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Suggestions for playback software on a Mac...

71.198.33.249

Posted on July 20, 2022 at 14:59:01
SF tech
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Posts: 8876
Location: San Francisco
Joined: March 24, 2005



Well, my 20+ year old Pioneer disc spinner is starting to get glitchy and unreliable... So, I'm emerging from the digital dark age of CD playback, prompted by the acquisition of a nice headphone setup... Schiit Modius DAC -> Schiit Valhalla 2 -> Sennheiser HD-6XX

I plan to rip my entire CD collection (4-500 discs) to FLAC, and use my MacBook Pro as the playback device.

I have purchased an Apple Superdrive, and will use either EAC or dBpoweramp to rip the CDs.

Question is: Is there some consensus on the best software for local file playback? I do not want or need integration with streaming services (I use Spotify Premium for that)... I just want the best playback for 16/44.1 FLAC files, a nice user interface that simplifies browsing titles and library management.

I've looked at Audirvāna Origin, and it looks decent... Any thoughts?

I don't mind paying for the software, but I don't want anything subscription-based.

Thanks!

Regards,
SF





 

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RE: Suggestions for playback software on a Mac..., posted on July 20, 2022 at 18:17:52
Dawnrazor
Audiophile

Posts: 12249
Location: N. California
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Give Amarra a try. I picked it over Audirvana. Also get some vibe control on that stack! 4-5 of the linked product should work well

Cut to razor sounding violins

 

RE: Suggestions for playback software on a Mac..., posted on July 20, 2022 at 20:13:44
AbeCollins
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My preferred player before going Roon was Audirvana. Next favorite was Pure Music. There are many good ones out there.

Good luck!

P.S. You probably already know this but be sure to rip your CDs in a lossless format, either compressed lossless [like FLAC or ALAC] or uncompressed AIFF. I would avoid WAV for various reasons.





 

RE: Suggestions for playback software on a Mac..., posted on July 21, 2022 at 01:22:43
Posts: 23461
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I use Audirvana, but mainly for listening to Qobuz - it's got its own interface for Qobuz, which I find superior to Qobuz's own player.

For my downloads and rips (especially of the hi-rez persuasion), I use a back level version of HQ Player, which supports the exaSound ASIO driver on the Mac. (I use an exaSound MCH DAC.) Listening to HQ Player in certain modes can really make your processor run through its paces - although I don't tend to listen in those modes myself.

 

RE: Suggestions for playback software on a Mac..., posted on July 21, 2022 at 09:22:50
Mel
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Posts: 2808
Location: New York City Area
Joined: February 21, 2001
I am pleased with JRiver. Cost is $60. There's a large user base and a lot of support. For streaming I am happy to use the services' app on my computer or BubbleUPnP on my streamer.

JRiver and Audirvāna Origin can be used for a short while as trial versions. IIRC you can try JRiver without giving them credit card info.

 

Apparently, JRiver also supports the exaSound ASIO driver on the Mac too [nt], posted on July 21, 2022 at 10:36:36
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Ripping to lossless..., posted on July 21, 2022 at 11:12:32
SF tech
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Posts: 8876
Location: San Francisco
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That's the plan.

Abe, are you aware of any good reasons to NOT use ALAC vs FLAC?

Are there portability or DRM issues that would make FLAC more desireable in this case?

Going to do the 30-day free trial of Audirvana Origin, and it will happily play either format.

Thanks,
SF



 

RE: Ripping to lossless..., posted on July 21, 2022 at 11:24:41
AbeCollins
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In the very early days I used ALAC because I used iTunes on the Mac as there wasn't much else available back then for Mac. ALAC is very similar to FLAC but w/o the FLAC bugs - a problem that existed with FLAC several years ago that has since been fixed.

For a compressed lossless format I would use FLAC today. I don't think DRM is an issue but for wider portability I would lean toward FLAC.



 

Thanks! nt, posted on July 21, 2022 at 11:27:36
SF tech
Industry Professional

Posts: 8876
Location: San Francisco
Joined: March 24, 2005
nt



 

I used to use Amarra..., posted on July 21, 2022 at 12:24:28
SF tech
Industry Professional

Posts: 8876
Location: San Francisco
Joined: March 24, 2005
Before MacOS went to 64-bit apps only, and Amarra went *poof*... They never offered a free update to existing customers, as far as I know. So, I think I'll try the free trial of Audirvāna Origin before I spend any money.

Will look at isolation options in due course, but I'm not sure what the scrub brushes are for.

Are you suggesting that my system needs a thorough cleaning? ;-)

Thanks,
SF



 

From a former PureMusic fan, posted on July 21, 2022 at 12:46:54
G Squared
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Channel has abandoned PureMusic and is not compatible with the last several OS upgrades and does not seem to be putting any resources into it.


Gsquared

 

RE: I used to use Amarra..., posted on July 21, 2022 at 13:21:32
Dawnrazor
Audiophile

Posts: 12249
Location: N. California
Joined: April 9, 2004



I tried Adirvana it was ok but I think it fell short with the app/ control or something. Amarra just worked and sounded good. My needs were pretty particular. Brushes are footers. You got tubes bro

Cut to razor sounding violins

 

That's too bad but good to know. Thanks! - nt, posted on July 21, 2022 at 14:22:30
AbeCollins
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.

