Thursday, 02 May 2019

What is a WinAmp plug-in?

A WinAmp plug-in is an optional set of files which adds extra facilities to WinAmp. There are two main types of plug-in:
Visualisation plug-ins. These produce displays which react to the sounds being played. Some are very simple, some most impressive. By default WinAmp has an oscilloscope or frequency spectrum (graphics equaliser) display, and visualisation plug-ins receive the data which drives these displays in order to react in some manner to the sound being played. Some visualisation plug-ins produce a display in a window, some on the whole screen, and some provide both options.
I would especially recommend the magnificent Geiss plug-in, available from WinAmp’s web site. This plug-in produces a display on the whole screen, creating wonderful rapidly moving images which scroll, zoom, swirl and twist. This plug-in requires DirectX 6, a software package available from Microsoft’s web site which allows programs running under Windows to rapidly access the screen, sound, joystick, etc. Many modern games programs install a version of DirectX, but perhaps not version 6 which is fairly recent. Up to version 6, DirectX was upwardly compatible, in other words a program designed to work with a specific version of DirectX will also work with all later versions (but almost certainly not any earlier versions). Unfortunately version 7 of DirectX appears to be incompatible with previous versions and installation of it creates some very serious problems on some PC’s. DirectX 5 components had an internal version number of and DirectX 6 components have an internal version number of I do not yet know the internal version number of DirectX 7. If you install a program which includes DirectX, be careful not to overwrite a later version of it with an earlier version.

Input/Output (or I/O) plug-ins. These add features such as sound effects, or the ability to fade from one track to the next.
A particularly useful I/O plug-in is Nullsoft’s Crossfading Output, which fades from one track to the next. It is available from WinAmp’s web site.

A large number of plug-ins of all types, including those mentioned specifically here, are available for downloading from the WinAmp web site.

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