There are countless bit perfect players available for the Mac, ranging from free to pricy and from utilitarian to super duper library functionality. I started using software players years ago on a 2006 Mac Mini (Core Duo 1.66 GHz and 2 GB RAM) and currently use a 2011 Mac Mini (Core i5 2.3 GHz and 8. Nov 06, 2015 A report of how I came to pick Audirvana 2+ and JRiver Media Center as my favorite bit perfect players (English and Dutch subtitles - Nederlands ondertiteld). BitPerfect is a very affordable Mac app that works with iTunes to enable better sound It does this while maintaining the ease of use that iTunes offers. It made for an interesting comparison to PureMusic.
Over the last few years, the list of 'audiophile' audio players on the Mac has gradually increased. Do they sound the same if set to bit-perfect output? Let's have a look at the candidates I'll be considering here: 1.: I bought this program more than a year ago. It's a no-nonsense program that plays a nice range of file formats without fuss. It's able to take exclusive access of the audio device, and memory playback. As with all the commercial offerings, it can switch sample rate automatically.
BitPerfect is a simple, easy to use, audiophile grade music player that works in conjunction with iTunes to deliver the highest possible sound quality. Localization included in Japanese, French, Dutch, Danish, and Russian only. I have a large (1TB) iTunes music library. I would like to buy a piece of software that will output this music to an USB DAC. The music is mostly CD quality, but with an increasing percentage of HD.
PCM only, no DoP for DSD at this time. I upgraded to the latest version 1.2.11 for these tests.
Memory playback was activated. 2.: Current version is 1.4.6.
I bought this one about 6 months ago. It's got a nice, fancy GUI. Able to handle DSD files with DST and was able to play DSD64 and DSD128 over the USB interface to my TEAC UD-501 without problem. 'Under the hood', it's also got some extra features like memory playback, 'Direct Mode' apparently bypassing CoreAudio as well as 'Integer Mode'. Since the software supposedly bypasses CoreAudio, I would have thought that 'Integer Mode' would be an obvious given.
They also talk about 64-bit processing which is great if one has need for the SRC and dithering (iZotope-based). For these tests, I'm using Direct, Integer Mode with memory playback to the TEAC. The green 'INT' indicator turns on. Also, I have SysOptimizer turned on (disables Spotlight, Time Machine, some USB tweaks). - Well known media player originating from the Windows world. I measured the beta 18.0.177 build for this test. Bit-perfect from the start so I didn't fool with any of the default settings.
It's capable of DSD playback to the TEAC using DoP. - I'm not as familiar with this one.
I installed the trial version 1.89g. It literally 'wraps' around the iTunes interface. Can handle DSD but I didn't bother trying since it looks like there were some contortions needed to get these files recognized under iTunes. 'Memory Play' was activated for playback. My subjective opinion is that I did not like the UI and using iTunes means no native FLAC support. - Release version 1.0 for Mac.
For-mac milesi sas. Just a freebie I can run with the TEAC DAC. Handles FLAC. Will do DoP for DSD playback. Unable to decompress DST though. Does have an 'Expand to RAM' mode which I did not use for these tests. - The 'standard' Mac music player. Should be 'bit-perfect' so long as volume at 100% and none of the DSP plug-in's are activated.
A lot of uncertainly out there about this program with folks jumping up and down with each version claiming that sound has changed for better or worse. Version 11 was released in November 2012 with some folks claiming volume and sound quality changes compared to version 10. The BIG negative about iTunes for audiophiles is the lack of automatic sample rate switching - need to go into the 'Audio MIDI Setup' panel to change sampling rates and bit depth (yuck). IMO, the other BIG negative about iTunes is that it does not support FLAC. Seriously, after 11 versions, to not support the universal lossless audio format is just stupid and has been a reason why I do not buy music from Apple.
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Over the years I have tried Play, Amarra, and Fidelia as well, but figure the above was enough to look at for a sense of the field out there around Mac music players. I see there's also for iTunes - again, FLAC limitation sucks. Setup: (Note that this is same as previous.) MacBook Pro ( *running audio player*) --> shielded USB --> TEAC UD-501 DAC --> shielded 6' RCA --> E-MU 0404USB --> shielded USB --> Win8 laptop MacBook Pro is the 17' early-2008 model. Nothing fancy, and in fact relatively 'old' 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor. Running OS X Mountain Lion with no OS tweak for audio.