Pmusic - FAQ

    General
  1. What is Pmusic?
  2. What is Pmusic not?
  3. What is Pmusic depending on?
  4. Why yet another audio player?
  5. How does it work?

  6. Performance
  7. When I dump all my thousands of songs into a playlist, Pmusic becomes real slow?
  8. Why should I index my music?
  9. But hey, since I can't put my entire collection into the playlist, how can I play a random song?
  10. How does the 'playlist history' work?
  11. How do you see "Track Info" for a file on the library side, not the playlist side. Is that available?
  12. What are the best envisioned uses for the window navigator windows?
  13. How does the rating system works?
  14. What if I want to convert a WAV file to a MP3 file?
  15. How do I burn a playlist to an audio disc?
  16. What file operations are possible?
  17. Is there an undo feature?
  18. Can I rip an audio-CD with Pmusic?
  19. Can I record an audio stream from the web?
  20. What are Bookmarks and how do I use them?
  21. What are Podcasts?
  22. How do I change the interface to be something more exciting? A new Theme / Skin.
  23. How can I modify a theme?

  24. Troubleshooting
  25. Why doesn't Pmusic play this/that file-format?
  26. Can I trim Pmusic to run smooth on my old pc?
  27. How can I activate the equalizer?
  28. Some of my tracks in 'Recent' and 'Rating' lists are deleted. What should I do?
  29. Are there any known bugs?

  30. Desktop intergation
  31. How can I 'Add file to playlist' rather than 'Play file' when clicking in filebrowser?
  32. How do I set Pmusic as my default player in 4.31 and perhaps others?
  33. Can I use the terminal or external code to manage Pmusic
  34. How can I control Pmusic by hotkeys?


General


What is Pmusic?

Pmusic is a bash script / GTKDialog based Music Player developed by Sigmund ´╗┐Berglund. Pmusic can play a variety of audio inputs (Audio CD, mp3, ape, ogg, wma, stream audio to name a few). It is also quite well featured considering Puppy Linux's mantra of "Light and Sweet". Some highlights:

Pmusic is released with the General Public Lisence. Download latest package from the homepage.


What is Pmusic not?

Well, For one thing Pmusic is not bloated big like other music players available. - It's pet package is a mere 100k. So because it is not a 2-30mb install, Pmusic does not have every feature the "big boys" have.


What is Pmusic depending on?

The main idea of building Pmusic, is to keep dependencies to a minimum. That is why Pmusic fits in a tiny environment without all kind of libs. The core engine is built around ffmpeg and alsa - only. It will sure benefit of some other backends like:

For a complete list type 'pmusic -D' in a terminal.


Why yet another audio player?

Good question, the world is not lacking players. The initial idea was to build a player around ffmpeg and alsa - only. As most systems has these available, Pmusic will run without any specific dependencies. Also, there is a lack of _small_ audio players that manage huge music collections. Pmusic does.


How does it work?

It is no secret that Pmusic acts slower than many players. This because it is built of slow libraries (Bash, ffmpeg and gtkdialog). This gives some challenges when it comes to gui solutions and speed. One thing to mention is that Pmusic is strictly playlist-based, which means you can only play a song added to playlist. You can not start a song from ie. the 'Music-Source' field, bookmarks or from the album list in 'Track-info'. The song must be added to the playlist before played.

Keeping us strictly to the playlist-based model, we can manage huge music-collection in a snappy way. As there are many options combined to the slower playlist, the Music-Source list is simple and fast. Here you can render 20000 items in a blink of an eye. The best workflow is therefor to do as much as possible in the Music-Source list.

In contrast to many new players that focus on audio-streaming and the cloud, Pmusic offers options to build up you local collection. This includes storing lyrics and albumart found on the web, as well as grabbing tracks from your favorite radio-stations.

Pmusic offers a wide range of track info for the playing song. By default this info is not built in the main gui as known in other great players. One of the main targets of Pmusic is to be an easy player, and many (most?) users want the player to ... yepp... play. The track info is therefor separated from the rest in an unique module. Still easy reachable, - only one click away. Also, the track info module can be embedded into the main gui as done in the 'Wings' frontend.



Performance


When I dump all my thousands of songs into a playlist, Pmusic becomes real slow?

