I’ve mentioned PowerAmp while writing the review on Car Home Ultra and since I haven’t written any music related programs yet I thought that it would be a good time to do the review on it. After I first switched on my Huawei Deuce I didn’t like the stock Android music player. Music+ could play music sure but I like a little panache. I also love graphical equalizers and well, Music+ doesn’t have either of those. On the PC I used to use WinAmp and I thought that there was something not right about PowerAmp but that was a long time ago. On Android I tried WinAmp first, but I’ll leave that story for another day. When I installed the PowerAmp Trial I had a good little while to get use to it, and started to prefer it to anything else I’d tried. PowerAmp grew on me till the trial ended, then I paid for it. Sorry guys, another app I spent money on, but, as you’ll see it was money I say was well spent.

What does the App claim it can do?

PowerAmp claim “Poweramp is a powerful music player for Android“. The list of features that you won’t find in Music+ include such things as:
  • 10 Band graphic equalizer
  • Crossfade
  • Gapless play
  • Playing songs from a library or a folder
  • Lyric support via musiXmatch plugin
  • Support for m3u m38u pls and wpl playlists
  • Tag editing
  • 4 Types of widgets

Does the App REALLY do what it claims to do?

I’d like to say that PowerAmp does exactly what it claims, so I will. This media player is the complete package if you want a player. The Graphic Equalizer was one of the things that attracted me to the program. The Eq has presets so that you can quickly switch between headphones and car, or car and speaker set. You have the added ability to save your settings so that you don’t have to memorize that perfect balance.

The cross-fading feature means that you never have to hear that silence that normally exists between songs on lesser players. It also means that when you stop a song you don’t get left in the lurch with a sudden stop of sound, it fades nicely into nothing.

If you’re like me you’ll have some of your most precious sound recordings, like your children singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on your phone and if using Music+ there will most definitely be a time when you’re going to hear it. It will likely happen just after listening to AC/DC or Bon Jovi, it just doesn’t fit. What you need is a player that can exclude certain directories from the library. PowerAmp is one of those music players that will let you do this. I particularly like the option however of being able to look through all your folders to find that one directory that stores your “Goon Show” or “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” audio tapes that you’ve ripped.

I haven’t tried streaming any music with PowerAmp know if ot work well. However, like other apps that have a lot of features, there are some things that they don’t tell you about in the feature list. One of these additional gems is a configurable buffer. If you’ve ever had your music pause just briefly for no reason then you’ve got a buffer problem. Either there’s not enough memory in your phone, or some other app is reading from the SD Card in your phone and has stopped the music. If this has ever happened to you, setting the buffer to a higher value will fix that. Music+ does not have the option to adjust the buffer, but PowerAmp does.

The widgets included are large and small but you need to have PowerAmp installed on your phone and not on your SD card. There is however a downloadable widget pack that you can use if you need the space in  your phone. The widgets are functional and clean as you would expect.

If  you want to get the lyrics to the song you’re listening to you have to download MusiXmatch from the play store, it says there’s another option, but it seldom works. MusiXmatch will scan your library and is itself a media player complete with a 5 band equalizer. I did this and well, if you play the song through MusicXmatch the lyrics will scroll with the song. If you play the song using your favorite player all you get is the lyrics and you have to scroll yourself. I suppose this isn’t bad since the phone’s screen will probably time out while you’re in the middle of the chorus anyway.

What do I like most about the App?

There are a few things I like, including the cross-fading and the buffer but I have to admit that I like the 10 band graphic equalizer the most. It’s not going to make your phone’s speakers sound good, I don’t think anything could, but with the right headphones or through the Bluetooth to your car’s stereo that’s another question. I like the cool look to it and that you can download themes to make it look even slicker or outrageous.

What’s not to like about it?

I haven’t come across any issues with the player and since I don’t have any of my music in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format I don’t have any codec problems either. Maybe one of you readers could let me know if you have any troubles playing WMA files.

What I don’t like is the way PowerAmp provides lyrics, it really doesn’t at all. PowerAmp provides a link between it and the third-party app called MusiXmatch. When you want the lyrics it drops out of PowerAmp and started MusiXmatch. In my opinion if the lyrics were shown in the PowerAmp interface then, and only then, could it claim to provide lyrics. Resorting to a third-party app that takes up another 22M of phone memory, more push notices and advertisements just seems wrong to me. MusiXmatch is not a plugin even though PowerAmp claims that it is. I went looking for a PowerAmp plugin called MusiXmatch and didn’t get what I was expecting. There may be a myriad of reasons why the people at PowerAmp don’t do this right, but I’m sure that they would have the people and the money to fix it.

What are the little niggles (What would make it perfect)?

The music library interface is a bit hard for me to get my head around. I don’t know if this is because I don’t use the app enough, or if there’s something that’s not really good about it, maybe I’m just a little old. I find that it’s not easy to clear the current playlist to start a new one, none of the options say that it will clear the current playlist. I flounder around with the options and eventually I find what I need to do. I generally have no problems adding songs to the current queue and removing them is pretty simple too, but clearing the list is not something that just pops out. Once you have all your playlists created and saved it’s really easy to use. If you’re looking for a good music player make up your own mind about the library, everything else is pretty good.

Why did I decide to keep/remove it?

PowerAmp started out as my go-to music player and ever since then it’s been a rock solid performer for me. To be honest, at the moment the only reason I have to look at other media players is to write reviews for them.

Would my wife use it?

My wife started using PowerAmp it because I suggested it to her, but then gave it up. It was somehow causing issues with Car Home Ultra. I don’t think she would get into the options to set the buffer size or some of the advanced features unless I was there to help her, but she was able to use it pretty well. Right now she’s using WinAmp Free.