 

I didn't say it before about Amarra..., posted on July 21, 2022 at 14:33:58
AbeCollins
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Amarra was one of the first (THE first?) hi-end audio players. As such they were literally charging a couple thousand bucks for their software when it first hit the market. A reviewer who used to hangout on the Asylum bought his own copy gladly parting with his personal funds. All well and good I suppose if you're an audiophile with loads of money!

And then other outstanding music players entered the scene at more reasonable prices forcing Amarra to drop their pricing. Makes sense. All well and good again. Pricing plummeted but still expensive compared to others. Still highly regarded.

So I visit the Amarra room at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest many years ago ready to BUY my own copy of Amarra but the sales guy running the room has no clue. I was ready to pay with my credit card or cash right there and then but he wasn't prepared to sell it. He said he was, but he couldn't figure out how to make the transaction happen.

Initially too expensive, then too unprepared to sell it, and by this time too many other outstanding music players to bother with Amarra again. So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Almost bought it but didn't. Never looked back.




 

RE: I didn't say it before about Amarra..., posted on July 21, 2022 at 16:19:58
Dawnrazor
Audiophile

Posts: 12249
Location: N. California
Joined: April 9, 2004
Maybe software is different, but I used to work in the AV industry and many shows you werent set up to actually sell things. Mostly "go to the website" or "let me get your info" type things. I think I spent like $149 including the app. Ironically i have moved away from network based solutions so dont use Amarra or a mac or a pc anymore.

Cut to razor sounding violins

 

Just to be complete..., posted on July 22, 2022 at 11:18:40
PaulN
Audiophile

Posts: 1390
Joined: January 13, 2000
Since nobody has mentioned it so far: HQPlayer is made for your use case.

The interface is a bit clunky but it is by far the most flexible/configurable of the file players and of course it sounds amazing and receives constant support/updates from the developer. The latest version (4.X) have a separate client that you can drag and drop files into.

I have Puremusic, Roon and HQPlayer and have listened extensively to them all as file players. To my ears, HQPlayer is simply the best sounding one. A neat feature too is that you can load headphone correction filters to the pipeline and it also supports/includes binaural modes. It is not the cheapest solution, that would be Logitech Media Server (free). It is also not the most expensive, that would be lifetime Roon. It does fit in a nice middle spot price-wise and with the dollar at parity with the Euro, now is the time to buy. Good luck.

Also, try XLD for ripping on the mac.

 

Thank you... I'll check it out! nt, posted on July 22, 2022 at 11:44:06
SF tech
Industry Professional

Posts: 8876
Location: San Francisco
Joined: March 24, 2005
nt



 

RE: Thank you... I'll check it out! nt, posted on July 22, 2022 at 11:57:15
PaulN
Audiophile

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Joined: January 13, 2000
nt

 

RE: I didn't say it before about Amarra..., posted on July 25, 2022 at 14:06:22
Mercman
Audiophile

Posts: 6556
Location: So. CA
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I was one of the 1st customers, or should I say, sucker that purchased Amarra when it first came out. I paid $900 at the time. Sonic Studio did give us a free upgrade for something I can't remember.

Hey, but it was fun-and boy did it raise some stink in this forum.

It was fun.

 

RE: I didn't say it before about Amarra..., posted on July 25, 2022 at 21:17:33
AbeCollins
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Well, I paid a nice chunk of change for a Roon life time license AFTER subscribing for a couple years. I should have just bought it out right when it first came out. Hind sight ;-)



 

RE: I didn't say it before about Amarra..., posted on July 26, 2022 at 00:07:15
Mercman
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Location: So. CA
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I lucked out on that one. I paid $450 for the lifetime license back in 2015.

 

RE: I didn't say it before about Amarra..., posted on July 26, 2022 at 07:18:31
AbeCollins
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Location: USA
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I got in on the lower lifetime price for Roon before they upped it BUT at that point I had already subscribed for a couple years so the overall net that I paid was higher.

My thought back then was to see if Roon looked like a winner that would be around for more than a couple years and not go belly up. They have far exceeded my expectations and in my view Roon was one of THE best audio related purchases I have ever made.

P.S. Good to see you. It's been a while.



 

RE: I didn't say it before about Amarra..., posted on July 26, 2022 at 12:20:25
Mercman
Audiophile

Posts: 6556
Location: So. CA
Joined: October 20, 2002
Thanks Abe !

Roon has also turned out to be one of my best audio purchases.

 

RE: I didn't say it before about Amarra..., posted on August 5, 2022 at 10:43:10
Dawnrazor
Audiophile

Posts: 12249
Location: N. California
Joined: April 9, 2004
Maybe software is different, but I used to work in the AV industry and many shows you werent set up to actually sell things. Mostly "go to the website" or "let me get your info" type things. I think I spent like $149 including the app. Ironically i have moved away from network based solutions so dont use Amarra or a mac or a pc anymore.

Cut to razor sounding violins

 

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