Foobar2000:FAQ

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Contents

General

Is foobar2000 still under active development?

Yes. Please see the forum and the foobar2000 homepage for the latest version and news about upcoming versions.

I have Windows Vista and my foobar2000 has strange behavior. Do you plan on fixing those bugs soon?

Foobar2000 fully supports Windows Vista (other than a limitation in Windows Explorer which causes the "Enqueue" command to not work properly with a large number of files). The problem is most probably due to a component, so updating to the latest version might resolve the problem.

I'm looking for a specific feature. How should I know if a third-party component suits my needs ?

If you are not the Ctrl+F kind of person with your web browser, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get familiar with it. Go to the components section, press Ctrl+F and search for keywords related to what you are looking for. Foobar2000 official 3rd party components site is another option, although it does not contain all the components known for 0.9.x at the moment. You will hopefully find something that suits you. Otherwise, maybe you can make a request in the foobar2000 forum or even better, code it yourself then share it with the community!

How do I install components?

Most of the components come in either a zip or a 7z file (use 7-zip or WinRar to extract these). Copy the DLL to the "components" folder in the Foobar2000 directory. NOTE: placing components anywhere within the Foobar2000 directory no longer works (as of 0.9.5.3)- you have to put the files in the "components" folder. However, sub-folders within the "components" folder is still supported.

How do I upgrade Foobar2000?

If it's a minor upgrade (e.g. 0.9.3 -> 0.9.4) then simply install it in the same directory. Remember to select the same "per user" setting while installing; you could lose all your configurations otherwise. If it's a major upgrade (e.g. 0.8 -> 0.9), it's recommended that you uninstall the previous version before installing the newer version, because the components are (almost always) incompatible with the newer version.

Why is dragging and dropping directories / files is behaving erratically?

The culprit is most likely an input component (foo_input_matroska is a known offender). Removing the input components and adding them back one-by-one can help you pinpoint the location. Note: Haali has coded a stable Matroska component that doesn't cause this problem.

Playback

There are multiple output methods available: DirectSound, waveOut and Kernel Streaming. Which one should I use?

The default setting (waveOut) is recommended; it should be safe to use anywhere. Using DirectSound results in better performance (less CPU overhead)—especially under Windows 2000, Windows XP or newer—but there shouldn't be any audible difference between the two. In certain rare cases, Kernel Streaming may produce better results than DirectSound/waveOut (if for some reason you need data sent through digital out to be bit-identical to source stream); however, bit-identical results with DirectSound have been reported on soundcards capable of mixing multiple streams in hardware (with hardware mixing enabled in DirectSound settings).

Please note that Kernel Streaming is an experimental feature with known issues, and using it is not recommended unless you have a clear need to do so. Most of perceived "sound quality differences" between DirectSound and Kernel Streaming are related to the fact that Kernel Streaming usually bypasses the Windows volume control. In addition, Kernel Streaming only works on Windows 2000, Windows XP or newer.

How can I send my files from Windows Explorer into a specific playlist, so as not to erase my current playlist?

Preferences → General → Always send to playlist (playlist name)

Why can't I listen to unfinished downloading files?

Foobar2000 needs exclusive access to files being played - they can be read by other software while foobar2000 is accessing them but not written to. A good workaround is to copy the unfinished file, then try to play it.


Look & Feel

I just saw a great looking foobar2000 window, but I don't know how to get mine looking the same way! Is there no hope for me?

Of course there is! First take a look at those threads and get in touch with what other users achieved:

Then, you are ready to give it a try! You can find some of the user's configuration in the links below. Note that Single Column Playlist and ColumnUI are third-party components that you need to download.

Is there a way to make my instant messenger's "Now Playing" show the song I'm listening to with foobar?

Yes, through plugins:

  • AMIP Complete now-playing plug-in for mIRC, PIRCH, Klient, Bersirc, other IRC and Mail clients, supporting full player control from mIRC, playlist search, clipboard integration, HTTP, dynamic image signatures, etc.
  • for MSN
  • for Miranda-IM

I have seen some people using something which pops up to display the song being listened to. Where can I find it?

