A Guide To The Banshee Audio Player

Introduction

Linux has the best selection of audio playing software. The sheer number and quality of the audio players available far surpasses those available for other operating systems.

Previously I have written guides for Rhythmbox, Quod Libet, Clementine and Amarok. This time I will be showing you all of the great features of Banshee which comes as the default audio player within Linux Mint.

1
Import Music Into Banshee

Importing Music Into Banshee
Importing Music Into Banshee.

Before you can really use Banshee you need to import music. 

To do this you can click the "Media" menu and then "Import Media".

You now have the choice whether to import files or folders. There is also an option for Itunes Media Player.

To import music stored in folders on your hard drive click on the folders option and then click "choose files".

Navigate to the location of your audio files. You just need to go to the top level. For instance if your music is in the Music folder and help in separate folders for each artist just choose the top level Music folder.

Click the "Import" button to import the audio files.

2
The Banshee User Interface

The Banshee User Interface
The Banshee User Interface.

The default user interface has a list of libraries in a pane to the very left of the screen.

Next to the list of libraries there is a small panel showing the list of artists and next to that a series of icons for each album for the selected artist.

Below the list of artists and albums is a list of songs for the selected artist and album.

You can start playing an album by clicking on the album icon and then clicking the play icon just below the menu. There are also options for moving forwards and backwards through the tracks.

3
Changing The Look And Feel

Adjusting The Banshee User Interface
Adjusting The Banshee User Interface.

You can customise the look and feel to make it appear how you want it to appear.

Click on the "view" menu to reveal different display options.

If you would prefer the list of tracks to appear on the right and the albums and artists to appear in a thin panel on the left choose the "Browser on left" option instead of "Browser on top".

You can add extra filters to make it easier to find what you are looking for.

Under the "view" menu there is a sub-menu called "Browser Content". Under the sub-menu you will be able to add filters for genre and year. 

Now you can select a genre first, then an artist and then a decade.

You can also choose to filter on all artists or only artists with albums.

Other options include a context pane which lets you view information from Wikipedia about a selected artist.

You can also display a graphical equalizer to adjust playback settings.

4
Rate Tracks Using Banshee

How To Rate Tracks Using Banshee
How To Rate Tracks Using Banshee.

You can rate tracks using Banshee by clicking on the track and then choosing the "Edit" menu.

A slider appears with the ability to select up to five stars.

You can also rate the tracks by right clicking on the file and then select the rating.

5
Watch Videos Using Banshee

Watch Videos Using Banshee
Watch Videos Using Banshee.

Banshee is more than just an audio player. As well as listening to music you can also choose to import audio books into Banshee.

You can also watch videos using Banshee.

To import videos you can right click on the "videos" heading and choose "Import Media".

The same options appear as they do for music with folders, files and ITunes Media Player.

Simply choose the folder where your videos are stored and click "Import".

You can watch the videos as you would in VLC or any other media player. You can rate the videos in the same way you do audio files.

Another media option is internet radio. Unlike other audio players you need to add the details for the radio player yourself.

Right click on the "Radio" option and a new screen will appear. You can select a genre, enter a name, enter the URL, the station's creator and a description.

6
Play Audio Podcasts Using Banshee

Audio Podcasts In Banshee
Audio Podcasts In Banshee.

If you are a fan of podcasts then you will love Banshee.

Click on the "podcasts" option and then choose the "Open Miro Guide" in the bottom right corner.

You can now browse different podcast genres and add the feeds into Banshee.

All of the episodes for the podcast will now appear in the podcasts window of Banshee and you can listen to them at will.

7
Choose Online Media For Banshee

Banshee Online Media
Banshee Online Media.

There are three sources of online media added to Banshee.

Using Miro you can add podcasts into Banshee.

The Internet Archive option lets you search for audio books, books,concerts, lectures and movies.

The Internet Archive has downloads for media that no longer has copyright associated with it. The content is 100% legal but don't expect to find anything up to date.

Last.fm lets you listen to radio stations created by other members. You need to sign up for an account to use it. 

8
Smart Playlists

Smart Playlists
Smart Playlists.

You can create a smart playlist which chooses music based on preferences.

To create a smart playlist right click on the "Music" library and choose "Smart Playlist".

You need to enter a name and then you can enter criteria for picking songs.

For instance you can choose "Genre" and then choose whether it contains or does not contain a keyword. For instance Genre contains "Metal".

You can limit the playlist to a certain number of tracks or you can limit it to a certain amount of time such as an hour. You can also choose size so that it will fit on a CD.

You can select tracks randomly from the selected criteria or you can choose by rating or most player, least played etc.

If you would prefer to create a standard playlist you can right click on the "Music" library and the choose "New Playlist".

Give the playlist a name and then drag tracks into the playlist by finding them in the general audio screens.

Summary

Banshee has some really good features such as the ability to import podcasts from Miro and the video player gives it an edge. However some people would suggest that each application should do one thing and do it well and other audio players have extra features such as pre-installed radio stations. It all depends on what you want from an audio player.