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Foobar2000 Music Player…Make it Look and Work Great in Minutes!

Foobar2000 Music Player…Make it Look and Work Great in Minutes!

Foobar Music Player for Windows is one of the coolest and music players.  However, when you first install Foobar, it’s not cool at all and it can take weeks of studying the forums to figure out how to setup and configure the player to look and work the way you want it.  We’re gonna help you get it done in the time it takes to get through the instructions in this post.

Let’s get started…

Installation – Download the latest stable version from the Foobar2000 site.  When installing select Standard Installation.

Download and install each of these Foobar components:

Layouts and Buttons:

Standard Installation Layout (not very attractive or useful)

Importing Layouts – To import the custom Layouts, Click: File > Preferences > Display > Columns UI, and press the “Import” button and navigate to the Jaguar folder for the file called Foobar_Layouts.fcl.  These are the layout views you’ll have to choose from.

Album Layout (I prefer this one with the Artwork splashed across the screen of our TV)Jaguar - album cover layout

iTunes Layout (this adds the Genre filter and a playlist section at the bottom-right)

Low-Resolution Layout (this works well for screens set to low resolution)

Adding Music Library Files – Click: File > Preferences > Media Library, and press the “Add” button, then navigate to the folder with your music files.  I like to prevent the system from searching for new files after Foobar has started; to do this, right-click the path and de-select “Monitor for Changes”.  Make sure to always click the “Apply” button to save any settings changes you make in Preferences.

Setting Layout – To choose between the layouts shown above, Click: File > Preferences > Display > Columns UI, and select the Layout tab and choose one of the Presets. Click the Apply button, to see how they look on your screen.  Next, click the Filter tab (to the right of the Layout tab) and in the bottom section where it says Filter select “By field list above”.

Setting Playback – Click: File > Preferences > Playback, and under ReplayGain set Source Mode and Processing to “None”, then under Other check the box “Cursor Follows Playback”.

You can see in the top-right corner of the player it says “Repeat (playlist)”; I usually select that as the default, but you can also select Random, Shuffle (albums), etc.

Memory Play – We don’t find Memory Play to be the tremendous sonic advantage many audiophiles claim.  Music files are not played directly from the disc without Memory Play, they’re streamed in pieces to memory and those pieces are dynamically streamed and read from memory as the track plays.  With Memory Play the entire file is loaded into memory before the track starts.  There’s no reason not to use this feature.  To set it, Click: File > Preferences > Advanced > Playback > Full file buffering up to (kb), and type the buffer size into the box.  A setting of 200,000 is equal to 200MB, which is larger than 99.9% of files.  Machines with less memory should be set lower, depending on the amount of free memory available.

Setting the Output – IMPORTANT – If you’re not getting sound the most likely reason is because the Output needs to be set.  Contrary to popular belief, sound quality is not determined by the player software, but by the Output Driver you select here.  The player just controls the music, to Stop, Start, Select Track, etc.  Many DACs require you to install a special driver and some use drivers contained within Windows.

Click: File > Preferences > Output, and under Device look for your device with WASAPI, KS or ASIO.  Direct Sound may work, but doesn’t give the best sound.  Set the Output Format to the highest bit rate your DAC is capable of.  You can experiment later with the Buffer Length and Dither to see what sounds good to you.

The output driver you use in your player has a slight, but noticeable, effect on the sound. I use ASIO4All with my DAC. I don’t hear much difference between WASAPI and Kernel Streaming.  ASIO4All sounds a bit better than those and the driver that came with my DAC, but it can be a bit buggy to get running.  Read our ASIO4All post to learn how to install and use this driver.

ASIO – Many DACs will have an ASIO option automatically available with the driver installation.  You may not use ASIO as your driver, but it’s a good idea to install it and see if it works with your DAC.  First, download this ASIO plugin from the link below and past it into your Components folder, then double click it to automatically install into Foobar (note: the newer Foobar components will install automatically when you double click them).  This is just the interface, not the driver.  An ASIO driver may be included with your DAC or you could download the free ASIO4All driver (this is advanced stuff, so be prepared to spend some time getting it to work or get lucky and have it work right away).

Click: File > Preferences > Output > ASIO Virtual Devices, and press the “Add New” button.  You will see the available devices, so find your DAC, click the first line and select “Left”, then click the second line and select “Right”, to assign the channels.  If you press the “Configure” button you can change your ASIO settings, such as Latency.  Check the “Run with high process priority” box and the “Use 64-bit” box (if your driver is 32-bit you may have to go back and uncheck the 64-bit box to get sound).  Click the “OK” button and you should see your ASIO.  Click “OK” in Preferences, then reopen Preferences again and you should see ASIO as an option in the Output section, under Device.

Sorting Without “The” in Artist Names – If you want The Beatles to sort in Artists under “B” instead of “T”, do this. Click: File > Preferences > Display > Columns UI – and select the Filter tab.  On the Artist line double click the area under Field and replace “Album Artist;Artist” with “$swapprefix(%album artist%)”.

