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May 23, 2006

Kernel Streaming with iTunes.

Filed under: Apple,Audio,Software — Manish Bansal @ 5:36 am

iTunes is considered to be the best music organizer and foobar to be the best music player. But what if you could have the interface of iTunes but guts of foobar in one application? Enter Multi-plugin.

Here is what you’ll need:

  1. foobar (0.9.4) and Kernel Streaming plugin for foobar.
  2. iTunes (for Windows, ver 7.0.1)
  3. Multi-plugin (latest version is 2.4.2 as of September 22, 2006)

Install iTunes, foobar, and Multi-plugin. To install Kernel Streaming plugin for foobar, just copy the file “foo_out_ks.dll” to foobar components directory.

Run foobar, go to file-> preferences -> playback -> output and choose Kernel Streaming as the output method.

Run iTunes, go to Edit -> preferences -> Multi-plugin and make the following changes:

  1. Under “Appearance”, choose the default skin.
  2. Under “Other”, choose “foobar2000 passthrough”.

Now whenever you hit play on a song in iTunes, it would be played through foobar. This means that you get access to all the foobar DSP goodness too. Enjoy!


  1. You might get the message “foobar not installed” when you enable “foobar2000 passthrough”. This happens because Multi-plugin looks for foobar information in the wrong place in the registry. It’s pretty easy to fix though. Just transfer the keys from “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Foobar2000” to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Foobar2000”.
    To do that, go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Foobar2000” in the registry and choose File->Export. Then open the resulting *.reg file using notepad and change “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Foobar2000” to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Foobar2000”. Save the file and double-click. Done!
  2. You need to set the volume to maximum in iTunes to avoid any loss of quality because of attenuation.
  3. Even if you don’t notice any improvement in the sound quality, this would at least take care of the songs skipping in iTunes (a big problem in iTunes 7.x.x).
  4. You can not run both foobar and iTunes at the same time. Otherwise you’d get error “KS output error: error opening device”. In fact, you don’t have to run foobar to use Multi-plugin. iTunes would launch it automatically in the background.

Update on September 20, 2006:
Links now point to the latest version of Multi-plugin, 2.4.2.



  1. I’ve tried this but it keeps coming up saying “Foobar2000 is not installed. The Foobar2000 Passthorugh (Passthrough) option will not be enabled.”
    I’ve installed all the programs and restarted the computer a few times, but nothing. Any suggestions?

    Comment by Andy — June 7, 2006 @ 1:27 am | Reply

  2. Which version of foobar (and iTunes) are you using? If 0.9.1 doesn't work, try 0.8.3. That one definitely works. This problem can also happen if you have two versions (beta and regular) of foobar installed at the same time.

    Comment by manishbansal — June 7, 2006 @ 2:53 am | Reply

  3. I tried both…Now, with .8.3, the kernel streaming doesn’t work. It tries to play thru foobar then it says
    “INFO (CORE) : startup time: 422 ms
    INFO (CORE) : opening file for playback :
    INFO (CORE) : location: “file://C:\Documents and Settings\Andy Gillies\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Oasis\(What’s The Story) Morning Glory_\10 Morning Glory.m4a” (0)
    ERROR (foo_out_ks) : KS output error: error opening device.”

    any suggestions anyone?

    Comment by Andy — June 9, 2006 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  4. I tried both…Now, with .8.3, the kernel streaming doesn’t work. It tries to play thru foobar then it says
    “INFO (CORE) : startup time: 422 ms
    INFO (CORE) : opening file for playback :
    INFO (CORE) : location: “file://C:\Documents and Settings…\10 Morning Glory.m4a” (0)
    ERROR (foo_out_ks) : KS output error: error opening device.”

    any suggestions anyone?

    Comment by Andy — June 9, 2006 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

  5. Is the KS working directly in foobar on your computer? I am looking into the problem right now. Will get back to you soon. Also, foobar 0.9.2 is out now. Please see if that one is any help.