Yes, depending on your CPU, Pmusic starts to become slow after adding some hundreds songs. But there is a solution. Please keep in mind a typical 150 song playlist is probably a 8+ hour long session. If your collection is larger than that, I recommend you to index the music files. It is a much faster way of selecting your songs to play. See next question for more information.


Why should I index my music?

There is no need of indexing your audio files. Pmusic has a builtin file-browser where you can find your music and add it to the playlist. This works perfectly for small music collections. If you on the other hand experience that it's hard to navigate through your huge collection, it's time to consider indexing.

You might think that 'indexing' sounds advanced, - but it's not. it is only a table holding information about all your songs and albums. This makes it easy to sort your music by artist, album, song name.... Also, Pmusic lists 20000 songs from your index in a blink of an eye. Open a directory with the same amount of files, you can drink a cup of coffee while waiting. While building the table (the index), Pmusic scans your system for audio files. It is possible to run various filters during this scan. ie. 'files in the same directory belongs together, and should be put in a new album'. Pmusic offers some simple filters depending on your collection structure.

But the biggest advantage of an index is its speed when searching for a song. Pmusic searches so fast that the search result shows up while typing. The downside is that the index must be refreshed after adding more music to your collection.

So if you have a large library, indexing is the way to go. Because of the search speed, you can create a playlist "session" to suit your needs of the moment quite quickly. When you have a playlist the way you want it, you can always save it for reuse later.


But hey, since I can't put my entire collection into the playlist, how can I play a random song?

In Pmusic you have to first 'Add random songs' from the music-source (browser) field into the playlist, - then play. You can define how many songs you want to pick randomly from the list of your music sources.

This way gives an improved random feature... Because Pmusic picks random tracks only from the shown list in the music-source field, you can finetune the random feature. Ie. First search for TNT, and then pick 10 random TNT-songs.


How does the 'playlist history' work?

The playlist history stores your list whenever you click for a 'New' list. Like this you can go back in history to see what you played yesterday (or last month). Be aware that it is also possible to store playlists by using several playlists. Pmusic manages 9 different lists where you can keep different music for different occations. You can of course also save the playlist (in m3u format).


How do you see "Track Info" for a file on the library side, not the playlist side. Is that available?

The 'Music-Sources' field does show meta-information if set. This can be turned on/off in the preferences. If 'Song info' means samplerate, channels, albumart, lyrics, etc.... this is only available in the playlist for the playing track (Track menu), or the selected track (right-click menu). The 'Track info' options gives you a full set of information and the possibility to edit meta tags.


What are the best envisioned uses for the window navigator windows?

The different window presets show different ways of setting up the Pmusic gui, - each one for a purpose.

  • Manager is the default frontend. Not very different to other players. Most users will feel familiar. You will have most features available in a mouseclick or two.
  • Low-Poweder is the frontend to choose if running an older system. It offers the basics, while the most cpu-consuming features and options are deactivated.
  • The Wings frontend is made for systems set up as a music manager. It is well suited in full screen, but works best on resolutions from 1200 width and above.
  • You can run Pmusic without any gui. Click on the Pmusic icon in the tray, and the gui disappears while the music continues to play. This is meant to reduce Pmusic's cpu-hunger.

As earlier mentioned, the user has the ability to build unique Pmusic guis.


How does the rating system works?

In addition to manually set the rating in the track-info window, Pmusic will:

  • Increase the rating when track ends.
  • Decrease the rating if skipping a song. Nothing happens if starting another song by clicking in the playlist or executing from terminal. - ONLY when navigating to next/previous via buttons, trayapp or cli.
The rating is set to 50 when a song is played for the first time. Max is 99 and min is 0.


What if I want to convert a WAV file to a MP3 file?

Under 'Playlist' menu choose 'Export tracks' to convert all songs in playlist. Click 'Specify output stream'. For high quality stereo conversion choose at least 192000 bits/sec. For mono songs you choose half the stereo rate.


How do I burn a playlist to an audio disc?

