Cantata vs Amarok vs Clementine, Heavyweight Battle

Yesterday the compa Yoyo308 I was blown away and I settled Cantata, a client for MPD (Music Player Daemon) and in what remained of the night I began to review it thoroughly, so this comparison came up.


The procedure we describe below should be similar in other distributions, using their respective Package Managers. This article is not intended to show how to configure the Audio players mentioned in it.

En ArchLinux We install the 3 players from the official repositories, as follows:

$ sudo pacman -S amarok cantata clementine mpd

Have to install MPD to be able to play our music without problems from local folders with Cantata, but only that, you don't have to configure it or anything like that.

Once installed, configured and others should come out as in the following images.

All the information that I will offer below, as well as my criteria, will be based on how the DEFECT players come, without modifying any Appearance or Functionalities.


The interfaces of C y Amarok We already know them, however I will show a screenshot of the 3 default players:







If you notice, the arrangement of the elements of Cantata y C they are very similar, but they are not the same options.

Although Cantata It is the most configurable player in terms of interface, it makes me C It is by default the most intuitive and easy to use among the three, especially when browsing through our Music collection.

C y Amarok allow us to organize our collection following various criteria such as Genre »Album» Artist, for example, but Cantata has separated the Artists of the Álbumes.

In addition, Genders Musicals appear at the bottom of the Artists or Albums list, and it is not intuitive when we have a very large list.

A point in favor of Cantata is that we can have the Expanded interface as in the picture above, or the Minimal Interface, in the style of iTunes.

Cantata with Minimized Interface

Cantata with Minimized Interface

C y Cantata They allow modifying the side panel, that is, the way the tabs are seen, with text or only icons, up, down, on the side, which Amarok does not make.

Perhaps the heaviest of Cantata I find the configuration very diverse, but very dispersed. You have to spend about 5 minutes to leave the interface according to our tastes.

Consumption and Performance

This is precisely where I wanted to go. Cantata takes all the prizes in terms of memory consumption, occupying an average between 30 MB minimized to the system tray and 45 MB in normal state.

If we compare it with its opponents, these figures, even the highest are laughable compared to the 75 MB de C and 128 MB de Amarok. For those who have 4 GB of RAM or more this may not matter, but for the rest it does.

Cantata It is surprising in this section and can be an excellent choice for light distros. Needless to say, it runs very fast and in the tests I performed it remained stable and did not present errors.

Always connected

On the subject of connectivity and the availability of resources on the Internet I don't have much to contribute, because due to the restrictions I have, I cannot test all the functionalities.

In my experience, Amarok loads song lyrics very fast, but C no, there are even times when it doesn't get to load anything. The same happens with the covers of the Albums, and in this section Amarok is victorious.

But I like how much more Cantata shows us the information of the song, all in one place.

Information in Cantata

Information in Cantata

Botton line

If they ask me which one I prefer, I say: With the 3. Amarok it is very powerful when it comes to managing our Music Library and writing to Archive Goals, but it is very heavy.

C is lighter than Amarok, but the way it displays the song information is uncomfortable for me, as everything is separate and it takes much longer to display the data.

Cantata not only is it lighter than Amarok, but in the aspect of displaying the data of the songs, the artist or the album, it surpasses the rest. So which, for now it has been my header player.

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  1.   satan AG said

    The latest screenshot has made me decide to give Cantata a try. Anyway, I really like Clementine and I have been using it for a long time. I'll prove it to see that.

  2.   Gallux said

    Maybe take a look at Cantata for RAM consumption .. Regards

  3.   johnfgs said

    I do not see the problem that it does not show "all the information" on the contrary if something I do not like about Amarok is that it is constantly downloading the info from wikipedia or letters without me asking (it eats a lot of resource for something not very useful for me already which is an app that is always in the background). Clementine seems to me the most balanced player that I have tried so far. It only has one problem, in the latest version they have ruined the search for songs. I don't know why the search bar sometimes doesn't work or filters the songs horribly wrong.