    Comment by manishbansal — June 9, 2006 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  6. Yeah foobar works fine with the KS by itself. It just encounters the problem playing via itunes. When I tried .9.2 I got the first error message I posted about. Another piece of (maybe) useful information: if any other audio file (ie a song on a website) is playing when I start Foobar (even by itself) it gives me the same error. Do you think maybe iTunes is still trying to play the file itself and also trying to get thru to Foobar? I don’t know I’m pretty much a ‘noob’ at all this stuff. Thanks a lot for the help though, I really appreciate it.

    Comment by Andy — June 10, 2006 @ 6:14 am | Reply

  7. Hi Andy, Try this special version of foobar 0.8.3. It has Kernel Streaming (and many other components) built-in but make sure you select KS during installation. It is not selected by default. Also, uninstall any other version of foobar if you have.
    The foobar components like KS are specific to a particular version of foobar. The KS component for 0.8.3 won’t work in 0.9.2.

    Comment by manishbansal — June 10, 2006 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  8. Man I really hate to be ‘that guy’ but no such luck. Well I guess I can just keep using foobar by itself for now. If you find any answers, let me know please. Thanks so much for your help so far

    Comment by Andy — June 11, 2006 @ 6:30 am | Reply

  9. Let’s give it one last try. Are you running foobar and iTunes at the same time? When you enable “foobar passthru” in iTunes, you should NOT run foobar. iTunes would invoke it automatically in the background.

    Comment by manishbansal — June 12, 2006 @ 5:48 am | Reply

  10. unfortunately I have not been running them at the same time. In fact, foobar won’t even open while itunes is open. THanks again for all the help. I’ll just keep working on it, maybe ask around a bit to see if anybody else has this problem. It could also be my completely crappy sound card. Who knows? Thanks again

    Comment by Andy — June 12, 2006 @ 6:25 am | Reply

  11. I’m having problems, it doesn’t seem to work with iTunes 6.

    Comment by Abhishek Nandakumar — June 28, 2006 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  12. Abhishek, which version of foobar are you using?

    Comment by manishbansal — June 28, 2006 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  13. Hi Andy, Having the exact same problem. Foobar and KS work perfect, but not with itunes 7, with error message KS output error: error opening device..Please help!!!

    Comment by Blaine — September 26, 2006 @ 11:44 am | Reply

  14. I don’t undersatnd how to get to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Foobar2000. Please explain to a beginner.

    Comment by Brian — November 15, 2006 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  15. Hi Brian,
    Go to Start menu in Windows, click on Run, and then type Regedit there. This will open up the Windows registry. There you’ll find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on the left hand side. Just expand it and go to the desired location. Hope this helps.

    Comment by manishbansal — November 16, 2006 @ 5:56 am | Reply

  16. This plays real good, when using fb2k on mp4 files. But when I use mp3 through the pass through no sound comes out..I disable passthrough and and sound comes out..I use itunes 7..any suggestions…?

    Comment by nvee — November 18, 2006 @ 3:51 am | Reply

  17. Hi Nvee, are you able to play MP3s thru your foobar directly?

    Comment by manishbansal — November 18, 2006 @ 6:09 am | Reply

  18. Hi Manish…yes I am able to pay the mp3 through foobar directly..hv been doing that for quite some time…If I disable the passthrough itunes plays it…I tried converting the mp3 to AAC from itunes..same problem when passthrough is enabled…itunes shows that the mp3/converted song is playing but no sound comes out..I cannot figure it out..

    Comment by nvee — November 18, 2006 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  19. Does not like Vista so far. Damn!

    Comment by Chris K — December 16, 2006 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  20. Hi Chris,
    Vista already has kernel streaming built-in, along with a bunch of other audio related goodies. It has lot more things than a normal user could care about. More details here:

    Comment by Manish Bansal — December 17, 2006 @ 6:54 am | Reply

  21. Hi Manish. Thanks for the reply. I read the article, but there is no option in Itunes to output kernel streaming or in fact ASIO, only the standard Direct output etc.
    I was hoping that the plugin would sort that out, but it does not install even on xp just crashes on install stage.
    I wanted to get foobar with itunes using my new Auzentech X-Meridian sound card which is the best on the market so far…its a WOW of a card.
    Any other thoughts?


