The Plex Winamp-inspired music player is a modern take on a desktop classic

Plex Plexamp music player
As unlikely as it seems, there is still room for innovation in the desktop music player space. At least, that’s what Plex is hoping as it launches its Plexamp player for Windows and MacOS. Technically, Plexamp isn’t an official Plex product, company co-founder Elan Feingold explains in a Medium post, but rather a passion project created by a small group of Plex employees.

Plex’s media server has always been a superb way to manage a video library. With built-in support for nearly every codec on the planet, and augmented by poster art and metadata pulled from the web, it serves up movies and TV shows to a plethora of Plex clients including Apple TV, Roku, Android, iOS, and many more. But when it comes to listening to music, the Plex ecosystem has been lacking a truly great client to pair up with the media server’s music libraries.

Plexamp fills this gap, and does so by adding some new twists to an app form factor that Winamp popularized 20 years ago. Like Winamp, its interface has been kept intentionally small, measuring a mere 200 x 275 pixels. Instead of browsing through a list of songs or albums, as you would in iTunes, Plexamp puts the emphasis on music discovery. You start by typing in a search box, and the app responds by offering up matches from songs, albums, artists, etc. There’s also a selection of “radios” — custom playlists that are auto-generated from your music library, like Time Travel Radio, which plays an assortment of songs from oldest to newest.

Plexamp also plays host to a collection of 11 visualizers, which run the gamut from simple flat design, to photo-realistic 3D. There’s also an intriguing one called “Soundprints,” which attempts to create a visual fingerprint of a track based on volume levels and colors picked from the accompanying album art.

It’s not just about being different, however. Plexamp delivers the same impressive codec compatibility as its video-client sibling, with support for every major file format, as well as many niche ones, including high-resolution lossless DSD and FLAC. The team included a soft transition feature which gently drops the volume level when stopping or pausing tracks, and fans of live music recordings will appreciate that Plexamp has gapless playback.

Will Plexamp win itself a place in Plex’s officially supported set of apps? Hard to say just yet, but if it does, we doubt it will be long before we see native app versions for iOS and Android.

Health & Fitness

Under Armour HOVR is more than a running shoe, it’s a fitness tracker

Under Armour HOVR running shoes bring more to the table than just a comfortable fit. With UA's Record Sensor technology, you can track distance, duration, and even the path you take as you run.
Music

The best new music this week: Jenny Lewis, American Football, and much more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week, we have new music from Jenny Lewis, Andrew Bird, American Football, Avey Tare, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, and more.
Mobile

Rooting your Android device is risky. Do it right with our handy guide

Wondering whether to root your Android smartphone or stick with stock Android? Perhaps you’ve decided to do it and you just need to know how? Here, you'll find an explanation and a quick guide on how to root Android devices.
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Home Theater

Get loud with the best outdoor speakers to rock your party in any weather

From rugged, solar-powered backwoods listening companions to floating pool party jam boxes, the best outdoor speakers partner with your lifestyle to let you listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go.
Home Theater

iPhone owners can finally hear the highest-quality streaming music on Tidal

If you're an iPhone owner who is after the highest possible audio quality from your streaming library, you now have the best option out there: Tidal's Masters Quality Audio (MQA) is now available on iOS.
Music

Apple Music offers a few subscription options. We break them down here

Competition for music streaming apps is quickly dwindling with giants like Apple Music and Spotify dominating most of the market? But how much does Apple Music cost and what does a subscription to the music-streaming platform entail?
Home Theater

If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you now get Hulu for free

Spotify Premium subscribers have yet another reason to love the Swedish streaming service, with the company now offering ad-free Hulu accounts to all premium users at no additional cost.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Apple Music completes its Amazon migration, is now available on Fire TV

Amazon's popular Fire TV devices are now compatible with the most popular on-demand music streaming service in the United States, thanks to a new integration with Apple Music that has finally hit Fire TV devices.
Emerging Tech

This streaming music service pays artists in Bitcoin, plants trees if you listen

Feedbands is an environmentally friendly subscription streaming music service that pays its artists in Bitcoin, and plants trees in exchange for authenticated listens from customers.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.