Mac OS X Music Players - alternatives to iTunes

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by currawong, Feb 15, 2011.
  1. DSNORD
    2 Audirvana questions:

    (1)-Does Audirvana support MIDI Multi-Output Device (MOD) use on a Mac?

    I have a MOD set up that consists of an Audioquest Dragonfly, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, and Dante Virtual Sound Card.

    iTunes, Roon, and Pure Music output to all 3 devices of the MOD, but Audirvana won't recognize the MOD. I have to manual choose which individual device I want Audirvana to use, and then it plays fine. The problem is that the Dragonfly and Yggdrasil feed separate systems, and I can't get them to play simultaneously with Audirvana but I can with the 3 other players.

    This limits Audirvana's value to me in spite of it sounding slightly better and having some desirable features that the others lack.

    (2)- Is Integer Mode supported on a Dante Virtual Sound Card ?

    Audirvana does not run in Integer Mode as it feeds my Mac Mini's Dante Virtual Sound Card which outputs via Ethernet to an Atterotech unDaes-O which then outputs over AES/EBU to my Yggdrasil DAC. Audio Over Internet Protocol sounds better than USB in my system using iTunes, Roon, Pure Music.

    It will run in Integer Mode if Audirvana outputs to the Dragonfly and Yggdrasil over USB.

    Both USB and AOIP sound great and similar, but I wonder if AOIP would be even better if Integer Mode was active using the Dante.

    Thanks for the input.

    DSNORD
     
  2. Zoom25
    Anyone here using Amarra SQ+ along with the Dirac Live IRC?
     
  3. sterling1

    ​At least one software engineer, the developer of Foobar says all players sound the same; and, hey, as long as we have multiple choice, how about D) the reason I cannot hear a difference is because there is no difference when players are sans DSP .
     
  4. omasciarotte
     
    Hey sterling1,
     
    That would be a convenient though myopic response in that it ignores the majority opinion of mastering engineers, veteran audio software engineers and audio–centric consumers. For folks who say they hear no difference in identical data being delivered via different methods, all you have to do is inject various jitter spectra into their “identical” information and hear how it changes the subjective character of the converted music. Though the data does not change, most everyone can hear the effects of jitter.
     
    Another test that makes one question old school received wisdom is try the bypass button in Amarra. It routes the music either through iTunes when in bypass or through Amarra and, again, most though not all listeners can hear a difference. That mostly depends on the quality of the DAC and what the DAC is feeding downstream.
     
    Speakin’ of tests, I’m guessing you use Windows…have you tried listening to playback of the same file through MediaMonkey, VLC, Windows Media Player and Foobar playing the same file with all effects disabled? Since none of them are dedicated audio players plus they’re running on Windows, it’s a little bit of a PITA to get bit perfect operation but, it’s worth the effort.
     
  5. Lohb
    I guess DIRECT MODE just isn't coming back due to Apple locking the latest OS in whatever way they did.
     
    Wish my audio chain remained the same when Direct Mode got disabled - so the brain burn-in with old gear would have detected any lesser SQ with it off.
    Just like the idea of A+ being totally decoupled from the Apple audio code anyway.
     
  6. sterling1
    Yes, I have indeed experimented with all of the above; and, I rejected all as iTunes seems over all to be more convenient, intuitive, and useful.  Now, I've moved on to spending my leisure time, which is a luxury, on activities I believe to be more meaningful to the quality of my life in general than obsessing over media players. 
     
  7. omasciarotte
     
    Agreed, iTunes is a generally well designed product from a UX perspective. Also, I applaud you for knowing what’s meaningful in life!
     
  8. pinnahertz
    My problem with iTunes is that its UI has gotten much worse over the years and updates.  It's typical of the kind of self-serving bloat-ware that Apple (and Microsoft) pump out, loaded with commercial product, and inhibiting the user on some very simple and basic functions.  I don't agree it's well designed (anymore), and it doesn't contribute to my particular quality of life with its annoyances. 
     
