Using FFDshow with Winamp to improve your audio quality

Here’s a simple guide on how to improve the sound quality of your audio files if you’re using Winamp on the fly by using FFDshow ;)

1. First download ffdshow from its official site

2. After downloading and installing it, run the ffdshow audio decoder configuration from the start menu, and set the codecs tab like this (you can customize it later, but for now try to follow this guide ;) )


3. Don’t forget to resample the audio stream into 48.000 Hz like screenshow below


4. This part can be different depending on your computer speaker, for example if you’re using 5.1 / 6.1 / 7.1 / etc set it like this (im using Creative Inspire 6.1 6600 Speaker)



Note: if your soundcard doesnt support 24 Bit Integer sample use 16 Bit Integer instead

5. And for the next step open Winamp and set it like screenshot below. But if don’t use Winamp to play your audio files you’ll need to figure it out by yourself. Actually as long as the audio player support DirectShow this method can be used as well on that player


If you do the above step correctly when you play mp3 files / other audio files on winamp it’ll show like on my previous post about FFDshow. And finally try playing some of your mp3 / audio files and hear the difference without enabling equalizer, changing your computer speaker volume, using dsp, etc ;) Note : by doing this every supported audio format in your computer, no matter is it MP3 from Divx / XVid encoded Movie, etc. Will get boosted in your media player as long as the media player itself is DirectX / DirectShow Compliant (for example Zoom Player, Media Player Classic by Gabest, etc)


Note: Comment may not appear right away.

50 comments on “Using FFDshow with Winamp to improve your audio quality

  1. I know this guide is very outdated by being 10 years old, but I still tryed to replicate all the settings shown here, yet Winamp 5.6 keep showing me that it’s still using (Nullsoft MPEG Audio Decoder) instead of (FFDshow) no matter what I do. Wtf?

    Also how is this an improvement in sound quality, is it just software/fake “improvement” as it is usualy better to keep everything 1:1 as it was meant to be heard while it was recorded at the studio instead of messing around no? If file was also encoded in 44Khz, how resampling it to 48Khz is gonna improve the sound, it can’t create sounds that wasn’t there in the first place no?

    1. EDIT: I got the issues cleared out by choosing (Same as input) instead of 2.0 speakers even though I had Stereo setup. Anyhow, I just don’t get it how it is an improvement over the default codec. It won’t display the time of the song and the bitrate correctly, it does a loud and harsh noise at the beginning of each new songs, it won’t display anymore the ID3 Tags, it just way worse so far and I see no sound improvement on my 2200$ setup.

  2. # AndyC

    I’m sorry for seriously late reply because i just noticed today there’s a new comment posted at this post by Marko CRO

    as to answer your question (perhaps it might be useful for anyone else too who’s experiencing this tag issue or audio file being recognized as video)

    1. Start Winamp, and then open the options page

    2. Go to Plugins -> Input -> Nullsoft DirectShow Option and then click default to reset the file extension used by NullSoft Directshow Decoder to default

    3. Close Winamp

    4. Run winamp again and then go to options page -> media library -> and then rescan your local media

    5. and done … :)

    # Marko CRO

    Did you change the Nullsoft Directshow decoder to decode .mp3 file (or any other file you specify)?

    or if you already made changes to the Nullsoft Directshow decoder and FFDshow is still not activated, try opening FFDshow audio configuration and then choose Directshow control and make sure than FFDshow is allowed to be used on Winamp

    p.s this guide was made using the old version of FFDshow (before the new project exist) lol, and the current version i’m running is FFDShow SVN 2301 SSE

  3. Hy Reaper-X i folowed all steps as show above, and when I hit winamp it plays songs but nothing changed(Bass is same-very low response), and I go to FFDSHOW and see the EQ and the bars are not rising which means FFDSHOW is not active, even not in system tray icon, but when i play movies i shows audio decoder and video and all is fine, and then i can change things.
    I realy hope you will help solve my problem,
    Please contact me
    Thanks : MarkoCRO

  4. Hi i used ffdshow decoder and i had a strange problem with my auto tagger in winamp 5.1.The tags are not shown at all!!

  5. Hi! I followed your tutorial and i could configure winamp with ffdshow but when I want to add new albums/tracks winamp with ffdshow decoder interprets them as video (?) That’s the exact problem as Shaher’s… the link you posted to see is not good anymore :( so any suggestions how to have id3 tags as before and ffdsow at the same time? because it is really annoying to have go through the trouble of changing codec input every time i want to add new stuff in media library
    thanks! and great job with the tutorial!! cheers!

  6. Hi.
    I have an onboard soundcard SoundMAX, compatible with sound to 5.1 and only it supports 16 BIT integer. Unluckily only I have two stereo speakers, with control of incorporated BASS. Also I see that one of these has output to incorporate a subwoofer, but I do not have subwoofer :(

    I have some doubts.

