Nullsoft Winamp 5.23 review: Nullsoft Winamp 5.23

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.8
  • Setup and interface: 6.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Basic, efficient, and fun to use; plug-in architecture lends itself to enhancements and customizations; nag-free access to online media, including AOL's audio and video services and 20 XM Satellite Radio channels; loyal and creative community support.

The Bad Detached, multipanel interface isn't for everyone; no direct access to online music stores besides AOL Music Now; limited to 2X ripping and burning in the free version; free version lacks MP3, AAC, and WMA encoding.

The Bottom Line Winamp is still a fun player for customizing your playback experience, but most users will prefer the all-in-one experience of Windows Media Player or iTunes.

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Nullsoft Winamp 5.23

Winamp might best be described as the time-warp music jukebox. The app continues to focus on the fun of organizing and playing media while the industry has progressed to all-encompassing multimedia suites that integrate with online music stores and provide ever more intuitive interfaces. While Winamp encourages customization and experimentation with downloadable skins and plug-ins, the other players have moved on. From Microsoft Windows Media Player (WMP) 11 and Musicmatch Jukebox 10 (now the Yahoo Music Engine) to newcomers such as the Virgin Digital player, users are looking for all-in-one interfaces with a single large window, tabbed access to functions, and in-your-face displays of partners' online media and stores.

Just one of the thousands of skins you can choose for Winamp.

Visually, Winamp has been in a holding pattern since AOL's acquisition of Nullsoft in June 1999, although its developers make sure it keeps up with current features. The latest releases build in access to AOL Music Now (AOL's online music store) and In2TV (AOL's online TV reruns channel). They've also added native support for portable music players and free access to 20 XM Satellite Radio channels, courtesy of AOL Radio. AOL corporate expansion seems to drive much of the development but certainly not everything; a component called Shoutcast Wire lets users discover, subscribe to, and download podcasts. The paid version ($19.95) lets you rip and burn CDs at up to 48X speed, as well as encode tracks to AAC+, AAC, MP3, and WMA.

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Where to Buy

Nullsoft Winamp 5.23

Part Number: SERVNULLSOFTWINAMP5 Released: Jul 8, 2006

Download for free from CNET Download.com.

Quick Specifications

  • Release date Jul 8, 2006