Using SoX Resampler – SoX is a DSP that resamples your music through a special algorithm.  I actually prefer our sound with SoX Mod2, set to “Upsample x2”.  Click: File > Preferences > Playback > DSP Manager, and select “Resampler (SoX) mod2”, then press the Left Arrow to move it to the left side.  Select the new item on the left and press the “Configure selected” button to adjust the settings.

DSD Playback – In order to use this feature you will need a DAC that’s compatible with DSD files, but many new DACs are compatible and the DSD format is gaining steam as the dominant format for high resolution music files.  Note: before you get started with DSD you’ll need to go through the ASIO steps in the section above and make sure you have an ASIO driver installed and that ASIO playback is working.  First, you’ll need to download the files at the link below.  From this folder, copy and paste the Foobar plugin called “foo_input_SACD” into your Components folder and double click the file to automatically install it.  Next, go back to the folder and double click the ASIOProxyInstall icon and click through all the buttons to install the program.

Now go back to the Foobar preferences menu and select Output > ASIO.  You should now see a new entry under ASIO Drivers called “foo_DSD_asio”.   Double click this entry and select your driver in the drop-down box.  Select the DSD rate of the file you will play (DSD64, DSD128, etc) and you can probably leave the other settings alone.  Finally, go back to Output and under Devices select “ASIO: foo_DSD_asio” and go to Tools > SACD and under ASIO Driver Mode select “DSD”.

Upsampling to double and quad DSD in the player (including other players like jRiver and Rune) has become very popular with DSD-capable DACs.  You’ll find the sound can be so good with upsampling, there’s little reason to upgrade your music library with high-res files (which may be of inferior source material)…you’ll find it to be a revelation in your listening.

Here’s a link to some free DSD files to experiment with.

Check out this link for more DSD setup instructions.

Remote Control Setup – Follow these instructions to use a tablet or phone to control Foobar through WiFi.

  • Install the MonkeyMote app in the app store and install on your device.  There’s a free app and another that costs a few dollars.
  • – Close Foobar if open, then download and install the Foobar plugin at this link (click Allow if you see a firewall notification).
  • – Connection may be automatic if you have iTunes installed, but if not, click this link and follow the manual instructions.

Network Device Connectivity – If you have a music player or other device that connects with WiFi or an Ethernet cable you’ll need this plugin.  Install the plugin, then select that device in Foobar Playback output.

Album Artwork – Foobar does not automatically download album art.  However, follow the instructions at the link below and we’ll show you exactly how to install and use the Album Art Downloader program and integrate it with Foobar

Tidal and WiMP Music Streaming Services – Here are some instructions to use these two music streaming services with Foobar.  They instruct you to install Kodi as a requirement for the streaming plugin.

Going Further – If you want to make additional customizations and refinements, the forum below is your bible.  Every answer is there, if you’re willing to take the time to look for it.

The Foobar website has the latest player version if you’d like to update, as well as additional components you can add to your Components folder.

We recommend using Exact Audio Copy (to rip your discs with error correction).  You’ll find our post about how to setup and use the program here:

How to Rip Your Discs with Exact Audio Copy

Exact Audio Copy is the gold standard for ripping music CDs onto a Windows computer.  With the multiple layers of error checking in EAC no other program will give you a more accurate rip.  If your discs are relatively free of scratches, you’re probably fine to use iTunes, with the Error Correction feature selected or a similar program.  However, last time I checked (a few years ago) EAC was about 20% faster, iTunes doesn’t do FLAC and it takes up a lot of space for a player you would never want to use with Windows.  Older versions of EAC required a lot of knowledge to configure, but the new version is a lot more automated, so this is going to be much easier for me to show you how to use it.

Let’s start by downloading the program at the link below.  When installing you can select all components, but I deselect the GD3 Metadata Plugin, because it isn’t free.

When the setup wizard starts:

  • Select the drives you rip from,
  • Select “I prefer accurate results”,
  • Put an unscratched music CD in the drive (something that’s widely distributed, so it can be found in the database),
  • Wait for the test to finish as it detects the features of your drive,
  • When you reach Encoder Selection select “FLAC”,
  • Click through the next few windows, supply your email address, select “I am an expert” and “Finish”.

Submit your info below to join Jaguar’s Email List and you’ll receive an email with the Jaguar EAC Profile (.cfg file).

[email-download download_id=”773″ contact_form_id=”907″]

  • Install the Profile Settings: After submitting the form above and saving the emailed file, open EAC and go to the menu and select, EAC > Profiles > Load Profile and select the .cfg file.  Check the settings described below to make sure they’re correct.

