Nullsoft has a lot of ground to make up after the Winamp 3.0 debacle, a dwindling user base, and stiff competition from Apple iTunes. Winamp 5.3 was a huge step in the right direction, with support for AAC encoding, CD burning, and a robust file-management system. Finally.
Winamp 5.3.1 makes some small but effective changes to its predecessor. In addition to playlist syncing for portables and a More Info feature that shows information about the currently playing track, we get a more stable, less-crash-prone environment for MP3s and podcasts and CD-text-reading support. We also love the Internet TV feature, which provides some great music videos and live concert footage, although the Singing Fish search is rife with mislabeled files. Ostensible rock-concert footage turns out to be, on more than one occasion, unlabeled pornography.
Another eye-catcher is the excellent collection of visualizations. The massive catalog of Winamp 2.x and 3.x skins works with this new version. The free version is feature-rich, but if you want MP3 encoding and full-speed CD burning, you have to shell out $14.95 for the Pro version. Winamp is one of our all-time favorite players, though, and version 5 renews its promise.
New features in Winamp 5 include support for classic Winamp skins and Winamp 3 (Modern) skins; a fancy new Modern skin; the same classic skin for people who want the Winamp 2 feel; a vastly more powerful media library; CD-ripping support (AAC@2x in the Free version, MP3 at unlimited speeds in the Pro version); CD-burning support (limited to 6x in the free version); advanced title-formatting logic for file types that support it; huge AVS updates; support for playback of AAC and VP6 in NSV files/streams; global hot-key support; a new Signal Processing Studio DSP plug-in; options for disabling plug-in exception-handling for developers; a new Winamp icon; and the addition of XP manifest.xml to winamp.exe.
Version 5.31 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.