BBox Audio Player (BBoxV2) is a free lightweight audio player/manager that offers a good range of features including CD ripping, audio file tagging management, internet radio, automatic volume normalization, audio library management functions, and others.
This program pulls a very interesting trick: it takes up less than 2 megs in memory for the program itself (apart from libraries/music data loaded into it; more info in the comments section) — yet nonetheless provides enough functionality for most people to use as their primary audio player/manager.
You might wonder whether it is appropriate to compare BBoxV2 with these programs, and in many ways it is oranges and apples since the scope of these latter programs is so much broader; however, BBoxV2 does provide an impressive array of functions in a nice little package, and in truth if you preferred a slim and compact audio player/manager that is simple yet powerful BBoxV2 delivers (and delivers very well).
Here are more notes on this program:
- CD Player and Ripper: rips tracks and pulls tag info from an online database. MP3 format only with a wide range of quality options (CBR/VBR).
- Tagger: the tagging function is surprisingly powerful, and includes the ability to do auto tagging based on an online search, including album artwork. (Allows you to change the search string used, which is very useful).
- Music library functions: includes quick filters (artist/album) as well as (a very useful) keyword search.
- Internet Radio: with 68 pre-defined stations. Although I was not able to determine how to add my own stations to the list, I was able to add shoutcast (.pls) shortcuts to the music library and add/play shoutcast stations that way. (Update: see comments section for how to add stations).
- Smart volume: i.e. normalizes volume for different audio tracks playing in succession, eliminating any sudden variations in volume.
- Supported audio formats (playback): MP3, WMA, Wave, MP1, MP2, MP4, AIFF, OGG, M4A, M4V, M4P, AAC, AC3, APE, TTA, OFR, SPX, FLAC & CDA.
- Audio conversion: any of the supported formats above can be re-encoded into MP3.
- Music organizer: BBox can re-organize your music collection into a hierarchical directory structure automatically if you want it to.
- Other features: comes pre-loaded with some fantastic visualizations, an equalizer, crossfader for song transitions, spectrum analyzer, export to M3U, etc.
What BBox does not offer
- Audio conversion restricted to MP3 format (honestly, what is the percentage of users that would want other formats?). For more conversion formats, check out Pepsky Free Audio Converter.
- No audio CD burning (use CDBurnerXP or Pepsky Free Audio Converter if you want this).
- No Podcasting support. (Use Juice or Doppler if you want this functionality).
- No smartlists or rule-based creation of playlists.
- No auto monitoring of folders and syncing with the music library.
- No uploading audio files to portable audio devices (for Ipods, use Floola)
The verdict: BBoxV2 manages to hold its own alongside some fantastic audio players/managers that are out there (aside from the ones mentioned above, I might also mention Quintessential Media Player, AIMP2, Foobar2000, etc). It manages to combine a very low resource utilization with a very full (and powerful) set of functions that in many cases preclude the need for a larger, more resource intensive audio player. Its also very well designed, with a very intuitive layout. (You can also easily find other freeware programs that provide some of the functions it does not provide if you need to). BBoxV2 is definitely a winner.
Version Tested: 188.8.131.520
Compatibility: Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP; [UPDATE] now works on Vista!