Pmusic is well matched with the program Pburn. Once you have a playlist (well under 70 minutes long) of WAV,MP3,OGG,WMA files, then choose menu item 'Burn tracks'. When Pburn is first run, it will ask you where it should store it's temporary files. It will warn you not to select a partition that is formated in FAT(an old Microsoft standard). The other types of file system formatting such as ext2/3 and ntfs are fine. Make sure that there is at least 800mb (minimum) of empty space available on this drive. Choose the 'normalize' option in Pburn since it adds only a small amount of extra time to burn process. Follow instructions and in only a few minutes you will have burnt an audio disk. Keep the disk in a sleeve, out of sunlight, and it should last for many years.


What file operations are possible?

From the right-click menu in the playlist you can do several operations. 'Rename' 'Copy' or 'Delete'. You will be given a warning when you delete, but beware 'Delete' means the erasing of the file so it is gone forever. For powerful file management you should choose 'Show location' from the right-click menu. The Rox-filer will pop up a folder window with the song that is selected.


Is there an undo feature?

The history feature acts like an undo. You can go backwards in history to a previous state. In some situations this will restore a song title on your playlist that you accidentally right clicked and removed. There are 3 ways to go backwards in history. The most convenient way is to click on the left-arrow button or the hotkey (ctrl+Z). There is also a menu item. Hint: The list of recently played songs is also helpful in tracking down a song that you removed from a playlist.


How do I change the interface to be something more exciting? A new Theme / Skin.

Pmusic can change it's theme i.e. its icons and window color. It's a simple matter of installing an available theme pet and then choosing the theme. It is a preference option. Find more info on the theme page.


Can I rip an audio-CD with Pmusic?

Yes, if the playlist contains tracks from an Audio-CD, and you choose 'Export track' from the 'Playlist' menu, Pmusic will rip the defined tracks from the Audio-CD. You should also define what format the ripped songs should have. This to avoid getting huge files in raw audio-format.


Can I record an audio stream from the web?

Yes, you can. Start the audio stream and choose 'Export tracks' from the menu. It will split up the radio-stream to music tracks - based on meta-information. This means you will get one mp3/ogg file, with correct naming, for each of the songs the radio station plays.

Doing this with the Radio-Hits grabber, recording will be running in background, and you can use Pmusic as normal. See the 'Radio-Hits Setup' in the 'Music-source' menu for more info."


What are Bookmarks and how do I use them?

Bookmarks is a feature to help the user to quickly find a source of music ie. a large number of music files stored somewhere on your hard disk. To use a bookmark is fairly simple. In 'Music-sources' menu, you click on the 'Bookmarks' menuitem. The list will appear. You click only once on a Bookmark, and the Pmusic file management system kicks in.

The 'Setup' menuitem brings up a new window with the active path/searchtext/URL as the default bookmark item. Click the add button to store the bookmark. You will not see this new bookmark in the Music sources until you click the 'Bookmarks' menuitem once more.

In the bookmarking window, there is also features to fetch the playing song, and to give the track a timestamp. This means that Pmusic can remember exactly where you stopped listen in your audio-book.


What are Podcasts?

When you sign up for a podcast, you get regular file downloads automatically, maybe even once a day. As an example Deutsche Welle has a free daily podcast called 'Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten' to help students learning German. Make sure you select mp3 as the file format of the podcast if possible, since this is the most popular song format and very compact. The podcast manager will store downloaded podcasts in given directory. Be aware of that some podcasts is rather big, so you should define the download directory where there is enough free space.


How can I modify a theme?

If you have not downloaded any themes then "/user/local/pmusic/themes" directory will be empty: If you have, there will be a directory for each theme. In this directory you will find many .png files which are the icons that make up the GTK GUI of Pmusic. You can have Pmusic running so you can compare these icons the their respective on-screen positions in the app. Now you can open your favourite image editor and edit these icons to your heart's desire, making sure to back-up your original theme and saving the new icons you create in a new directory inside "/usr/local/pmusic/themes". Be sure to save the icons with the identical name as the original.

You will also find two text files in the theme directory. You can leave the "themerc" file alone but you can edit the "gtkrc" file. One nifty thing you can do is change the font. Find a font you would like Pmusic to have and be sure it is installed correctly in "/usr/share/fonts/default/TTF". The "gtkrc" file contains something like "font_name = DejaVu Sans 12" or "font_name = D3 Euronism 9", where "DejaVu Sans" or "D3 Euronism" is the font name and "12" or "9" is the size of the font. Alter these and save the file. There are lots of other things you can edit in this file, colors and such, just experiment, but remember to back-up before you do so you don't lose any of your hard work if something goes wrong.

