Many call Foobar an audio player, but that really doesn’t do it justice. In truth it is so much more than that. Although, it can be said that programs such as iTunes are more than audio players. However, do not be mistaken, this is no iTunes.
On with the review. Firstly, the first thing that impressed me with Foobar2000 is that upon installation, you are left with a couple of options. The first is a standard installation of the application; whereas the other, the portable version which allows you to run it on the move from your pen drive, much like the apps mentioned in the review of PortableApps.
Personally, I chose the standard installation as this was what I required. Upon loading the program for the first time, you are faced with a menu allowing you to change the basic layout of foobar. This is useful as it allows you to customise the display to show such panels as visualisers, playlists and also the colour scheme of the entire program. I liked this feature as it means you can almost make the program your own from the start.
Thus far, I was very impressed. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. In terms of functionality it is second to none in my opinion. The open-source software handles many audio formats including the usual .mp3 as well as lossless music formats such as .flac which incidentally was the reason I downloaded this application in the first place. Not only can it play them seamlessly, it also allows for fast and effective conversion with no loss of quality. It is extremely easy to execute, simply highlight the target tracks, right click and select convert.
You can convert the tracks to almost any format. Personally, I converted them to .wav which was annoying as I lost all the ID3 tags, however the transition was smooth and I converted a 320mb .flac album to .wav in just a minute or two. I was extremely impressed by this.
There is a preset menu of formats you can convert to, however, any users that also possess LAME MP3 encoder, can create their own profiles to convert to with a little extra modification, which is ultimately quite simple.
In terms of playback, Foobar is unrivalled. It allows you to modify the track until it is indistinguishable from the original. Featuring equalizers as well as preset profiles which can add all the usual effects such as extra bass, treble etc. you know the score.
Other features include CD ripping which is as fast as any other program and can do so to a high quality lossless format as well as any compressed format you would like. You can also organise media libraries and networking which just complete this magnificent all round audio manager.
Overall I give the Foobar2000 audio player 9 out of 10. The only reason I don’t give it 10, is due to the lack of aesthetics which personally, I can live without because I use it for ripping and conversion above anything else so I do not need an application with the graphical appeal of say, iTunes.