How To Use Winamp Pro To Playback Your Music and Video Files

Winamp_Playlist_Editor
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There is no doubting the fact that Winamp is an old program and has generated large amounts of skepticism from many people because of its security flaws within the software due to lack of security updates. However, if you are searching for a music player that can easily handle the largest music collections and play back your favorite music and videos with ease, this guide is written especially for you. It will outline some basic functions of the Winamp program as well as provide some in depth instructions on how to customize the program’s features.


Overview of the Winamp Program Interface

Figure 1.1 - The Winamp Program Layout
Figure 1.1 – The Winamp Program Layout

Dissecting The Program Interface

The Window program window is dissected in the following images:

The Now Playing Window

The Winamp Now Playing Window
Figure 1.2 – The Winamp Now Playing Window

The Now Playing Area makes it simple to switch between currently playing music or video tracks and also allows you to access other areas of the program. You can turn shuffle on and off, and also toggle how files are played back.

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The Playlist Editor

Figure 1.3 - The Winamp Playlist Editor Area
Figure 1.3 – The Winamp Playlist Editor Area

The Playlist Editor makes it simple to switch between currently playing music or video tracks and also allows you to access other areas of the program. You can turn shuffle on and off, and also toggle how files are played back. You can also save and load playlists and sort the playlist based on file or directory name. You can also generate HTML based playlists files for the currently loaded playlist.

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The Graphical Equalizer

Figure 1.4 - The Winamp Graphical Equalizer
Figure 1.4 – The Winamp Graphical Equalizer

The graphical equalizer makes it easy to enhance the sound being played back on the computer. You can toggle different equalizer modes by selecting the Preset button, and can also turn the equalizer off completely by clicking the On/Off button.

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The Media Library

Figure 1.5 - The Winamp Library View
Figure 1.5 – The Winamp Library View

The Media Library area of Winamp allows you to browse through your entire library of music or video files and create new playlists using media found within the library. You can also access other functions of the software such as when you want to transfer files to a portable device.

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How To Use Winamp’s Media Library To Organize Media Files.

Winamp features a complete Media Library that gives you access and organization over your media content, both online and offline.

The Media Library includes
the following views:

  • Now Playing: Shows information or web pages related to the current track, if available…

    The Winamp Now Playing interface
    Figure 1.6 – The Winamp Now Playing interface
  • Bookmarks: For storing quick links to your favorite online streams.

    The Winamp Bookmarks view
    Figure 1.7 – The Winamp Bookmarks view
  • History: Keeps track of when and how many times any items (remote streams, local media, etc) are played through Winamp.

    This Winamp History View
    Figure 1.8 – This Winamp History View
  • Local Media: Displays files on your computer that you’ve added to the Media Library. To add files to your media library, click “Add Media to Library” via the “Library” button, then select a folder that contains the media files you want to add.
    The Winamp Local Media View
    Figure 1.9 – The Winamp Local Media View
    • Audio: Displays audio files in the Media Library based on artist, album, or genre.
    • Video: Displays video files in the Media Library.
    • Smart Views: Create your own Smart Views with the powerful Query Editor.
    • Playlists: Allows you to create and import playlists. Playlists added to the Media Library are listed underneath this option.

      The Winamp Playlist View
      Figure 1.10 – The Winamp Playlist View
  • Rip & Burn: Lists your CD/DVD Drives and provides the interface for ripping and burning Audio Cds.

    The Winamp CD Burning View
    Figure 1.11 – The Winamp CD Burning View
  • Portables: Lists the portable media devices connected to your computer that Winamp can manage, such as: iPod, Creative Nomad, USB Thumbdrives, PlaysForSure (P4S), Android and ActiveSync Devices, etc.

    The Winamp Portable Devices View
    Figure 1.12 – The Winamp Portable Devices View
  • Online Services: Lists SHOUTcast Radio and TV stations that you can search by keyword, bandwidth, and genre. Also includes: 7digital mp3 store, TourTracker, Winamp Charts, AOL Radio (USA-only), Ourstage Radio, Lyrics services, and more.

