Q. In a recent Apple tip about iTunes tweaks, you mentioned DoubleTwist as an alternative to iTunes. I want to ditch iTunes, but DoubleTwist wasn't exactly what I was after. Are there other alternatives?
-Maria from Atlantic City, NJ, listens to my national radio show on WOND 1400 AM
A. I don't blame you for wanting to ditch iTunes. Over the years, it's added so many features it seems slow and clumsy. If you just want a fast media player, you have to look elsewhere.
Of course, you don't want to abandon your vast - and expensive - iTunes library. Fortunately, you don't have to.
You've already vetoed DoubleTwist, Maria, but someone else might be interested in it. DoubleTwist imports your iTunes music, photo and video library, has the same iTunes look you're used to, but - unlike iTunes - can sync with Android gadgets.
If you're looking for a stripped-down iTunes experience, give Ecoute a look. It's optimized for playing music, which means it's snappy. You can customize the layout as much as you want to find what works for you.
Ecoute will import your iTunes library no problem, and even syncs your changes back to iTunes in case you want to go back. In addition to music, it can also play iTunes videos and podcasts.
Maybe you're completely over the iTunes look and want something sleek and simple that stays out of the way. Vox might be the player for you. Of course, if you want features like search, equalizer and output options, they're there too.
Maybe you want to expand beyond your iTunes library and bring in songs from streaming services or cloud music players. Tomahawk links with all of your music sources. It doesn't matter where your music is located, you can control it like it's on your computer.
Fidelia concentrates on getting the best sound from your files while Swinsian includes advanced tagging and library management features. Both support way more file formats that iTunes, so you can play FLAC, Ogg and other high-quality file types.
Finally, if you're after your own personal DJ, there is the Vinyls ($15) software. It lets you browse music by cover, create infinite playlists, fire up a full-screen "party mode" and more fun stuff.
Enjoy your music, Maria!