What's the point of this guide?

This guide has two main purposes:
1. Showing that if you switch from Winamp to Foobar2000, you won't lose many features
2. If you already switched, help you finding the feature you liked in Winamp

Also, even if you don't care about Winamp, this feature-to-component guide can be useful to find out how to achieve some features in foobar2000 (many of them are just the same in any mainstream media player...)

But of course the aim of foobar2000 is not to copy Winamp. It has so much more!!

Remember, the best way to learn how to use the unlimited possibilities of foobar2000 is to spend some time on it...

Check out the forum thread about this guide.

Translate this guide:


OK. To start with, a few basics:

1. Installation
(sometimes nicknamed foobar) can be installed from its official website:

2. Components
Most of the interesting
functions rely on components (sort of plugins), which are (in general) files with extention ".dll".
To install a component, just put the file in the folder foobar2000/components/
, where "foobar2000" is the installation folder for foobar.
Then restart foobar2000.
Some complex components are installable with a .exe file

3. User interfaces
The foobar2000 core can actually be used with different user interfaces (UI). There are mainly two UIs:
-The default UI
-The columns UI (foo_columns_UI), wich can be installed like a component.

The choice of the UI determines:
-The way it looks and how you can customize it
-They way many things work
-Which components you can use (some of them only work with a given interface)
However, components which do not rely on a panel (e.g., iPod support, Last.fm, popup, most of them actually) will generally work with both UIs.

Many other components only work with the columns_UI. However, you can install them in the default_UI, by the use of a special component called foo_dockable_panels.

Which UI to chose?
-The default UI is simpler to use, and to configure. It supports all components presented here. As for the appearance, you will never get something much better than the standard look with different colours and layouts (see this gallery). This is the one I use (because it allows a winamp-like behaviour, regarding the columns and filters, haha)
-The columns UI support many more panels, and allows more graphic customization. It has a longer learning curve, but if you are using foobar2000, you may not be scared by that. Regarding appearance, look at this gallery for an overview of the large possibilities.

4. Principles
1. Foobar is highly customizable. You will always be able to add a feature with a component, or to configure something the way you want. That needed to be said.

2. Foobar2000 works with playlists. nlike Winamp, there is not "the Playlist", which is the current playlist showing the tracks played before and the next to be played, permanently displayed.
Actually, you should have a panel that displays the content of the focused playlist. To change the focused playlist, you can use for example a playlist manager, which will be a list of playlist, or tabs, or a playlist switcher (a dropdown).

That being said, you can create a similar thing. You can have a playlist with the following properties:
-When you double click on an entry in the search panel, it adds it/enqueue it/play it in that playlist (Id. with the middle button)
-... well that's it. You can consider it's your current playlist. Double click on a track of that playlist, and the playback will just follow its content.
The only thing is that it will not always displayed. It will disappear if you select another playlist. But you just have to select your beloved playlist to see it again.
To do that, see that post.
4. Don't be afraid
When you launch foobar, it should look like this (just chose the first option in all fields):

The layout is very basic, but everything is highly customizable. That's the main characteristic of foobar2000. As an example, I will show here how to make it look and behave like this winamp:



Now let's see what we have.

Make a Winamp-like layout

This post explains how to proceed to set a winamp-like layout, like announced in the previous post. It will look like this, and be behaving similarly to winamp:

1. Install the component plugin foo_facets.dll

2. Import media and disable some (I think) annoying features
Go to Menu>File>Preferences, then go to the section "Media Library"

Add the folders where your music files are, and scan it (OK, that's easy)

Disable the LibraryViewer Selection Playlist
(If this is enabled, whenever you click on an item in the search results, your current playlist loses focus)

Go to the Menu>File>Playback, then:
- Enable "Cursor follows playback"
- Disable "Playback follows cursor"

3. Prepare layout
In the Media Library Section of the Preferences, go to the "Facets" section

Click on the button "Add New" on top, then enter "Title" in the first column and "[%title%]" in the second cell.

In the dropdown menus at the bottom of the page, chose:
-Selection change: None
-Double-click action: Send to the Facet playlist, start playback
-Middle button action: Add to the Facet Playlist

Comment: The Facet Playlist will replace Winamp's "playlist editor"
"Send" means that the the clicked element (artist, track, album) replaces the current content of the playlist
"Add" just enqueue the clicked element to the playlist

3. Set-up the facets
You can download a ready-made setup, but it is better to make your own at your taste to understand everything. I will describe how to make something that looks a bit like winamp.

The layout is fully customizable. To begin customize it, enable "Layout Editing Mode" :

A UI element is an element located in a frame. Replace the two elements on the top-right by the facets by right-clicking on the vertical separator, and chosing "Replace UI Element...". Then, in the "Media Library Viewers", chose "Facets"

You should now have three columns. Add a fourth one with the option "Insert new facet" in the context menu of the element. Then Right click (and chose "Facet View") on the headers of the columns (facets) to chose the content :
- 1st facet: "Genre"
- 2nd facet: "Artist"
- 3rd facet: "Multiple columns" then "Album", then "Artist"
- 4th facet: "Multiple columns" then "Title", then "Artist"

You're done! Now put any text in the search bar above the facets, and their content updates in real-time.