  4.   vicky said

    yarock and Tomahawk are highly recommended too

  5.   cat said

    I liked Cantata, but I am overwhelmed by the "music libraries" interfaces so to play music / video / streaming I use programs like Xnoise and VLC at most.

    1.    eliotime3000 said

      VLC has a simpler handling of libraries than those three, but in itself I love the way in which it organizes the songs and stations that I have added from Shoutcast (I do it manually because from VLC itself you cannot due He still has the memories of AOL, although now Shoutcast is part of Radionomy).

  6.   Emanuel said

    I'm going to try Cantata to see how it goes. What I can say is that Clementine's equalizer is much better than Amarok's, but I like it better that Amarok loads the metadata and the lyrics to start singing 🙂

    By the way, I don't know if it happens to anyone else but sometimes when I launch Clementine it starts to use 100% CPU and hangs; I must kill the process, then I open it and everything normal. I have not found an explanation for the problem. I am using Kubuntu 13.10.


  7.   heavymetalmixer said

    Cantanta looks very interesting. . . If it weren't for the fact that you have to configure ports, which most people cannot because they do not have the access data to the router, even in Windows with the port open, it does not recognize it, so it is impossible to use the program .

  8.   firecold said

    The truth is that I have heard of a cantata but I hadn't gotten older, this article opened my eyes and I will try cantata, thanks elav, greetings

  9.   Staff said

    "A point in favor of Cantata is that we can have the Expanded Interface as in the image above, or the Minimized Interface, in the style of iTunes."


    1.    eliotime3000 said

      For that I better use Audacious.

      1.    Staff said

        Well, you can use whatever you want, in the same way that anyone uses what they like the most, but my point is not that amarok does it better, or that it is the only one that does it, but it is not true that cantata has an advantage for something that both can do perfectly.

    2.    elav said

      This ... How can you put Amarok like this? As much as I search, I can't find a way ... However, it is still a heavy player.

  10.   Yoyo said

    I can only say that since I met Cantata, every day I like it more….

    And that, as I see, you have it in QT4. In KaOS we have it in QT5 and it is even more cool 😉

    1.    eliotime3000 said

      I have been using QT4, but as soon as I install Arch in my VirtualBox, I will put QT5 in it to see how it works.

  11.   German said

    clementine has a nyancat, your argument is invalid!

  12.   Juan Manuel said

    I stay with clementine, I pick up my entire music collection from my DLnA disk and it's 10 loads it super fast on the net.

  13.   Sergio said

    Does Cantanta have fused between psitta like Clementine does? I use that functionality to play music. So far the only players that have it and that it works well are Clementine and her ansestro Amarok 1.4. The others are a failure when merging tracks, they do not overlap, or they cut at the end, in short, a disaster.

    1.    elav said

      Actually in the options it has that feature, but I have not tried it 😀

  14.   day said

    And in terms of sound quality, equalization and tools? Is there any difference in quality between the players?
    Among the tools Clementine has a format converter, I do not know the other two, in my case I would be more interested in these points than the interface and consumption.
    The report is also very good.

    1.    Staff said

      First of all, we must make it clear that cantanta is NOT a player, it is a frontend for MPD (This is the player, well more than that, it is a demon to manage and play music).

      Now about your points.

      Sound quality:
      Both amarok and MPD (Without / with whatever frontend you use) can offer you the same sound quality.

      Amarok can only equalize if used in conjunction with gstreamer, which does not reach the sound quality of the VLC phonon (Which only a trained ear could hear and with a team that squeezes every bit out of your songs.)
      MDP has no equalizer and as far as I know none of its frontends adds it (Someone correct me if I'm wrong, this is also interesting to me), what you can do is equalize the sound by passing it through jack2 and a third application, it must be complex I have never done it and I don't know to what extent it would affect the sound quality.

      With MPD you will not find any tool for conversions or things like that, it is not the purpose of a daemon or service. But that is not why it is inferior, it has its advantages too, such as quickly accessing and controlling your music library via local network or the internet, even with a little more work streaming.

