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Performance Comparison of Linux Audio Players


This benchmark was initially performed to measure how well Decibel Audio Player compares to other well-know Linux audio players. All of them were tested on the same system, which specifications are as follows:

Computer:Lenovo Thinkpad T60
CPU:Intel Core2 CPU T7400 @ 2.16GHz
Operating System:Fully updated Ubuntu 9.04 (as of the 14th of August 2009)
Desktop Environment:Gnome 2.26.1

Note that only library-based players were selected.


Three metrics are used: Startup time, RAM usage, and CPU usage. This section describes the exact methodology used to measure these values.


1) Install the player
2) Start htop
3) Start the player
4) Create the benchmark library and make sure it is actually loaded

Note: The benchmark library is composed of 9 137 tracks in many different formats (Ogg Vorbis, MP3, FLAC...). Its total size is 59 GB.

Startup Time

5) Close, restart, and close the player
6) Start a stopwatch
7) Start the player
8) When the player is fully loaded, stop the stopwatch
9) Write down the elapsed time

RAM Usage

10) Close and restart the player
11) Write down the resident memory reported by htop for the player's process

CPU Usage

12) Close and restart the player
13) Play the benchmark track
14) When the benchmark track is finished, write down the CPU time reported by htop for the player's process

Note: The benchmark track is a 4.4 MB Ogg Vorbis file (192 kpbs, 4 mn 50 s).


PlayerVersionStartup TimeRAM UsageCPU Usage
Amarok2.0.23.3 seconds73.6 MB21.78 seconds
Banshee1.4.33.1 seconds51.5 MB47.05 seconds
Decibel Audio Player1.011.1 seconds28.1 MB36.55 seconds
Exaile0. seconds64.9 MB47.03 seconds
Listen0.56.5 seconds115 MB44.02 seconds
Quod Libet2.03.9 seconds60.9 MB40.38 seconds
Rhythmbox0.12.02.5 seconds39.9 MB39.09 seconds
Songbird1.2.04.2 seconds74.5 MB1 mn 31 seconds

Note: The CPU usage when playing the benchmark track from the command line with GStreamer (using gst-launch) is 35.47 seconds.