It has made a lot of improvements but track skipping still happens from time to time. I also don't like the way it handles gapless tracks. I don't use it much anymore.
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Have you tried PM out since you posted? FWIW, I played with the current version (1.86?) a little bit on my old iBook with a G4 and only a little over 1 GB RAM. It worked well in terms of playing through all selected tracks. I irresponsibly (given the limits of my computer) tried out Memory Play and Hybrid Memory Play and was somewhat surprised to find that playback still worked well. Gapless play often didn't work like it was supposed to, and I got occasional hesitations in the output, but again, my hardware was not up to spec, plus I wasn't disciplined enough to stop surfing the web while I was using PM.
I would think if you have current generation equipment or just lots of RAM or a Mac that's dedicated to serving music that the current version of PM would execute its playback duties quite well. It certainly worked better for me than, I think, 1.6.
Haven't played around with the volume control yet, but I don't think it enables separate L/R control.
If you downloaded PM, let us know how it's working.
The only issues I have with PM are:
1. can't skip around within a track (scrubbing), and iTunes controller doesn't display where you are within the track while listening
2. often need to reset the HDMI handshake if it's been idle for a while
3. can't play 5.1 audio tracks - have only been able to get this to work using VLC player (e.g., Dark Side of the Moon)