      1.    NauTiluS said

        Long-term use of MPD.

        I still can't get used to using Amarok. So clementine, I wasn't very convinced either.

        Or rather, I am not that demanding in terms of audio, that is why I use Audacious for now, because it has something that the ones mentioned above do not have and that is that it plays .SPC files or rather game music, which I like so much listen in my spare time.


        1.    Staff said

          I use both, actually I use 3, if we add deadbeef when I work on a desktop other than KDE.

          They all have their advantages, I like to use each option where it performs best.

      2.    day said

        Very clear, thank you very much.

  15.   Romina said

    hello elav.
    this very good cantata + mpd, I have been using it for a while now in manjaro with kde and it is a pipe !! By the way, do you know how to adapt cantata with conky?
    to show song, album, artist, etc.
    I could only get the album cover,
    all the articles I found on the internet are about mpd + conky but they don't work for me, they throw me an error ..
    Conky: MPD error: problems getting a response from "localhost" on port 6600: Connection refused
    kiss, romi

    1.    elav said

      Actually I have no idea how to do it since I don't use Conky, but there is sure a way to do it. We will have to search on Google.

  16.   Helena said

    clementine forever * or *

    1.    eliotime3000 said

      Well, among those three, I go for Clementine even though I like Audacious in QT and / or VLC.

  17.   Fungus said

    I have tried all of them except cantata and I can only tell you that Musique is the best player I have tried so far (together with Banshee)

  18.   eliotime3000 said

    The Cantata proposal is interesting, but the truth is that I have opted for the simplicity of Audacious and the versatility that VLC offers me when organizing the music library that I have stored in a much more orderly way.

    But back to the topic of deathmatch in question, I would opt for Cantata because it has a much more coherent interface to the aesthetics of KDE and at least, it offers you the information in a more orderly way to be able to enjoy the music of your favorite artist, and incidentally, know a little more of it and / or enjoy the lyrics more clearly.

    PS: I still consider Amarok as the iTunes of GNU / Linux for being just as mastodon when it comes to running it.

  19.   cat said

    By any chance there is no way to install Cantata without dragging KDE medium into Arch / Manjaro?

    1.    Staff said

      If you are with XFCE it uses GMPC, it is the same as cantata but without KDE dependencies

  20.   Citux said

    I have been disturbed to try Cantata, I have compiled it for Debian Wheezy, but when I run it it hangs. Has anyone been able to install it on Debian?

  21.   edebianite said

    I am happy with Cantata…. I've been loyal to guayadeque and openbox for a long time…. Today I decided to install KDE dependencies just to try Cantata ...
    I loved its interface.

  22.   PICCORO Lenz McKAY said

    What does not count is that the cantata does not reproduce, it is only the interface, therefore the consumption of the reproduction itself, and others is made by mpd, which is greater right at the moment between not playing and after playing a file.

    This means that they analyzed cantata without taking into account that by itself it is useless, and therefore it is necessary to analyze cantata + mpd together when they talk about consumption and performance.

    in this case it is no longer "so light" since mpd requires more dependencies when it comes to other file formats, which clementine does ..

    1.    elav said

      Okay. You are right that I only measured the performance of the interface and not of MPD, which consumes me about 17MB. So Cantata + MPD together consume the same, or a little less than Clementine. The one that does not forgive is Amarok, it is heavy YES or YES.

  23.   Damian4 said

    Hello, I have installed Cantata. I like it a lot, especially the little Ram it consumes. Now, I have a serious problem. Every time I close it, when I open it again, it doesn't load all the album covers. Finding out, I see that it is because every time I close it, it tries to open my library from a folder that is not "Music" but is called "Music" (as I just put it). I put the correct folder back (that is Music) and it loads everything correctly. The problem is that I have to do it every time I open the program and it really is very annoying. Does anyone have a solution to this? Thanks a lot

    1.    Damian4 said

      I answer myself, and pass the solution in case one of them works for you. The problem is that the Music folder has an accent (tilde). I just had to create a link to the "Music" folder and rename it with whatever name I wanted but without accent (ex: Music). Then, tell Cantata to find my music library or collection in settings from that created link and… voila! Fixed my problem.

