Tag Archives: playback

irmp3 and irmp3-curses: All for naught

There’s a little clock in my head that starts ticking when I have been spending too much time trying to get a program to work. And that little clock was ticking furiously by the time I got this screenshot.


That’s irmp3-ncurses, a text-based front-end to the irmp3 audio jukebox. And believe it or not, after more than an hour of scraping around in two different distros, that’s the best I could come up with.

I am ashamed. My geek credentials are in jeopardy. 😦

As I understand it, irmp3 is primarily aimed at environments that need infra-red support or LCD output, so … car stereos, custom-built home mp3 players, and so forth. And if you skim through a few of these examples, it’s quite impressive to see what you can do with it.

Unfortunately what I did with it … was almost zero. I could build both the daemon and the command-line control interface in Arch. I even managed to generate a configuration file with the built-in utility, but the daemon never seemed to find my music path, which meant the command-line interface couldn’t tell it to start playing, and irmp3-ncurses couldn’t help anyone out. Not even with alsa-oss on the team. 😦

So I switched to Mint, because the previous verision of irmp3* is in the Lucid (and Debian Squeeze) repositories. If the issue was a faulty setup in Arch, perhaps the Debian/Ubuntu versions carried enough default settings to get things rocking. But as luck would have it, the Mint/Ubuntu version was no more successful. Oh well, I tried.

There are a few considerations, of course: The last version was released way back in 2007. I don’t have either LCD or IR hardware. And I have a long-standing reputation for butchering application conf files. Any one — or all — of those could be the problem.

If you know how to get this one working, or if you have tips on how to make it sing pretty, or if you converted your 1949 CitroΓ«n 2CV into an mp3 player with irmp3, please help us out. Science demands an answer. πŸ˜‰

mps-youtube: All-in-one search, download and play

I had mps-youtube on my list as a “YouTube downloader,” which I realize now was only partly right. Saying mps-youtube is a downloader is like saying a car keeps you dry when it rains — not only is that incomplete, but it’s not really its true purpose.

2014-09-04-6m47421-mps-youtube-01 2014-09-04-6m47421-mps-youtube-02 2014-09-04-6m47421-mps-youtube-03

mps-youtube — which will probably install as mpsyt — can perform simple searches or skim through online playlists, pull down video information and comments (I can’t imagine who would torture themselves with that, though), save and edit local playlists, playback video or audio, download best-quality versions of a link, corroborate its results against MusicBrainz, and a lot more.

I daresay that mps-youtube is what yaydl and yougrabber hoped to be, and what youtube-viewer should have been. In fact, I could suggest mps-youtube if what you really want from youtube-dl is a proper user interface.

Bonus points for excellent use of color, snazzy ASCII graphics title screen, helpful prompts and onboard documentation, and a screen-conscious arrangement.

Nota benes for using python, which might slow down on some of your older hardware, and relying on mplayer (or mpv) for playback. Then again, if your machine is too weak to handle either of those for audio playback, you probably won’t be using it for mps-youtube.

Downsides, of course, would be that as far as I can tell, it’s a YouTube-only program.

But that’s probably the way it was intended originally, and I can’t fault a program for fulfilling its original intent. And doing so with style deserves a gold: ⭐ Enjoy! πŸ˜‰

ipbt: A better replay option

I mentioned a lot of terminal recorder options in the past, some good and some bad. ttyrec was one of those, and while it alone didn’t really impress, it is getting a small boost from ipbt.


You’ll have to look close at that image to see ipbt’s contribution. What otherwise just looks like a screenshot of a slightly mangled htop session is ipbt’s frame by frame controls and on-screen display.

ipbt adds just about everything you could want to ttyrec playback. Pause and start keys, frame advance, time compression, jump-to-frame and jump-to-end keys, and a bunch more. ipbt will even allow you to search through the text in the frame. It’s not exactly an Esper machine, but it’s clever.

Unfortunately, ipbt can’t do much about ttyrec’s overall quality, and the frame above is a good example. ipbt allows you to step through those recordings and perform a heady acrobatics with them, but I’ve seen very little from ttyrec that wasn’t mangled to start with. So perhaps ipbt is just lipstick on a pig.

Regardless, someone put a lot of effort and time into ipbt and it does make the otherwise less-than-thrilling ttyrec into a proper and usable recording and playback tool. It’s a shame it can’t capture correctly though. 😐

alsaequal: Not omitted, by any means

I realized the other day that in 18 months of type-type-typing about this program or that, I only obliquely mentioned alsaequal once or twice.

I found alsaequal — or maybe alsaequal found me — years ago when I realized that for the unending trail of console music players, only one or two sported an onboard audio frequency equalizer. And for what I could tell, there wasn’t one in the wild.

I was wrong on that point, which is always a good thing.


alsaequal behaves much like a standard band frequency equalizer you might buy in any audio or department store. Left and right arrows navigate from band to band, and you can push levels up or down at the listed frequencies with the up and down arrows.

There are also preset levels for each band, accessible by pressing number keys.

alsaequal piggybacks off alsamixer, which is why you see the AlsaMixer title and version number in the screenshot above. If you eschew alsamixer … well, you’ll have to scrape around for a text-based frequency equalizer that will work with your audio subsystem. Let me know what you find.

There is also some specific setup that is required with alsaequal; your .asoundrc file will need attention and in my case, it looks like this:

ctl.equal {
type equal;

pcm.plugequal {
	type equal;
	slave.pcm "plug:dmix";
pcm.!default {
	type plug;
	slave.pcm plugequal;

Naturally, if you use different sound cards or if you have specific settings that need attention, you’d do better to look at the instructions on the home page.

As a final note, you start alsaequal with alsamixer -D equal — not some “alsaequal” binary. To that end, you might want to add alias alsaequal="alsamixer -D equal" to your bash profile and/or rc files. πŸ˜‰

It pains me that, even at this late date, alsaequal is only in AUR for Arch, and as far as I can tell just hasn’t found its way into Debian. I can’t say why that is, but it seems an oversight. To the best of my knowledge, there is no audio-environment correction tool available in either distro that doesn’t require the bloated underpinnings of the Xorg dynasty, with the exception of this.

Of course, if I’m wrong on that point, I’d be happy to add another title to my list. … πŸ™‚