I'm going to be a fanboy and troll now... But I really loved Amarok 1. When I was trying Linux Amarok was the reason that made me boot to Linux more and more.
Then came Amarok 2, a bug-ridden bloated PoS. Fucking Eclipse IDE has a simpler interface and feels lighter than Amarok 2. When KDE4 came out Amarok devs felt they HAD to use every single component and lib that came with it, they use frickin' plasma lib.
I gave up on Amarok a couple of months ago. With all the weird online services they're implementing, they totally forgot the basic need of a music player: playing music. As an online service application Amarok might be great. As a music player, it's not.
After a quick install from apt-get. I launch it from KDE.
-It take 20 sec to show a dialog asking for my country
-Than another 10 to show the main interface
-Now Amarok is using 361MB os rss memory(compared to 266MB from Eclipse Java IDE)
-After waiting for 10 min of intense disk IO, I give up restart Amarok
-By default amarok selected the home folder to scan, I change that and restart the scanning
-First crash while scanning!
-Now Amarok just crashes at startup. I have kill Amarok and couple of KIO slaves
-After another try it finishes scanning with errors.
-Finally playing music!
-Amarok loves some IO, constantly at the top. CPU intensive too
-Loads of KIO processes, something like 4 to 10
-Try to add my favorite radio manually, that always work from clementine and vlc... nothing... and no feedback
-Quit amarok (was using 159MB of rss memory)
-apt-get purge amarok*
I understand why some people who were used to the old Amarok might have problems with the current one. However, I had some serious problems with the UI layout in the old Amarok, while the current makes it easy for me to change to something I like much more. I also prefer current playlist view layout (although I usually tweak it a little) and the multi-level sorting is a killer feature.
It sounds like that version of Amarok is pretty screwed up. I have not had a crash in years, the "Music" directory is selected for scanning when I start up, it took less than 10 seconds to start (about the same as clementine), uses 56.8 mb (clementine uses 33.1), and uses about 2% of CPU when playing.
I'm using KDE since version 3. I do not like players covering a big annoying window. I always used Audacious (yes, gtk). It does what it have to do, play music. Small interface, filters, plugins, equalizer, playlist, and skinnable.
I remember how, during the switch to Amarok 2, I also felt like it was a step back. But back then (the glorious KDE 4.0 days ) it was to be expected. I still struggled with it for a while, as the new layout took a bit of getting used to, but once I did, it feels very natural to me. And for me the killer feature is search options. You can chain any number of them to precisely define what you need, and I don't know where I would be if not for Amarok's ability to find tracks that are of certain length (for using in videos). The on-screen display is awesome, playlist sorting abilities are awesome, Last.fm integration is awesome. And yea, I am not particularly fond of the defaults of it (like having the Amazon plugin enabled by default), but then those are issues only until you get to the configuration screen. So all in all I would not switch to any other player now.
Now the only things I am missing right now all have to do with GStreamer rather than Amarok itself. Due to a bug in it, before the 1.0 release playing an OGG track after an MP3 one causes the track to get paused, which is annoying. And GStreamer doesn't support MIDI playback all that well (it looks like its Timidity plugin does not support soundfonts, and overall sounds are somehow different).