4. Play with the layout
To make something like me:
-Remove the big element on the bottom-right by right clicking on a tab and "cut UI Element"
-Replace the element on the left by a "Split Left-Right"
-By right-clicking in its area, replace the element on the extreme left by a "Splitter (Top/Bottom)"
-Repeat that action
-Add "selection information / album art viewer" in the left-bottom area
-Add "Playlist renderers / Playlist View" in the left-middle area
-Replace the left-top element by "Selection information / Selection Properties"
-Insert the vertical area in the middle by "Utility / Playlist manager"

You can play with the sizes and the split, tabs, and different elements such as equalizer, vizualisations... and do anything you want.
Tip: If you have split an area and want to unsplit it, right-click on the separator and replace it with an element.

Finally, in the Playlist Manager (the vertical area in the middle), double-click on "Facet selection" to display the current playlist in the Playlist View on the left.

Regarding the display of now playing information (at the top-left corner), see that post.


Jump to file

An other awesome feature of Winamp (actually a plugin) is "Jump to file".
If you type "j" in the playlist editor, or ctrl-alt-j from anywhere else (with global hoteys), you get a box performing search in the current playlist (playlist search).

It's very easily accessible in foobar2000.

Method 1: Built-in
Go to: Menu>Edit>Search
You will get this playlist-search box, which does pretty much the same thing as "Jump to". Double click on a track, it will jump to it.

You can associate a hotkey for this in Menu>Preferences, General/Keybord Shortcuts (cf dedicated post for more details). To find the action, filter with "edit search".

NB: You can make a global hotkey. However, if you are in another application and call the playlist search, the search window will not popup over your current application, and you will have to focus to foobar2000 to use it.

It is possible to have a similar search box that popups on the top of your current application with the following method.

Method 2: component
1. You will need to install the AMIP package, and most likely the AMIP configurator from the following page:

2. Close foobar2000, then unzip and execute the exe files to install the stuff.

3. Launch the configurator, and go to the "Search/Jump" section, just below "General". Here, you can setup the shortcut you want to trigger the "jump to" box. The shortcut is global (it is active from any application)

4. It's ready to work.

[The main (or at least original) feature of AMIP is to send the "Now playing" information to any messenger/email client / IRC client. Have a look at the configurator if you want to use this...]

There are less options than in Winamp (notably "Move after current"), but, I think it does the job.

Global Hotkeys!

An awesome feature of Winamp is the global hotkeys (shortcuts that work even if you are focused on another application). It is more than easy to set them up in Foobar2000!

Go to the preferences (Menu>File>Preferences), then to the section General/Keyboard shortcuts.

You just have to:
-click "Add New"
-find your action with the search filter
-press your hotkeys
-tick "Global" if you want to

We didn't even have to install any component. Foobar2000 rules!

"Most Played" and "Recently played"

It's easy to create automatic playlists containing the most played or most recently played tracks.
I said it's easy, I didn't say you don't have to install a few components!

1.Install components:
foo_playcount + foo_history

foo_playcount adds automatic data fields to the tracks, including the number of plays, or playcount (%play_count%), and the time of last play (%last_played%).

2. Advanced search
If you type, for example, "night" in the search bar above your facets, all entries containing "night" in any field will be selected. But you can restrict to one field. For example:
title HAS night" will only select tracks which title includes night. You can use "HAS", "IS", "NOT", "AND", "OR", "GREATER", "LESS", "PRESENT", "MISSING"....
You can learn more by clicking on the triangle icon at the right end of the search bar in the facets, then go "help".

3. Adding your "most played" list
Now open a plain search box (Menu>Library>Search) and type the following search request:
%play_count% GREATER 0 SORT DESCENDING BY %play_count%
You will have guessed that this displayed all tracks played at least once, sorted by decreasing playcount.

Then select the "[...]" button at the right of the search bar, and "Create Autoplaylist"
A new Playlist has been added to your playlist manager (vertical panel in the middle), that you can rename "Most Played" or whatever.

4. Other lists
Here are other examples of syntaxes.

%last_played% DURING LAST 1 WEEK SORT DESCENDING BY %last_played%
=> Most recently played (in the last week)

=> Recently added (last week)

NOT %added% IS "" SORT DESCENDING BY %added%
=> All tracks, ordered from the most recently added

TIP: If you want to disable the recording of the statistics, just untick Menu>Library>Playback Statistics>Monitor Playing Tracks

5. Write tag in the file
By default, the playcount statistics are stored in a separate file, and not in the tags of the files. If you want, you can write these data to the files (for example, if you are about to reinstall foobar, and want to keep these data. Well, you could also find the data file. Or if you want to send the file. Or make a "backup" of your stats. Whatever)
In the context menu of any track selection, just select Playback Statistics>Write Statistics to File Tags.
I let you guess what "Import statistics from file tags" does.

