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Best Music Player For PC

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 

I want to transfer all my cds onto my PC and use this to listen to my music - I've downloaded 'Exact Audio Copy' for ripping, bought a DAC/Headphone Amp, and have a decent set of 'phones. But what music/media player application is likely to give the best/most faithful results? Dunno if it matters, but I intend to use the .FLAC format.

post #2 of 62

foobar2000 is generally the most popular music player around these parts. Lightweight, customizable, and has plenty of plugins available...and of course, it plays FLAC.

 

You also want to use a WASAPI input plugin, maybe ASIO if your sound device supports it.

post #3 of 62
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help. I have downloaded Foobar. Unfortunatley I cannot get WASAPI as it only supports Vista onwards and I have XP. 

post #4 of 62

Then download the 'kernel streaming' plugin.

 

post #5 of 62

I've downloaded several media players, including foobar, Media Monkey, and iTunes. I prefer iTunes for a multitude of  reasons: Genius, Playlists, Library, and iTunes Store features make ripping, organizing, purchasing, storing, and, of course playing my favorite music a  convenient, as well as a very intuitive experience. You said you want to store your tunes in the flac format. I download in that format from HDtracks and convert those files to ALAC for integration into my iTunes library, which does not  host flac. At any rate, since media players all sound the same--that's what the folks who created foobar allude to, get a player which can be  personalized to best accommodate your life style, rather than one which may suite someone else's desires, that's to say, experiment with the ones which you've discovered  before committing to any. Heck, why not take em all out for a test drive.


Edited by sterling1 - 11/4/11 at 4:49pm
post #6 of 62

Try Amarra. It plays FLAC files natively. I haven't compared it to foobar, but I have compared it to songbird. I'm not sure if songbird and foobar use the same audio device drivers, but Amarra uses it's own device driver. It's expensive, but you can try a demo version and see how you like it. I haven't tried it via an external DAC, but with headphones going straight into my macbook pro, Amarra sounds better. It's more analog, more round, less edgy sounding, more dynamic, more detailed. My ears are particularly sensitive to digital sound. I don't have a golden ear, and I am not an audiophile, but I can't stand bright processed sound. I'm one of those few people that can hear the different in bit-rates. 

 

With Fleetwood Mac's Dreams as my demo, from the DVD-A version (24/96), I hear immediate differences. Amarra's bass notes from the bass guitar and the drums are more rounded and deeper. Vocals are more airy. I can hear Nicks' voice reflecting off a wall on the left side of the soundstage creating some nice reverb. tThe sound is more focused instead of smeared across the soundstage. Harmonies are more distinct sounding allowing me to pick out individual voices better. With songbird, I hear a smeared vocal harmony, reverb washing murkily and unfocused, bright brittle cymbals and hi-hats, weaker bass, less dynamics. With Amarra, I can tell where each voice is coming from and hear it distinctly. The splash from cymbals and tick of the high-hat sound less bright and more round again. It sounds like I am there. This is something you hear from the moment the track starts. Amarra sounds WAY better than songbird. 

 

As a second demo, I used Creedence's track "Ramble Tamble" sourced from 180g vinyl and recorded at 24/96. This song has a more live sound to it than Dreams. But again, the sound is more natural and dynamic. Songbird is like listening to digital music. With Amarra, you get that weird feeling when you open your eyes because you're hearing actual instruments and music, but your eyes see nothing there. It's that eerie feeling I get only with really good quality sources. I never would have thought the source program could make much of a different, but listening this way, it's a huge difference. Through an external DAC? I don't know. I just started playing with it today. But the results should be the same one would think. Unless my macbook's DAC just does better with Amarra's input? 

