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Foobar2000 has a clean, minimalistic UI, small filesize, and is light on resource usage.
Pro Functionality can be extended with components
Foobar200 has over a hundred components to choose from that add UI functionality, decoding support for various formats, etc.
Pro Supports a wide variety of audio formats
Foobar2000 natively supports MP1, MP2, MP3, MPC, AAC, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, ALAC, WavPack, WAV, AIFF, AU, SND, CD, Speex, Opus, and support for additional formats can be added with plugins.
Pro Highly customisable
Pro Plugins can be used to bypass Windows mixer to output a bit-exact signal
Through the use of a plugin (of which there are three popular ones), users can get bit-exact sound output straight to their DAC or soundcard. While not something every user will use, for audiophiles this is a pretty important feature.
Pro Advanced layout
The player has a layout-editing mode that allows for a wide variety of UI setups.
Pro Internal search is a beast
Foobar2000 provides an extensive search to look through your library. It supports special queries to only look for certain tags and other conditions and is incredibly fast in doing so even with over 20k of songs in your library.
Pro Good quality
It was made in order to be as respectful to music as it can be.
Pro ReplayGain support
ReplayGain can be applied on a per album or track basis, allowing the user to set up an even volumed listening experience.
Pro Variety of skins available
Foobar 2000 has powerful theming support.
Browsing a site like DeviantArt will give you hundreds of skins (that have been made by other users) to choose from.
Pro Built-in support for Windows Media streaming
Foobar2000 can natively play ASX/MMS/RTSP streams.
Pro Transcodes all supported audio formats
The converter component allows foobar2000 to convert from and to any file formats that the player is capable of playing back.
Pro The many add-ons (components) available
Includes dynamic range analysis, integrity checkers, equalizers, and visualizers, such as waveform, oscilloscope, spectrum, spectrogram (waterfall), peak and smoothed VU meters, and X-Y (Shpect Lissajous) displays.
Pro Random/Shuffle on an album basis.
I'm old enough to have a lot of music where whole albums are worth listening to. This is also essential when the composers created music where the flow from one song to the next is part of the art of the album. E.g. on Queen's ANight_at_the_Opera_, the first song -- Death_On_Two_Legs -- is a very hard rock song with very pissed off lyrics. The next is _Lazing_On_a_Sunday_Afternoon, which is a very lighthearted amusing song. The contrast is wonderful. Also many artists have one song flow into another and breaking them up by using random on a song basis really breaks the music. Plus shuffle prevents repeats until the entire playlist is done. If you want, you can select individual songs and the are shuffled as if they are the entire album. It's harder to describe than to do:
configure play mode to shuffle albums
If you're like me -- and I know I am:
add library to list
But you can be more selective:
select albums (or songs if you only like a few)
if (mood("not in for the current"))
} while !shuffled_off("mortal_coil");
Pro Lots of themes made by foobar users.
Pro MP3 player management
Users can easily send their music files to their MP3 device through the use of the right click menu when browsing their library.
Pro Good compatibility with Windows Media Center IR remote controls and wireless mini-keyboards
Foobar works well with Windows Media Center IR remote controls with virtual mouse functions; also with wireless mini-keyboards.
Pro Compatible with Microsoft Media Center (MMC) remote controls
Con Not easy to skin
Out of the box it looks like something out of win2000. It is also very difficult to skin for the normal user.
Con Provides little in terms of hand-holding
Advanced tasks such as skinning and installing components may be a bit intimidating for beginners because they require knowing your way around the computer, not just the player.
Con Outdated Plugins
Many, many plugins are outdated and not maintained for years, leading to stability issues with a lof of them. A rather complex SDK and missing sufficient documentation makes maintaining or creating new plugins unnecessarily hard.
Getting to that neat GUI setup you've seen somewhere is probably impossible because of that.
Con Locks files and folders, making it hard to manage them
Several parts of Foobar lock files and folders in a way that they cannot be file-managed (move/copy/rename/delete) easily in the program (and externally). With the waveform plugin it's even worse. Cannot delete a file until the waveform is fully scanned.
Con Cumbersome start-up
Foobar2000 requires a bit of work to get it up and running.
Con The previous button doesn't work in random playback
You are unable to go back to a song when using random playback.
Con Breaks existing components every few updates
Makes it very hard to keep a customized version of Foobar running smoothly without worrying about non-working components.
Con Periodical unexpected shutdown
Con Not 'easy' as in plays stream services/ podcasts etc.
May be asking too much, this app is PERFECT for the 'hardcore'.