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Best audiophile player for Mac


romavictor
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Hey guys

 

Looking to retire the sub par olive 1 that I'm using right now for a custom Mac mini music server. The mini will be used only for music, nothing else. It'll be hooked up to an external SSD.

 

Any suggestions on music software that's best suited for a mac is greatly appreciated. One that'll handle all music files up to the highest quality DSD codec with the ease of an app for total control.

 

Thank you

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My primary recommendation: Roon

roonlabs.com

 

But of course you need to look up Audirvana Plus

audirvana.com

 

and HQPlayer

signalyst.com/consumer.html

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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Easiest to use is Audirvana (but no real-time up-conversion to DSD I believe).

 

 

Fantastic sound: HQ Player (real-time up-conversion to DSD possible).

 

Also great sound: BugHead Emperor/Infinity Blade.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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I use JRiver with the JRemote app on my iPad.

 

BTW, most of the players listed here offer trial versions so why not just download them all and see which one YOU like?

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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I use JRiver with the JRemote app on my iPad.

 

BTW, most of the players listed here offer trial versions so why not just download them all and see which one YOU like?

 

+1 for JRiver and JRemote. I use JRiver on both a Mac and PC platform. Solid performance.

JJinPDX

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Another Audirvana fan here. But all players have pro's and con's.

 

You also may want to think about if you want to integrate a lossless streaming service. Tidal apparently works well with Roon and up to a point with Amarra, and Qobuz is now fully integrated into Audirvana.

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Another Audirvana fan here. But all players have pro's and con's.

 

You also may want to think about if you want to integrate a lossless streaming service. Tidal apparently works well with Roon and up to a point with Amarra, and Qobuz is now fully integrated into Audirvana.

 

Good point. I've been frustrated that, even though I understand they did try, JRiver and Tidal are not going to happen.

 

JJ

JJinPDX

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My current preferred solution is the three part combination of Tidal, Roon and HQPlayer. Roon is a great front end for Tidal and a very powerful library manager. It also provides a very user friendly front end for HQPlayer, which is, in my view, the most flexible and powerful and best sounding of the players (but also takes the most learning) and really shines if you can upsample everything to DXD or DSD256 levels (which can makes Tidal's 16/44 files sound surprisingly great).

 

A more affordable combination that comes very close is Audirvana plus Qobuz and using the iZotope filters in Audirvana to up-sample.

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>SMSL M500 DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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I guess my most important attributes of the player would be by order of magnitude starting with the highest is:

 

1. Ability to play all high Rez music files up to DXD.

 

2. Ability to control everything from an iPhone or iPad after initial set up with keyboard and mouse

 

3. Ability to transfer, organize and manage library with ease

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Also can I ask for step by step advice setting up my Mac mini?

 

After I purchase the mini? What do I do first?

 

I'm thinking of getting a mini with the best processor available, smallest internal SSD and about 8-16gb of memory. What do you guys think?

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Currently enjoying Audirvana on my mac mini

 

Pure Music had been by go-to player as it's a good sounding player and did gapless well. However, the recent versions have been more problematic with some DSD and gapless playback on my setup - and promised updates have been missing or slow to appear.

 

After spending several months with Audirvana, can't say I miss the sound of PM at all

Michael

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My primary recommendation: Roon

roonlabs.com

 

Hey Freann - question, how does Roon justify the steep price when compared to other servers like Audirvana? And no iPhone app, just iPad? Curious what you found.

 

Currently testing the Audirvana server and appreciate your insight.

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Yeow... overkill. The very basic Mac mini will serve you just fine. My Mac mini is an old one (2012 era) and serves more than one function on my network, including USB out to an Ayre QB-9 DSD it it rocks.

 

Here's a good read for you from Ayre:

 

https://www.ayre.com/usb-dac-apple.htm

 

The base model may not be enough if the OP ends up using something like HQPlayer. Also I would not skimp on memory as I believe RAM is no user upgradable (soldered in).

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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First off - Roon does have a remote app for iPad.

 

 

Second – you pay for curated meta data with reviews for albums and info on artists. You also get endpoints (HQP NAA, Sonore Sonicorbiter SE etc) and zones. All in an interface way better than anything out there.

 

 

For me this is next level music enjoyment. Plus better SQ via HQP + NAA. The price is steep, for a reason. You get so much more.

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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OT...

A quick comment on the Ayre QB-Q DSD (since I own one). It does not like upsampled data – at all. Because of its internal filtering. My setting in HQP is none/none/auto/auto (no filter, no upsampling).

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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More on Roon...

On the Roon start page (roonlabs.com/index.html) there is a screenshot with Miles Davis.

That page is several screens long and ends like this (gives you an idea of the power of meta data):

 

roon_miles.jpg

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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..or how about this page automatically compiled and show for an album from my collaction?

 

roon_bags.jpg

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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First off - Roon does have a remote app for iPad.

 

Ok - sorry, meant it doesn't have an iPhone app, correct? I know a few music servers go with iPad only given the layout they want, and forego iPhone cause of the small size. Is Roon in that category?

 

I'll try the Roon server tonight to compare - the curated metadata would be nice. Audirvana certainly does lack which is too bad.

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HQPlayer... :-)

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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