- Spotify leads in streaming with its vast catalog and smart algorithmic recommendations, offering personalized playlists and a user-friendly interface.
- Neutron Music Player is the top pick for audiophiles, offering a high-resolution audio engine and comprehensive format support, though its complex interface might deter some users.
- For those preferring local, offline music, AIMP and Musicolet provide robust options with various customization features, while PowerAMP is lauded for its aesthetic customization and superior audio quality.
Our phones nowadays have replaced devices like iPods and serve as the hub for listening to music for the majority of people out there. In recent years, we have seen developers putting in effort to improve your overall listening experience, too, with updates to the media player UI.
But with such attention to music on phones, it can be overwhelming sometimes to pick from a plethora of apps on the Play Store. Therefore, we have put together a guide for some of the best media players currently available on Android.
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Spotify, the largest, most popular music streaming platform has the biggest catalog of songs from artists around the world, but what makes it great is its algorithmic prowess. The service has the smartest, most flexible recommendation algorithm of any music player.
With millions of users and a catalog of over 100 million songs in its database, Spotify has slowly fine-tuned what users may want to listen to, purely based on their listening habits, which includes tracks that they like, share, save or skip. For instance, Spotify has these proprietary set of playlists such as “Discover Weekly” and “Release Radar,” which update every Monday and Friday, respectively.
Spotify reads the type of music you usually listen to and serves similar suggestions into these playlists. Discover Weekly blends your past favorites with deeper cuts from familiar artists and new ones that you might enjoy. Release Radar updates weekly with new songs from artists you usually listen to, and newer ones with the same feel for what you’re used to, or Spotify thinks you might like.
As for the user interface, it is oddly clean and snappy, with clear categorization of everything you might need in the app. It allows you to save an unlimited number of songs into your personal library and create playlists with up to 10,000 titles. Other than that, you have the option to enable social sharing to see what your friends have been listening to and to create sessions where a group streams the same playlist simultaneously.
For listening to music locally, AIMP could be an ideal choice. It is one of the oldest players on the list and has a decent interface with plenty of customization options and theming. Other than that, it supports all of the common music file extensions like MP3, MP4 and FLAC.
One of the downsides to this is that it doesn’t have a full-fledge music library, however it is great for playing a few tracks in folders. It gives you quick access to all of your playlists, right from the hamburger menu, and has support for a 29-band equalizer.
Moreover, you can change the music output to “mono” or “stereo,” and have the ability to adjust the cross-fade time between tracks manually. Other than that, if you’re bored and don’t want to listen to the same stuff over and over, AIMP supports online radio too. All in all, it is a simple, and decent app for listening to music locally without any distractions.
3. Neutron Music Player
The Neutron Music Player is as good as it gets for audiophile-level quality on Android. The app is one of the most popular music players, with its own 32/64-bit Hi-Res audio engine that is independent of the Android music player API.
The app supports all audio formats, including the more uncommon ones like WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and MPC, with support for up to 5.1 surround. Other than that, Neutron has a 60-band parametric equalizer, alongside a 21-preset graphic equalizer.
On the interface side, it has its drawbacks, and for some, it may not be the easiest to use. However, for audiophiles, it offers a lot more. While listening to music, the app shows real-time spectrums, waveforms, and RTS analyzers. You can save your settings to multiple profiles, and the media library can even organize your songs by album, artist, composer, genre, year, rating, or folder.
All in all, Neutron Music Player is considered as the best when it comes to pure audio quality. Of course, you would need to connect your phone to an external set of speakers or an ideal pair of headphones to truly hear the subtle differences.
Musicolet is a “small yet feature rich” music player that focuses on delivering the pure offline experience, with a refreshing UI. The interface isn’t cluttered, and for an app that is as lightweight and has a small APK size like this, it offers a lot more.
Musicolet features multiple queues with a separate one for each folder, album, artist or playlist and supports different equalizer serttings for each of your output device. You can have a different sound setting for you mobile speakers, a separate one for your headphones and even your car. It also supports Android Auto.
Other than that, it can create synchronized lyrics for any song and even supports exrternal .lrc files. Even with minimal customization options, it supports light and dark themes and has a decent widget, and lock-screen controls. You can even add any album as a shortcut to your home screen for easier access.
All in all, it is a great, compact app that has been tried and tested by many around the globe, and it offers all you need, and nothing that you don’t.
PowerAMP, one of the oldest and most popular music players on the Play Store, makes it to our list simply because it checks most of the boxes and gets a lot of the basics right. The interface is snappy, modern, minimal, and somewhat similar to Spotify.
While most people nowadays have switched to streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify, for those who are serious about offline listening, PowerAMP is the go-to app. It supports Android Auto, Chromecast, and even Google Assistant, filling in the gap left by Play Music.
On top of that, one of the elements that sets it apart from the competition is its immense focus on aesthetics. It allows you to download third-party themes from the Google Play Store and add elements to your player UI, such as a track counter and the Chromecast button. And that’s just scraping the surface. There’s a lot more to explore once you dig in deep.
On the audio side of things, it is great for casual audiophiles, has support for most audio formats, supports lossless audio and uses a proprietary audio decoder, which makes it better than most of the other music players. It features gapless playback, replay gain, cross-fade, a built-in tag editor and a 10-band digital equalizer. All in all, it is a great app if you want an ideal listening experience with a decent user interface.
PlayerPro, widely recognized for its retro, 90s interface, stands as one of the oldest entries on this list. It supports Hi-Res audio with up to 32-bit/364kHz capabilities and a number of customization options. The app is also compatible with Android Auto, Chromecast and Google Assistant.
PlayerPro not only supports audio playback but also includes music videos. It features a 5-band equalizer with 15 default presets and a 10-band equalizer with 20 default presets. Other than that, it includes an audio limiter, replay gain, pre-amp control, mono output, and more.
It also serves you with five different home screen and two separate lock-screen widgets along with the ability to backup your playlists to Google Drive. Interestingly, it also supports gesture control, which can be incredibly in certain situations.
7. YouTube Music
With its close integration with the YouTube platform, YT Music is undeniably the only service in this list with the largest library of music, even including content not available on other platforms. It is the only service in the list that features music from the community members who have uploaded it on YouTube.
While audiophiles might criticize the app for its lack of top-tier audio quality, it is great for general listening. Its well-organized interface seamlessly imports and recommends music based on your YouTube watch history. You can like, share, and save any song, and with YouTube Premium, enjoy ad-free listening with the option to download songs for offline playback.
The new Samples tab, strangely similar to TikTok, features vertical-format music that autoplays and requires swiping up or down to change tracks. Other than that, this is arguably the best app for consuming and viewing music videos too.
The Google Play Store offers an enormous collection of music players, each with its own distinct and unique identity. Even while researching for this article, narrowing down the choices was challenging, but despite their differences, most players effectively serve their purpose well and cater to specific audience needs.
At the moment, it has to be Spotify. Apple Music and YT Music come in at a close 2nd, but the sheer amount of work that the Spotify team has put in over the last few years deserves it to be the go-to music streaming platform.
PowerAMP and AIMP are currently the popular choices, though your have other options too, like PlayerPro and Musicolet.
For the absolute top-level audio quality, most people side with PowerAMP, but Neutron Music Player is great too, in that it has plenty of professional-level customization options.