Save all your changes and name your new directory to a theme name of your choice. Restart Pmusic and go to File/Preferences where a window will appear offering you the theme options. If you have done everything correctly then your theme will appear in the list. Select it, restart Pmusic and again, if all is well, your new theme will appear.



Troubleshooting


Why doesn't Pmusic play this/that file-format?

Pmusic supports many audio-formats, but it is depending of the converter 'ffmpeg' to work. Most distros contains ffmpeg, but it differs how it is compiled, and what formats it supports. If you are sure your ffmpeg supports input of an audio-format, but you still can't get Pmusic to play it. - Please give a note!

To see a complete list of supported formats; run 'pmusic -h' in terminal.


Can I trim Pmusic to run smooth on my old pc?

Yes, you can. After built your playlist:

  • Click on the pmusic-icon in the tray will hide the gui. Navigate in playlist with the right-click menu.
  • The 'Low-Powered' frontend is designed for less cpu usage. See the 'View' menu.
  • You can start the playlist with the Pmusic backend from a terminal (pmusic -b playlist.m3u). This uses the pmusic-engine, but no gui.
Note that you can build your own frontend with a minimum set of features.


How can I activate the equalizer?

Pmusic uses the application 'Pequalizer' for software-based equalizing. You need a system set up with this.


Some of my tracks in 'Recent' and 'Rating' lists are deleted. What should I do?

Look under Preferences>Music-sources and you will see an option to edit and clear these lists.


Are there any known bugs?
  • Pmusic is a 'one click app' which means that the user should only click once on a item. Clicking twice will cause strange behavior in some situations.
  • Pmusic should play fine even if a song title has special characters in it, however there is three special characters that you should avoid using. Namely the piping symbol | , the square bracket [ and the backslash \ . As well the forward slash is forbidden in linux filenames because it is needed to describe the path.


Desktop integration


How can I 'Add file to playlist' rather than 'Play file' when clicking in filebrowser?

By default, Pmusic plays (clear existing playlist) song. But if Pmusic is already running, clicking an audiofile in a filebrowser, it will add the song as last track in playlist.


How can I set Pmusic as the default audioplayer?

To set Pmusic as the default player you must edit the tiny file /usr/local/bin/defaultaudioplayer. This might points to another audio player. Let it instead point to /usr/local/bin/pmusic. Also, don't forget to "set run action" in ROX-filer to /usr/local/bin/pmusic on the m3u playlists you create in pmusic if it is not set already. Then all you have to do is click the playlist file in ROX filer and it will load automatically.


Can I use the terminal or external code to manage Pmusic?

Pmusic provides different switches for adding / playing music. Pmusic can also be ran as a backend (witout gui) with the -b switch. In additon to this you can send a signal to a running Pmusic. - 'pmusic -s next' will start next song in playlist. See 'pmusic -h' for a complete list of switches.


How can I control Pmusic by hotkeys?

A good way is to use xbindkeys to activate the media-keys on your keyboard. The bindings is defined in the file $HOME/.xbindkeysrc. Here follows example-code for some bindings.

#media_play
"pmusic -s pause"
m:0x0 + c:162
NoSymbol

#media_stop
"pmusic -s stop"
m:0x0 + c:164
NoSymbol

#media_forward
"pmusic -s next"
m:0x0 + c:153
NoSymbol

#media_back
"pmusic -s prev"
m:0x0 + c:144
NoSymbol


In case no xbinkeys available, most window managers supports hot-keys as well. The main difference is that hot-keys managed by window manager requires the actual program to be the active window. The following code in $HOME/.jwm/jwmrc-personal plays next/previous song by ALT+right/left, and increases/decreases volume by ALT+up/down.

<Key mask="A" key="Up">exec:/usr/local/pmusic/pmusic -s volup</Key>
<Key mask="A" key="Down">exec:/usr/local/pmusic/pmusic -s voldown</Key>
<Key mask="A" key="Right">exec:/usr/local/pmusic/pmusic -s next</Key>
<Key mask="A" key="Left">exec:/usr/local/pmusic/pmusic -s prev</Key>