    The Winamp Online Service / Add-On View
    Figure 1.13 – The Winamp Online Service / Add-On View
  • Podcast Directory: Allows you to download and subscribe to over 30,000 audio and video podcasts. To directly add podcast RSS feeds to your subscriptions, click on the “Add” button in the Subscriptions view and input the feed in the field box.
    The Winamp Podcast Directory View
    Figure 1.14 – The Winamp Podcast Directory View
    • Subscriptions: Allows you to manage all your subscribed and downloaded podcasts. Add and delete subscriptions, manage preferences, and download and stream podcasts from this view.
    • Downloads: Displays the progress and history of media downloads from online services. This view will only be displayed when downloads are currently available to view. 
    • Winamp Add-Ons: A search portal for discovering new Skins and Plugins.

      The Winamp Add-Ons View
      Figure 1.15 – The Winamp Add-Ons View

Adding Files to the Media Library

If the Media Library isn’t open, open the View menu located in the Winamp main window and click Library or by pressing ALT+L on your keyboard.

To add files to the Media Library

  • Open the File menu in the Media Library and click Add Media to Library. The Add Media to Library window appears. (Note, also accessible by clicking the “Library” button)

    Adding Files To The Media Library in Winamp
    Figure 1.16 – Adding Files To The Media Library in Winamp
  • Select the folder that contains the media files you wish to add.

    Adding Media to the Library By Selecting a Folder of Music
    Figure 1.17 – Adding Media to the Library By Selecting a Folder of Music

Note: Winamp will scan the folder and all its sub folders for supported media files. You should scan a specific folder (C:My Music) rather than your entire hard drive (i.e. C:) to shorten the time it takes for Winamp to scan for files.

  • Click OK to confirm your choice.

Tip:

  • To add single files to the Library, right-click items in the Playlist Editor window, and select: Send To -> Add To Local Media.

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Searching The Media Library

You can easily search Winamp’s Media Library for a track name to play.

To search your local media

  • If the Media Library isn’t yet open, open the View menu and click Library.
  • Click Local Media in the left pane of the Media Library.
  • In the Search field, type a search term. As you type, matching tracks are displayed.
Searching For Media Files in Winamp
Figure 1.18 -Searching For Media Files in Winamp

To search SHOUTcast Radio

  • If the Media Library isn’t yet open, open the View menu and click Library.
  • Click Online Services in the left pane of the Media Library, then click Shoutcast Radio underneath.
  • In the Search field, type a search term, such as a station name, song, artist, or genre. As you type, stations that contain the search term you type are displayed.

To search SHOUTcast TV

  • If the Media Library isn’t yet open, open the View menu and click Library.
  • Click Online Services in the left pane of the Media Library, then click Shoutcast TV underneath.
  • In the Search field, type a search term, such as a station name, song, artist, or genre. As you type, stations that contain the search term you type are displayed.

How To Build And Manage Playlists In Winamp

The Winamp® playlist organizes your music files, your videos, favorite internet radio stations and all of your media resources into a single, intuitive interface. If you are using Winamp for the first time, then the playlist may be empty.

Loading Playlists

A playlist lets you keep a list of tracks to play whenever you want. You get to keep your choice and order of tracks.

To open the Playlist Editor

Open the Main or View menu and select Playlist Editor.

  • To load a playlist Open the File menu and click Open Playlist.

To load a playlist from the Media Library

  • Click the Manage Playlist button and select Open Playlist from Media Library.
  • Or for Classic skins you can right-click the List Opts button to access the same menu.
  • Or right-click on the frame or any blank space in the Main or Playlist windows (or use the Main menu from the top left corner icon) and select Play > Playlist from Media Library.
  • Or open the Media Library window, and load a playlist via the Playlists view.

Playlist Editing

The Winamp playlist organizes your music files, your videos, favorite internet radio stations and all of your media resources into a single, intuitive interface. If you are using Winamp for the first time, then the playlist may be empty.

Winamp_Playlist_Editor

You can edit your playlist in any of these ways:

The add button adds tracks to the playlist editor.Add Button: Click this button for track addition options.

  • Add files(s): Add files from your computer to the current playlist.
  • Add directory: Add a directory on your computer to the current playlist.
  • Add location: Add an Internet location to the current playlist.