    – FDshow’s LFE work in the BASS of the speakers?
    – Are my speakers considered sound 2.0 or 2.1 ?
    – A subwoofer is necessary to make good use of the FFDshow’s LFE, or with the speakers than I possess is it sufficient?

    Greetings and many thanks! Very good tutorial!

  7. i’d suggest you to grab the newer FFDShow release from here

    and make sure that :

    1. You’ve configured FFDshow to decode MP3, or any other audio format you choose from the Codecs Tab in FFDshow

    2. If you only allowed ffdshow to run in specific application only, make sure you’ve put the media player executable name in there, for example if you want to allow Windows Media Player then you should make sure that wmplayer.exe is listed there

    3. If its still not working, try setting the FFDshow Merit to high (if its for me i just ran it in FFDshow default merit without problem) at the DirectShow Control Tab

  8. I play the mp3 files thru Windows MCE 2005, which I suppose is just another front-end for Windows Media Player. Im using ffdshow tryouts rev 1085 (22 march 2007). Any ideas why ffdshow audio decoder doesnt start?

  9. Hi, im having a problem getting ffdshow to decode my mp3 files. Im using Windows Media Center Edition 2005 to play the files, but ffdshow does not react when playing them. If I start a movie, ffdshow fires ut right away. Do you have any suggustions? Its more or less a clean OS install. Ive installed TheaterTek DVD software and AC3 filter, in addition to ffdshow.

  10. hm … that’s strange because all mp3 files in winamp should be decoded by ffdshow unless there’s a conflict somewhere

    could you tell me other codec you’ve installed on your system ?

  11. When I set the directshow filter to play MP3’s, it only plays some of my MP3’s with ffdshow. Other times it will not play at all. I see the tray icon for my OGG/Vorbis decoder for a brief moment before it goes away. Any ideas on how to fix this?

  12. i’d rather use enhancer 0.17 when it comes to winamp, it appears to do the same thing just slightly better.

    search the winamp plugin library for it under audio dsp.

  13. Hahahaha .. that’s why you should remove the MP3 extension from the directshow decoder first before adding your audio files into winamp library ;)

  14. Ah .. you can do it by changing the DirectShow Decoder option in winamp (Preferences -> Input -> DirectShow Decoder) and remove the MP3 file extension before adding new audio so winamp can detect it properly :)

  15. “just a note: don’t forget to set winamp into using its own decoder before adding media files into your Winamp Media Library, if you forget to set that, Winamp will recognize all the audio files as Video files” – Reaper-X

    How do I do that?

  16. Dont worry about it ;)

    if you move Crossover slider to the left or right that means you passthrough (dunno if i say this correctly because im cant speak english well) lol .. the low frequency signal below that value to your subwoofer directly (because most computer speaker *satelite / small speaker* cant handle that frequency, so to be safe it’ll goes to your subwoofer directly, btw most used value is 80 / 100 / 120 depend on your speaker)

    ooh yeah i forgot to tell you this before .. thanks for visiting :D

  17. Thanks a bunch! :D Just one question you didn’t answer. What does the Lowpass frequency slider under LFE crossover for? What does it do if you move if left or right? Sorry for asking again.

  18. LFE = Low Frequency Effect :) btw if you disable LFE then you’re not going to experience the full audio effect from ffdshow especially the bass :D

    As for LFE Crossover, that’s depend on your computer speaker :) .. if your computer speaker can handle low frequencies without problem you can play around with it :D

    hm .. about the setting on Reverb, Crystality, etc that depends on your preference and the songs itself (if its badly encoded, then you can be sure the final result is not that great) ;)

    but if you want greater sound, you should play around at Crystality, and Freeverb (that’s it)

    as for Volume, you can use it in various case, for example to increase the total volume output

    about Resample to highest quality and 96KHz, that’s depend on your processor speed (higher resampling requires fast processor because it takes your system resources, and if you’re running other apps while using it, it may slow down your system) .. but if you’re using a really fast processor, then you can use it without problem ;)

    and about 24 bit / 32 bit integer, thats depend on your soundcard. If its for me because im using Audigy 2 soundcard which is capable of outputting 24 bit sound (not 16 bit like usual), then i can use it without problem

    that’s it :D

  19. I have a 5.1 setup and used 3/2 – 5 channels with LFE checked. What is LFE anyways? I also noticed you checked reverb, crystality, and LFE crossover. What settings do you use on those three? I messed around with them and left the tabs in the guide plus LFE crossover and the bass was back =D. I moved the gain slider right and got a huge boost. I have a couple of questions though. What does the Lowpass frequency option under LFE crossover for? Under resample tab would it be better set the mode to ‘libavcodec highest quality’ and resample to 96KHz instead of high quality and 48KHz? Under output tab what is the difference between 24 bit integer, 32 bit integer, and 32 bit floating point?