Winamp Tweak Guide


Output Plug-ins

Load Winamp’s Preferences menu and select the Output tab. The plug-ins listed provide support for a variety of output methods.

The only optional output plug-in I’d recommend is ASIO Output (Extract out_asio(dll).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 (DirectSound SSRC and Kernel Streaming plug-ins are available, but haven’t been updated in over 3 years). To use an Output mode simply select the desired mode from the list. Press the Configure button and skip to the appropriate section beneath for configuration tips.


Device. From the drop-down menu select the Audio device you wish to use for audio playback in Winamp. This more so relevant where you have more than one device installed.

Allow hardware acceleration. Ticking this option enables your Audio device to perform mixing operations. If this capability is available it should be stated in the Device info field. Doing so should provide better performance and may affect audio quality (depending on the Soundcard). Untick this option should your Audio device not support hardware mixing or if it adversely affects audio quality.

Create primary buffer. As per the description, if you’re encountering playback quality issues with old (really old) Audio devices ticking this option may alleviate the problems. That said if this is the case then a new Soundcard would be something to look into. If you’ve any remotely modern Soundcard you should leave this Unticked as it shouldn’t be required.

Now select the Buffering tab.


Buffer length. This slider determines the length of data, in ms, to buffer. This can help avoid any playback skipping when working with other processes. Higher buffering can also lead to increased memory/CPU use plus increased latency in certain processes being applied, e.g. changing volume will take X ms to apply. For best performance and minimum delay you should set this as low as you reasonably can without noticing any playback issues, generally 1000 ms (1 second) is fine; although if latency/performance isn’t a concern setting this higher will ensure smooth playback (also useful if you are seeking gapless playback).

Prebuffer on start/seek/underrun. This slider determines the length of date, in ms (up to the value set for Buffer length), “eaten” before output. As before, increase this value should you notice playback issues, 500 ms is a decent starting value to try.

Buffer-ahead on track change. Adjusting this value allows you to reduce/eliminate the gap that can be heard when changing tracks as data is buffered-ahead (up to the value set for Buffer length), providing gapless transitions and reducing the risk of under runs occurring. If your goal is to get gapless playback then increase this value until you notice such gaps no longer being noticeable (1000 ms would be a good value to try in such cases).

Enable CPU usage control. As noted, Ticking this option allows Winamp to attempt to be more conservative with regard to CPU use, which may be beneficial if you run other intensive applications in the background/foreground. Should you notice any playback oddness with this enabled Untick it.

Now select the Other tab.

Remove silence at the beginning / end of track. Ticking this option enables the removal of silence from the beginning/end of tracks as determined by the Cutoff slider.

Note – Silence removed is limited to the Buffer length value, e.g. if Buffer length is 1000ms, a maximum of 1000ms of silence may be removed. Unticking this option disables removal of silence, playing tracks as encoded.

Cutoff. This slider determines the threshold at which playback is deemed silent (and thus can be removed), the default being -40.0 dB. Although the default value is fine you should test this with several tracks to ensure no audible “silence” is being removed; as such it’s not recommended to increase this value (i.e. closer to the left) as audible audio are more likely to be removed. Conversely decreasing this value (i.e. further to the right) will better ensure that inaudible audio is removed.

Enable volume control. Ticking this option enables Winamp volume slider to control the Windows volume level. Unticking this option specifies that Winamp cannot control the volume level, relying on you to make volume adjustments via your Soundcards.

Mixer/Windows Volume Control instead. This is a matter of personal preference, though obviously enabling this is most convenient.

Smooth volume changes. Ticking this option attempts to smooth volume level transitions when adjusting the volume controls. Untick this option will result in more sudden changes when adjusting the volume level.

Volume control. This drop-down menu provides 3 varied methods for volume control - linear, logarithmic and hybrid. The human auditory system is logarithmic and as such logarithmic should be selected for this option (Apple iTunes for example, now uses a logarithmic volume control, having switched from linear).

Map 0% to X. If you’re feeling adventurous you can set X to a specific -dB value, which 0% on Winamp’s volume control will represent. That said if you’ve no reason to adjust this then just leave it at the default of -100dB.

Logarithmic fades. When Ticked this enables logarithmic fading; these start quickly and taper off slowly towards the end. When Unticked linear fading is used, which fades at a constant rate. As before, the human auditory system is logarithmic and it would be recommended to enable (Tick) this option as a result.

Now select the Status tab.

This sections displays information regarding playback, in particular if you notice Underruns exceed zero you may need to increase Buffer sizes in the Buffering tab.

Further info/troubleshooting regarding DirectSound Output can be found in Winamp’s DirectSound FAQ.

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