Foobar 2000 or MediaMonkey v.3?

My PC runs Windows XP 2000 w/ Service Pack 3. My music library, so far, contains tracks dowloaded from My audio player is WMP.

Audio out is via Behringer U-Control (dedicated USB cable, 16/48 DAC); RCA's from Behringer to Parasound pre (analog inputs only, no internal DAC) to NAD amp. I will soon upgrade from the Behringer to an Edirol UA-1 EX (24/96). I'd love to get something like a used Bel Canto DAC, but do not have the bucks.

I'm wondering if Foobar 2000 or Media Monkey will afford better sound than the WMP. I don't care about all the bells and whistles - just the sound. If yes, which is better - Foobar or Media Monkey? Where does J River fit in?

If I download one of these, should I also get ASIO and/or Kernel Streaming?

Thank you. Mike19
I use WMP ripping to loss-less .wav format on Windows Vista as the server in my rig. It is fast, easy, reliable and ripped CDs sound as good as original. You definitely want to run the latest XP versions if possible for best results.

I also have an older XP PC and find that the mutlimedia features are not as robust. I'd recommend moving to Vista for a music server...its better designed from the ground up for these kinds of applications. Don't let the Vista detractors deter you in this case.
Vista 32 sounds better than either XP or XP Pro.

JRiver Media Center 12 (now 13), sounds better than FUBAR. Never heard Monkey.
Monkey is good, JRiver gives you a more immediate presentation of the music and a better soundstage on my rig
Thank you for the responses.

I just downloaded the free JRiver Media Jukebox and copied some tracks from my WMP library. Definite improvement in clarity and soundstage compared to WMP - not huge, but its there.

I think it's the same for Media Center and Jukebox... MC has a free trial too and does more stuff than Jukebox. I think it may also sound better.

Go into the options, PLAYBACK... DSP... OUTPUT... AND PLAY WITH the bit rate and sampling rates some. Defaults on mine were 16/44... switching upwards both settings improved things fairly dramatically. Albeit, the noticed changes were more noticeable using my main stereo rather than my PC, naturally.

Depending on your OS you may wish to select WAVE vs. Direct sound. A good ASIO driver will further improve things, if a USB device is being used.
I recently compared MediaMonkey MediaCenter 13 vs. Foobar 0.9.6 both with ASIO output and found MediaMonkey less clear, with a more muddled sound, particularly in the mid range, and considerably less dynamic range. MediaMonkey is also fat in the low end to the point of being inaccurate. I compare all these to my regular stereo setup (meridian, mccormack, martin logan) for accuracy.

Foobar has always been my app to beat as far as sound quality, though it is considerably less user friendly. columns_ui helps. I'd love to hear of any real competitors...
Er, that was supposed to be MediaMonkey vs. MediaCenter 13 vs. Foobar. My order of preference for sound is:

1. Foobar
2. Mediacenter
3. MediaMonkey

My order of preference for UI is:

1. MediaMonkey
2. MediaCenter
3. Foobar
I'm using JRiver Media Jukebox 12 and it is a far cry better in sonics then WMP9 that i was previously using. I am using the WAVE and not the Direct sound and that also improved the sound in my system. I agree witht he previous posts about gaining soundstage and just overall better presentation. The sound card i am using has a thing called "pure wave" and that sounds really good. Blindjim, i read on the JRiver forums that there is no sonic improvement going from Jriver media jukebox to the JRiver media center. The only advantage there is that there are more features for pictures and videos etc., where as the jukebox is just for streaming your audio files. If anyone has compared the two and can speak to the contrary i would certainly like to know as it may be worth the investment. I just want to stream audio and if there is an improvement to that end then i may do that upgrade but like i said the information i read from administrators on that forum indicate otherwise.
To be frank... they could be right. I had several issues with different PCs that led me to buying the MC and discounting the JB version.

Primarily, playback of protected files. MC did it with less trouble and more seamlessly. Also not all file types MP3, WAV, M4P, AND M4A (alac) files would not always play on the ASIO driver output. I would have to switch over to WAVE OUt or Direct sound output to play my old mp3 & wav files. that bugtged me some.

Another bug forced me to go get another codec for ALAC (m4a, m4p) files. Direct show. this works better than the use of the Quick time codec MC uses by default. it's a bit less edgy up top and a bit more natural overall. until you hear both, side by side, either will be fine though... the default or Direct Show codec.

Vista too using MC sounds far better than XP using the same MC media player on both OS. Don't know about Macs. I can't use them. Sure would like to though, just to see.
OK, can someone give this to me in baby steps? I am having a Keces 152 USB DAC/headphone amp delivered tomorrow. I have a Media Center XP machine that I will be using for storing my music files (ripping CDs, right?). I also have an ipod nano that I would like to still be able to w i-tunes. What do I use to rip the CDs and what do I use to play them back, and how do I or should I bypass the infamous k-mixer. The DAC is strictly redbook, 16 bit 44.1 khz.