6. History
If you play a track several times, the track will only be displayed once in the "recently played list". To display all plays, install the "foo_history" plugin. Then, go to the Menu>Library>History menu to tick "History".

An automatic playlist has been created, showing the play history.

That's it!

Notification: A nice popup in the corner

1. In Winamp
Winamp features this nice popup in the bottom-right corner, providing information when a new song starts:
2. Foobar2000 built-in feature
In foobar, you have a built-in similar feature. Go to Preferences/Display/Default User Interface and tick all boxes in the "System Notification Area" on the right. You will get this awesome balloon, which looks like windows wants to update whenever your song changes:

3. Advanced feature
Now if you want something better, install the component foo_popupplus and get for example something like this:

(NB: you will need to decompress the file with Winrar or 7zip)

In addition to the winamp thing, you get:
-A fully customizable popup: size, fonts, content, delay, events...
-Many different skins
-Action buttons (Next, Previous, Pause...)
-Free location: you can chose any location on the screen for it to appear

Just for indication, here is the configuration I used.
In the Menu>File>Preferences, in the Display/Popup Plus section:
-In "skin", I chose foton_popup, and in the options on the right I disabled "show icon" (foobar icon) and "align avatar on the right" (the cover art)
-In "general", I changed the size of the "avatar" (actually the cover art)
-In "general", in the "Size & position" box, I unticked "lock popup position", to change the position of the popup.

Play with the settings.

Other components:
-foo_prettypop does popups in the outlook style, much less customizable in my opinion.
-Apparently, foo_advancedcontrols includes a similar features but I think you just get that balloon.

Manage an iPod

iPod management is straight and easy with Foobar2000.

Of course there is a component to install: foo_dop
(NB: you will need to decompress the file with Winrar or 7zip)

Once it's installed... just plug your iPod.
You can manage your iPod from the Menu>Fil>iPod

And to manage one particular song/artist/album/genre selection on the iPod, just right-click on any item to open the context-menu, and select "iPod" :

foobar2000 and Last.fm

foobar2000 is awesome; so is Last.fm. Let's open your media player to an infinite library of new tracks.

There are two things you can do in foobar regarding Last.fm (for both, you need to have a last.fm account):
1. Scrobble tracks you listen to in foobar2000
2. Listen to Last.fm radios inside foobar2000. (I'm not sure you can do that in Winamp!)

1. Scrobbling
Component: foo_audioscrobbler
There seems to be two different foo_audioscrobbler:
- The last.fm official is installed automatically when installing the Last.fm software (if Foobar is found or the location is provided). This one uses the Last.fm software. -> That's the one I use
Once the component is installed you don't have to do anything. The tracks are scrobbled through the Last.fm client, which needs to be running (an allows you to see artist info, send feedback.... and to turn of scrobbling easily). It works perfectly for me, apparently some people report crashes.
-One is "standalone" and does not need the Last.fm software. This one doesn't seem to work for me at the moment. Apparently it enables iPod scrobbling (with foo_dop)! Can be found here.

2. Listening to radios
Component: foo_lastfm_radio
Once the component is installed, go to Menu>File>Open Last.fm Radio Station, and click the only option available. Then enter your username and password.

Now, you can access radios two ways:
-In the same Menu>File>Open Last.fm Radio Station, you can access absolutely all kind of radios (except personal tag radios, for Last.fm subscribers)
-In the context menu of the TRACKS (anywhere in foobar2000), there is a Last.fm radio element. It allows to play the artist's radio, the tag radio based on its genre, and the year's tag radio.
Once you select a radio, a list of songs appear in the playlist view. Double-click on the first one to start streaming. The list should refresh automatically.

NB: This component does NOT scrobble the tracks. If you want to scrobble them, you have to use both components.

So, at last, you can have global hotkeys, notification, equalizer... in Last.fm !!! =)

What's currently playing?

It's quite useful to have a clear display of information about the current track, (like in the main Winamp window) or for example, in this picture.

You can do such a thing in the default UI without much effort, but it will not have many fancy graphic effects...

Do to that, install the component foo_textdisplay (page), which can display any informations about the current track (the content and formatting are, customizable, of course)

Once you installed the component, add a new element in the layout, and chose Selection Information / Text Display.

Then you can customize the format (that's easy) and the content, which needs a little knowledge about titleformatting.

To have the same display as the picture above, the syntax is:
[%artist% - ]
[%album%[ '('%date%')']$crlf()]
%playback_time%[ / %length%]

(NB: $ctrlf is a linebreak)

More info about titleformatting is available there.

If you want more graphic effects, the best is probably to use the columns_UI, which can be skinned more widely. (Or check this post about a graphic user interface, but it is not really recommended)

Podcast management

iTunes is probably the most used podcast manager, but Winamp does the job too:

So, what does it do: you give the address of the podcast (RSS feed), and it displays a list of all tracks in the podcast, you just have to double-click them (or drag-drop or whatever) to play them. That's convenient.

Can you do that in foobar2000? Kind of, but you will need to install another application if you want it to be handy, and it's a bit more "manual" =)

1. Install a podcast downloader, such as Juice (formerly iPodder), an open-source podcast aggregator (otherwise you'll have to download manually each time...)

