A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, people used to depend heavily on offline music player apps like Poweramp to listen to their favorite songs. Of course, native music player apps that shipped with the smartphones were no good for us audiophiles. Though many use music streaming apps like Spotify and YouTube Music, some of us still want a solid offline music player app.
There can be many reasons for that. You have a collection of songs (possibly hard to find) from your college days and want to stick with it. You like the advanced equalizer and other settings that come with these apps. You need to listen to a lot of audio files. You need to, alright?
Here are two of the best music player apps that I have come across recently. Poweramp is an old time favorite of mine and BlackPlayer comes highly recommended by many of my friends.
Let’s see how they stack up against one another.
1. UI and Design
Both apps have a functional design that’s easy to navigate. Poweramp failed to recognize the subtle difference between music and recorded calls by default. You can change folder settings to avoid this fiasco easily.
In Poweramp, there are four tabs. The first houses many shortcuts like playlists, genres, artists, and albums. The second one is an equalizer which is crazy powerful. The third one is a search option to look for your favorite song. The last one is for settings.
BlackPlayer did a better job and created two separate folders. One for music and the other for calls recorded. The traditional three-dot menu works well and hides similar options like playlists, equalizer, and settings. You will also notice tabs at the top of the screen for tracks, artists, genres, and so on. BlackPlayer makes search more accessible on all screens by placing it at the upper right corner of the screen.
Both Poweramp and BlackPlayer come with dark theme enabled; however Poweramp does a better job. It’s UI is darker compared to the latter. Funnily enough, it’s called the BlackPlayer.
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Poweramp’s equalizer is crazy powerful. It allows you to do so much that you seriously need to understand how sound works and the subtle difference between R/L balance knob. Poweramp supports 10 band equalizer with separate knobs for bass and treble. There are 16 presets available if you don’t want to go the manual mode.
There are two more tabs. One is for tempo, and the other is for reverb. Both of them comes with presets. Don’t mess with it if you don’t know what they are. Poweramp settings can impact the sound.
Compared to Poweramp, BlackPlayer seems less powerful but still good. It comes with a 5 band equalizer which works well but not suited for advanced users who know how to get the most out of these settings. There are 11 presets and most of the common ones are covered.
The Sound Effects tab controls bass boost but no treble. The reverb presets offer no manual override. BlackPlayer comes with an Amplifier setting which is missing in Poweramp. The annoying thing about BlackPlayer is that you have to enable each setting before you can change it, whether it is the equalizer or the sound effects.
Poweramp offers more ways to change and control your sound, but BlackPlayer will satisfy most users who aren’t aware of the nitty-gritty of how these settings affect the sound, for better or worse.
3. Settings that Matter
Not every song comes with album art, but both Poweramp and BlackPlayer will hunt them down for you. In Poweramp, long-tap a song to select Album Art and choose the one you like the most.
In BlackPlayer, I could find the setting for the cover image but they were not related to the song I was listening. Also, there was no option for searching and setting album art. I am a visual guy and like to see album arts.
Both of them come with a sleep timer for when you want the app to stop playing music after a specific time. In BlackPlayer, you can change tracks by simply swiping up and down while in full screen mode or left-right when the player is at the bottom of the screen.
Poweramp works similarly and lets you change tracks by swiping whether you are in full screen or not.
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Playlists help us get organized and list songs based on our personal needs. Both Poweramp and BlackPlayer support playlist. However, the process is different. In Poweramp, you can long-tap any song to enable the multi-select mode. After that, selecting more than one song and adding it to the same playlist is a breeze.
Noticed how the Tags and Album Art option are grayed out when you select more than one song? Yeah. Anyway, BlackPlayer also supports multi-select, but you have to enable it first from the menu.
On the plus side, BlackPlayer will allow you to import playlist easily in two formats: m3u and .m3u8 formats. It will also auto-create three playlists by default based on your listening history: Recently Added, Recently Played, and Most Played. Playlist import option in Poweramp is hidden deep inside app settings.
Poweramp uses the like buttons to create a Top Rated playlist that you can create while listening to songs.
Here’s the kicker. BlackPlayer is ad-supported but otherwise completely free. There is an Ex version available for $0.99 that adds more features like additional fonts, themes, Chromecast support, and tons of customization options. That is hard to beat, and the features are really cool.
Poweramp offers more when it comes to settings like an equalizer. However, it will cost you $4.99 and there are no ads. Both of them support Google Assistant, Chromecast, headset, and many file formats. But, Poweramp supports more file formats than BlackPlayer.
The Sound of Music
Both Poweramp and BlackPlayer have tons of options and settings to customize the music player just the way you want. There are too many skins (Poweramp), themes, fonts (BlackPlayer), and music player settings in both of them to cover in one guide. So here’s the low down. BlackPlayer is cheaper and good enough, but Poweramp is the boss when it comes to sound settings which matters the most to audiophiles.
Next up: Are you a Poweramp user? Here are 13 tips to use it like a pro.
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