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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.


A Free and Accurate Turntable Setup Tool

This Free Turntable Setup Tool online will assist you with setting up the cartridge geometry on your turntable.  With this software you can print a very accurate turntable protractor on a piece of paper.  Jaguar has personally compared the results of this software to the $50 Mofi and $250 Feickert protractors and found absolutely no difference.  It may not be as durable or convenient as those others, but it’s free.

This software was created by a super smart guy named Conrad Hoffman.  Here’s a link to Conrad’s website and a link to download the tool.


Using the Tool

  • Read Me: Start by reading the instructions in the Read Me file.
  • Spindle to Pivot Distance: Set this according to the specification given by the manufacturer of your tonearm.
  • Inner/Outer Groove Radius: These are automated calculations, based on the box you select on the right (don’t touch these figures).
  • DIN/IEC/Typical: These settings have to do with the distance of the music tracks from the center of the album.  Choose “Typical”, which is the most accurate, on average.
  • Printer Correction: It’s possible, but very unlikely your printer is not printing to accurate scale, on the X or Y axis.  The print will give you horizontal and vertical guides to measure with a ruler, to confirm the scale.
  • Arm ID: This allows you to label your sheet, for example, a particular tonearm name.
  • Lofgren/Stevenson: Choose Lofgren A; I recommend this because it generally provides the lowest amount of total distortion (Stevenson the most distortion); see the graphs below.
  • Print Arc Template: Click this button to finish.

CaptureTurntable Protractor

Lofgren ALofgren BStevenson* Note: Distortion calculations are dependent on the distance of the most inner and most outer groove, from the center.  Generally Lofgren A offers slightly less total distortion than Lofgren B and notably less than Stevenson.

* Source: John Elison