If you install Juice:
a.Set it up to download your desired podcasts in a given directory in Menu>File>Preferences, tab "General", at the bottom of the page.
Note that each podcast will actually be downloaded in a subfolder of that folder, with the name of the podcast.
b.In the main window, go to the "Subscriptions" tab, then push the (+) button to add your feed.
Add the address of the RSS feed (http:// ..... .rss)
Then click on the button "Check for new podcasts". You should get a list of episodes.
Select episodes you want to download and push the "Check/Download selected feed"

2. Install the component foo_playlist_bind (you will need to decompress the file with Winrar or 7zip)
With this component, it is possible to synchronize a playlist with a folder.
Now, create a playlist with any name, and go to Menu>File>Preferences>Tools>Playlist Bind
Chose your playlist, and click the [+] button to chose the podcast folder to synchronize with.

3. From now on, whenever you want to catch up on your podcast:
-Launch Juice; it should download automatically the podcasts.
-In foobar2000, Activate your bound playlist and chose Menu>File>Bind>Update (or Update All) to sync your playlist with the podcast.

It does perfectly the job, but an integrated podcast support in foobar2000 would be really appreciated =)

Stylish skins

You may think that foobar2000 looks like square frames without any style, a text-only design made in the 90s. You may want a cool rounded design.

1. Skins
It is possible to apply skins. For example, the following is using a tool called FOOAvA.

NB: It requires an older version of Foobar2000, and a few components, including the columns UI.

For an overview of different skins, look at this gallery

Check this site to find different skins: http://customize.org/foobar/skins

NB: Applying good-looking skins requires the columns UI instead of the default UI.
The columns UI is less simple that the default UI to use, and needs a little more time to get used to.

2. UI GFX (not recommended)
The main user interfaces (more about UIs here) are columns_UI and default_UI, but there is another one called UI GFX. It's a graphic (contrary to the other ones which are text-based), skinnable, interface.

However, it is not recommended because:
-This UI is old (last update 2006) and not developed or supported any more.
-You probably won't find themes to apply apart from the default one.
-It doesn't seem to add any usability, it's merely the contrary.
-If you really want something like that... There's an awesome player called, wait for it, Winamp =)

Anyway. Foobar may look like this:

1. You can download it from here.
Extract the archive: you should have a file called foo_ui_gfx.dll and a "skins" folder. Paste both in the foobar2000\component\ folders.

2. Restart foobar. At startup, it will ask you which UI you want, then chose "gfx_window". Chose a skin (winamp is the only working for me) in the components\skins\ folder.

Your configuration in the default UI will be saved.
To return to the default UI, just go to Menu>Preferences, section "Display", and chose the Defaut User Interface, then restart foobar.

3. Theoritically, all components I present here (iPod, hotkeys, etc....) work with this interface, except the facets (hence everything related to the search/playlist/library behaviour in the "Winamp-like layout" does not apply). So there still are many functions.

This UI is a bit difficult at first.
-Click on the "Lib" button on the right of the main window to display the library
-Click on the "PL" link just above the "lib" button, to display the current playlist
-Click on the button on the top-right to display the "File" menu

Winamp Playlist Generator / Play tracks similar to

Some people don't know this oh-so-cool plugin in Winamp, the automatic "Winamp Playlist Generator". It is powered by Gracenote (a big music database) and allows you to create a playlist similar to any tracks of your library, in two clicks and a few seconds (Well, it also needs hours of library scanning).

You can do similar things in foobar. Well, the following is the closest I found.

1. Install the component foo_scrobblecharts.dll
It relies on the Last.fm database, but does not need a last.fm account.
[I don't know how gracenote similarities are calculated. Last.fm similarities are calculated essentially based on user's listening habits, and correlations]

2. In the context menu of any artist, you get a "Last.fm" element, with several options:

[artist]'s Similar Shuffle Playlist : generates a playlist of tracks similar to that artist. This is the closest I found from the Winamp plugin.

There are a few more features:
[artist]'s Similar Charts Playlist: Generates a playlist of tracks similar to the artist, ordered by decreasing order of popularity in the Last.fm (weekly) charts.

[artist]'s Charts Playlist: Generate a playlist of tracks by this artist, ordered by decreasing poplarity in the Last.fm (weekly) charts.

In the context menu of a selection of tracks in a playlist, you can order them by decreasing order of popularity.

NB: For all this, you need an active internet connexion.

If you want to listen to a track-based playlist, listen to Pandora if you live in the US (I don't :'-( )
If you want to listen to an artist-based playlist, you can listen to last.fm.
But this plugin is also a good way to discover you library.


1. Overview
I think it is possible to display the lyrics of the current playing song in Winamp.

There is a great plugin to do that in Foobar2000: foo_uie_lyrics.dll
(NB: you will need to decompress the file with Winrar or 7zip)

You can get synchronized lyrics (autoscrolling, with the current sentence highlighted):

An example of UI integration:

2. Dockable panels
The major trouble is that the component only works with the "columns" Interface, not with the default interface I presented here (and use myself). Ignore this section if you use the columns_UI interface. Too see more about user interfaces (UIs), see that post.

