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Best FLAC player for PC?

post #1 of 213
Thread Starter 

I'm just getting into what's beyond 320kbps and I'm just trying to get some opinions about the best FLAC player out there. Thank you.

post #2 of 213
Thread Starter 

Preferably less than $30.

post #3 of 213

The Absolute Sound is currently in the middle of a 4 part series on computer audio and in part 2 (last month) they rated several programs.  Top program (for both CD ripping and playback) was JRiver Media Center.  $50 (but does have a 30 day trial period).  Two additional plug ins CPlay ($free) and JPlay (99 euros, has a hobbled trial package) add a huge amount to JRMC according to the articles.  CPlay is stand alone and minimally featured.  Jplay now rides on top of  the JRMC interface.

 

You want the best player, there is one person's opinion.

post #4 of 213

I personally use foobar2000. It "free" so you can try it and see how you like it. It also allows a lot of customizations if you like to tweak.

 

http://www.foobar2000.org/


Edited by VCRHIFI - 2/1/12 at 10:37pm
post #5 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeckles View Post

The Absolute Sound is currently in the middle of a 4 part series on computer audio and in part 2 (last month) they rated several programs.  Top program (for both CD ripping and playback) was JRiver Media Center.  $50 (but does have a 30 day trial period).  Two additional plug ins CPlay ($free) and JPlay (99 euros, has a hobbled trial package) add a huge amount to JRMC according to the articles.  CPlay is stand alone and minimally featured.  Jplay now rides on top of  the JRMC interface.

 

You want the best player, there is one person's opinion.



I'm not sure what to make out of The Absolute Sound's articles on computer audio. In part three, they claimed through their testing that "Flac sounded worst than Wav." I'm still trying to figure out how this logically would make sense. Anyway, I don't want to to derail this thread, so I will leave it at that.

post #6 of 213

I love using media monkey. Free and works great for me.

post #7 of 213

I use EAC to rip in FLAC and use Media Monkey to play music. I like it because it is easy to use and has ASIO support, oh and both are free.

post #8 of 213

Another vote for the free and incredibly versatile foobar.

 

You might want to look into dBPoweramp or even Winamp as well. Both are pretty popular, both have free and paid versions.

post #9 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by VCRHIFI View Post

In part three, they claimed through their testing that "Flac sounded worst than Wav." I'm still trying to figure out how this logically would make sense.


It was quite likely just placebo.

 

post #10 of 213

MPD on Voyage Linux with MPoD. Better than a squeezebox, 10% of the price.

post #11 of 213

I really like Foobar + JPLAY. 

post #12 of 213

Foobar is great sounding for FLAC and I agree with Absolute Sound about vs wav while understanding that they should be the same. I just think Foobar is one of the best sounding players for all formats with the right sort of plug ins. Crappy for a wav library however.

post #13 of 213

If your concern is sound quality, then any player that supports flac and either WASAPI, ASIO or another "Bit-perfect" mode should be identical in sound quality, unless it defaults to some specialized equalizer or replaygain system that adjusts things.  

  

Foobar2000 is free and supports massive customization, loads of optional 3rd party plugins and components to make it look and function like anything you can imagine. You may have to get your hands dirty with some DiY in order to make the more intense customizations work, though.  

  

So, find one that supports ASIO or Wasapi, and then narrow it down to one with a user interface you like. I can't imagine paying for a media player, though. What features do the paid ones offer?


Edited by Timestretch - 2/3/12 at 10:57am
post #14 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by VCRHIFI View PostI'm not sure what to make out of The Absolute Sound's articles on computer audio. In part three, they claimed through their testing that "Flac sounded worst than Wav." I'm still trying to figure out how this logically would make sense. Anyway, I don't want to to derail this thread, so I will leave it at that.


If you read some of the available info, it might be logical. http://www.cicsmemoryplayer.com/index.php?n=CPlay.SoftwareInducedJitter

 

I noticed the wav/flac differential when using foobar2000 before I knew why or how. I tried to do some testing using Foobar's ABX Comparator, but guess what? The files to be compared are first converted to "wav" format and stored in memory. So whether you compare flac, wav or whatever, you are actually comparing wav to wav.

 

In my experience, converting flac at runtime (playtime) causes problems. So does hard-drive access and other computer processes (network, video and usb, etc.).

 

On this computer, I get the best sound using cicsPlay (cPlay). It converts tracks, stores them in memory, and then starts to play. Flac decoding is not a problem during playback.

 

On another partition, I have optimized Windows XP SP2 for use with cPlay and cMP. There, cPlay sounds better, and cMP running with cPlay sounds better still.

 

This is an easy thing to try for yourself. You need cPlay, ASIO, a playback system (headphones or speakers) and some high-quality material. CD quality (44.1 kHz sampling rate, 16 bit samples, stereo) can sound very good if the source material is up to the challenge.

post #15 of 213

I would not so much take that article with a pinch of salt as upend several salt cellars over it and then throw it into the Dead Sea.

 

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