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Media players are becoming an increasingly important part of our daily lives. Many of us listen to music while we work, study, or just browse the Internet. The chances are pretty good that you’re using a media player such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, or Winamp, but there’s one more that’s worth checking out.

Quintessential Media Player (QMP) is a completely free Windows application that brings back simplicity to your music, and version 5.0 was just pushed out the door last week. It comes in two different flavors: one with a media player and one without. Neither of them will cost you a dime, but the “lite” version focuses more on playing music and assembling playlists rather than trying to keep a library organized.

Here are some of the features QMP has to offer:

  • Rip CDs or convert music into your favourite format
    Insert your favourite music cd into your computer and click the record button to start ripping! You can also use the encoder to convert files to other digital formats. Select the files you want to convert and drag them into the encoder window or click the convert button on the playlist.
  • Keep your music files clean with the track editor (Media Library version)
    The track editor allows you to edit single tracks or groups of tracks at the same time. It will also rename your physical files, import filename to use in tag and if your tags are still incomplete you can use the autotag feature which is powered by Gracenote CDDB.
  • Play the track you want with a click of the mouse
    With Quintessential player’s Quick Track feature you have your entire playlist at your fingers tips. Place your mouse over the track name or over the icon in the windows tray and right click to reveal your playlist. This feature is heavily customizable so you can get at the music you want with no delay!
  • Organize the songs you’ll hear with the Playlist Editor
    One of the most powerful features in Quintessential player is the Playlist. Quickly organize what you want to hear by dragging, blocking, pruning or adding tracks to your playlists. Right clicking tracks on the playlist opens up more options to help you to organize your collection. Simply tell Quintessential Player where your playlists are stored and have your entire collection at hand.
  • Save your desktop space when using the Remote
    Get all the power of Quintessential Player but with 1/10th the desktop space. Using the new skinning engine the remote can stretch revealing as much information as you want to see.

If the application sounds a bit too simple there are always a wide range of plug-ins available. That way you’ll be able to do things like get Last.FM support, display the lyrics of the song being played, and much more. There are also dozens of skins available for those of you who want to customize the appearance a bit.

I myself am more of a fan of the lite version of QMP. I use it to fire up a quick playlist of songs that I want to listen to when I don’t feel like dealing with a “heavy” application like iTunes. It’s also handy to test out songs or media before you go adding them into your well-organized library. It does support all popular audio formats including MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, and CD’s.

QMP 4.0 was released back in August 2003, and since then there have been a significant number of updates. Some people were beginning to think that the project had died off, but a long awaited version 5 seems to have reunited a lot of users with the media player they once loved. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think.

Get Quintessential Player 5.0 for Windows
Thanks nimicitor for the tip!