There's something for everyone when it comes to free media players, from complex open-source do-it-alls to supersimple consoles for watching videos and playing MP3s. Goforsharing's Aktiv Player's advantage is a built-in SQL database for organizing and managing even large music collections. Its Dynamic Playlists not only randomize playback but also learn from your preferences to play what you like based on what you've played the most. Aktiv Player also edits tags and exports data. Extras include Net radio, equalizer and crossfader settings, command-line support, and plug-ins.
Aktiv Player's user interface focuses on the program's playlists and music database capabilities instead of its media player controls. With a left sidebar accessing Browse, Playlist, and Dynamic Playlist features and Artist, Album, and File list views, the program's look is hardly unconventional, except for two things: a somewhat garish background color, which can be changed via a color picker, and a sculpted title bar (with the same color) that apparently can't be changed. Neither affected Aktiv Player's performance in any way, but we'd like to see full reskinning, which is practically expected these days, at least among media players. One feature we liked is the ability to rate the tune currently playing by clicking on Aktiv Player's system tray icon and selecting Rate Current. The program includes a miniPlayer plug-in that stays open when the main interface is open, too, instead of toggling between the two. We appreciated the ability to keep the mini player on top while the main window is minimized yet quickly available for editing tags, playlists, and more.
We started by adding tunes to the Music Library. The quickest way is to open the Settings, choose Synchronized Paths, and browse to your music folders; then press Synchronize on the File menu. Aktiv Player does the rest, automatically importing and sorting data into its SQL database. Aktiv Player doesn't move your files! It just lists them. Before Aktiv Player can create Dynamic Playlists, we needed to play some tunes, so we did. All the player functions worked well. Despite the swoopy title bar, Aktiv Player proved a worthy yet lightweight alternative to some way-too-big competitors.