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AIMP 3 extends audio playing capabilities with surround sound, new sound engine

04 January 2012, Mike Williams

First released back in 2006, AIMP’s lengthy feature list has helped to make it a popular free audio player. It’s been out of the news for a while as the developers worked on the latest release, but they’ve finally finished, and now we can all sample AIMP 3’s new features for ourselves.

Top of the list has to be the introduction of the program’s own sound engine, which allows you to output using ASIO, WASAPI or DirectSound (click Preferences > Playback to control this).

There’s now also support for 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound.

The latest release additionally includes full support for ReplayGain, a redesigned Audio Library, a new version of the skin engine, extended playlist functionality, and a host of worthwhile bug fixes and usability tweaks, amongst other things.

And of course this is building on what was already a very powerful audio player. So you also get extensive audio format support (.CDA, .AAC, .AC3, .APE, .DTS, .FLAC, .IT, .MIDI, .MO3, .MOD, .M4A, .M4B, .MP1, .MP2, .MP3, .MPC, .MTM, .OFR, .OGG, .RMI, .S3M, .SPX, .TAK, .TTA, .UMX, .WAV, .WMA, .WV, .XM); an 18-band EQ with a host of presets; lots of built-in sound effects, Winamp plugin support, audio recording, CD ripping, file format conversion, Internet radio support, and a whole lot more.

If there’s a problem then it’s perhaps the interface, where just about every screen seems to cram in a host of tiny buttons, making it a little intimidating for the first-time user. Once you start to explore, though, it’s really quite straightforward, with helpful tooltips everywhere, convenient right-click options, well-designed menus and more. So if you’re in the market for a free audio player, which can be installed on a USB key for portability, give AIMP a try: it’s always been a great audio player, and the new release is now more powerful than ever.

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