Originally Published: Friday, 30 March 2001 Author: Bastien Nocera
Published to: enhance_articles_multimedia/Audio Articles Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

XMMS Plug-ins Round-up

Blurb Bastien Nocera gives us a roundup of some of his favorite XMMS plug-ins.

XMMS allows its capabilities to be enhanced via the use of plug-ins. An extensive list exists at XMMS' own website. But today, we're going to take a look at the best of them. All of these plug-ins, I've tested only on my Debian PowerPC machine, so all the "x86-only" plug-ins and other plug-ins not working correctly on my machine were discarded.

XMMS stands for X11 MultiMedia System. It began its life as x11amp, a clone of Winamp from Nullsoft Software, and a closed source program. Due to the license the amp mp3 engine was under, and the copyright on the name, XMMS was a rewrite of x11amp using the GTK+ toolkit and the mpg123 MP3 engine. XMMS supports Winamp skins nativelly, as well as a range of plug-ins for all the different functions present in the program.

Input Plug-ins

smpeg-xmms is the first video plug-in created by the XMMS authors. Using the SMPEG and the SDL libraries, you can watch MPEG movies full-screen, or in a window. This is, to my best knowledge, the only player using SMPEG (Lokigames' MPEG playing library) that can scale videos to full-screen while keeping the ratio. xmms-midi allows you to play MIDI files without having sequencer support for your sound card.

The trickiest part of this is installing timidity and its sound "patches" (the instruments file). Debian users can "apt-get install timidity" before installing the plug-in. Others can download it from the website. This plug-in hasn't been updated in over a year, and is far from perfect (hear the latency between when you hit "stop" and the time it actually stops).

xmms sndfile adds .Wav playing to XMMS. There's already a stock plug-in that does that, you're going to tell me. True, but this plug-in supports all these weird Wave formats Microsoft has been inventing over the years. Libsndfile being present in all distributions that ship with Gnome, I'm wondering why this plug-in has not yet replaced the stock one from XMMS.

Last but not least in this category is the xmms-cdparanoia plug-in. Available only on CVS right now, it will permit playing Audio CDs on machines that lack the thru cable between the CD-Drive and the sound card, like the newest Macs. I hacked a version that "Works for me".

Output Plug-ins

KDE users will grok the xmms-arts plug-in. Being a fervent Gnome user (and not having space for KDE on my machine anyway), I have not tested this plug-in. Please, post about your experiences in the comments section.

For your digitally enhanced parties, the DBMix and xmms-crossfade plug-ins will, respectively, give you a mixing deck to mix on your own, or mix/fade the music for you. My preference goes to DBMix coupled with TerminatorX to scratch on your MP3s. I need a USB turntable.

Visualization Plug-ins

Two plug-ins got my attention here. The wonderful Kint that adds K-Jofol and Digideck skins support to XMMS. It makes your desktop look very different. The second plug-in is G-Force. If you think you've seen these effects somewhere, let me refresh your memory. In addition to being available for XMMS, and on the Mac platform, it is the default visualization plug-in of iTunes, the all-in-one juke-box for Macintoshes. A little screenshot was necessary

Misc. Plug-ins

In this category are general plug-ins and the remote-control programs. The Xmms Alarm wakes you up nicely in the morning, raising the volume gradually, perhaps unlike your roommate who cranks up the volume on the hi-fi, because he's deaf from his late nights in clubs. XOSD shows info about your XMMS session, like volume, song changes, etc. XOSD works like the on-screen display feature of your television. Finally, depending on the environment you run XMMS in, you might get to use different control programs, like the included gnomexmms, exmms, kmms or my own wmusic. A complete list is available here.

Have fun, and watch out for your ears!

Bastien Nocera is a hacker that enjoys playing music while coding, especially when the software is for getting more music on his computer. He can be contacted at hadess at hadess dot net.