Using Custom Music Players

Doing something interesting with your Insane Audio head unit? This is the place to share!
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InsaneAudioSupport3
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:08 pm

Using Custom Music Players

Post by InsaneAudioSupport3 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:30 am

If you are a current or future owner of an Insane Audio head unit, there’s probably one feature in particular that drew you to our product lineup -- they play music! Every one of our units can handle SD cards, USB drives, and portable HDD’s, with no upper limit to the storage capacity. You can literally fit thousands of hours of music on a 400GB microSD card and leave it inside your vehicle all with no moving parts or no skipping when you are bouncing down the trail. Insane Audio’s JK2001 comes with a pretty good music player that accesses all music contained on your storage devices, while displaying album artwork and full music meta data such as artist, album, genre, etc. Since most of our customers are Jeep owners, we know that you like to customize things… so let’s talk about how you can customize music players!

One of the major advantages to running a full Android suite on your Insane Audio head unit is the option to personalize your user experience with different apps and plugins. The music player is no exception, and to give you some ideas, here is a brief overview of some Android apps that work great with your Insane Audio head unit.

Google Play Music (Free)

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As to be expected coming from Google, Play Music is a top-of-the-line music player. It will play music from your device (internal storage, USB or SD card), music downloaded from the Play Store, music stations (similar to Pandora), and it also allows you to shuffle play an album or genre similar to using Spotify.

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Paying the optional monthly subscription fee (9.99/month) will open up cool features, like allowing you to play any track from any album anytime from the Play Store with no limit.

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The user interface is great, easy to navigate, smooth, with intuitive icons. This app works wonders with or without internet, and is a great first option for an alternative player.

Poweramp (Free trial, $3.99 for full version)

Poweramp has been around for years, but there’s a reason it’s kept its place as one of the best music players out there. With that age comes a ton of features that allow you to fine-tune your listening experience, including a 10-band equalizer with presets, tuning knobs, preamp control, effects and limiters.

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Important note: If you plan on using PowerAmp or any other music player’s built-in equalizer then our engineers recommend you set InsaneEQ to be flat across the board. Otherwise you will have two different equalizers fighting with each other. As a general rule of thumb, either use InsaneEQ and leave the EQ in these apps flat or leave InsaneEQ flat and tweak the EQ in your music player.

Even with the focus on audio quality, Poweramp manages to maintain a very useable interface, with clear, easy-to read buttons, and full access to your device’s internal and external storage.

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The app does a nice job of displaying album artwork, but the “Now Playing” screen can appear a little crowded at times. Overall, the app fits perfectly with our Android interface.

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It may not seem like it at first, but the price tag for the full version is absolutely worth it, as many in the Insane Audio community have discovered. A solid app, two thumbs-up.

Pros
• Intense audio control
• No lag or bugs
• Fairly easy to use

Cons
• Price
• Can appear crowded

BlackPlayer (Free)

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One of the many awesome things about Insane Audio head units is the color-rich HD display. A cool way to take advantage of that is with BlackPlayer. Easily the best-looking app on our list, PlackPlayer has a minimal, futuristic style that borrows your album art to use as backgrounds. It has a simple, no-fuss music library, with large, easily-readable text.

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The controls can be a little awkward to get used to, as they often forego buttons in favor of swiping gestures in order to keep the display clean-looking. BlackPlayer has a great queue function, and allows full control over the order of tracks and playlists.

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Another slick feature is that BlackPlayer will automatically get artist photos and bios from the internet when it first collects your library from your device. They remain visible, even if you disconnect from the internet.

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BlackPlayer does include a basic 5-band equalizer, as do most of the other apps on this list, but if you want looks and sound quality, you can always open up the InsaneEQ app (included with all Insane Audio units) and use the 10-band EQ and fader to tune your sound.

Pros
• Flat-out gorgeous
• Easy to navigate and control

Cons
• Can be laggy, especially when skipping through a lot of tracks all at once

Stellio (Free with ads, $2.90 for full version)

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Stellio is one of the more unique players we found. Its claim to fame is a neat gesture-based interface that makes it a little easier to control what’s playing. On the “Now Playing” screen, you just swipe anywhere, left or right, to skip tracks. It has a very stylish appearance, similar to BlackPlayer, that will actually pick up colors from your album art to use as accent colors. It also has a couple other themes you can apply (more available on the Play Store), but we think the stock one looks best.

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The library and queue are clean and easy to use and organize, and the interface is nicely spaced.

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Overall, another good option. The ads can be annoying, but it’s up to you if getting rid of them is worth three bucks.

