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I'm looking for something, preferably free, to play MP3s in OS X in a way they don't automatically get dumped into iTunes. Any suggestions?

Songbird is not lightweight.

VLC I use for videos.

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

If you prefer a dedicated app rather than use Quick Look, check Vox, the lightweight music app for Mac OS X.
It's free but you can donate.

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It is perfect!! – idober May 25 '11 at 12:59
Didn't know about this! Great! I'll be using this – Muhammad Usman May 26 '11 at 22:03
vox does not work currently with 10.8.1 unfortunately. Just putting it out there. – John Riselvato Oct 18 '12 at 17:50
Whats happened to the Vox link? – cwiggo Oct 5 '15 at 13:57
@Chris link updated, thanks – kraymer Oct 5 '15 at 14:01

Quicktime player. Quicktime player.

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Just did a quick test playing a 44mb mp3 with Vox and QuickTime, both the lastest versions. Quickly scrubbing the mp3 back and forth used the most processor, just playing it was non-max usage. Vox: cpu 2.3%, cpu max 5.0%, memory 11.3mb. QuickTime: cpu 2.8%, cpu max 7.1%, memory 35.4mb. Conclusion: neither is a pig, but Vox is definitely lighter, especially in memory use. – Matthew Frederick May 25 '11 at 20:04
I wonder why someone downvoted my answer. Quicktime is free (as in beer) and light. That's what i use anyway when I don't want to add mp3's to my iTunes library. – Rafael Vega May 25 '11 at 20:58
+1: I think QuickTime Player is a reasonable suggestion here. – boehj May 25 '11 at 21:08
I don't know, @Rafael, your answer is certainly completely valid, even if it's not what the OP ended up using. – Matthew Frederick May 25 '11 at 22:20

On Finder, click the mp3, press space or ^+Y.

It will open a Quick Look window and that will preview your mp3.

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I meant play, thanks – idober May 25 '11 at 12:48
@idober Quick Look does play the mp3 and offers basic controls: play/pause and a scrubber for changing position in the track. However it only works if you don't leave the Finder or click on anything else in Finder. Still, I wanted to clarify that for future people reading this question. – Matthew Frederick May 25 '11 at 13:50
If you use column view, you can also use the preview column to play it, and it won't stop playing if you switch applications or windows. – ughoavgfhw Jul 22 '11 at 18:30

SimpleSong seems to be exactly what you are searching for - this is as simple as it gets, basically just a searchbar. You can now also drag tracks from the finder to the dock icon, to open the tracks as a playlist.

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