The remove button removes tracks from the playlist editor.Rem (Remove) Button: Click this button for removal options.

  • Remove selected files: Remove the selected tracks from the current playlist.
  • Crop selected: Only keep the selected tracks, while removing others.
  • Clear playlist: Remove all the tracks in the current playlist.
  • Remove
    • Remove all dead files : Remove tracks that have missing, moved, or deleted files.
    • Physically remove selected file(s): Delete selected tracks from your computer. Caution: Using this option will permanently remove the selected tracks from your computer and they will be irrecoverable.
    • Remove duplicate entries : Remove any multiple entries of the same file.

The select button selects or deselects files in the playlist editor.Sel (Select) Button: Click this button for selection options.

  • Select all: Select all of the tracks in the current playlist.
  • Select none: Select none of the tracks in the current playlist.
  • Invert selection: Select all of the unselected tracks in the current playlist, and clear the selected tracks.

Access miscellaneous options for working with the playlist editor.Misc (Miscellaneous) Button: Click this button for miscellaneous options.

  • File Info
      • File info: Display detailed information about the selected track.
      • Playlist entry: Change the file location associated with the select track.
  • Sort
    • Sort list by title: Sort the playlist by title.
    • Sort list by filename: Sort the playlist by the filename of each track.
    • Sort list by path and filename: Sort the playlist first by path and then by filename.
    • Reverse list: Reverse the current order of the playlist.
    • Randomize list: Shuffles up the current order of the playlist.
  • Misc
    • Generate HTML playlist: Create an HTML version of the current playlist.
    • Read extended info on selection: Read any additional information from the ID3 tag for the selected track.

Manage Playlist (Miscellaneous) Button: Click this button for list-related options.

  • Open playlist: Open a saved playlist.
  • Open Media Library view results: Open a Local Media view from the Media Library.
  • Open playlist from Library: Open a playlist saved in the Media Library.
  • Save playlist: Save the current playlist.
  • New playlist (clear): Clear the current playlist.
  • Manage Playlist: Open the Playlists panel of the Media Library.

Saving Playlists

Once you have the tracks you want in your playlist, make sure you save it for future playback.

To save a playlist:

  • Open the File menu and click Save Playlist. The Save Playlist dialog box opens.
  • Choose a folder where you want to save your playlist.
  • In the File name field, type a name for your playlist.
  • In the Save as type drop down list, choose M3U Playlist or PLS Playlist. M3U is fine in most situations. If your playlist contains international (unicode) titles, then you should select M3U8 Playlist.
  • Click Save to save your playlist.

To save a playlist in the Media Library

  • Open the Media Library and click Playlists in the left pane.
  • Click the Import button at the bottom of the right pane.
  • Select one of the following three options:
    • Import playlists from folder
    • Import (active) current playlist
    • Import playlist from file
  • The imported playlists appear in the list above.

Searching Your Playlist

Searching with Jump to File:

To search a large playlist, whilst the Playlist Editor window is in focus, hit the ‘J’ or ‘F3’ key on your keyboard to open the ‘Jump to File’ dialog. The entire playlist will initially appear in the search results, and will be filtered-out as you type into the Search field.

Winamp_Jump_To
Winamp_Jump_To

Tip: By default, the search results will match any of the Artist, Title and containing Folder criteria. To fetch results for Album or any other fields from the file tags, first you will need to adjust your Advanced Title Formatting syntax for the Playlist Editor accordingly.

Note: The Jump To File dialog can be configured to taste via the Jump to File Options.

Queueing songs to be played next:

To queue up a song in the Playlist Editor, either highlight the playlist entries and press the ‘Q’ key, or hold down the Alt key and left-click your selection, or right-click one of the selected entries and click ‘Enqueue selected’ via the ‘Jump to File’ submenu.

Note: You can manage the Queue via the “Enqueue List” page in the Jump to File Options, or via the “Jump to File” dialog (see screenshot below). Click the large “Search mode” button to switch the dialog to “Manage mode”.


Congratulations! You now have a very basic understanding of what the Winamp program is all about, and how you can create and modify playlists, as well as jump to specific files within a playlist. The next article in this blog series focuses on configuring Winamp preferences to make you’re music and video files easier to access and play back.

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