A complete guide to Foobar 2000


DSP Settings

Now select the DSP Manager tab.

DSPs can be used to add extra playback features, some of which can help improve audio quality, or at least minimize artefacting. DSPs need to be listed in a specific order for maximum effectiveness. That being as follows:



Volume Control


Though most of the Available DSPs are fairly self-explanatory, I’ll describe the more relevant ones here.

Equalizer. This enables the use of the Equalizer displayed in the Equalizer tab.

By default no presets are included. You can however find a bundle here (extract the contained folder to the Foobar directory), which can be loaded via the Load Preset button.

Zero all resets all bands to 0dB. Store Preset can be used to save custom equalizer settings if you decide to create/edit any. Auto level adjusts any equalizer adjustments so that no positive amplification is applied to any of the frequency bands, i.e. 0dB is the “highest” value (This may help reduce possible distortion without changing the “shape” of the frequency band), e.g. in the image above +5dB is the highest level of amplification, accordingly all frequency bands are lowered by -5dB (-8dB change to -13dB and so on).

Resampler (SSRC). This enables the resampling of audio sources to a specified sampling rate. Many soundcards do this automatically already when playing sources with a certain sampling rate, e.g. 44.1 kHz resampled to 48 kHz. Depending on the Soundcard this resampling in hardware can introduce audio artefacting. The resampler which Foobar includes is of better quality, and provides better resampling than many soundcards will (albeit with increased CPU usage).

If you use an AC97 Soundcard/Integrated Audio, any Creative soundcards or any of the nForce APUs, then it’s recommended to use this (in theory). I would still recommend testing both and ensuring you are actually getting some benefit otherwise you’re just wasting processing power.

Conversely, soundcards without such constraints (VIA Envy24 based), there’s no need to use this DSP. Now select the Resampler tab.

Target sample rate
. This specifies the sampling rate for audio sources to be resampled to. 48000Hz as a result, will be the preferable choice from the drop-down menu. Lower and higher rates are also available, though can be ignored unless you have a specific reason to select them (higher will not lead to better sound quality). Again, the main purpose is to avoid audio artefacting caused by poor resampling by the soundcard or integrated audio.

Crossfeed. Crossfeed works by simulating the audio absorption characteristics of the head, mixing a delayed section of the right channel with the left channel and vice versa. This provides a more natural listening experience for those using Headphones. If you’re listening to Speakers then this occurs naturally and there’s no need to use this DSP.

Volume Control. This enables the use of the volume slider in Foobar, otherwise the standard Windows Mixer controls will control the volume level (depending on the Output method selected – covered later - this may prove to be the only way to control playback volume in Windows).

Soft clipping limiter. This applies a 6dB limit to audio playback, which will likely introduce distortion, as opposed to clipping. As foodev on the Hydrogenaudio Forums said, this “can audibly modify the sound indeed, but it completely eliminates any clipping. Also, if your volume is set to -6dB or lower, [soft clipping] limiter triggers only in places where samples would normally get truncated. Conclusion? Set wave volume to max in windows volume control, & use fb2k's internal volume control instead, it eliminates clipping most of the time, & makes [soft clipping] limiter never (or hardly ever) trigger if enabled. Maybe there are different points of view on this matter, but I find [soft clipping] limiter less annoying than clipping or even auto-attenuation”.

Advanced limiter. This DSP uses read-ahead on the source and scales down the audio signal when it detects clipping will occur resulting in minimal, if any, distortion during playback.

Personally I use the following combination:

Resampler (SSRC)

Crossfeed (With Headphones)

Volume Control

Advanced Limiter


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