Pros
• Simple, clean, and pretty
• Easy to navigate
• Swipe to skip is a great feature if your ex’s favorite song comes on while you’re driving down the road

Cons
• Not free
• The cool circular track scrubber isn’t present on all of the available skins. sadly

Phonograph (Free)

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If you’re a fan of Google apps, as are we, then you’ll appreciate Phonograph for the strong similarity it has to the Google aesthetic. Simple, well-organized menus, color customization, and file view options all make for a fast, bug-free player that gets the job done with flying colors.

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Pros
• It’s good enough that we’d be willing to pay for it if it wasn’t, you know, free
• Customization options work quite well with the glowing LED elements present on all Insane Audio units

Cons
• Not much to complain about, except some of the features like the EQ are slightly buried in the menu, not readily accessible

doubleTwist (Free, $7.99 Pro Version)

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Oh boy. This player is SO. COOL. It has a lot of similar features to the previous apps on the list; ease of navigation, clean appearance, etc. It displays full-screen album artwork, internet-sourced artist pics and bios, and a clear, well-integrated search bar.

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But that’s just the beginning. If you commit to the $7.99 for the Pro version, it opens up a boat-load of cool things, like a 10-band EQ, sleep timer, ringtone maker, Chromecast, Apple AirSync and AirPlay and DLNA support. This allows for a huge amount of flexibility with your music, and for some people, would absolutely be worth the price.

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Throw on top of all that a simple, comprehensive interface and you have a wonderful little app that may be just what you need to complete your audio setup.

Pros
• Compatibility with almost any mobile device or media service with the Pro version
• Full screen album artwork is uncommon, and a welcome addition in doubleTwist

Cons
• $7.99 is hefty for an app, but worth it if you can utilize all the features

MediaMonkey (Free)

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This one gave a huge impression right off the bat. Unlike every other player we’ve covered, this one has large, easy-to-read, easy-to-hit-when-you’re-bouncing-down-a-rocky-trail buttons right on the home screen of the app. Equally cool, this isn’t just a music player, it’s a full multimedia application on par with some programs for desktop computers. That means you can play music, videos, audiobooks, and podcasts all from the same app. You can fit the whole Disney animated movie collection on a single SD card, so if you need to keep the kids entertained while you’re roadtripping to grandma’s for Christmas, and then switch over to your own music when they fall asleep, you can do it all without leaving the app.

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MediaMonkey offers a sleek, professional-looking interface that looks right at home on an Insane Audio unit, and it still keeps a great level of usability. The 5-band EQ is oriented horizontally, which makes it a little easier to be precise with the sliders (a small touch, but a nice one nonetheless).

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In the settings, you can choose exactly where the app will draw your music from, or you can use the built-in file manager to search around yourself.

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We saved one of the best for last with MediaMonkey; it’s sure to please a serious user just as much as the casual listener.

Pros
• Free
• It is basically a full-fledged media player in a mobile package. ‘Nuff said.

Cons
• The album art is rather small

These are some of the better apps we tested, but here is a list of runner-ups that we wanted to include.

Neutron (Free trial, $5.99 for full version)

Very similar to Poweramp, with a slightly clunkier interface, but equally-good sound customization.

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Spotify (Free, optional $9.99/month subscription)

Spotify is a music streaming service with some cool features, like offline play. Here’s a link to a full write-up on Spotify if you want to learn more: https://insaneaudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... 903958686e

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jetAudio (Free, $3.99 for full version)

This player gives you the option to download plugins to change the way your music sounds with the premium version, which opens up a new door to customization

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VLC (Free)
Another media player gone mobile, VLC offers many professional-grade audio options, as well as the ability to play back other media types like video.

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In the process of digging up good music players, we came across a lot of different apps that took a different approach to music. Here are a few we thought were worth mentioning for their entertainment value.

edjing Mix (Free)
This fun music tool gives you full reign over a downsized DJ table, complete with dual turntables, EQ’s, and crossfader. Perfect for getting your scratch on.

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Cross DJ Free (Free, duh)

Similar to edjing Mix, but with more freedom on the BPM side of things, and a more modern interface. Definitely worth a look.

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EtherPad (Free)

It’s a customizable synth pad, with downloadable instruments and fully-adjustable scale and octaves.

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ORG 2018 (Free)

This app is a beast. It’s a full-on keyboard synth, offering thousands of instruments and a crazy-cool button interface to bring out your inner maestro.

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Out of the hundreds of decent music players on the Play Store, these are just some of the ones that stood out of the crowd. Play around with them, listen to some good jams, and let us know if you find any other contenders. Happy trails!

SuperRuby14
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:23 pm

Re: Using Custom Music Players

Post by SuperRuby14 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:28 am

Awesome writeup! Thank you Insane Audio!! :D

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