to friends etc. when both are online through a feature called Winamp Remote (TM) which is a seperate download of 15MB

    Comment by ComputerWIZ — May 11, 2010 @ 3:53 am

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