Winamp Tweak Guide


When it comes to media players there is no doubting on the popularity of Winamp. Its ease to use and extensive customisation via plug-ins have made it quite a legendary piece of software, being one of the most downloaded programs ever (reportedly #2).

Similarly to our foobar2000 guide, this guide will take you through options available and additional plug-ins in order to enhance your playback experience.


First thing you will want to know is that Winamp is available in differing packages. Which version you choose to use is up to yourself, I personally use the Basic Full version which is free of charge and comes with pretty much everything you should need to get started.

When it comes to selecting features to install itís worth noting that you can uninstall features within Winamp itself, so if you are not sure if you require one of the components you can install it, and remove it later without going to the installer again. I would recommend that you at least install the following components:

  • Winamp Media Library

  • Portable Media Player Support (if you have a supported portable player)

  • Modern Skin Support

  • MP4 support

  • Directsound output support

The following sections will cover the various aspects of Winamp.


As mentioned before Winampís functionality can be greatly enhanced through the use of plug-ins. These can provide support for many features, e.g. audio/video decoders, visualizations or DSP effects. These can be installed or uninstalled as desired and you can use as few or as many as you wish to.

Plug-ins are stored in Winampís plug-ins directory (usually C:\Program Files\Winamp\Plugins\) and are listed in the appropriate Plug-ins tab in the Options > Preferences menu.

To install a Plug-in simply save/extract it to the Plugins directory (may require restarting Winamp if opened). Uninstalling a plug-in can be performed in Winamp by selecting the Plug-in from the appropriate tab and pressing the Uninstall button, alternatively the Plug-in file(s) can be deleted from the Plugins directory directly.

In this guide we will cover customization of some of the most relevant plug-ins available in Winamp.

Input Plug-ins

Load Winampís Preferences menu and select the Input tab. The plug-ins listed provide support for decoding various formats, e.g. WMA, MP3, and CD.

Of most relevance, alternative MPEG decoders are available which offer better quality/features than Nullsoftís decoder, however the only I would recommend is Shibatch mpg123 (Extract in_!mpg123.dll from the appropriate Bin subdirectory in the archive to the Winamp Plugin directory, if unsure extract the file from the Bin\normal subdirectory) as it is regularly updated. Some recommend the MAD decoder, although that hasnít been updated in some years and exists only as a Beta.

Next I will cover options for the more important of the decoders available. Select the appropriate Plug-in and skip to the appropriate section and press the Configure button.

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