How to play Ape files?

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 8, 2007
Updated • Feb 24, 2014
Music, Music and Video

You might be puzzled at first if you encounter an audio file with the ape extension for the first time. Trying to play it in Winamp, Windows Media Player and XMPlay will not be successful, in fact, the song will not be loaded at all. The Ape file format is a lossless compression format that is created by the compressor Monkey's Audio.

The big advantage of lossless compression formats is that no information is removed from the audio stream while lossy compression formats such as mp3 lose information. It depends on the music player if and how you can play ape files. I would like to list three popular music players and how you can play APE files in them: the players in question are XMPlay, Winamp and Windows Media Player.

All three do not support ape files by default which means that we have to use plugins to add the support to the players. Lets start.


Download the Monkey's Audio input plugin for XMPlay and place the extracted downloaded files into the main XMPlay directory while XMPlay is not started. The plugin will be automatically recognized during the next start and from then on music in the ape format is supported by XMPlay.


Again, we have to rely on a plugin to add ape file support. The plugin is called Monkey Audio Winamp Plugin and comes in executable format. Just run the file after downloading it and it will automatically install itself in the correct Winamp directory. Winamp can then play ape files normally.

Update: The plugin us no longer available. You can however install Monkey's Audio directly on your system. It ships with a Winamp Plugin setup file that you can run to install support for the player format to Winamp. You find the installer in the main program directory after installation.

Windows Media Player:

Download and install the DS Monkey Audio Filter which adds ape support for any DirectShow based player including Windows Media Player. The filter can be downloaded with an installer, just run the installer and support should be added automatically.

Read More:

Monkey's Audio input plugin for XMPlay
Monkey Audio Winamp Plugin
DS Monkey Audio Filter (for Windows Media Player)


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Justin said on November 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The warning message about AAC streams when you load streams is because you don’t have the free Orban AAC/aacPlus Player Plugin installed.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Justin, thanks for the information.

  2. santosh said on December 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

    does this support AAC ? or only mp3 streaming

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

      I’d say it supports all pls streams but I have not tried that so cannot verify it 100%.

  3. Barnabas said on August 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you Martin for a most informative and viable solution (it allowed me to play streams from a Netherland internet radio station in my WMP)! Continued success to you!

    Barnabas (USA)

  4. AppleRome said on October 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Your steps’ recommendation is still valid until 7th October 2012.. Thank you very much !!

  5. Laura said on December 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you!

  6. sak2005 said on December 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    You must convert file.pls to file.m3u
    because file.pls open with winamp and file.m3u open with wmp.

  7. Lithium said on February 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    2017 still kicking on Windows 7
    Thx a ton

  8. Dennis said on April 18, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Hey, even i can do it, i stumbled through it and it works great! The only instruction advice i will add as i had to figure this out, when the wmp box opens that says save or open the bar on right says wmp click that drop down and select “open pls in wmp” once you do that it will work . Took me quite some time to discover that as i am no computer expert by any means. Having said that, previously i had downloaded codec packages and something about aac. None did any good. This rocks, i listen to a lot of internet radio and a number of them have dropped flash player and getting wmp to work had been a nightmare. So many thanks for this great solution to another problem that Micro-Hell will not even address. Peace- Out

  9. stephen marshall said on March 19, 2019 at 2:07 am

    openplsinwmp came in a zip file. I unpacked it, and didn’t find anything that looks like an executable, and even the files in the “doc” folder were in a format windows didn’t recognize. I’m not stupid. you said it would open effortlessly. It didn’t. This a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down.

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