 

 


Edited by Jules - 11/4/11 at 10:35am
post #7 of 62

Foobar2000. 'nuff said.

post #8 of 62



Amarra is a plug-in for iTunes running on a Mac; and, it is not available for iTunes or any other media player running on a PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules View Post

Try Amarra. It plays FLAC files natively. I haven't compared it to foobar, but I have compared it to songbird. I'm not sure if songbird and foobar use the same audio device drivers, but Amarra uses it's own device driver. It's expensive, but you can try a demo version and see how you like it. I haven't tried it via an external DAC, but with headphones going straight into my macbook pro, Amarra sounds better. It's more analog, more round, less edgy sounding, more dynamic, more detailed. My ears are particularly sensitive to digital sound. I don't have a golden ear, and I am not an audiophile, but I can't stand bright processed sound. I'm one of those few people that can hear the different in bit-rates. 

 

With Fleetwood Mac's Dreams as my demo, from the DVD-A version (24/96), I hear immediate differences. Amarra's bass notes from the bass guitar and the drums are more rounded and deeper. Vocals are more airy. I can hear Nicks' voice reflecting off a wall on the left side of the soundstage creating some nice reverb. tThe sound is more focused instead of smeared across the soundstage. Harmonies are more distinct sounding allowing me to pick out individual voices better. With songbird, I hear a smeared vocal harmony, reverb washing murkily and unfocused, bright brittle cymbals and hi-hats, weaker bass, less dynamics. With Amarra, I can tell where each voice is coming from and hear it distinctly. The splash from cymbals and tick of the high-hat sound less bright and more round again. It sounds like I am there. This is something you hear from the moment the track starts. Amarra sounds WAY better than songbird. 

 

As a second demo, I used Creedence's track "Ramble Tamble" sourced from 180g vinyl and recorded at 24/96. This song has a more live sound to it than Dreams. But again, the sound is more natural and dynamic. Songbird is like listening to digital music. With Amarra, you get that weird feeling when you open your eyes because you're hearing actual instruments and music, but your eyes see nothing there. It's that eerie feeling I get only with really good quality sources. I never would have thought the source program could make much of a different, but listening this way, it's a huge difference. Through an external DAC? I don't know. I just started playing with it today. But the results should be the same one would think. Unless my macbook's DAC just does better with Amarra's input? 

 

 



 

post #9 of 62

Foobar, though I've had BSOD issues with kernel streaming through XP.  It was probably due to Creative driver issues.  I had trouble hearing any difference between DirectSound and kernel streaming, so I just went with DirectSound for XP.

 

Foobar with WASAPI through Win7 is the way to go.  $130-140 for an OEM copy of Win7 64-bit Professional on Amazon.

post #10 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by sterling1 View Post

media players all sound the same--



Forgive me, but I highly disagree. On my Windows 7 HP SP.1 Eee PC 1201N going to my uDAC then to my M-50s, even I can notice a huge difference between iTunes, and say.. JPlay, for example. As an added bonus, JPlay uses way fewer system resources during playback. But, it does not offer the media organization that iTunes, or MediaMonkey, for example, offer.

post #11 of 62

Helium Music Manager.  There is a free version which covers most of the features and there is the paid version.  you can research it more at the link below.

 

http://www.helium-music-manager.com/

 

I found out about it through Head Room.

post #12 of 62

I have said it before and i will say it again. Zune software is the most simple to use and most slick looking media player. I have been happily using it for 2 years now.

 

EDIT: flac won't work on zune software. In that case get foobar.


Edited by bcasey25raptor - 11/6/11 at 6:11pm
post #13 of 62

Have great results using Foobar2000 with the Ozone 4 vst plugin. Highly recommend Ozone 4 (free to try). You will need the VST adapter to use a VST plugin with Foobar 2000.

post #14 of 62

Foobar2K is great, but takes some tweaking to get a nice interface. I like it mostly for just being so fast, simple, and powerful (I don't have any plugins, except for WASAPI).

 

MusicBee is another option - fantastic user interface fresh out of installation and supports WASAPI with no plugins required. Natively plays FLAC, of course. Great player, highly recommended.

post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post

"Zune software is the most simple to use and most slick looking media player."


Ditto. I did a bunch of AB tests between FLAC and 320 MP3s only to find that I couldn't tell the difference. Now I don't have to mess with Foobar anymore. wink.gif

I love how I can look through my albums sorted by date added and still see the album art.
Edited by Jodiuh - 11/6/11 at 9:41pm
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