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Audio Player Comparison


  • must be light on cpu and ram
  • small overall footprint
  • perform basic audio playing features (playlist management a plus)


App Type Size CPU RAM Notes
cmus ncurses 192,506 3.7% 8.096 really like it, mutt of audio players
deadbeef GUI 2,321,554 5.0% 22,496 basic ui; it loads/plays my playlist!
vlc GUI 1,211,816 10.3% 45,984 A great 'plays anything' player but heavy on runtime resources
banshee GUI 192,506 uses mono..., UTTER CRAP! will not play any of my music, GStreamer library error: Shutdown; do not like the interface (discover based)
rhythmbox GUI 446,246 does not work Jack error, do not like the interface (discover based)
musique GUI 574,458 9.3% 53,992 wants to scan for music...; very nice looking but doesn't seem to be able to save/load playlists, perhaps need a newer version
minirok GUI 74,524 6.7% 81,052 basic, doesn't seem to have a save/open playlists, does 'reload' last playlist, pulls in a LOT extra files (260+mb)
amarok GUI 5,944,266 21.9% 122,224 pulls in 226mb additional; way to much cruft
lxmusic GUI 93,624 basic, seems nice but it will not open any of my music, no errors/notices at all
juk GUI 660,696 10.3% 55,992 adds 163M of additional pkgs; I like the player, nice, simple, asks for search folder, and auto-imported playlist
guayadeque GUI 1,632,512 10.3% 43,636 nice l&f; imports playlists; a bit odd to get around in; has way to many features I'll never use (jamendo, etc.)
aqualung GUI 800,842 5.7% 21,796 mdi interface (bit oldschool looking; loads my playlist!;I like it!
bluemindo GUI 168,876 odd interface, difficult to find/do anything, would not play my music
exaile GUI 1,056,136 12.0% 59,220 not bad on install; somewhat intuitave; opens/plays my playlist!
moc ncurses 311,552 4.0% 9,260 I like!; plays my playlist!; simple and straightforward!; very nice, maybe easier to use than cmus
yatm CLI 14,258 too basic, just a cli player like aplay; no playlist support
yauap CLI 21,266 simple cli player; no playlist support
qmmp GUI 95,514 8.3% 35,156 odd but basic/nice UI; opens/plays my playlist!
  • cpu % after 1min of play of 5 songs
  • ram (RES) XX after 1min of play of 5 songs
  • to find app size (in K): apt-cache show cmus | grep Size:


  • install app
  • open app
  • create playlist with 5 songs
  • If it aint one thing, paramore-misery business, Hit it Again, Foo Fighters - Best of You, Foofighters everlong
  • close app
  • open app (with timer), open playlist, and play: appname & top -d 3.0 -n 21 -p $(pgrep -d',' -f appname) && fg
  • open app
  • get CPU/Memory stats from top

cmus and moc are both good, need to run a larger (more songs and longer run) sample for memory/cpu comparisons.

Test #2

  • playlist has 37 songs (Advent Chamber Orchestra & Various Artists (Dawn of)
  • play for 45m
  • measure results
App Type Size CPU RAM Notes
cmus ncurses 192,506 3.0% 8,112
moc ncurses 311,552 3.0% 10756 I noticed that often cpu utilization for moc was 0% during the run
  • cmus is a bit technical to learn but I do like it
  • moc/p is a bit more simple/straightforward
  • moc/p has a sort of front and back-end, you can close the ncurses ui and the backend (also mocp) will continue running, the above measurement for moc is with the front-end closed

Using cmus

  • man page
  • arch wiki
  • :a: ~/music - add files
  • v: stop play
  • c: pause play
  • b: next play
  • x: play
  • :clear - clear current view
  • y - add to playlist
  • 1 - library
  • 2 - sorted library
  • 3 - playlist
  • 4 - play queue
  • 5 - browser
  • 6 - filters
  • 7 - settings
  • :save -p FILE - saves playlist view to playlist file
  • :load -p FILE - load a playlist file to playlist view
  • s - toggle shuffle
  • r - toggle repeat
  • C - toggle continue

Using moc

  • install moc and moc-ffmpeg-plugin
  • start with mocp