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Mac users: What audio player do you guys use? - Page 3

post #31 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by joseph69 View Post
 

I use a MacBook Pro with either the Schiit Modi or Meridian203 D/A Converters. I set my MIDI set up to integer mode.

By doing this I believe when I'm using either D/A Converter either bypass the internal clock/converter on the MBP, is this correct???

Thanks.

 

No matter what, the Modi is async and will be reclocking the signal. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by r010159 View Post
The defects with Apple CoreAudio are well-documented, which do result in pops and clicks among other abnormalities. This is particularly true with Maverick. Passing data to a DAC in its native form (integers) can also be a benefit. But beyond the effects that I feel reasonably certain are there, I do not know what else can be happening to the softwares attempt to preserve bit-perfect audio and its timing. I am thinking for some it may be more a goal than a certainty. FWIW

There is no doubt in my mind that the data is bit-perfect, not a mere attempt… otherwise I wouldn't be able to flawlessly play DoP from iTunes. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by r010159 View Post
 

 

I am not familiar too much with the architecture of CoreAudio on the Mac. Most of what I said I am passing on from an engineer who is more familiar with this aspect of OS X. However, I do have a good idea about device drivers and how system services are presented to the software running on the computer, in this case an audio player. So I am making an educated guess here. I would not be surprised that integer mode does bypass some of the processing involved, because this approach should not require additional conversions between different types of number formats before the end result is passed to the DAC. But I doubt a system setting like this one will bypass the entire audio processing stack of the Mac OS. That is why I use the term "layer", meaning only some software of the OS is probably bypassed. And this is why I like what is termed as "direct mode" and "integer mode" on Aurdirvana. Supposedly Audirvana goes directly to the DAC and feeds it numbers in integer format.

 

Would this result in audible differences? According to one EE that I know tells me that the bypassing of CoreAudio completely will have audible benefits. But he has not addressed the benefit of integer mode with me. Perhaps one more familiar with CoreAudio should comment here about the intricacies of this part of Mac OS. Who knows. I may have put the proverbial foot in the proverbial mouth. :-) 

 

Bob Graham

By my minimal understanding having seen CA from a dev perspective, that seems an accurate explanation, I would only say that the 'processing involved' should just be additional, complicated math. I'll have to look into what's gone on w/ CA in 10.9, I still run 10.6.8, and CA has always been a rock-solid stack for pro a/v needs (which are, of course, rather different than audiophiles' needs at times…!)

post #32 of 73

Amarra hi fi which works in conjunction with I tunes.  You can download and try a trial version for 15 days to see if you like it.

I also have Decibel.  Both are great players, just work differently.

post #33 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhfl View Post
 

 

No matter what, the Modi is async and will be reclocking the signal. 

 

There is no doubt in my mind that the data is bit-perfect, not a mere attempt… otherwise I wouldn't be able to flawlessly play DoP from iTunes. 

 

By my minimal understanding having seen CA from a dev perspective, that seems an accurate explanation, I would only say that the 'processing involved' should just be additional, complicated math. I'll have to look into what's gone on w/ CA in 10.9, I still run 10.6.8, and CA has always been a rock-solid stack for pro a/v needs (which are, of course, rather different than audiophiles' needs at times…!)

 

Perhaps. But I do think there may be some extraneous signal processing involved. This can explain why one player can sound different from another. (I am not talking about "soundstage has widened" or anything like that). Also why IMO there is a definite difference in how clipping is processed between Fidelia and Audirvana. Maybe my understanding of the term "bit perfect" is wrong. But to me it means a *very* faithful reproduction of whats on the source media, with no extraneous processing involved, "warts and all".

 

What do you think?

 

Bob Graham

 

EDIT: :Look at the parameters the user can configure with some of these players on the filter that can change the results of the processed signal: steepness,  cutoff freq, anti-aliasing,  linear vs minimum phase, and so forth.  Apparently decisions can be made in the processing of the audio that involve trade-offs. Maybe this is one area where the players can differ?


Edited by r010159 - 2/24/14 at 7:12pm
post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by shultzee View Post
 

Amarra hi fi which works in conjunction with I tunes.  You can download and try a trial version for 15 days to see if you like it.

I also have Decibel.  Both are great players, just work differently.

 

This is one I have not tried. I will look into it. But if it is anything like Audirvana, when I operate it in that mode with iTunes, there are problems I run into when I use it. For instance, random snippets of other songs can play when finishing one track and then going on to the next. Also Audirvana has hung in this mode. So there are definitely problems with using it this way.

 

Bob Graham

 

PS: It just occurred to me what the "multi" button is for. LOL


Edited by r010159 - 2/24/14 at 6:36pm
post #35 of 73

I use Amarra, A+ and Bitperfect. I have to admit I primarily use Bitperfect because it's just too convenient unobtrusive and does the job well. I have

gotten sick of the bugs within Amarra and the GUI. A+ sounds pretty good to, but I don't care for the player/GUI. I need to tryout J River before giving up all hope.

post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

I use Amarra, A+ and Bitperfect. I have to admit I primarily use Bitperfect because it's just too convenient unobtrusive and does the job well. I have

gotten sick of the bugs within Amarra and the GUI. A+ sounds pretty good to, but I don't care for the player/GUI. I need to tryout J River before giving up all hope.

