Best android music player app?
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Mmurin

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Hello everybody
I am not audio expert, nor audiophile, but I like to listen to good music.

So I ran some test to determine the best music app to use with my HTC10.
I used Beoplay H3 IEM with comply foam tips.
I know they are not considered audiophile grade, but I found their sound very detailed. The soundstage is not very opened though.
My personal impression, contrary to what most reviewers wrote, it's that they are not lacking punch on the bass, but rather exceeding a bit in the mid-highs.
That said, while not considering myself a bass head, I like a bit of warmth in music, especially classical, and punchy bass in rock.

Soon after receiving the HTC10, I started looking better music apps than the stock one (Google music).

I was overwhelmed by the amount of choice AND misinformation.
Most reviews simply seemed to test the most popular apps already, also adding to the confusion the fact that most apps have a free and paid version whose difference can be substantial (e.g. no eq, no folder browsing or tons of ads in the free version)
Also different apps may reproduce the music differently with different devices.

My criteria for testing was first and foremost whether I liked or not the music quality listening to my earphones.
I would define the qualities looked for in the sound output as (audiophiles please forgive my possible imprecision, but I am a newbie in the field):
- sound detail: e.g. if you can hear a guitar chord clearly vibrating like if you head the body right against your hips
- sound fidelity: distortion or not distortion introduced in the music; I often found that the highs would be distorted, this being especially disturbing when listening to classical music
- equalizer (eq) quality: I use eq little to nothing with good quality sources (good mp3 or flac), but many old recordings or badly encoded mp3 need some eq to be beautified;

Other criteria I used are:
- folder browsing is a must-have for me
- UI fluidity
- possibility to control the app with IEM's remote button
- app free, free with ads, or paid

The music I used for the test were high quality flac of metal, jazz and classical music (e.g. Dream Theater, Wagner..) and low quality mp3 rock music (e.g. ACDC).

My starting point was provided by this post:


So I started with some apps which used android's native sound engine, but due to their disappointing sound quality, I soon switched to the ones using the FFmpeg decoder.

The list of the apps I tried:

APPS using android's native sound engine

Folder player by Peter Shashkin
Folder player by Zorillasoft
Blackplayer
Doubletwist
Google play music
Pulsar
PI music player
Sensor music player
Shuttle music player
... and many others which either crashed or messed with the phone's audio

Aside from the inferior sound quality I found those apps ridden with ads or missing fundamental functions.
The 2 apps that really stood out from that list are:
- Folder player by Peter Shashkin : lightweight, free, no ads, no frills, fluid, decent sound quality and decently working equalizer, stable, keeps a folder by folder memory of where you stopped playing the last time you were there, highly configurable
- Pulsar : lightweight, veery nice UI, no ads, but eq locked in the free version and sound quality inferior to folder player. Still, if aesthetics is a must, I really liked the UI.


APPS using FFmpeg decoder:

JetAudio
Onkyo HF
HibyMusic
AIMP
Foobar2000
Stellio
N7player
Gonemad
Poweramp
Rocket
PlayerPro
Neutron
Sony music center
Captune (by Sennheiser)
VLC

The jump in quality compared to the other apps using android's native sound engine was very discernible.

Almost all of those apps were ok to very good sq wise, with 2 exceptions:
-Stellio - I also had the cracking issues when playing, which was already mentioned in this forum. Globally the music was less detailed compared to the others FFmpeg users. It is really a shame, considering that it is free, ads are inobstrusive and the UI is wonderful!
-Poweramp - With all enhancements (including DVC) turned off, sound was less detailed compared to the others FFmpeg users. With enhancements turned on (mostly DVC + bass boost), I would class its audio effects as the top ones I tried. But this introduced too much distortion and noise in the music, even for old low quality rock mp3s. This is a bit a disappointment, but I read on this forum that it may be specific because of bad support of the HTC 10.

