QuickTime Player: Freezes when playing MP3 files

Posted by Pierre Igot in: iTunes, Macintosh
August 3rd, 2004 • 12:29 am

The one thing that I don’t like about using iTunes as the default application to open MP3 files (and other types of music files) is that, as soon as you open an MP3 file with iTunes, it gets added to your iTunes music library.

I often want to be able to preview a file before adding it to my library.

I could use the “Preview” column in the Finder (in Columns view mode), but the problem with doing that is that you have to be careful not to use that particular Finder window for anything else while the preview is playing. It’s too easy to interrupt the preview playback by accidentally clicking on another file in the Finder window.

So I want to be able to preview music files in a separate application.

QuickTime Player would appear to be the ideal candidate for this. It’s a separate application, it can play all kinds of music files (MP3, MP4, AIFF, etc.), and playing the files with QuickTime Player doesn’t add them to iTunes’ music library. I could use the Finder to change the default application to QuickTime Player for such files, so that double-clicking on them doesn’t automatically add them to my iTunes music library.

There is only one problem: QuickTime Player freezes. It’s happened to me several times in a short space of time (a few days), and I have everything reason to suspect that it’s something in QuickTime Player itself.

The symptoms are always the same. The music is playing in QuickTime Player in the background. I am listening to the music while doing something else in Mac OS X. All of a sudden, the music playback stops. I try to switch to QuickTime Player to see what’s going on, and I get the spinning pizza. I try to switch to another application, and I might get the application’s windows to come to the foreground, but I get the spinning pizza in that application as well (even though it has nothing to do with audio playback).

Force-quitting doesn’t work at all. Eventually, after a few more clicks, I have to resign myself to the obvious: the entire Mac OS X environment has become totally unresponsive. And a hard reset is required.

Not good.

For now, I have given up on trying to use QuickTime Player for MP3 playback. It’s just too dangerous! I am going to try and find another separate music application that can play MP3 files without freezing my entire system.

The tricky part, of course, is that I’d better make sure that this other application is not QuickTime-based — otherwise I might encounter the same problem!

On the other hand, MP3 playback in iTunes itself doesn’t seem to be affected — so maybe it’s not QuickTime. Maybe it really is the QuickTime Player application itself, for some strange reason. Actually, I think I remember reading about such QuickTime Player freezes not long ago somewhere…

Needless to say, I have the latest version of everything (Mac OS X, QuickTime, iTunes, etc.). Which might be part of the problem, of course :-).

4 Responses to “QuickTime Player: Freezes when playing MP3 files”

  1. brian w says:

    What about hitting Get Info in the Finder and using the Preview pane in there? That way it won’t vanish when you close a Finder window, etc.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Excellent idea! Thanks :).

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    Serge: Please refer to more recent posts on this blog about Panther freezes. It seems to be a fairly wide-spread problem, and indeed it’s not limited to QuickTime Player…

  4. Serge M says:

    I’m having a very similar problem here… Twice in the past week I’ve had my computer come to a complete freeze. No spinning pizzas though, just a freeze; only the mouse still moves, nothing else responds. In both cases, I was playing iTunes in the background, and in both cases, a song had just finished playing (the counter read 0:00). So I’m not sure that iTunes is immune to this problem… I’m using 10.3.5 btw.

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