We all hate iTunes—it’s the fashionable thing to do. The smarter amongst us have switched over to Rdio and Spotify or another streaming service, and use iTunes solely as a way to sync our iDevices.
But Vox is a new app (launching today) which will give you access to your iTunes library without all the cruft that makes it almost impossible to use for, you know, tunes. It’s pretty sweet.
Vox can grab its music from a few places: Your iTunes library, a folder, or The Internet (via internet radio). There’s one big caveat, though: you can’t use it with iTunes in the Cloud. Or rather, you can, but you’ll have to download the tracks to your computer using iTunes before they’ll show up in Vox’s version of your iTunes Library.
Curiously, I can access my entire library in the cloud using Launchbar, so this must at least be possible (NB: I’m using the final release candidate, not the launch version—although it should be exactly the same).
The window is lovely looking, a dark HUD-style box with artwork and track info, including the file type and bitrate of the song being played. This is worth mentioning because the app can play pretty much any music file you can find, including FLAC and other formats iTunes can’t read. And Vox even lets you set the a preference to make it the default player for all music files, or just those which iTunes can’t handle.
Speaking of preferences, there are plenty. You also get a bunch of System Services “installed” by default, so you can use your launcher of choice (Quicksilver, Alfred etc.) to add tracks to playlists and the queue. And there’s even the option to install a Preference Pane that will takeover the hardware controls of your Mac, rewiring the play/pause buttons and even intercepting button-presses on a plugged-in pair of earbuds. In short, you could completely replace iTunes as a music player and never have it launch.
There’s a whole lot more in there too, including Last.FM scrobbling, window-floating, customizable keyboard shortcuts, album art on the app icon, notification center support, EQ and even a “labs” tab in the preferences for experimental stuff. Don’t let this fool you, though: Vox is 100% focussed on playing music—unlike iTunes..