However, there is a workaround. It's actually a component which allows you to add columns-only elements on the default interface: foo_dockable_panels.dll
(NB: that component is not being developed anymore since May 2008. It still works as for October 2008).

3. Graphic setup
Once you installed the components:
-Menu>View>Layout>Enable Layout Editing Mode
-Insert a blank frame where your lyrics are going to be.
You can replace (right click>Replace UI element) any element by a Left/Right splitter; it will just create a new element on its right)

Now go to Menu>View>Dockable Panels>New
A little panel will appear in the middle of the window. Right-click on it and chose Lyric Show

Your window will probably display something like "Artist: ..... Title: ........ Album: ..... ", or maybe lyrics.

Now move this frame to the place you left free for it.

Then check the option Menu>View>Dockable Panels>Active Panel>No Frame
You will get something neat.
In the context menu of the panel, you can change the font and colors. To change background color go to Context menu>Settings, then in the Display tab, uncheck "Transparent background" at the bottom.

NB: Maybe when you restart foobar, the panel will have moved back to its default position. Put it back where you want it. It may fix the problem

WARNING: This panel is fixed to the screen. This means that if you move/resize foobar2000, it will not follow, but rather stay in the same place. That's the major shortcoming of the dockable panels.

4. How to use it
When you listen to a song, the component will look for:
-Lyrics embedded in the tags of the file
-Lyrics in a separate file
-Lyrics on a database (I still don't know which one)

If they are donwloaded, they will be copied on your disk or in the file.

NB: Some lyrics have no time data, and will not be sync'd. They will scroll regularly, but you can drag them to adjust.

You can fully configure it (will it download, where will the lyrics be stored, when will it scan for it, etc) in the context menu of the lyrics panel > Settings. If you don't want to know about this, leave the default config.

If no lyrics are displayed:
-Try Context menu>Reload Lyrics
-If it doesn't change, try Context Menu>Online Search and look into it.

Sync lyrics are very handy! Especially for us non native English speakers. However:
-The shortcoming of this method is that it requires dockable_panels, and the panel is not linked to the main window.
-The database doesn't seem to be very extensive. Don't expect underground lyrics...
You can add your own lyrics to the files.


Rating the tracks (from * to ***** for example) is cool, and you can do that in two clicks in Winamp. One method to do that in foobar2000 is the use of the component called foo_playcount (also used for playback statistics).

1. Install foo_playcount.

2. Hotkeys
If you want to be able to rate a track with a hotkey instead of using the context menu (that's recommended), go to the General/Keyboard shortcuts section, and Add New. Find the actions by filtering with "stat rating". Attribute a key for each rating value (like Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, etc.)

4. Rate tracks
Select the track, then use your hotkey or go in the context-menu (right-click on the track), then Playback Statistics>Rating> and chose your value.

It's a bit complicated to find the option in the context menu. You can make this a bit handier (and more Winamp-like) by configuring the context menu (did I say say that? everything is customizable in foobar2000...)
Go to Menu>File>Preferences, Display / Context.
There you will find the element "rating" in the "Playback Statistic group". Move it in the root folder as on the picture below.

No it just appears in the context menu of any song/artist/album:

5. Use filters and autoplaylists
You create for example a playlist of best rated tracks. Open a search box (Menu>Library>Search) and use the following syntax:
rating PRESENT SORT DESCENDING BY rating (list of rated tracks ordered by decreasing rating.)
Other possibilities include:
rating IS 3 (explicit)
rating GREATER 3 (tracks rated 4 or 5)
rating LESS 3 (tracks rated 1 or 2)
rating HAS **** (tracks rated **** or *****)
rating HAS * AND NOT rating HAS *** (tracks rated * or **)

From any of these searches, you can create an automatic playlist by clicking the [...] button on the right of the search field. A list will be created in your playlists, which you can rename. It will update in real-time.

6. Make a nice display

The ratings have numeric values, but it would be good to display them in playlists with stars or whatever. For example like this:

This is easy and a good opportunity to introduce titleformatting. To add such a column, right-click on the headers (at the top of the picture above) and chose Columns>More.
(or in the facets, right click on any facet header and Preferences)

You will get a window similar to that:

Put any name in the left column. In the right column, the content of the column is described by:

Which means: if %rating% is present, repeat "●" as many times as the rating is; else, display "o"
Once you got the thing, you can change it, and customize without limits. That's foobar2000!

A complete reference for titleformatting can be found here.

7. Write tag in the file
By default, the tag (as playcount statistics) are stored in a separate file, and not in the tags of the files. If you want, you can write these data to the files (for example, if you are about to reinstall foobar, and want to keep these data. Well, you could also find the data file. Or if you want to send the file. Or make a "backup" of your stats. Whatever)
In the context menu of any track selection, just select Playback Statistics>Write Statistics to File Tags.
I let you guess what "Import statistics from file tags" does.

