Windows Media Player (WMP) has been bundled with Windows for years. Windows 8 introduced Groove Music, but Groove development tailed off, and Microsoft started recommending Spotify. WMP and Groove Music still come with the latest Windows 11 today.
Many people enjoy third-party audio apps, thanks to their customization features and addons. Including WMP and Groove Music, here are 12 good audio players for Windows that allow you to display and play your local music collection. They are in no particular order.
Media Player (released to Windows 11 Insiders in the Dev channel 16 Nov, 2021)
Not really part of this list (until its general release), here’s a quick look at the latest Media Player from Microsoft. It’s designed to complement Windows 11, and as with previous Windows-included media players, this latest app can display and play your local audio and video files. The following image originated from Microsoft:
12 Good Audio Players for Windows
AIMP is a top go-to audio player for the PC. The features, functionality, and customization options are second to none, and some of the skins available from the community are amazing. Therefore, it’s the player at the top of this list right now.
2. Groove Music
Groove Music is the latest of the official audio players for Windows. Included with Windows 8 through 11, its simple UI works well with touchscreens, and you can use Cortana to control music playback. Microsoft is not committed to improving Groove Music, though. Back on October 2, 2017, Microsoft announced that it would be shutting down the Groove Music Pass streaming service and removed all music for purchase from the Windows Store on December 31, 2017. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft has since been openly promoting music streaming apps like Spotify.
Dopamine is a simple-to-use audio player for Windows 8.x or 10. It’s easy to manage extensive music collections, and it can play Wav, mp3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, WMA, Ape, Opus, and M4a/AAC files. It also has options for a light or dark theme or your default Windows color.
Download: Dopamine (Free)
foobar2000 is an advanced audio player for PCs. The minimal UI might not be for everyone, but many audiophiles swear by it and nothing else. If you’re only about the audio, then look no further.
Download: foobar2000 (Free)
5. VLC media player
VLC media player is a well-known, free, and open-source media player. It’s famous for being able to play many multimedia file types, including Blu-Ray (which Windows 10 can’t play out of the box), 360 video and audio, Chromecast streaming, and 4K and 8K playback. It comes with enough audio and video codecs, so you should be able to play most typical audio and video files (which you might find online). If you want DVD playback, you might download the desktop version from videolan.org and not from the Microsoft Store.
It looks like something is cooking at Winamp.com. Winamp was a favorite PC audio player for many Windows users, but it has been out of development for a long time. On October 19, 2016, we thought there might be a new Winamp public beta on the way, but that never happened. A new Winamp would be great news for Winamp fans, though, if they still haven’t moved on to another audio player like AIMP. You can get the old and original Winamp below. We are keeping our eyes and ears open for more Winamp news.
Download: Winamp (Free)
7. Windows Media Player
The trusty old Windows Media Player continues to part of Windows, including Windows 11, and why not? It always did a good enough job. Microsoft has, however, encouraged people to use Groove or services like Spotify, for music or the Movies & TV app, for video.
MusicBee is a simple audio player for finding, organizing, and playing music files on your PC. Be sure to try out different skins and spend some time tuning the UI to your needs.
Download: MusicBee (Free)
Kodi® is a free and open-source media player for Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android. Its large screen UI is perfect for that full-screen TV experience.
Download: Kodi (Free)
10. ACG Media Player
ACG Media Player has a simple UI and excellent visual effects. It’s worth a try!
Easily sync content to your iPod or iPhone, available for Mac or PC – iTunes is the famously-known top-rated media player from Apple.
Download: iTunes (Microsoft Store)
MediaMonkey is a competent audio player, ideal for organizing extensive music collections. The non-default skins are excellent, and there are many ways to customize the UI and show your file information.
Download: MediaMonkey (Free)
Nowadays, on the PC, AIMP remains a favorite. It has lots of features and customization options and some modern skins from the community. Some audiophiles swear by foobar2000 and nothing else, but with an emphasis on audio and less on looks, its minimalistic UI is not for everyone.
If you want to take up the whole screen (or two), you might like the UI of Kodi (originally XBMC). Its cool visualizations light up the room (and look like the MilkDrop plugin from the Winamp days).
What are your thoughts?
Are these audio players too old-school for your taste? Do you recommend a different music app? Are you more into streaming services like Spotify? Do you just listen to music on YouTube? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and feel free to recommend your favorite audio player for Windows.
See also: Free Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
Grant is the webmaster here and a longtime PC enthusiast. He likes talking about computers and seeing other people enjoy theirs. When he’s not working or tinkering with this site, he enjoys playing Apex Legends. Grant lives in Japan as an English teacher and vegetable farmer.