    Comment by Chris K — December 17, 2006 @ 8:17 am | Reply

  22. Hi Chris,
    The only thing to do right now would be to ask the Multi-plugin developer about Vista compatibility. He can be found in the above thread at aqua-soft under the name of localhost.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — December 18, 2006 @ 3:43 am | Reply

  23. Hi i am having the same problem.
    – i installed the newest versions you listed above.
    – the multi-plugin installed and worked on my itunes
    – the Foobar2000 player works

    But I click Foobar2000 pass-through in Preferences:

    – i get the error message: (itunes Multi-Plugin)
    Foobar2000 is not installed.
    The Foobar2000 pass-through option will not be enabled.

    But Foobar2000 is installed… any ideas yet?

    Comment by j Moore — January 11, 2007 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  24. The Foobar2000 be nice to run as a passthrough becuase iTunes only plays through my front two speakers,
    where Foobar2000 can run through all 5 of my speakers

    Comment by j Moore — January 11, 2007 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  25. I run.. (Regedit)
    and i try to click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    to get to \Software\Foobar2000 to move it,
    but the stupid registry window closes a few seconds after i open it…

    Comment by j Moore — January 11, 2007 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  26. To J Moore:
    I didn’t understand what you meant by “moving” the registry key. You just have to go to the file menu and choose ‘Export’. Please give me some more details as to exactly what steps you followed.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — January 12, 2007 @ 6:38 am | Reply

  27. Where can I find the “resulting .reg file” manually as when I go to file and then export, the default location the window brings up is always “my documents” no matter what I what I want to export.

    Comment by Jefferson Bongo — January 16, 2007 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  28. sorry, didnt take me long untill i realised what a noobish and annoying question that was. Its a great plugin, nice work.

    Comment by Jefferson Bongo — January 16, 2007 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  29. To Jefferson:
    Hey! I didn’t write that plugin. It was written by someone else. I am just giving the instructions on how to install it.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — January 16, 2007 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  30. hi folks!

    well I tried all of this but it still dosen’t work. I also tried the older 0.8. foobar version…kernel st. works with foobar,and there is no error message in I-tunes, but no sound comes out..?? can somebody help me?

    Comment by ashley — January 23, 2007 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  31. @Ashley:
    Are you able to play the song directly in iTunes?

    Comment by Manish Bansal — January 23, 2007 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  32. @ Manish!
    it shows the song is playing..but there is no sound!

    when I turn foobar off it works again (but the song jumps, which was the reason why i tried foobar in the first place).

    Comment by ashley — January 24, 2007 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  33. @ Manish!
    it shows the song is playing..but there is no sound!

    when I turn foobar off it works again (but the song jumps, which was the reason why i tried foobar in the first place).

    Comment by Anonymous — January 24, 2007 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  34. @ Ashley:
    Which format songs are you playing? Are you playing plain MP3s or AACs with DRM on them? Unfortunately I am not able to replicate this issue. Let’s do one thing. Open your add/remove programs option in the Windows control panel and see if any older version of iTunes is listed there. If so, just uninstall it and try again.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — January 25, 2007 @ 12:45 am | Reply

  35. Similar issue (see my response in 18). I have updated with latest version 2.5.1..but same issue..I get Kernel streaming unrecoverable error…but the same mp3 plays perfectly with fb2k and KS..the error seems to be when playing mp3. When i disable fb2k passthru i get sound…none of the mp3s are protected..nor the other formats which work are protected…hv no older versions of itunes and does nt show up in add/remove…..hv searched forums but no solutions yet…

    Comment by nvee — February 5, 2007 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  36. Too everyone having problems with foobar passthrough where no sound is playing, I know the solution. I too had the same problem but searched around and it seems that Multiplugin doesn’t like certain foobar components and they intervene with foobar passthrough.

    I think the main component that causes the problem is columns_ui and subcomponents.

    I did a clean reinstall of foobar and added only the DSPs i needed to make it sound perfect and now it plays through iTunes fine. Hope that helps.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 15, 2007 @ 5:30 am | Reply

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