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I'm looking for music player software that I can install on a 4GB thumb drive, it has to be small (so I have more room for music) and use as little system resources as possible. If it was compatible with Linux and Windows that would be great, but if not I would prefer it be compatible with Windows.

I have been looking around, but I do not have time to try out every option available, so I thought this would be a good place to get some help. So what are some of the best options?

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I tested all above mended players and a same more. The player that uses smallest CPU is CoolPlayer. 1by1 comes next and there's is not big differences. –  user63374 Jan 16 '11 at 15:27
A very useful website in these situations - alternativeto.net –  Thomas Dec 22 '12 at 4:39
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10 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Foobar is well worth a look. Installer offers portable installation mode as well. 3Mb dload, 5-7Mb install depending on options, and 6.5Mb footprint running (before opening anything, mind you). Very flexible and configurable.

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My fairly minimal setup is using 22mb of RAM. That's ok, WinAMP uses double that, and WMP.... let's not go there. I have quite a large library, and one of my few plugins is a lovely search which I suspect keeps an index in RAM. Speedy, but not efficient. Oh well. –  Phoshi Oct 1 '09 at 20:57
Foobar is a decent player alright (used to be my first choice until about 2 yrs ago), but that 6.5 MB memory usage will double once the action starts. loading a massive playlist takes significantly longer than with Spider (while Foobar is still faster than most other players). –  Molly7244 Oct 1 '09 at 21:07
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I recommend the 1by1 Player

Here are the general specs:

  • Directory Player: directly plays your folder contents
  • Full Resume play: remembers last track and position
  • Supported decoders: ACM (mp3), mpglib (mp2, mp3)
  • Winamp 2.x input plugin support (ogg, wav, cd..)
  • Gapless play · simple crossfading · Audio enhancer
  • Folder tree file navigation · Directory finder: plays a whole drive
  • File utils: copy, move, rename while play, delete, date change
  • Cue sheet support · Playlist support · Favorites
  • Folder compare utility · Rename tool · Big title display
  • Very small size · Low resource usage · portable
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I've been using Winamp Lite at work, since I don't need most features. Considering I've been using Winamp for well over 10 years, it's kind of hard to switch to anything else. It has all the options I need but really cuts down on the bloat that the normal version of Winamp has.

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Billy - http://www.sheepfriends.com/?page=billy

Features Freeware (no adware) Runs on Win 95/98/NT/Me/2000/XP/2003 No skins, no mp3 tags, no equalizer, no nonsense - pure audio Supported formats: MP3, WAV, OGG High quality sound engine, by Un4seen Bass Extremely fast, loads 1000 mp3 files in a second Gapless trackchange of mp3 files Directory based or playlist based Filenames renamer to organize your music albums Calibrated dB level meter 100% controllable by keyboard Low memory and cpu usage Queueing your next songs Find a specific song quickly Sleep timer Drag & drop

All this in 357KB, excellent at it's job.

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I just found Billy. I wanted something simple that will play a selected directory of music and submit to last.fm. I also like a UI that can uses minimal screen and Billy will minimise to the tooltray. Development seems to have stopped, but it's functional. Memory usage is 4-5MB –  Steve Jan 12 '10 at 13:09
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Spider Player, VERY low footprint (less than 5 MB RAM, less than 8 MB disk space), extraordinary sound quality (32bit sound processing), crossfading, custom hotkeys, radio directory.

supported Audio formats: MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, M4A, AAC, AAC+, AC3, MPC, MP+, MPP, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Ogg FLAC, TTA, APE, WavPack, Speex, WAV, CDDA, WMA, MID, RMI, KAR, S3M, XM, MOD, IT, MO3, MTM, UMX.

alt text

(Windows only)

Spider Player is freeware and a portable version is available.

my personal opinion? despite being tiny in size Spider Player sure IS the big daddy amongst Windows Audio Players, the ONLY beef i have: no support for multiple playlists/tabs. but then: that makes it only bigger, can't have your cake and eat it, can ya? :)

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How is 32bit sound processing special? Every single player on the market does that... –  KdgDev Oct 1 '09 at 20:07
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I recommend EvilPlayer

Small, low footprint, options... and free!

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Damn Small Media Player

The motivation behind me writing this app is that I am fed up with the ever increasing size of mp3 players. This is meant to ease my pain :-P. I aim to keep its size below 2MB at all costs. May at the cost of feature, buts its fine

Though I have written it in windows, it can be compiled in other platforms like Mac or Linux also without any code change :-). This is thanks to wxWidgets Library which is cross-platform

This is currently in Beta stage

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AudioPlayer is a DirectShow based media player capable of playing MP3, MPGA, WAV, MIDI, AU, WMA and ASF sound files as well as WPL, ASX, WMX, WAX and M3U playlists. Internet media is also supported and no install is required. All in less than 100KB.

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I personally like XMPlay.

It's free (as in beer) small (.EXE is only 274 KiB), light (3.5 MiB of RAM), portable (just unzip anywhere) and supports various formats for which support is rare. It also supports Winamp plugins .

XMPlay is an audio player, supporting the OGG / MP3 / MP2 / MP1 / WMA / WAV / AIFF / CDA / MO3 / IT / XM / S3M / MTM / MOD / UMX audio formats, and PLS / M3U / ASX / WAX playlists. A load more formats are also supported via plugins. When XMPlay was first released in 1998, only the XM format was supported, hence the name "XMPlay".

There are also plug-ins for flac, MusePack, Monkey's Audio, MIDI, AAC/MP4, Apple Lossless Audio Codec, Real Audio, SID (from Commodore 64), Speex... There are couple I may have missed.


XMplay default user interface

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CoolPlayer Portable

  • Custom PortableApps.com Skin by NeoRame with support for standard, equalizer and shade mode (fits into a Windows titlebar) Simple User
  • Interface Advanced Playlist editor
  • Internet streaming ID3 Multitagger
  • File Renamer Fast mp3->wav converter
  • MAD mpeg engine OGG Vorbis support
  • FLAC support Winamp input plugins support
  • Smallest executable
  • programmed in blazing fast 'C'
  • Continuous play 8 band convolution equalizer


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protected by Ivo Flipse Jan 16 '11 at 15:27

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