    iTunes used to be simpler, and less congested with "extras" like "For You", "New", "Radio" and "Connect".  The My Music pane is cobbled up with 3 sub-panes.  It used to be just a list with column-head sort choices and playlists, devices, and shared libraries always viewable in static pane to the left.  The UI now demands the user to toggle between different "views" of the same library, none of which is always what you want.  The pushed Radio and iTunes Store content is quite annoying.  I have a much older version running on my media server that works better, easier, and is actually more stable.  In fact, the current iTunes version has pushed me to search for something else that is simpler, and has no retail "push" to it.  I find the ever-tightening integration with the iTunes Store to be problematic, and just in the way.   View customization is now nearly gone.  And the constant stream of bugs with each update is just irresponsible.  Things like the vanishing AirPlay icon (restored by turning on the mini player, then restarting iTunes...really???).  Each update has, IMO, taken steps forward for Apple marketing, tightened Apple's connection with the user, and moved functionality backward.   It's added "features" are Apple-serving only, and yet as a music player, it's only gotten worse.  It's just a manifestation of the real goals behind Apple now.  The "User Experience" was the driving force behind the success of the Mac.  Now the User Experience is secondary or tertiary, and that's across all products.  
     
    Mandatory OS and Applications that are distributed with them should NOT be commandeered for promotion and advertising.  iTunes is just a step or two behind pushing the kind of junk Win 10 pushes on the unsuspecting user, who then must effectively "hack" his brand new system to remove the junk-ware. 
     
    iTunes on IOS is a horrible mess now, with iCloud integration, you're often presented with selections you can't actually play.  Resetting and eliminating that isn't straight-forward, and doesn't stay anyway.  I spent 40 minutes on the phone with AppleCare trying to fix that, it stayed fixed for about three days then reverted.  
     
    The search for something better than iTunes continues.  And, for perspective, I've been a Mac user since the Mac Plus.  I'm not saying it was better then, but in the last six years Apple has completely lost its direction.  It's like they globally replaced "fun to use" with "incomprehensible complexity".  
     
    (Stepping of the soap box now...thanks). 
     
  9. sterling1

    ​I am an Apple Music subscriber, and, I've gotta tell ya, the "for you"and "browse" features make iTunes even more spectacular now. Each day I have an opportunity to listen to genres of music which iTunes has gathered I might like, music both old and new. It's simply fabulous and well worth the $9.99 a month fee. The music I hear which I really like can be downloaded and/or placed in my iTunes library for playback from iCloud  without charge; and, I can purchase it if I wish. Purchasing it allows the music to be burnt to a CD for listening to on  my car's radio. I also buy iTunes "match" annually. This great feature stores my entire iTunes library in the iCloud. This feature has helped me get iTunes back up and running after a computer crash a few years ago. The iCloud also allows me to bypass my laptop all together and just listen to music from the iCloud via my iPhone streaming to Home Theatre wirelessly using Airport Express for Airplay function. It's all great- I am able with a few clicks on my phone to listen to most everything ever recorded in high fidelity. WOW! 
     
  10. CarlosUnchained

    Doesn't iTunes match store a different copy of the songs you have? For example, does it store ALAC or AIFF?
     
  11. sterling1

    ​iTunes "match" will up or downsample users uploads to 256k @ 44.1. In  my experience the service has not stored a different copy. In fact, I sometimes wish the service did. Much of my music was originally ripped from LP's; and, some of those have the snap, crackle, and pop associated with LP's.  Listening to those from the iCloud I still get the snap, crackle, and pop. I have not however uploaded any MP3 music. The service may indeed look for higher bits and bites on those. I believe they may do that. I'd need to find something I have in my library that's stored there in MP3 and send to iCloud to test that out.
     
  12. omasciarotte
    Zoom25 said:
     
    Yup, got a inexpensive (but not Behringer) mic, a Dayton UMM-6 calibrated by Cross-Spectrum Acoustics LLC, to do the profiles. SQ+ is a very nice tool (the EQ is essential) and Dirac, IMO, is currently the best software–only correction available.
     
    Zoom25 likes this.
  13. turkayguner
    I love the audio quality and the music catalogue with my Tidal hifi subscription. But I would prefer a better UI over Tidal's, with better music discovery options and metadata etc. Is there any software or iOS app you recommend other than Roon?
     
  14. Whazzzup
    I'm going to run two systems.

    One with antipodes audio ds GT running roon core for my TT gsx mk2 combo. Remotly run via my iPad Pro, or iPhone 7. Take the iMac and iTunes out of play.
    The second my iMac 5k will run a second dac/amp and my kef desktop speakers and LAN lined to my network are two Apple TV which of course will all be on iTunes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  15. AppleheadMay
    Nope, nothing quite like Roon + Tidal I'm afraid. Beats Apple Music by far.
     

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