All other apps from a sq point of view were good, but each one had at least one point which led me to discard it.
An interesting thing is that many apps failed to accurately reproduce the highs, which tended to be squeaky:
-AIMP (but superfluid UI!!)
-Foobar2000 (don't like the UI)
-Gonemad (not free + access to sound effects overly laborious)
-VLC

Then those 2 seemed to have a tad less detail with hq flacs compared to the apps further below:
-JetAudio : I don't like sound effects + the free version is ridden with ads
-Neutron : my lack of understanding of all of the parameters did not allow it to really stand out sq-wise

And there come the sq winners. All these apps for me were excellent enough for hq flacs, but only few of them succeeded in equally beautify lq mp3s. Compared to the apps above detail and highs reproduction seemed a step superior. Despite differences in sound reproduction tonalities, to me all sounded flawless. The differences in the end come only to price, UI, and sound effects:
- Onkyo HF (superfluid UI, but no folder browser)
- N7player (here some highs accuracy is traded for extra sound detail; don't like the way it shows its main page, plus occasionally the UI hangs and crashes; extra paid after trial end, including folder browser)
-Sony music center (some accuracy is traded to open the soundstage; no hierarchical folder view; unresponsive to headset remote buttons; not really sure it is meant to be a local music player)
- Captune (by Sennheiser) (sq excels especially in highs reproduction; slow and choppy UI; the UI was the main reason why I discarded it)

The 3 which stood out in the finals,
with no major flaws:
- PlayerPro (balanced sq, options for high res sound, but paying after trial expiry)
- HibyMusic (balanced sq)
- Rocket music player (a tad of detail is traded to add a bit of warmth to music)

I will give the final prize to Rocket music player only because its equalizer and bass boost really stand out in beautifying low quality mp3. Plus the UI is super, it is free (as I don't need the paying extras) and I like the extra warmth added to the music.

Please note that all of this comes from many hours of listening and fiddling with eqs, but there is nothing objective here. It all come to my personal tastes and impressions.

I really would like to have your feedbacks!
I really like Rocket music player.
I would like some opinions on the quoted post
 
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post-13601523
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gaiastar

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I really like Rocket music player.
I would like some opinions on the quoted post
hi
i liked it too ,but it doesn't support all the audio files only the audio files supported by the phone
other software like foobar2000 for android has its own codec
cheers
 
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Mmurin

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Right
But my HTC10 support everything natively
And seems to be doing a good job decoding flac, even from the free version of rocket
 
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Signal2Noise

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I'm partial to Rocket Player, been using it for years. However, I still haven't come across "the best" music player app. I have to rely on several apps for specific features for the listening situation at hand. Sometimes I wish I had the time to teach myself app dev to come up with one of these apps. If Rocket Player (UI, fluidity, SQ), Neutron (options!, EQ), and UAPP (USB to DAC - onboard & out) got together for one night of debauchery and at the end an offspring was born that would be the ultimate player app, imo.

There's some honourable mentions that I have been enjoying to use lately, although still require improvements in one regard or another: Shuttle+, Phonograph, Hiby, Black Player, & Stellio.
 
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jjmai

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As much as I enjoy poweramp, I hate how it occasionally cannot verify license in the middle of a flight (airplane mode, no data), and stops working all together.

Anyone know what good music app supports streaming local files from phone to Chromecast?
 
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Dipper

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I find UAPP USB dac driver is worse than Android driver. USB dac has narrower soundstage. Volume is too loud and the melody/beat is too forward. It sounds too in your face. Android sounds better, even though there's resample. Everything blends in and nothing is too forward. Music is more relaxing and emotional. Is it just me that hear this?
 
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phiemon

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I find UAPP USB dac driver is worse than Android driver. USB dac has narrower soundstage. Volume is too loud and the melody/beat is too forward. It sounds too in your face. Android sounds better, even though there's resample. Everything blends in and nothing is too forward. Music is more relaxing and emotional. Is it just me that hear this?
I would like to know this too because I'm looking for an app with the best audio quality with the DragonFly Red.
 
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I've been around the block with Android players. I've got almost 10k tracks on my phone so I'm only interested in players that can handle so many. Also I'm organized in recursive folders, so players that are dumb about that are useless to me. I often use an external DAC with good results just through Android. With an external DAC I find both Pulsar and Rocket Player to be most convenient and to have the features I want. But AIMP has even more features and two levels of sorting as well as a 10 band equalizer and its own audio engine, so despite a less intuitive interface it is excellent both with and without an external DAC. However, when I am not using an external DAC and do not need complex sorting, I like the sound I can get from Noozy best. Its audio engine and DSP options give a wide range of very clear and musical listening possibilities. I'm really disappointed that Noozy does not seem to be getting updated, though.
 
