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It’s not often that I come across an application that displaces a default choice on my phone within minutes of me downloading it, but the N7Player music player is just one such. I think it’s brilliant. Before I go on, let me make one thing clear: I’m an obsessive about album cover art. I go to great, some would say unhealthy …

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Silver badge

With that name...

I expected some kind of Mass Effect tie-in. Seemed plausible enough given the recent launch of the third game.

I'm kind of relieved to have been wrong about that, the reality seems like something actually worth reviewing.

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Anonymous Coward

This ain't bad

Just installed it on my Xperia Arc and it looks pretty darned good. Good call.

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Re: This ain't bad

The looks seem nice.

Would be nice if an App-of-the-Week review contained just a little bit of detail on the software beyond looks:

Does it use its own media scanning subsystem, playback subsystem, EQ subsystem etc, or does it rely on android's and solely focuses on fancy graphics?

Will it support M4A coverart, or be a total fail like PowerAmp in that regard?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This ain't bad

It won't scan my mp3/flacs for embedded album art, instead it wants to download them.

If I use my built-in (HTC) music player first, flicking through each song, that will extract the art, after which n7player can see it. Presumably there's an app somewhere which will do that extraction automagically rather than me having to manually do it...

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Flame

Usual over zealous permission

Thanks for the article.

You do have to wonder why a media player needs access to the phones unique ID, phone number, number of the person your calling and the ability to read the log files on the phone (which can include account information, URLs, application information, etc) along with full internet access. Fine the internet access on it's own is probably used to grab meta data. But one you include those other permission things start to feel a little too uncomfortable.

It's not really an attack against N7Player alone. A lot of Android apps now seem to require a lot more permissions than you would think necessary. I guess it's how you get payed for "free" apps.

I'll give this one a miss for the time being. Otherwise it looks very good.

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Silver badge

Re: Usual over zealous permission

I decided to not install it for the same reasons. I'm also pissed off by the way installed apps offer updates that have escalated permissions from their original installed settings. I'm considering rooting my phone so I can use a fine grained permissions control app.

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Unhappy

Re: Usual over zealous permission

Phone state also seems to be for detecting if you're on a call, in which case that could be used to switch off the music when the phone rings. Seems a poor choice of security granularity on the part of Android if that is the case. No idea why it needs access to the logs though, so I also decided not to try it.

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Re: Usual over zealous permission

Well, it says right there in the application description, "Reading sensitive log data permission is required only to provide more information in case of application crash when user decides to send log to developers." Of course, you have to trust that that is the real reason, but at least it is a reasonable explanation (especially for a beta). That probably accounts also for the internet permission.

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Stu

Re: Usual over zealous permission

I was just as suspicious, this is what my phone says this about the "Read Sensitive log Data" permission -

"...This allows it to discover general info about what you are doing with the phone, potentially including personal or private info."

Yes a lot of these apps are free, but what's the REAL cost?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Gapless and FLAC (with full tag) support? It's the primary reason I paid for PowerAmp - which in itself is an excellent and well supported music player anyway.

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+1 for PowerAmp. Love it.

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Facepalm

-1 for PowerAmp

I own PowerAmp, and I boycott it, because the forum is "moderated" and out of 3 perfectly polite posts requesting a statement on M4A cover art support, NONE ever made it onto the forum.

One unrelated Post took 2 weeks before it finally was deigned to be allowed to show up on this so-called support forum. I will not deal with a company that treats their customers like this.

The forum is kept clean of any problems they don't have a good answer to, to avoid people from seeing any weak points.

PowerAmp still doesn't support cover art for iTunes M4A format properly, which is obviously better sound quality than MP3's, so for all its talking about high quality playback and using its own subsystems, rather than relying on Android, it needs to support M4A cover art. Matter of fact, there hasn't been a PowerAmp update in ages, its like they stopped working on it.

Android (up to version 2.3.x) does not support M4A cover art, even though it claims to have support for iTunes music.

On Android's bug tracker, this isn't even regarded a bug fix, but more like a feature request. Partly because a lot of people who failed to understand the problem posted ridiculous "workarounds" like "just convert your files to MP3" and other ideas that completely missed the (simple) point.

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Re: -1 for PowerAmp

BTW, there was a guy who posted a small android utility, that does its own media scan, and then enters cover art links into android's database, which the android media scan fails to do.

This works to some degree, but you have to manually run it every time you add new M4A format music.

Note: there are a few players who take care of this, by using their own subsystem instead of Android's default library. So, if it works on your phone, does not mean the problem doesn't exist.

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FAIL

Alternatively - just use google music. unless this has the ability to store and access your music collection in the cloud, did I miss that?

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Unhappy

Google Music isn't available outside of the US. Their 'Play Music' app also seems to have problems detecting new music that has been uploaded to the phone. At least on my Nexus, it takes days before it notices that I've added more files to the Music folder.

