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Mac OS X Music Players - alternatives to iTunes - Page 4

post #46 of 3402


Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I just realised before reading the replies that I'll have to write a second article just on setting up these programs, though they all come with instructions in some form or another.


In iTunes, there is, for example, a 10-band equalizer.  However, that doesn't cover the entire audible spectrum very well. However there is a system EQ that can be accessed in any program that can call it.  Play and Vox can as they enable the use of the Mac OS X built-in effects filters.  In Vox, the second button from the left on the controller window opens the effects window.  Clicking on "Add" pops up a menu under which is an "Apple" sub-menu with a list of AUwhatever filters. AUGraphicEQ is the one you want.  You can draw curves with it by holding down the control key and literally drawing a curve, the sliders jumping to the mouse location as it passes over. In Fedelia, the main window has three menus below the playback controls where effects can be added.


gzone3lement: a .plist file is a property list (a set of preferences for something) rather than the driver itself.  I'm not sure that there is anything wrong with CoreAudio as such, especially as over the years Apple has improved it. However it may not be set up to get the highest fidelity out of the system.  This is really a question we'd have to ask of someone who was writing one of these programs as to what CoreAudio could do better.

Thanks for the correction, Currawong. I'm glad CoreAudio improves over time. I'm not sure if there is anything wrong with CoreAudio either, but what I can say is that it is currently impossible to bypass it throughout the entire audio system.


Currently, I still use iTunes as of today. I personally like to double-click album artworks and select songs from there. I admire the idea of integration, and I see iTunes to be a stable, if not clean, program. so I probably will consider either Amarra or Pure Music. I have not tried out either products yet, but if I do hear difference in sound, I definitely will think about purchasing either one in the near future.


For Amarra, "the licence either requires an iLok USB key or the software is locked to a single computer which can't be transferred." I normally restore my laptop either once or twice a year. If this is the case, I should get an iLok USB key, right? I just want to make sure.


I played around with iTunes equalizer today, and the sound did indeed change depending on frequency. When using equalizers, don't they decrease sound quality because of sound skewness? For Pure Music, I hear the software supports VST and and AAU plugins, so it is possible to use a software equalizer with Pure Music. Does anyone know such a software that takes advantage of the Mac's EQ?

post #47 of 3402

Is there any way to have audiophile sound coming from itunes on a mac? I just love the interface of itunes...

post #48 of 3402
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I forgot about Clementine and had forgotten the name of Cog.  I'll add them shortly.  I've put in a request for info with the makers for Fidelia on pricing.


It's funny reading impressions -- I found Amarra to be the harshest and Pure Music the smoothest, with Decibel and Fidelia close to spot-on for me.  It would be interesting to compare the DACs being used with the impressions of the players.  I know, for example, my DAC has dithering on by default, so the dither available in Amarra and Fidelia will likely have no effect. Up-sampling, especially if it uses a very good algorithm, may have some benefits for some DACs but not others as well.

Weird, I don't find Amarra Mini 2.01 or 2.1 to be the least bit harsh with any of my DACs.  I haven't tried the others, but it's better than Core Audio in my Macbook.  I was so impressed with the Amarra demo at RMAF that I went right out and bought a copy.

post #49 of 3402
Originally Posted by suhaybh View Post

Is there any way to have audiophile sound coming from itunes on a mac? I just love the interface of itunes...


Check out Amarra and Pure Music, but prepare to pay for it :/

post #50 of 3402

I use neutrino    http://www.machinecodex.com   but Im testing fidelia and liking it very much... the fact that it has a iphone app for remote control is very cool!!!

post #51 of 3402

Amarra did not offer much/any improvement on my high end systems, but AyreWave did.

post #52 of 3402

I think Amarra uses iZotope, just as Fidelia does.  The Fidelia BEta app crashed on my system, and was too unstable to use.  Their tech support was very prompt, but I wanted to just get to it and not wait for them to fix this, which I would bet they will.  The software was 10x as slick as Pure Music from a UI perspective, but I stuck with Pure Music, which has been ideal for switching between my different DACs, and whose upsampling is both transparent and incredibly good sounding.  Pure Music easily switches my devices to support the different sample rates of source and/or upsampling.  


post #53 of 3402


Thanks for this overview. I was just searching for a player to start using as THE player. Until now I've been playing with iTunes (resource hog, no FLAC/HD support, not sure if its bit-perfect, sounding less good than Cubase/Wavelab), VLC (lean, playing everything you throw at it, lousy library support, not sure about being bit perfect), Spotify (good library support, great streaming/music sourcing, not bit perfect, no HD support(?)). 


So, if do some serious listening, I started to use Cubase(!) because its capable of 100% bitperfect output. And I have this software already for my music production / project studio activities. Since a few months Wavelab has been released for OSX. Another professional audio package that provides bit perfect output. Then I tried Audacity (comparable to Wavelab, but free!) which sounds great too. But all these options are pretty complex to use and have no library support. Not something for daily music listening.


There is nothing wrong with Audio Units (perhaps it was not perfectly stable a few years ago). It provides the possibility for bit perfect audio output at all resolutions, without any audio processing. Unless the software explicitly includes DSP units in the audio path.


Anyway, I will definitely try some of the options you've mentioned. And I hope one day I find the ultimate player! 

post #54 of 3402

I am a fan of Pure Music too.  It could be more refined on the GUI side but the sound and capabilities are great.  I tried it side by side against Fidelia and though Fidelia is pretty good, my personal view is that Pure Music sounds clearer and less veiled.  Well worth the money.

post #55 of 3402

Incredibly helpful post, thanks very much! 

post #56 of 3402

I have been curious about Audirvana, a couple of friends recommended it to me. 

post #57 of 3402

Thanks for the reply. I'll look into these as well as the other ones. I'm willing to make some rearrangements with the music files if I can find a good player. Don't think I'm willing to pay for anything yet though. tongue_smile.gif

Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post

Looks like Pure Music might do what you want, but it will cost you.


Vox is very simple, it goes where you point it and treats everything in the current directory you point it to as a playlist.


So for standard iTunes downloads and a lot of rips, I just let iTunes manage those files, but for all of my HD stuff I download as FLAC to conserve space, then I set up a simple directory structure by vendor, album, or genre, or however it strikes my fancy, and play that with VOX.  Best part i that it supports all the geeky pluggins I want and three different cross feed algorithms, and it's freeware.

post #58 of 3402

I grabbed Fidelia, and I'm really liking it. I'm not sure if it's a placebo effect but it seems like it makes my music sound smoother? Not sure if that makes sense, but I like it.

post #59 of 3402

One of the advantages of using Fidelia is that it allows you to use up to three VST or AU plug-ins. As I have slight hearing loss in my left ear, I'm using Canz3D in the default mode, with the balance shifted slightly left. I'm also using Canz3D in Pure Music, but I can't seem to access or change its settings, whereas I can using Fidelia. Apart from adjusting for balance, I like the way Canz3D creates a more realistic sound stage, particularly with recordings that have extreme stereo separation (like many of the recently released Beatles stereo remasters).

post #60 of 3402

Thanks for this! I had no idea that changing my music player would make a noticeable difference

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