I can’t believe it took me so long to find this gem but Foobar 2000 is the most geeky and cool media player by far. The name alone is good enough to get a geek to drool, download and check it out. What’s great even better is that its Open Source freeware, is hugely customizable when it comes to the user interface and is extendable using plugins. Geekisme indeed.
So why was I looking for a new tool to play some mp3’s with? Well I was getting tired of my trusty WinAmp really. WinAmp used to rock when it was doing exactly what it was made for. Playing mp3 or other music files in a minimalistic interface and having some kick-ass features I didn’t see in other players. Over the years however WinAmp started suffering from feature bloat as more functions where added like a CD ripper and burner, a video player and a ton of other stuff I never touched. I stopped updating at some point cause all the new stuff just slowed it down and I wasn’t using it anyway.
So when I started shopping around for something new and shiny to play my audio in I wanted it to support the following features at least:
- Be a damn good music player. Support for all well-known formats. You know, the basics.
- Have a media library, indexing all my mp3s and making it searchable. There too much stuff there to just pick & play.
- Look kinda nice. It’s 2010 after all.
- Send scrobbler data to Last.fm. Can’t let those awesome tracks go unnoticed now can we!
- Global hot-key support. I want to be able to stop/skip/pause a track using a global shortcut. No need to clicky-clicky around with the mouse, just hit CTRL-ALT-HOME and it’s paused. Geeky awesomeness.
Foobar2000 has em all, but you guessed that by now. You have to configure the global hot-keys yourself (Preferences > Display > Keyboard Shortcuts) so I copied the ones I’m used to from WinAmp. For the Last.fm support you need this plugin. The rest comes out of the box.
One really neat extra Foobar has is that the user interface is completely configurable (see these screenshots). You can pick & choose how you want it to look by selecting the UI components to display. Want the media library on the left? Add a graphical equalizer? Super minimalist look? Go ahead and tweak your ass off. There’s a number of preconfigured layouts but you can go ahead and start from scratch too. Wicked! It’s a hell of a time waster once you start messing with it too I’ve noticed. Hmm.
So if you’re looking for a good and lightweight media player, check out this Foobar 2000 thing and I bet you won’t be disappointed. It’s just a pitty it ain’t open sourced.