 

Thanks for replying. I thought J River is for multimedia like playing video, and not optimized for music? I would be interested in what you find out.

 

Bob Graham

post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by r010159 View Post
 

 

Thanks for replying. I thought J River is for multimedia like playing video, and not optimized for music? I would be interested in what you find out.

 

Bob Graham

I know J River on PC was my pick, but on the Mac side, I'm not certain how it is. The Beta was ok. But yea, J River is audiophile compliant.

post #38 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

I know J River on PC was my pick, but on the Mac side, I'm not certain how it is. The Beta was ok. But yea, J River is audiophile compliant.

 

I am trying out the J River Media Center for the Mac right now. So far it sounds like a *very* respectable player. But compared to Audirvana+, J River sounds like a mild low pass filter was applied to the music. I will investigate why there is this difference. This might be due to how the Media Center is set up, or how Audirvana+ is set up.

 

As a side note, even though there may be a solution in how it is setup, this proves to me that there can be differences with so-called "bit-perfect" processing. It should not matter how a player is setup, other than the use of plugins that modify the sound. IMO I think the audio data can be processed in a myriad of ways, with tradeoffs in choices the programmer makes each step of the way. I am actually *surprised* there is a noticeable difference in this case. I know, this may not make any sense to some.

 

I will work to find the cause of this difference. Tomorrow I may blind A/B test it against Audirvana+ with a neighbor that has a good ear. For all I know, it may turn out to be Audirvana+ that is "enhancing" (read: modifying) the audio, and the J River may turn out to be the bit-perfect player.

 

Bob Graham


Edited by r010159 - 2/24/14 at 10:14pm
post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by r010159 View Post
 

 

I am trying out the J River Media Center for the Mac right now. So far it sounds like a *very* respectable player. But compared to Audirvana+, J River sounds like a mild low pass filter was applied to the music. I will investigate why there is this difference. This might be due to how the Media Center is set up, or how Audirvana+ is set up.

 

Beat me to it. Please do post your findings. J River hits the spot for GUI, but performance on Mac is uncertain. 

 

I know Amarra has stuck around because to me, it presents music in a very analog-like fashion, all these other's are more digital sounding. Whatever reasons being, it's all been discussed to death before, I tend to side with my ears no matter. 

post #40 of 73

I did a A/B/X test with a guitarist who can easily pick out complex chords in music. So even though she is not an audiophile, she has better than average listening skills. This test was between Audirvana+ and J River. She did not notice any difference between the 1st and 2nd players. But the difference with the 3rd player was *obvious* to her. She did not even have to think about it. The first two were the same player, J River. The 3rd was Audirvana+.  What surprised me was that she preferred J River. J River sounded more accurate to her. But she felt both were good music players.

 

Maybe the Audirvana+ player involves additional signal processing that makes it *sound* better to me, at the cost of some accuracy? I do not see this as a conclusive test. But I think some will find this comparison interesting. Is bit-perfect playback a valid claim? Perhaps not with some players.

 

Bob Graham

 

EDIT: The very next day, I performed another A/B test, between Fidelia and J River. I personally like Fidelia more because there seems to be a bit more ambiance to the sound. Guess what? She correctly picked out J River as being more accurate. For all she knew, I could have been using two new players to test out. Apparently, J River has something going for it.


Edited by r010159 - 2/26/14 at 12:25pm
post #41 of 73

Its funny how people hear things differently.  I did a trial with both Audirvana and Amarra Hi Fi and felt Amarra was better.  But to be honest Decibel may be the best sounding imho.

post #42 of 73

I have been using Amarra for about a month now and haven't had any real issues.  Hopefully it stays reliable as I do prefer it over A+ as I also find Amarra more Analog sounding.  

post #43 of 73

post #44 of 73

I like your choice of equipment, particularly the headphones.:)  

 

As another side note, I figured out that the guitar player has better hearing in the high frequencies. I have 30 to 12K hearing, and she has better. This is why I cannot hear the differences she notices between J River and other players. So I guess part of the reason there are those who make different choices is their ability to hear sound differently.

 

Bob Graham

 

PS: Take a look at this article http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/520-fun-digital-audio-%96-bit-perfect-audibility-testing/ I am going to try this between Fidelia and J River, the pair that the guitarist claimed to be closest to each other.


Edited by r010159 - 2/27/14 at 10:24am
post #45 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by r010159 View Post
 

PS: Take a look at this article http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/520-fun-digital-audio-%96-bit-perfect-audibility-testing/ I am going to try this between Fidelia and J River, the pair that the guitarist claimed to be closest to each other.

 

Good article, here's another - http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/05/measurements-bit-perfect-audiophile.html - in which 6 pieces of software are tested, including some DSD tests. So, if we can trust that a piece of software claiming to be bit-perfect is in fact bit-perfect... that is, the exact data from your file is going to your DAC unadulterated, the exact same bits are making it in the exact right order from point A to point C (despite the detour at point B, the media player)... where do the discrepancies in sound come from? Jitter is a possibility, expectation bias is another, what other pieces to this puzzle are there? I can't imagine any sort of processing happening prior to hitting the DAC that would mean a change in sound with no change in data (bit-perfection). 

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