A silly little blog for me to drop the excrement of my mind.
-or- media player nirvana attained
Published on March 1, 2005 By BlueDev In iTunes
Untitled It isn't any surprise that I love music. It also isn't any surprise I am a geek and love fooling around with my computer. Not too long ago I wrote a couple of articles comparing PC media players, specifically audio players. I tested a ton, and gae my run down on each one. (Article 1 and Article 2)

The final conclusion (for those too lazy/disinterested to read or whodon't recall) was that, in my opinion, foobar2000 was the overall winner for music player. One of the biggest places foobar2000 scores points is in the customizability of the player. Sure, Winamp, WMP and others have fantastic looking skins, and you ca extend the functionality to a certain degree with plugins and such. But not to the degree that foobar supports. And since many who read this (at least on the Wincustomize side) are into PC customization, well, that should be a selling point. So I decded to chronicle my adventures in foobar customization.

First off, foobar2000 sounds fabulous. Sound is going to be subjective, so to each their own. But to me, I like the sound I get from foobar more than any other. It is more rich and full,with more punch and bang from the electric guitars (that dominate my music collection), as well as reproducing the high tones with more clarity than other players. There are many other players that sound great as well, but with plugins like this noise sharpening one, the sound just keeps getting better (as good as you can get from a lossy format like .mp3).

But the customization doesn't end with dsp plugins. There are a ton of other good ones out there as well. First off, I have to admit, out of the box foobar2000 looks pretty plain. That it accepts Windowblinds skins is about all you can say for it visually (at least it will always "match" right?). Here is foobar out of the box:

Not much to look at, eh? Especially considering soe of the eye popping skins for other players out there. But it sounded good enough to me and was so lite on resources that I stuck with it for a while. Just kept it minimized most of the time. Then I stumbled across Columns UI and gave it a try. It added ability to customize the columns of my playlist and made things look a little nicer:

Something of an improvement, but it still wasn't doing much for me. I discovered there was now another visualization possible, and added that. Sort of fun:

But I was getting bored. So I hunted through many of the forums out there that address foobar customization. And found some really cool toys. I discoered I could add album art to my foobar (one of my favorite aspects of both WMP and iTunes). I could also add a sidebar via Columns UI, and expand the visualization there. I also added an albums list, track info, and a tabbed stack panel. All of these goodies got added into my side bar. Then I used the azrael config for Columns UI to change the color and customize the content. By the time all was said and done I was pretty pleased with the final result of my foobar customization:

Bu there was still something I was missing. Every time I saw a screenshot with an iTunes widget that would display album art on the desktop I was jealous. But my refusal to budge from foobar was firm. Then I stumbled across Toaster for foobar (ported by the original author from the Winamp version). I was overjoyed. Now I could have a spiffy little album art on my desktop (to which I can add any skin I want - thoug I haven't yet). This sucker was exactly what I wanted. But I stumbled across foo remote, quite simply the very best toolbar control plugin I have ever seen. Not onl did it add the basic buttons to the toolbar, but they sit there all the time and start foobar when I hit one. It also pops up the playlist that I can manipulate when I mouse over, the buttons are customizable, and it just plain rocks. So now, with theabove foobar config, along with Toaster and the foo remote I have the following sitting nicely on my desktop:

And best of all? I can have all that running and foobar2000 is using ~4 megs of RAM. Not too shabby at all. So there you have it, from boring to awesome in not too many steps. I love my foobar!

on Mar 02, 2005
You may convince me yet..... but I want my media library that automatically recognizes and categorizes new music i put into watched folders . Do that, Foobar, and I'm yours.
on Mar 03, 2005
Yeah, lack of dynamic media library management is the biggest downfall. I suppose that doesn't matter to me too much since I only add full albums every once in a while.
on Mar 03, 2005
foo_looks acts as a freeform skinnable replacement gui. Involves Lua scripting, so way out of the average skinner's league. Cool though.
on Mar 03, 2005
Yeah, I have used foo_looks before. It had some problems for me though. And since I keep foobar minimized to the tray, I didn't see much of a use for it, especially with toaster and foo remote.
on Apr 19, 2005
I love foobar for its small footprint, I haven't toucher or customized it in anyway, but then again music isn't that important to me, just background.