  • It's called foo_prettypop. Note that it requires the .NET Framework to work.
  • If you are using Columns UI, it has a popup notification feature too ("Preferences -> Display -> ColumnsUI -> Status Bar/Systray (tab) -> Show popup notification baloon")

Is there a way to map my multimedia keyboard keys?

You can assign actions with keys including multimedia key from the in "Preference -> General -> Keyboard Shortcuts". If it still does not work, take a look at this tutorial.


Columns UI

How do I know which component is meant to be used with Columns UI?

Component section of the wiki shows which plugin you can use for ColumnsUI's interface.

How can I get tabbed panels?

Use uie tabs. Also, the latest version of Column UI (0.2.0 Alpha 3) has the feature built-in.

Where are the options for changing the playback buttons?

Right click on buttons area → Customise...

How can I display the album art and cover above my playlist?

To set the panels above your playlist, just use list all toolbars, then add the panels/toolbars/visualizations that you want to use. Organize them as you want them to be displayed. And finally, use the 'minimum height' values of the corresponding panels. As it is not a common way to use the toolbar, you may experience some unexpected behaviour. Keep in mind that it may create some display problems. Musicmusic may fix this into the next version of Columns UI.

I have more questions.

Refer to the offial ColumnsUI FAQ.


Database, Tagging & Album Cover

I updated my tags, but foobar still shows the old tags. How can I fix this?

This happens almost exclusively when you use a third party program to update tags (updates made by Foobar2000 itself, are immediately reflected). Select the file(s), right click on any of them, go to Tagging, then click on "Reload Info from File(s)".

How to guess tags based on file names or directory structure?

Select all tracks in the playlist → right click → open the "Properties" dialog → choose "Automatically Fill Values" from its "Tools" menu. Read full article...

How to automatically assign tracknumbers based on file selection?

Select all tracks that need to be filled with tracknumbers → right click → open the "Properties" dialog → choose "Auto Track Number" from the "Tools" menu.

Is there a way to have album covers downloaded automatically?

Unfortunately, it is not possible. But, there is a way to be 2 clicks away from those cover arts. Take a look at this thread for more info.

How do i make a playlist containing duplicate entries?

Unfortunately, this is not possible. However, you can use the album list panel component to remove the dead entries from your library, and use a free program like [1] to find the duplicate files in your computer.

How do i make a playlist containing new (recently added) files?

Recommended Method: Using the official play_count component and latest version of foobar2000 The updated official play_count adds information such as added, last played, first played, rating, and play count to a database (by default) or file tags. Use this component to put the "added" information in your files. Then use Album List/Facets/Media Library Search to create an autoplaylist with the following query: "%added%" DURING LAST 2 weeks.

Alternative Method: You need the following components: foo_cwb_hooks and Autoplaylist Manager. Open Masstagger by right clicking any file and choosing Tagging -> Manage Scripts. Press "Add", select either "Stamp Current Date and Time" (if you want the time when the files are added to foobar) or "Stamp File Creation Time" (if you want the time when the files are created), next set "ADDED" as the tag. Save this as a script by clicking SAVE(give it a meaningful name like "stamp added"). Now, Go to Preferences -> New File Tagger; enable the "Process files added to library" and select the Tagging/Scripts/Stamp Added (replace Stamp added with the name you gave it). Now create a new playlist and open the autoplaylist manager (Library -> Autoplaylist). under query put: "$cwb_datediff(%added%,%cwb_systemdate%)" LESS 30, and choose your playlist as "playlist to take over". Click OK. To apply the "ADDED" information retroactively to files added previously, select them, go to masstagger and choose "Stamp File Creation Time".

How do i save tags in a database (as opposed to writing it in the file)?

