July 30, 2011

New Media Player Quest - VLC

Media Player Classic on my laptop has been crashing a lot lately. I use MPC because it plays almost anything I throw at it. Windows Media Player won’t do because it’s picky on what file it wants to play (the same FLV that plays fine in MPC won’t play in WMP).

And so begins my quest to look for a better alternative to Media Player Classic. First, I tried this Zoom Player Professional (because the installer is already here). But it has the same behavior as WMP.

After that, I have to choose between RealPlayer or VLC media player. I have used RealPlayer in our Windows 98 machine 10 years ago and I must say, it’s not a pleasant experience. So I went with what the majority uses, VLC.

I downloaded the ‘no install’ version and it worked fine similar to MPC. The user interface is a bit dull and cluttered but I got used to it through time. VLC worked fine and the playlist was easy to use. Until I play a MIDI…

VLC won’t play the MIDI through the default MIDI synthesizer in Windows. You have to select a soundfont to load through its FluidSynth. That was an unexpected bonus. I’ve been thinking on download FluidSynth a few months ago and it’s good to know that it’s included.

The only problem with this soundfont setup is it skips notes when playing a polyphony intensive MIDI file. And also, since VLC is using soundfonts for MIDI playback, XG MIDI files won’t play properly here.

Overall, VLC is a good choice but with a few flaws. VLC crashes sometimes but I can live with it.

I installed a codec pack: K-lite codec pack.
I’m running Windows XP.
The soundfont I use in VLC is a340.sf2

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