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I've not had any issues with it and it's fairly trivial to get it working outside the us (much less effort than installing a different app and then having to switch). I guess my point is eventually it will be available, so why pick a different solution in the short term...

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Not content with Google

Knowing as much about you as they already do you want to give even more?

Hahahahahaha

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QR Code

I have duly reported you to wtfqrcodes.com.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: QR Code

That's a little unfair... Using them for mobile phone apps does actually make sense.

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Re: QR Code

Oh do grow up.

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Re: QR Code

But one as blatantly bodged as that one appears to the human eye at least?

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dodgy?

I tried to install this from the bar code and instantly got an SSL certificate failure "The site name does not match the site name in the certificate." The app is supposed to be downloaded from play.google.com but in fact according to the certificate (which has only been valid for a few days) is coming from googleusercontent.com

Is this legit?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: dodgy?

QR code works perfectly well for me. If in doubt just search for it in Google Play by name ffs.

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Putting on my luddite hat...

So what if the UI is amazing? 99% of the time I use my phone to play music - it's either in a pocket, or tucked away in the car somewhere... so the UI is (largely) irrelevant to me apart from manipuating playlists

So, from where I sit, all the UI does is restrict the number of devices it'll run on - and yes, my phone isn't one of them, but I doubt I'd use it for the shiny shiny anyway if I'm honest.

Just my £0.02...

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Re: Putting on my luddite hat...

I was going to say -- is this a review of a music player, or of a cover art image slideshow tool? Hard to tell from the content, which includes barely a word about how the thing actually sounds -- might be more accurate to say that it's a great music player for people whose priorities are as screwy as those of the Reg hack who wrote the article.

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Alert

Re: Putting on my luddite hat...

Nothing screwy about it. It's my experience that sonically Android music players are much the same and that the real benefits are found by A) using a decent pair of 'phones, and B) having a comprehensive and competent sound modification suite. Point A is beyond the remit of this review, Point B is covered.

Also sound quality is subjective. I like the effects the N7Player's 'reverb' setting produces. Others may disagree.

If the sound the app produced was in anyway below standard, I wouldn't have rated it so highly.

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Anonymous Coward

Metadata driven players have a weakness...

The problem I have with all these metadata driven players is they all have a severe weakness: if your metadata is bad (incorrect or missing ID3 tags), they fall down. They all fail to take into account one of the most common, and useful, pieces of metadata that a music file can have: what directory it is in!

If one album is by "Paul McCartney & Wings" and one by "Paul McCartney and Wings", guess what - that's 2 artists! Nevermind they are under the same directory.

Or the case I ran into: I had 2 albums named "Greatest Hits" - one by Linda Ronstadt, one by the Little River Band. Guess what: even though they were in two separate directories, my phone's built-in player decided they were the same album.

So: does *this* music player (and, no matter how pretty this is, its main goal should be to play music, not ogle the album covers) have sense enough to work if the metadata isn't perfect?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Metadata driven players have a weakness...

This app has a pretty comprehensive ID3 tag editor as the review mentions and as I can testify to from a couple of hours use of this app - I could fix both of your "problems" in 30 sec flat using it to correct the meta data.

Don't know why there is such opposition to a music player app being elected on the basis of its UI. As the reviewer has mentioned they all sound kinda the same, what I want is an enjoyable browse through the 10GB of albums I have on my Sensation and it's gotta be said, this app does make browsing very easy and enjoyable.

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Silver badge

Re: Metadata driven players have a weakness...

Are those tags also sync'd back to your pc/master music store? Otherwise it's worthless.

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Anonymous Coward

All this debate and not one comment about the reviewers music taste ? (look at the screenshots)

Deffo (the awful) Radio 2 for teh win with that lot :D

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WTF?

Oh I dunno

Dylan, Zevon, Tull, Skempton, Earle, Mann...that's a pretty solid collection in my book and you sure as shit won't hear much of any of them on Radio 2.

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my ex

indeed, same shocking music tastes as my EX! Paul bl**dy Simon, Simon and Garfunkel and Bob Dylan, oh memories I can not erase from my mind :'(

Also notice on the Screen Shot that Fleetwood Mac is listed twice, I have issues with Meta Driving music apps too, they drive me nuts when they break up albums into two or three groups because the data is incorrect for some unknown reason, it drives me mad, I would prefer the app to use the file directory, what was wrong with that, it was simple and WORKED?

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Bronze badge

Converted

Great app.

I didn't think I needed a music player. Now I'm thinking about trading in my iPod for a few 32Gb micro SDs.

Incidentally internet access is needed to download cover art, and sound quality depends on the hardware, not the software.

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Anonymous Coward

jukefox ?

jukefox is also well worth a look. (Or a listen :-)).

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Silver badge

But no SD card install?

This isn't an iPhone ffs. If it can't install to SD then I might as well not bother. That half gig or so of internal storage in an Arc S runs out fast when you get idiot developers who think Android is still stuck at version 1.6.

Still, it is a beta after all.

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