Foobar2000 is "...an advanced freeware audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include full unicode support, ReplayGain support and native support for several popular audio formats." This player is the choice media player for audiophiles and music lovers alike, for its customizability, plugins, ease of use, and support of any audio formats you like. It doesn't work well with mp3gain.
The beauty of Foobar2000 is that you can do whatever you like with it, leave it completely default (which still works great) or customize it to your own liking. Every aspect of the player is customizable, you can move panels, add various pages/tabs, and theme it as much as you'd like. You can really make it your own, if you are willing to take a little time to play with it and it is well worth it.
First, head to the Foobar2000 Download page, and download the latest stable version. You can try the beta if you want, but I generally suggest going with the stable version. The installation itself is very straight forward but there are a couple things I'd like to go into a bit:
- One of the first pages will ask you if you want a Standard or Portable install, I would go with Standard unless a theme you are trying to install specifically says to use a Portable installation, which many do.
- Go with a Full install, the extra add-ons are very helpful, especially the Online Tagger(FreeDB) and File Operations.
- Make sure "Run Foobar After Installation" is checked, then click finish. You're done!
The program is update regularly, and an update is as simple as downloading the latest installer and pressing "Update."
On the first launch, you will get a screen much like this. You can play with the options a bit and find what seems appealing to you. Foobar will automatically show a preview of what the player will look like as you click different options. You can select different colors and playlist layouts, as well as the main layout itself. Once you are happy with a style, click "Ok" and you will be able to use the player for the first time! You can either just drag & drop folder or files into the main playlist for quick listening, or go into Preferences (File>Preferences or Ctrl+P), click Media Library and add the folder containing your library. This will automatically update your library as you add music into the folder. At this point, you are good to go and ready for some listening, but I can't suggest going through the Preferences pane enough. If you become comfortable with the preferences pane, your customization of the player will become much easier.
- ColumnsUI - An alternate user interface. Allows for more options, and is required for many themes.
- QuickSearch - Allows you to place a searchbar as a toolbar onto your player. It functions much like the search on iTunes. An alternative you can use is: TypeFind
- TaggerPanel - A panel for quick editing. Very useful to place into a tab-stack for quick editing.
- Shpeck - A visualization plugin for Foobar, runs Winamp supported visualizations. Also allows you to have a spectrograph with ColumnsUI.
- PlaybackStatistics - For those who want to have a local playcount of songs in their library(I do believe there is one that pulls plays from last.fm floating around)
- DiscogsTagger - Must have, pulls metadata from the discogs database and allows simple batch editing. There is also a similar plugin that uses the MusicBrainz database: MusicbrainzTagger
- LyricsPanel - Want lyrics for the playing song? Use this plugin, will pull the lyrics from various websites(and you can of course add/edit them)
- AudioScrobbler - Scrobble to Last.fm using this plugin. No need for the Last.fm program.
How do I scrobble to last.fm with Foobar2000?Edit
- All you need is the foo_audioscrobbler plugin, don't forget to put your log-in information into the preferences pane!
Well, how do I install a plugin/component?Edit
- Easy, all you need to do is extract the files (if it's compressed) and place the foo_* file into the Components folder in the installation directory. You will need to restart Foobar to active the plugin.
How can I have a search bar like in iTunes?Edit
- As you can probably guess, just another plugin! Typefind_Panel
Can I manage my iPod?Edit
- Sure can, iPod Manager can even sync with some iPod Touch/iPhones. Through foobar, you can sync your whole library, certain playlists, or just send items right over to your iPod through the context menu. The component also can give information on your iPod's serial number, specifications, charge level and hard drive capacity. If using an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad it is recommended you use iTunes for video and app synchronization. As far as I know, there is no foobar component for app syncing (although videos can be synced, it is pretty inconvenient and difficult to do so).
- The iPod manager works exceedingly well, with the combination of the LAME encoder addon for Foobar. This allows you to transcode FLACs to MP3/ALAC, and easily export the transcodes to your iPod with a simple interface. My preferred alternative for video is Winamp. In my experience, it is more efficient than Foobar with video transfers, and less cumbersome than iTunes.
How can I view all cover thumbnails like the "Cover" view in iTunes?Edit
- You can achieve this with a single plugin, WSH Panel Mod. I have never personally used it, but it comes with documentation(read it) and here's the forum topic by the creator over at HydrogenAudio. Needs more info...
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