The official play count component can store tags such as rating, play count, last played, first played, and added in a database. If you need to store some other information in a database, use foo_custominfo. This component doesn't work well with the latest version of foobar2000.

How do i tag various artist albums (compilations)?

Enter the information in the "album artist" tag. Most people use "VA", "Various" or "Various Artists", but you can put anything you want.

Troubleshooting

List of banned components

Before doing any bug report, be sure that none of those problematic components are installed.

Menu items for some plugins don't show up. I reinstalled but I still don't see them, even though the plugin is shown as a Loaded Library.

If you delete a menu item for a plugin, and then re-add the plugin, it won't re-add the menu items. The solution is to open the Preferences dialog, go to "General → Keyboard Shortcuts" and add the items manually.

There is always a long delay before changes to the DSPs take effect. Can I reduce this?

Try reducing the output buffer length from Preferences → Playback → Output → (your selected output method). However, do not put it at the minimum length. 300ms should be enough (more if you are using several DSPs).

What are metadb_handle leaks?

metadb_handles are resources used in the metadata management in foobar2000. A leak indicates that a component does not release them (in time). The overall effect of such a leak is relatively harmless. Nevertheless, this is a programming error and foobar2000 detects and reports it to the user. Unfortunately, it is not possible for foobar2000 to detect which component caused the leak.

I hear static when fading in/out - pause/unpause.

Be sure you have the latest sound drivers installed and disable your DSPs before reporting it. Some users reported that using Kernel Streaming instead of the default output fixed the problem ("Preferences -> Playback -> Output"), but be aware that this plugin is still experimental and it is issue related in some cases.

Playing certain files over HTTP doesn't seem to work in foobar2000. It works in other players. What's wrong?

foobar2000 uses MIME types to determine the file type of a given file. If an invalid MIME type is returned, it will cause foobar2000 to use the wrong decoder. If an unidentified MIME type is returned, foobar2000 will use the extension to determine the file's contents. Using the extension to determine the file's contents is a difficult thing to do in code, and is unlikely to be included in foobar2000. To fix the problem, get the server to return valid MIME types. This is a server-side problem, not a foobar2000 problem.

Foobar2000 and other players

Is foobar really better than Winamp?

There is no set answer. According to public opinion, foobar is great for people wanting a minimal player, as well as the opposite: people needing advanced features. However, the medium users are lost between the profusion of settings and components to find. Some relevant links:

Is the sound really better with foobar?

As the author of foobar says himself, foobar doesn't have a better sound than the other players like Winamp. From a theoretical point of view, the sound from foobar2000 is not different from the sound from other players since a player can't improve the sound drastically (though it might be altered if not correctly set). Your hardware is much more important (audio card, speakers, headphones, even cables), as is the audio source (Audio CD? Lossless codec? Lossy codec?). The software part is only secondary.

Even if sound modifiers (DSPs) are used, they only widen the gap between the source and the result, which might actually degrade the sound quality.

I won't leave iTunes, it manages my iPod perfectly!

Maybe this will change your mind: foo_dop.

How do I add the iTunes like panel showing (genre, artist, album)?

Use Facets if you're using DefaultUI or the "Filter" UI component that comes with the latest version of Column UI. You can also use foo_browser with ColumnUI.

How do I add the iTunes like search toolbar?

Use foo_uie_quicksearch.

Why do my songs show a square block next to the title/artist fields in iTunes?

Although the ID3v2.4 is the standard, iTunes (and many other software players as well as portables) still support only ID3v2.3. A workaround for this is to use compatibility mode tagging (Preferences -> Advanced -> Tagging -> MP3 -> "ID3v2 Compatibility Mode")

How do I have a Winamp / MediaMonkey style "now playing" playlist?

Unlike winamp (and mediamonkey), there is no special "now playing" playlist in foobar; the foobar way of doing things is to play playlists. That said, you can use the playback queue to get a similar functionality. Instead of clicking "play", use the "add to playback queue" command. You can use foo_uie_queuemanager component to display a panel that displays queued songs.