Foobar2000 "How To" - Excellent Choice for External Player

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Foobar2000 "How To" - Excellent Choice for External Player

Postby manwithaplan » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:08 pm

Just wanted to post something that will hopefully be helpful to others that were on a mission to find a great, simple external player to use with Subsonic as "External Player with Playlist". After trying everything I could think of, and running into limitation after limitation with just about everything, I have settled on Foobar 2000 as my player of choice (when streaming from a computer anyway). For now anyway, I no longer need VLC really - sad but true, and I certainly don't need WinAmp or Windows Media Player. Again, this may change, most likely will at some point, but for now Foobar 2000 is going to allow me to just go back to enjoying the music on several platforms. Here were my requirements, all met by Foobar 2000.

1. Native FLAC and WAV streaming, ie non-transcoded (including the ability to stream 'high-rez' FLAC and WAV files, such as 24bit/96kHz or 24bit/192kHz music without conversion)
2. Full support for SSL/HTTPS based Subsonic servers (provided the SSL cert is valid, real, trusted root-CA signed cert)
3. Simple, non-intrusive, low memory footprint (doesn't try to do too many things, just plays music, doesn't focus on radio stations, downloading web content, interacting with 15 other programs, etc.)
4. Regularly updated and improved in small but meaningful ways, but not with plans to make it more than it is...focused, confident development in other words
5. Has additional targeted components that can be installed to add convenience and add'l playback capability when desired by the user - (for new audio file types that may come about in the future)

Believe it or not, VLC cannot do the above, at least not in its current state of development. The big problem I have with VLC now is that it does not play nice with SSL-based streaming. I have been in contact on the VLC forums with the developer and they simply don't know what exactly is wrong with the gnutls component that they just grab and use within VLC. It was great for streaming from non-SSL sites for a long time, but it cannot handle SSL properly in its current form. There are other limitations as well in case anyone cares, but HTTPS was the big one. I hold out some limited hope that this will change in the future, but I need to get back to enjoying the music I've painstakingly collected, and I'm not going to continue beating my head against the wall waiting for VLC to get its stuff together.

So...Foobar 2000 it is...now, I am a Mac guy thru and thru, so you're saying "that's great for Windows users, but there is no Foobar 2000 for Mac's!"...you are correct, there is no Mac client of Foobar. But I'm a huge believer and user of virtual machines, and VMWare Fusion is on every one of my Mac's, and I could not live day to day without it - I run it all the time anyway. I know there is another approach using Wine and all, but I don't want to add complexity where I don't need it. I run a Windows 7 Virtual Machine nearly all the time on my Mac's, and with memory so cheap these days, why not? So, with some configuring of Fusion to act the way I want it to, I can have my cake and eat it too on my Mac's. Here is how I did it:

1. Use the latest 5.x Fusion version to run Windows 7 (or XP if you want, or whatever).
2. Set the view mode in Fusion up in 'Unity' view, so that windows programs are visually treated just like Mac programs, ie independently appear down in the Dock.
3. Go to Default Applications under Settings in your specific windows VM, and enable the last option called 'Run Windows Applications from your Mac's Application folder'
4. Then using Firefox on your Mac, go into Firefox-->Preferences-->Applications, and ensure that 'Internet Audio Playlist' is set to "Use Foobar 2000" (click Use Other and you will have access to open in Windows programs in addition to the Mac programs; choose Foobar 2000 in the picklist)
5. Then using the Firefox on your windows VM, go into Tools-->Options-->Applications, and make the "m3u" filetype open in Foobar 2000 (in case you want to use the Windows browser within your VM to launch Foobar 2000 also) [This step is strictly optional, but streamlines things if you're into that].

That's it! Now, when you are browsing your library in Firefox on your Mac and play something with the Player assigned to Foobar 2000, your Mac will automagically launch the instance of Foobar 2000 from your Windows VM and immediately start playing the .m3u playlist in Foobar 2000, including native FLAC streaming at full bit rate, as well as .wav's, etc.

P.S. Additional "killer" functionality about setting yourself up this way with Foobar 2000----> if you're like me and own some old DTS Audio CD's, you can actually play them just fine in Foobar 2000, opening up this media to you for likely the first time through Subsonic!! The key is that there is a free component plugin for Foobar2000 that decodes DTS streams, so if you've ripped the simple .wav or .dtswav files from these DTS CD's, you can now play them just fine. Just remember, those files on Subsonic will not play with any other player that I know of other than Foobar 2000 with the correct plugin, so you may want to label those DTS CD's clearly with big warnings in SS library, otherwise your other SS users will wonder why they hear nothing but high-pitched static when they attempt to play them.

Cheers, hope this helps someone else avoid searching for weeks for a suitable external player!
Subsonic 5.2.1 on 2009 Apple XServe w/ Yosemite Server 10.10.5; 96GB RAM. Lots of Music - High Rez, native DSD streaming, and otherwise.
manwithaplan
 
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Re: Foobar2000 "How To" - Excellent Choice for External Play

Postby cnliberal » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:58 pm

Has anyone tried this for Media Monkey?
cnliberal
 
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