  24.   yukiteru said

    Very beautiful all, but in case of graphics I prefer Clementine (in longing for my old love for Amarok) and with mpd + ncmpcpp with that I cover my needs

  25.   Anonymous said

    Steps to install Cantata on ubuntu:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa: ubuntuhandbook1 / cantata
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install cantata

  26.   dmm said

    Heavier players tend to be prettier (and have more functions) but if we are interested in music, I think nothing compares to MPD (whatever the interface)
    With Clementine -when I used it- I couldn't get clean seamless playback…. Amarok I don't remember, but it was sooo heavy. VLC has known issues with audio (tuning !: )
    With MPD we can bypass the mixer of the operating system (feature shared with Audacious, Deadbeef, Gmusicbrouwser, etc). Build an exclusive server for audio, without a graphical interface, or unnecessary services running in the background, control it over the network (through another PC, Android, Iphone ...), play DSD data streams, connect it to an external D / A converter, all without modify the 'original' bits and many other characteristics directly related to sound quality and not so much with visually striking functions. Although the latter depends on the chosen client

  27.   Pepe Barrascout said

    Amarok is the first thing I uninstall in Kubuntu, my current player is Clementine, but now that I read your Cantata review, I have already downloaded it and will give it a try. I listen to a lot of podcasts and what interests me is the low RAM consumption.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  28.   moony said

    The ad is a bit old, but its info is current and maybe someone can give me an option I'm looking for:
    Is there a player other than clemetine that allows me to open albums or album folders as tabs? (playlists).
    Amarok and cantata do not have that and I am addicted to having two three bands ready to listen to and "click" one of each one quickly ...

  29.   guman said

    Hello, I used to use cantata in windows but in crunchbang there is no way to leave it working because it closes (while it continues to sound) and since I have kde installed, the error report skips…. something else and I'm curious I get a pulse error audio saying that the version has a problem ... I had no idea I had only left the machine unused for a month and now I don't know what these problems are due to ...

  30.   Apo said

    Hello elav.

    First of all, we appreciate all the work and effort that people like you make to teach us to continue learning in this world of gnu / linux.

    About Amarok and its mini view, it seems to me that you did not get an answer, now I will tell you how I do it and I hope it will serve you.

    We open Amarok, go to the view menu and there you uncheck all the options, also go to the preferences menu and uncheck «show the menu bar, followed by selecting the bottom edge of the window and dragging as much as allows us to minimize it. Ready.

    A catch


    1.    elav said

      Excellent thanks

  31.   Sebastian Perez said

    I will be encouraged to try Cantata, since I did not know it, I was previously an Amarok user, but I switched to Clementine for some details and it was that I collect music on my PC in FLAC format and many times flac discs do not come with their tracks separately if not that a FLAC file comes with the disc along with a CUE file that is the one that has the info of in which minute that song begins. In Amarok, no matter how much I search, I did not find a way to make it recognize the FLAC file separately, I was forced to play the entire disc, on the other hand Clementine is able to recognize the tracks separately even though they come in a single FLAC file .

    Another point is that when scanning the collection I saw a problem with Amarok, I have a little more than 500 GB of music labeled by genre, artist, album etc ... It turns out that when my collection got bigger and bigger I realized that some discs did not appear in the collection and no matter how much I gave to update the discs did not appear, I tried with Clementine and this one if he showed them to me, this problem was evidenced in Amarok when my collection exceeded 180 GB approximately, in Clementine it It happened too, but it has been now that the collection is greater than 500 GB, but just scan it again and they appear again, I don't know why this is due, but it is for these reasons that despite being a fan of Amarok I changed by Clementine.

    I'll see how Cantata is doing, how is it with FLAC files and an excessively large collection.

  32.   marko said

    Excellent post, very tidy, very tidy, too bad I see it 3 years later :(.