In the Menu, Click: EAC > EAC Options, and use the settings for each tab as follows:

  • Extraction: “Lock drive” should be selected, set the Extraction and the Error Recovery areas at the bottom to “High”.
  • General: on this tab I leave the default settings and check the “Eject CD after Extraction” box.
  • Filename: paste this in the Naming Scheme box: %genre%\%artist%\%albumtitle%\%tracknr2%-%title% and paste this in the Various Artists box: %genre%\%albumtitle%\%tracknr2%-%title%  Now you’ll have a Genre, Artist and Album hierarchy created when you rip each disc.  You can make changes if you want to alter how the folders and files are created and named.
  • Directories: you can either select a folder for your files to save in the same place with each rip or set it to ask you where to save with each disc.
  • Write: I prefer to deselect the Uppercase box, and select the Disable copy protection and select the CDRDAO boxes.
  • Other Tabs: leave the default selections.

In the Menu, Click: EAC > Drive Options, and use the settings for each tab as follows:

  • Extraction Method: Put a regular CD in the drive and press the “Detect Read Features” button, run the test and press “Apply”.  Now put a heavily scratched CD in the drive and press the “Examine C2 Features” button, run the test and press “OK”.
  • Drive: press the “Autodetect read command” button.
  • Gap Detection: select “Accurate” for Detection Accuracy.  To set the Gap/Index you’ll have to try a few settings after you’re ready to rip discs.  The way to do this is to rip a track and note the time it takes to finish, then rip with the other settings and choose the one that has the fastest time.
  • Other Tabs: leave the default selections.

Compression Options are automatically set to encode in FLAC.  You can change the type of encoding.  My advice is that you not be sucked into the myth that uncompressed lossless files sound better than compressed lossless files, due to the decoder using additional resources to decompress the file.  In the grand scheme of resources the FLAC decoder uses almost nothing.  Music files are played from the computer’s memory and by the time the bits hit the memory they’ve been decompressed and there’s no difference between the two files.  WAV and AIFF files both take 35-40% more hard drive space and WAV files don’t store the CD tag information.

Now you can go through the steps to configure the Gap/Index setting described in the paragraph above.  After that you’re going to want to save your Profile settings, so you can import them later, should you update to a newer version of the software.  You can also use this Profile if you move to a new computer, but you’ll want to go through the Drive Options menu again with a new ripping drive.

To save a Profile, Click: EAC > Profiles > Save Profile.  When you want to import the profile, just select “Load Profile”.

Now you’re ready to start ripping discs.

  • Put a disc in the drive,
  • To import the track names and other disc info you’ll need to be connected to the Internet, then click the Disc icon between the Eject and Mailbox icons.  Change the icon if you want to try a different information database.

  • The next step is important to remember before each rip.  Verify the imported info in these four boxes (like the Genre) is set correctly.  If you don’t change the incorrect info before ripping you’ll have to rename the ripped folder and file tags afterward if you want to correct it. Much easier to do it now.

  • Final step…press the CMP icon on the left to start ripping.

Remember to be sure to examine and listen to your first few rips…if there’s something not working with the compression or naming scheme you don’t want to figure it out 50 discs into your collection.


Free Download! The Real-Time Audio Operating System.

Note 10/23/2017: This OS was built in 2013, so drivers for some newer motherboard components (such as Ethernet) may not be compatible.  We recommend you check out Daphile.


Note (June 9, 2014) – an updated version has been uploaded.  The RTOS now includes CD ripping software, a Mytek USB driver and an updated M2Tech driver.

This project is a Real-Time operating system for audio, designed just for playing computer music files, with a mouse and computer screen or TV (no other frills).  I’ll eventually make it available to a wide audience, but for now I want to get it out for a few of you to try it.

This operating system uses a real-time Linux kernel. The goal of realtime is to give audio processes priority, to prevent interruption by non-audio processes (those that aren’t system critical). In studio production environments these interruptions can result in latency, which is a problem for recording. We’re not concerned with latency, but we can do without audio processes being interrupted. The theory is that these interruptions could disrupt the precision of the clock timing and result in jitter. Of course there are other factors that affect your sound quality, particularly your player’s driver. However, there’s no question realtime operation is different; a little Nu-Force headphone amp requires a latency setting of 17.4ns to remain stable with a generic kernel and can go as low as 8.6ns with the realtime kernel.

Here’s a pic of the player and music server interface.Rhythmbox - Jack

DAC USB compatibility can be an issue for Linux, because DAC manufacturers who develop proprietary USB drivers usually develop only for Windows and Mac. However, if your DAC doesn’t require special driver installation you can connect with USB. If you use a SPDIF connection to a soundcard that should work too (most soundcards support Linux). A Linux driver for M2Tech products is also installed, though I don’t have an M2Tech unit on hand to test.

The OS is easy to run without installation, just burn a Live DVD or create a bootable thumb drive.

Submit your info below to join Jaguar’s Email List and we’ll send you an email with the OS Download Link.

[email-download download_id=”748, 681″ contact_form_id=”908″]