It works. The limitations of this method are:
-I don't think these ratings will be transferred in an iPod or in another media player. However, what it does is put a field in the track tag called "rating" with a value between 1 and 5. The rating wil be kept, for example, if you transfer the file to any other system using foobar with the same config. Compatilibity should be that easy...

Rip a CD (or play a CD)

Ripping CDs is easy with foobar2000, and has I think two advantages on Winamp:
-Full speed
-You can make secure ripping (foobar2000 makes sure that the ripped file is exactly similar to the CD)
To know more, I recommend this blog article. It also explains how to rip securely..

1. You can automatically retrieve the tag data from the FreeDB database, but it needs a component which is included in the full install of foobar2000. Run the installation file (foobar2000_0.9.5.4.exe) once again.
Go Next, Accept, Next. Then chose "full" in the type of install.

2. If you want to rip in MP3, you will need the LAME commandline mp3 encoder. It's an exe file you can download from here.
Extract the LAME zip file into foobar2000 folder (C:\Program Files\foobar2000 probably)
3. Go to Menu>File>Preferences, Tools/Converter. In the first field (file name), you may want to put the following code or similar:
[%album artist%\]%date% - %album%\%list_index% - %title%
This will make files in the format, for example: Anyfolder\Radiohead\1997 - OK Computer\01 - Paranoid Android.mp3
Adjust it to your preferences.
[This is called Titleformatting. You can use this language in many places in foobar2000, and seriously customize everything. See here for much more information.]

Now rip!
1. Insert an audio CD
2. Menu>File>Open Audio CD, then "Rip" (or "Play" if you want)
3.Click the "Lookup" button to retrieve tag data. Some data should be found. Chose one line and click "Update files"
4. Click Rip, chose MP3 Lame as an encoder (or whatever you wish), and indicate to foobar2000 where you put the exe file extracted from the LAME zip (you will just have to this once).
5. Chose a folder. The files will be put in a subfolder of that one ("artist/year - album/" if you used my settings in step 2)

Go ripping!

Shoutcast DSP? investigating.

With Winamp you can broadcast on an internet radio what's playing in your winamp, with the Shoutcast DSP plugin.

It is developped by NullSoft, so obviously it is primarily designed for winamp.

Apparently the plugin edcast can do a similar job (i.e, use foobar as a source for mp3 streaming servers)

It is under investigation.

Sound enhancement DSP

Winamp has various sound enhancing plugins such as Audioburst PowerFX.

In foobar2000, various DSP components can be found to enhance sound:

1. Noise Sharpening
Noise sharpening is based on signal processing theories and enhances the resolution by adding noise in the inaudible range. The sound is much clearer. If you don't believe it, listen to this example - sung by Calaposa:
Around the middle (9s), the plugin is activated. It may sound like trebles are increased in the EQ, but it's more than this. Here the effect is maximum, but it can be more subtle.

The component is called foo_dsp_delta and does other things you can try.

To activate noise sharpening, once the component installed, go to Menu>File>Preferences, Plauback / DSP Manager, find "Noise Sharpening" in the right column and send it to the left column. Then you can setup the percentage of effect.

2. Bauer Stereo-to-Binaural
This is based on virtual acoustics. When listening with headphones (no effect with speakers), it is supposed to make the experience less tiring/more 3D.

3. ...

Winamp remote? unlikely

Winamp allows to listen to one's library from anywhere with an internet connexion (you should leave winamp open on your home computer I guess)

That's quite amazing (although I never tried because I'm a security freak)

It seems unlikely that you will find this feature in foobar2000 (please tell me if I'm wrong)

Dynamic Library / Folder structure

There is a plugin in Winamp called Dynamic Library. It allows the display of your library with respect to the folder structure. (I don't have a picture here, but it looks similar to the foobar2000 picture below).
In Winamp, it requires hours (well, depending on the library) of scanning first.

In foobar2k, this feature is built-in.

This is in the Album List element.

You can display it in with Menu>Library>Album List, or put it in a frame in your layout (*).

Then, chose "By Folder Structure" in the "View" option at the bottom left.

(*) Menu>View>Layout>Layout Editing Mode, then right click somewhere and replace element or insert a splitter and insert the album view in the blank panel.

Extra: Alarm Clock, Sleep mode....

There may have been that function in Winamp, I don't know.

In foobar2000, it is possible to schedule some task. Cool examples include:
-Sleep mode: close foobar2000 and shut down the computer when the playback stops
-Alarm clock: Start playback automatically at a given time, to wake you up....
-... and automatically increase volume at some given times, in case you don't wake up.


The component: foo_scheduler.
Setup: "Menu>File>Preferences, General/Scheduler"
-Enable scheduler.
-First, create "actions" in the bottom part, to which you give an arbitrary ID (a name for example). Once you chose an ID, you can add concrete actions.
-Then, create triggers in the top part (either time-related or event-related) and associate the actions ID to them.

