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Q: What are some common audio players?

A: Many programs are available for playing audio files on Windows, Mac, and Linux-based systems. Since there are so many audio formats available, it is helpful to have more than one audio player on your computer. Below is a list of audio playback programs for the Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms.

Windows

Company Program Extensions Notes
Apple iTunes .MOV, .M4P The most popular audio playback program for Mac and Windows; supports all major audio formats except for Windows Media and Real Media files; the only program that can play songs downloaded from the iTunes music store and that is compatible with the Apple iPod.
Cowon JetAudio Basic n/a Plays all major file formats, including WAV, MP3, OGG, WMA, MPEG, AVI, WMV, RM, MIDI, as well as video and audio CD tracks; also supports CD burning, recording, and audio file conversion.
Foobar2000 Foobar2000 n/a Supports more than a dozen audio formats, gapless playback, and advanced tagging capabilities; includes tabbed playlists and customizable keyboard shortcuts; also known as "fb2k."
Microsoft Windows Media Player .WMA, .ASF Microsoft media program that plays both audio and video files; included with the Windows operating system; plays Windows Media files and several other common formats.
MODPlug MODPlug Player .MOD Audio module player for Windows that supports many module formats, including MOD, MDL, XM, S3M, 669, FAR, IT, NST, and PTM files as well as many others; also includes other features such as a graphic equalizer for adjusting the sound output.
MPC-HC Project MPC-HC n/a Lightweight media player also known as "Media Player Classic - Home Cinema;" based on the Mplayer2 project; supports GPU-assisted decoding and plays all common audio and video formats.
Participatory Culture Foundation Miro n/a Miro is a free open-source audio and video player that supports several audio file formats; it can be used to play both audio and video podcasts, as well as other types of streaming media.
VideoLAN VLC Media Player n/a Compact multi-platform media player that plays audio and video files; supports nearly all uncompressed and compressed audio formats, including Ogg Vorbis files.

Macintosh

Company Program Extensions Notes
Apple iTunes .MOV, .M4P The most popular audio playback program for Mac and Windows; supports all major audio formats except for Windows Media and Real Media files; the only program that is compatible with the Apple iPod and that can play songs downloaded from the iTunes music store.
Participatory Culture Foundation Miro n/a Miro is a free open-source audio and video player that supports several audio file formats; it can be used to play both audio and video podcasts, as well as other types of streaming media.
VideoLAN VLC Media Player n/a Compact multi-platform media player that plays audio and video files; supports nearly all uncompressed and compressed audio formats, including Ogg Vorbis files.

Linux

Company Program Extensions Notes
4Front Technologies XMMS n/a Popular free audio player for Unix systems; plays MP3s, WAVs, MODs, and other audio file types using Input plugins; also supports Output, Effect, and Visualization plugins, as well as skins that customize the player's interface.
Amarok Project Amarok n/a Audio player with a highly customizable interface that includes support for song lyrics; supports Last.fm radio streams, Ampache server connections, Librivox audio books, Magnatune music, and the OPLM Podcast Directory.
Banshee Banshee Media Player n/a Music and video player that also supports podcasts; can sync media with multiple devices, including iPods, iPhones, and Android-based devices.
Kaffeine Kaffeine - KDE Media Player n/a Media player for the K Desktop Environment (KDE); supports audio CD playback and several audio files types including MOD and STM files.
Participatory Culture Foundation Miro n/a Miro is a free open-source audio and video player that supports several audio file formats; it can be used to play both audio and video podcasts, as well as other types of streaming media.
VideoLAN VLC Media Player n/a Compact multi-platform media player that plays audio and video files; supports nearly all uncompressed and compressed audio formats, including Ogg Vorbis files.

Updated: October 5, 2016