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TYATYA

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I would like to know this too because I'm looking for an app with the best audio quality with the DragonFly Red.
Idk if your dragonfly can decode dsd or not. If YES, go for Hfplayer (Onkyo)(Tiac has same one 99% same, as copy).
In the past using a dsd dac/amp I found that app has a very good special function : PCM to Dsd real time during playing (high spec smartphone required). Its is not placebo effect.
Also it has good eq.
Neutron is good at Eq and it is an unlimited format : mp3, pcm, dsd, dts-es6.1.... all!
For diriect use 3.5 jack output of smartphone I prefer VLC then UAPP (UAPP is bull in upscale, very bad)
 
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audiophilefan

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Hi everyone! Honestly, I don't have time and energy to backread all 38 pages so please pardon me if I'm repeating anyone else's opinion.

The best player for me is Stellio, bar none.

*Pretty cheap to unlock and remove ads
*Interface is really clean with great looking themes for every tastes.
*Album art support is great. Auto added and accurate. Easy to add them manually too.
*Adding and editing playlists is easy by multiple-select.
*Gapless playback works great.
*Crossfade is subtle and works great if you're into that.
*Audio buffer size is adjustable, though you may need to measure your phone's so you can adjust it accordingly (default works for me just fine)
*Behavior is highly customizable (pauses when volume is 0, or when headphones are unplugged, etc.)
*Plays the usual hi-res formats (even the highest quality of flacs, wav, etc. Of course not DSD and the likes unless your phone supports those)
*Supports external DACs natively. No additional set up required when I plugged in Fiio K1. It's plug and play. Hiby Music and others are finicky so I uninstalled upon trying.
-No streaming support. I think this is intended for purists.
*EQ has a lot of useful options, including replay gain (called as AGC or automatic gain control within the EQ). You can also disable the EQ to use third party ones. I let Dolby Atmos in Music mode do all the work (I leave it flat, with just the Virtualizer on).
*Best of all, sound quality is the best I heard, neutral and I dare say pretty natural. Other players just sound "metallic" or too digital if you know what I mean. It must be bypassing something in android and being able to use the full potential of the phone's DAC (or external DAC or amp for that matter).

For reference, my phone is a Lenovo K4 Note running a Wolfson WM8281 DAC, mostly stock Android Lollipop. Sounds great with Stellio. YMMV but it doesn't hurt to give it a try. :wink:
 
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tuxx

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Thank you for this addition, @audiophilefan!

I would like to retire Poweramp for a number of reasons, the lack of development being the most important one. Looking for a replacement that can scrobble to Last.fm, supports Vorbis, has a clear sound over my DT770s and does generally not get in my way, the two finalists were Stellio and jetAudio, despite their little quirks.

I found that there does not seem to be a way to get rid of the jetAudio notification, I can't seem to be able to exit the player without opening the main window. Is that correct? Because, if nothing else, this might give me a reason to pick Stellio...
 
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I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before but, if you are not afraid to download unknown files, you can download the dolby atmos equalizer from technonation. You don't need to root your phone or anything. I must say that on my oneplus 5t it works like a charm, on my Samsung galaxy note 8 though, that's another story, the device won't even download the apk. I don't know why. Anyway the equalizer is simple but amazing! I love it!
 
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audiophilefan

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Thank you for this addition, @audiophilefan!

I would like to retire Poweramp for a number of reasons, the lack of development being the most important one. Looking for a replacement that can scrobble to Last.fm, supports Vorbis, has a clear sound over my DT770s and does generally not get in my way, the two finalists were Stellio and jetAudio, despite their little quirks.

I found that there does not seem to be a way to get rid of the jetAudio notification, I can't seem to be able to exit the player without opening the main window. Is that correct? Because, if nothing else, this might give me a reason to pick Stellio...
@tuxx - Sorry for the late response. As far as I can remember (long ago), I downloaded JetAudio and then uninstalled same day. :beyersmile: That's the thing for me, man. If it feels even a little bit buggy or gives you notifications you do not need, I'm not keeping it. The main purpose of having a player in a smartphone is convenience. If it gives you headaches, uninstall, then try something else (like Stellio, of course). Best of luck! :wink:
 
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