Now try to find cool applications for that =)

NB: If you just want your computer to shut down when the playback is finished, you can add this smaller component: foo_shutdown
It will add the option Menu>Playback>Shut down when noise stops


Crossfading is very easy in foobar (no component to install!)

Just go to Menu>File>Preferences, section Playback/DSP Manager.

In the panel on the right, there are a list of Sound Processing plugins. You can play with them(*).

Select "Crossfader" and send it to the left panel to activate it. You can configure the length of the crossfade.

(*) A cool DSP package is foo_dsp_soundtouch. With this one, you can change easily the pitch, tempo or speed of the playback 8-)

Automatic tagging (FreeDB lookup)

Coming soon.

(in quick: select all the tracks of an album, in the right order, then right click / Tagging / FreeDB. )


These include stupid questions I and other people asked themselves... things sometimes obvious in any serious media player but that you can't seem to find here.

Why does the content of the playlist change whenever I select an entry in the library search?
Go to Menu>File>Preferences, section Media Library. At the bottom, there is an option called "Library Viewer Selection Playlist / Activate when changed" -> that's it. You can deactivate it. Then the focused playlist will keep focus even if you browse your library.

They say foobar is the best software to convert files, but it doesn't even allow mp3 encoding...
You have to install the commandline lame encoder to convert to mp3. I think it cannot be included in foobar2000 for legal reasons (remember mp3 is a proprietary format).
The most common lame encoder is a .dll file, but here you will need a .exe file (the famous commandline one). You can find it here.

Can I move the buttons (play, stop, etc) ?
In the default UI, just enable layout editing mode (File>View>Layout>Enable layout editing mode), right click on an element, Replace UI element (don't worry it will actually stay there), then containers / toolbar header. A bar will be added at the top of your element. Right click on it and activate "Buttons" and whatever you want.

How to jump to the current song?
To jump to the currently playing song, double click on the status bar =)

How can I thank the guy who wrote all this (I found something a bit useful)?
Please follow one of the three following options:
-Keep using foobar2000, and if one day you take over the world thanks to your super-great foobar2k config, don't forget me.
-Leave the first comment anywhere in this blog which is not an ad.
-Donate (suggested: $300) via Paypal


Smart Views (iTunes: Smart Playlists)

In Winamp you can create so called "Smart Views", which are playlist that automatically update to always contain the tracks matching a given search query, that are displayed in a configurable way.

For example, you may want a list containing rock of the 90s. The syntax will be:
genre = "rock" AND year >= "1990" AND year < "2000"

You can do the same in foobar, in which the syntax will be:
genre IS rock AND date GREATER 1989 AND date LESS 2000

To see a full syntax reference, see that post.

Now how to do that?
1. Open a Media Library search box (Menu>Library>Search, in the default_UI)
2. Type in your search syntax
3. Use the [...] button on the right of the search field
4. Chose "Create autoplaylist"

A new automatic playlist has been created. You can rename it or whatever.

However, you can't setup a specific layout for that specific playlist.
(But you can setup the order with SORT BY [field])

Again, a full list of syntax fields and operators can be found here.

Bonus: Great DSP plugins

Foobar2000 offers loads of great sound processing plugins.
For example, you can:

-Change the tempo, pitch, and speed of the playback (in real time and in two clicks) with foo_dsp_soundtouch

-Cut out the voice or the instrumental part (actually, the center, and side components; but in most recordings, the voice and the drums are center, and the rest is on the sides) with foo_dsp_centercut

-Simulate any reverberating environment (provided you have the impulse response) with the convolver

-Convert stereo to binaural...

-And finally, use any Winamp DSP plugin, with foo_dsp_winamp

A full list of DSP components here.

Bonus: Lightweight

Foobar2000 has a relatively small memory footprint, compared to similar featured media players.
I don't know if there are benchmarks, and it also depends largely of your foobar2000 configuration, but in my personal case, it loads much faster than winamp.

Also, the library search is instant (with an old hardware config and about 9.000 tracks), whereas it's getting a bit slow with winamp these days.

I don't know if use graphic skins changes that.

Bonus: Highest customizability

Imagine you buy a wardrobe in a furniture shop. Then you realize it's not quite the right size to fit it where you wanted, so you have to figure out another place. You wish the color was a little lighter. You still don't really like that handle. it would be good if there was more shelves in there, and less drawers. etc.

now imagine you buy wood and screws and make your wardrobe exactly how you want it to be. It takes some time, but when it's finished and you push it in the little space where it fits perfectly, look at it: you're satisfied. Plus, with your tools and stuff, you can change the handles, the number of shelves, the appearance, everything, anytime.

Once you configured your foobar, the satisfaction is similar. It's exactly how you want it to be, and you can change it anytime. And you won't hurt yourself.

Also, your foobar can keep improving. It's a bit like tuning a car. You can just regularly check components catalogs, and find out which component looks interesting. Foobar2000 core is made in such a way that 3rd party developers have extremely rich possibilities to make plugins. As a consequence, the developer community is rich, and there are many many many components available, making the possibilities of foobar2000 infinite.

