What I played this week - PanAmp music player!


This week in "What I played" news, I got in some Reno Air Races but not much, as it's that time of year when the Buyer's Guide is in production, so working mainly on writing up my year's top picks. I did however find time to squeeze in a review of the Clever & Son music player app called PanAmp. An original and efficient way to find and queue up your tunes.
The only other title from Clever & Son I am familiar with is their WiFi2HiFi app (see my article on audio here). An audio stremer that is (true to the maker's name) a clever use of your computer's wifi connection, allowing you to transmit audio from your computer to your iPhone or iPad. The PanAmp player isn't so much a replacement of your internal iOS player, but a faster queue enabler. The aim is to allow you to play, queue, and find tracks from a expandable list on as few screens as possible.
The coolest feature PanAmp has over the internal player is the ability to swipe tracks, artists, or albums left or right (left to search, right to queue). For example, say I want to play selections from my Led Zeppelin collection, I need only to swipe the selection shown above left if I want to sift through the tracks. If I want to queue up all tracks for the artist, I can swipe it to the right.
Finding artists and albums/tracks is also a pleasantly simple experience. Once you have swiped any selection left to the search screen, you can easily expand or contract artist or album selections, and queue them (by swiping right of course). Of course, if you want to manually look through your collection the old fashioned way (by album, artist, or song track list), you can use any of the three middle soft-button selections in the top menu bar. The screens are much like the more traditional menu system used in the internal player.
PanAmp tattoos, or docks if you will, the player control on the bottom of any screen you are navigating. The controls are quite spartan, including play/pause, and a progress bar. You can also toggle between crossfade or repeat options in a tiny selector in the lower right. Once you have tracks queued up, you can easily clear the list by selecting  the trash can icon in the queue list display (see below).
I really do like the idea of PanAmp, but I had some difficulty with it. First off, it crashed more than once on my iPod touch (4G with latest iOS updates). The artist titles did not always match correctly in the album category. The app doesn't seem to offer an advance forward or back feature as in the traditional player, and the search doesn't start to resolve hits as you type. Also, the "shake" doesn't randomly play tracks, but instead weirdly brings up a kind of info menu to learn more about the app. I couldn't find a way to create new playlists either (have to use the traditional player for that).
Bottom line is that I think PanAmp could use a few tweaks. It is a great concept for a player, and in fact I prefer it to either conventional list view or the cover flow (though that is still pretty cool). It is without a doubt the fastest way to find and queue up tracks quickly. You can get the PanAmp app here in the app store. I am hopeful that they will fix the problems I noted.
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Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.tumblr.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.