There has always been a love/hate relationship with iTunes on Windows: It runs poorly, but is the only application that can sync your beloved iPod. If you want to break free of iTunes’ grip, then these three media managers would be a good place to start. They all support nearly every format that exists, and will be able to handle anything you throw at them. Nothing can fully replace iTunes’ syncing ability, but for just managing your music library, these are great alternatives.
When I first started Foobar, I was amazed at how quickly it opened. The ancient laptop I was testing on didn’t flinch like it did with the others, which struggled to open. It is very barebones, and perfect if your looking for the lightest and most powerful player available.
Foobar is not designed to sync with anything, it is strictly a computer-side media manager. Sadly, Apple has done a good job at keeping third party applications from syncing with iPods, so it seems the Foobar team hasn’t tried.
It is incredibly customizable, and if you can dream it up, you could theme it. It focuses more on function and efficiency over fancy graphics, and utilizes a familiar column and row layout that can be altered in any way you wish. You can map shortcuts, create playlists, and browse your music in a tree structure for easy access. It has a lightweight plugin system that uses “Components” to provide extra functionality. These are nothing more than DLL files, so they won’t bog down the app.