Take Control of Your Music With Foobar2000

Everybody enjoys listening to music. However, what really determines your listening experience is how you decide to listen to your music. Many music lovers are moving their music to the cloud. While this is far more convenient compared to the traditional method of having a locally stored library, the quality of music is not always preserved.

Audiophiles such as myself typically use desktop players. Many desktop music players such as iTunes don’t always perform very well and don’t look too great either. If you happen to be on the lookout for a responsive, aesthetically pleasing, and free music player, Foobar2000 may be what you are looking for.

Is it worth checking out? Let’s take a look!

Getting Started

To install Foobar, head over to Foobar2000.org and click on the download tab. From this page you can download the latest version of the application. Once downloaded, you simply install Foobar2000 as you would with any other Windows app. I really admire the fact that the Foobar installer does not make an attempt to sneak any toolbars or other unwanted pieces of software on your computer. It seems as though that has been a common trend recently.

Foobar Installation

To import your music into Foobar, click File and select New Playlist from the context menu. From there, click File and select Add Folder and you can select a folder to import. Foobar imports your music almost instantly and the process is extremely simple.

If a new file is added to your music library in Windows Explorer, Foobar will automatically synchronize the folder with your specified playlist. If your music directory includes multiple file types that you may not want to import into Foobar, you have the ability to exclude specific file extensions in the preferences.

Preferences

Customization is an essential aspect of any decent application. Foobar certainly does not fall short in this category. With over 20 different sections in the preferences, Foobar fits your needs rather than the other way around.

Foobar Preferences Menu

The amount of configuration options Foobar provides you with is astounding. Inside of the preferences menu, you’ll find a total of eight categories:

  • Components – List of installed decoders and extensions for Foobar
  • Display – Interface options
  • Keyboard Shortcuts – Modify the action that is taken when specific keystrokes are pressed
  • Media Library – Select and modify the folder that your music is imported from
  • Networking – Adjust buffer size and set a proxy server for music that is streamed over the network
  • Playback – Adjust ReplayGain and configure preamp options
  • Shell Integration – Customize how Foobar interacts with the Windows shell
  • Advanced – Change settings for decoding, networking, playback, and updates

One particular feature that I find to be extremely useful is something called ReplayGaine. Essentially, ReplayGaine will analyze the music that is in your library and average the audio levels to prevent sudden blasts of music. This is extremely helpful if you often listen to music while others sleep within your vicinity.

While device synchronization is not included in Foobar by default, there are multiple extensions available for the program that will allow Foobar to sync your music with your iPod, iPhone, or Android device without the need for other pieces of software. The iPod synchronization manager is actually rather impressive. Your music syncs quickly and the process is relatively simple.

User Interface

On the Windows desktop, Foobar blends right in with the rest of your applications and remains to be one of the least obtrusive music clients I have ever used. If you happen to dislike any aspect of Foobar’s interface, you have the ability to customize just about every detail of it. The problem that I experience with other, more popular media players such as iTunes is the fact that the interface looks very foreign. On the Windows desktop, iTunes tends to stand out and be rather distracting at times. Foobar’s interface actually has the opposite effect.

Foobar Screenshot

The layout editor allows you to select an element of the interface and simply click and drag the element to your desired location. If that isn’t enough, you have the ability to open the preferences menu and change anything from the items that appear in a context menu to the font that is used. If you feel the need to configure Foobar even further, the official website provides you with a plethora of extensions that you can download and add to Foobar for free.

Overall, I find Foobar’s interface to be very pleasing to the eye. It does not consist of any flashy animations and has a very simplistic and responsive feel.

Wrap Up

It’s difficult to find a flaw with Foobar. It’s configurable, extendable, clean, free, and supports a wide variety of file formats. If you find yourself consistently wanting to squeeze a little more out of your current media player, I’m almost positive that Foobar will be able to satisfy your needs.

I have, however, been experiencing issues while listening to audio files in the FLAC format. If the file is over 3GB, Foobar will begin to become unresponsive and eventually crash. I have yet to hear from other users who have experienced this issue but it remains a recurring event on my end.

Otherwise, I have had a very pleasant experience with Foobar. If you are interested in trying it out for yourself, head over to Foobar2000.org and download it. I highly doubt you’ll regret it. Whether you’re an audiophile or just a casual listener, Foobar provides you with a great music listening experience.

Know of another great Windows application we should check out? Let us know by posting a comment down below.


Summary

Foobar2000 is a free music player that is extremely configurable and looks great.

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