Titleformatting allows you to write proper programming everywhere. For example, in the setup of a component, there can be a box "Folder" to setup the folder where the lyrics will be stored, for example. In another media player, you would probably just put a folder, maybe you would have a few options like "separate by artist" or whatever.
Here you can write a proer programm. Like, "if the genre is rock, put them on my external disk, otherwise, if the artist name contains a Z, put them in a folder with the intials of the artists, otherwise put them in folders by year and album." Whatever.

Burning CD? Requires Nero

Burning CD from foobar2000 is possible with an official plugin called foo_burninate.dll (page).

However, it needs NERO to be installed on the system.

Just make a playlist, then select all the tracks, right-click, and select Convert>Write Audio CD. You can burn physical CDs or Nero disc images (.nrg)

Video support? No.

Foobar2000 is essentially a music player (well you can listen to some stuff that are on the edge of the definition of music, if you want).

So, as far as I know, it can't play videos.

However, apparently, you could play videos in your default video player from foobar playlist with the component foo_default_videoplayer, but it doesn't seem to be compatible with the latest version of foobar2000.

As for now, you can download from there:

Feature suggestion

If there is a Winamp feature that you want to "translate" in Foobar2000, post your suggestion in comment here!

Features that I am currently investigating:
-Converting: many built-in features
-Tagging Power: many components...
-Replay Gain: perfectly built-in
-Emulate winamp : the Winamp API Simulator (to make foobar compatible with applications who used to talk with winamp)
-Use the Winamp visualizations: foo_vis_schpeck
-Use the Winamp : foo_dsp_winamp

Advanced search syntax comparison

Foobar can perform advanced searches as Winamp. Here is a table to translate the fields and operators from one to another.

Here is an example of Foobar2000 search syntax:
(%genre% HAS rock AND %date% LESS 2000) OR (%last_played% DURING LAST 2 WEEKS AND NOT %artist% HAS the) OR %genre% MISSING
Ok it doesn't make sense, it's just an example. I think it's self-explanatory. Just in case, it will return all music which: either has "rock" in its genre (alt. rock, classic rock, rock and roll...) and was released before or in 2000 ; or music played in the last 2 weeks and which artists does not contain "the"; or files that have an empty "genre" field.


Filename with path FILENAME
Filename without path
Length, in seconds LENGTH %tracklength% (in seconds)
Artist ARTIST %artist%
Album ALBUM %album%
Album Artist ALBUMARTIST %album artist%
Title TITLE %title%
Track number of file TRACKNO %track number% or %track%
Genre GENRE %genre%
Year YEAR %date%
Comment COMMENT %comment%
Composer COMPOSER %composer%
Disc number of a CD set DISC %disc%
File size, in kilobytes FILESIZE %filesize% (IN BYTES)
Last known file date/time on disk FILETIME ?
Containing folder FOLDER %directoryname%
Date/time of file imported to library or modified in library LASTUPD %added%1
Date/time of last play LASTPLAY %last_played%1
Rating value (1-5, or 0 or empty for unrated) RATING %rating%
Number of plays PLAYCOUNT %play_count% 1
Publisher or record label PUBLISHER %publisher%
ReplayGain Album Gain REPLAYGAIN_ALBUM_GAIN %replaygain_album_gain%
ReplayGain Track Gain REPLAYGAIN_TRACK_GAIN %replaygain_track_gain%
Bitrate (in KBPS) BITRATE %bitrate%
Total number of tracks on the disc TRACKS
Total number of discs in the set DISCS
1 for a podcast episode, 0 otherwise ISPODCAST
The name of the channel for a podcast PODCASTCHANNEL
Date/time when the podcast was published PODCASTPUBDATE
Sample rate
Replaygain album peak
Replaygain track peak
Any field

1: component foo_playcount is required. Please see this post.


String or integer equals value '=' IS
String or integer does not equal value '!=' NOT …. IS 1
String or integer is less than value '<' LESS
String or integer is greater than value '>' GREATER
String or integer is less than or equal to value '<=' NOT …. GREATER 1
String or integer is greater than or equal to value '>=' NOT …. LESS 1
String contains value HAS HAS
String does not contain value NOTHAS NOT …. HAS 1
String is similar to value ("the" and whitespace are ignored) LIKE
String begins with value BEGINS
String begins like value BEGINSLIKE
String ends with value ENDS
(no comparison value required) TRUE if is empty ISEMPTY MISSING
(no comparison value required) TRUE if is not empty ISNOTEMPTY PRESENT
During (ex: DURING 2007)
During last

boolean AND two comparisons &&, &, or AND AND
boolean OR two comparisons ||, |, or OR OR
prefix this to an expression for the boolean NOT of that expression !, or NOT NOT

1: Exampe: "NOT genre IS ROCK"
2: Thar argument must be in one of the following formats:YYYY, YYYY-MM, YYYY-MM-DD, YYYY-MM-DD HH, YYYY-MM-DD HH
3: The argument is (number) (time-unit), with (time-unit)=[SECONDS, MINUTES, HOURS, DAYS, or WEEKS]. (ex: DURING LAST 3 DAYS)