Which digital music software sounds the best?

There are tons of great options for managing your music library, syncing your portable device, or burning CDs, but what about listening to music? Learn my favorite software picks for music playback, and tell me your own.

Digital music player comparison (Credit: CNET Networks)

Last week, I had an opportunity to sit down with the developers of MXPlay, beta jukebox software that lets you mash up your music with streaming movies, letting you create your own virtual music videos.

More interesting than the mashup features, however, is MXPlay's unique playback interface. A graphical interface lets you control the location of the listening audience and the position and direction of your speakers. Letting you tweak your own "room" does create better-sounding tunes. The MXPlay folks were very happy to compare its playback sound to that of iTunes, and I must admit I could tell the difference.

That got me thinking a bit about the existing digital music players for PC. There are a ton of great all-in-one jukeboxes on CNET Download.com for managing your library, making playlists, burning CDs, and syncing your portable devices, but how do they sound when playing music?

MediaMonkey is my personal favorite music-management and playlist software, but when it comes to listening to music, I generally use Quintessential Player, which has a similar plug-in architecture as the classic free music player Winamp. A variety of plug-ins let me customize the sound for headphones or my full stereo system.

JetAudio Basic is yet another powerful free music player with customizable sound, and Foobar2000 is the geek-chic pick for playing your tunes, but what's your favorite? Which digital music software do you use when you've got a party and you need the best sound? Tell me about it in the comments.

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