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Article: The Value Proposition In Computer Audio: Front End Software

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A huge amount of work. Thanks for the information.

 

All we need now is a similar review of server software and music player control apps - the parallel universe to what you have covered.


ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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13 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

Thx, but no itunes ??

 

Admittedly I do not stream with iTunes...I use it to add music every six months to my wife's iPod.  Apple makes it exceedingly difficult with activation/permission requirements that when I am done I wish the company had never been conceived.


QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->Topping NX4 DSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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23 minutes ago, Musicophile said:

While I appreciate the amount of effort that went into this article, Im a bit struggling to understand why so much focus on Freeware in this review. 
 

Most audiophiles have Hi-Fi systems in the thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes spending hundreds only on stuff like interconnects. 
 

So why would one NOT want to spend the rather modest amounts for Audirvana, JRiver, or even Roon for that matter (assuming there is an added value in SQ and or usability)?

 

I find his review very useful. While I have some nice systems, I have systems (more than one). I love Roon, and have 2 lifetimes, for my most used 2 computers (home system and office) I have some other, lesser used systems, that I do like to play music for. I have gone though many of the programs he mentions. MusicBee being the one I tend to use on systems that don't warrant paying for a player.

 

Thanks for the time spent on that Bluesman! Nice review.


[Home Digital] Bricasti M12 > McIntosh MC60 > Zu Druid V + Undertone (BHSE + Voce)

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > K&K Audio Phono Amp (Zu DL-103/Benz Glider-SL/Denon DL-301 II)

[Office] Laptop > Kitsune R2R lvl3 > Violectric V281 > Focal Utopia Headphones (balanced)

[beach/Travel] Laptop > DragonFly Red > Ether Headphones

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I appreciate all the effort that went into this review!  Nicely done.  Thank you.

 

Not being facetious when I say that even though I didn't need convincing to stay with Roon (which I've found to be a great in all respects), this article solidified my commitment to Roon.  :)

 

As Roon users know, the software is in continuous improvement.  That would seem difficult for Freeware to match.


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

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2 hours ago, Musicophile said:

While I appreciate the amount of effort that went into this article, Im a bit struggling to understand why so much focus on Freeware in this review. 

 

"Free" has a distinct meaning in software, which usually means it is non-proprietary and that the source code is made available to anyone who wants it to compile it, inspect it, modify it, branch from it, etc.

 

iTunes, for example, can be downloaded with zero cost, but it is not "Freeware" because it is closed-source and proprietary.  


--

Do facts matter?

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7 hours ago, DavidL said:

All we need now is a similar review of server software and music player control apps - the parallel universe to what you have covered.

 

There are many free software packages for serving and controlling playback. Even though I could afford stuff like Roon & JRMC I have found the free MinimServer server software to be the best and most robust for my purposes, and thus well worth donating to. I currently use dCS Mosaic (free) and Bubble UPnP (small licence fee) for control.


ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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5 hours ago, grinner said:

You reviewed all these obscure players but omit the most ubiquitous one of all: iTunes? 

i thought iTunes was already at end of life. Apple replaced it with the Apple Music app

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yes!! After an untold amount of work, why not do more?


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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2 hours ago, frorqf13 said:

Unbelievable...where is and what about the largest and most powerful (plug-in) and free musical system : LMS+Squeezelite (or Daphile) !!!


Daphile’s included. The full chart is in alphabetical order - it’s between Cantata & DeaDBeeF.

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8 hours ago, Musicophile said:

So why would one NOT want to spend the rather modest amounts for Audirvana, JRiver, or even Roon for that matter (assuming there is an added value in SQ and or usability)?


Many of us think that the SQ of some free or low cost players is as good as some widely used commercial players. As for usability, wants & needs vary greatly. I love being able to slow down a complex tune without changing the pitch, so I can study a solo. I stream to my mobile devices wherever I am. We were in London last week, and I played some new tunes for our friends there. Etc etc.

 

I love Roon & use it for serious listening in my main systems. I love the wealth of relevant art & info it displays. But it won’t stream over WAN (yet - I believe it’s in dev now) and it won’t alter pitch or tempo. Foobar2000 will.

 

The highlights for users chart offers more such info.

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Thanks again for all this effort.

 

I hope you will test iTunes against some other software, free, open, or not.


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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4 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

Thanks again for all this effort.

 

I hope you will test iTunes against some other software, free, open, or not.


The simple truth is that I forgot iT/Apple Music because I haven’t used it in years. My wife & I have versions on all of our phones, tablets, and computers, and  I converted a few hundred FLAC albums to ALAC a few years ago to find out how they sounded. But we have thousands of albums in FLAC so iTunes made little sense for us.

 

With Bitperfect & DSD Master, I could have listened happily to iTunes, and Apple Music will probably be excellent on a good playback platform. It’s just been below my radar for a long time (although I still have my iPod Touch and NuForce iDo DAC/amp).  I apologize to all of you Apple polishers for ignoring a major player (pun intended) :) 

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Lots of fun to be had here! :) Thank you. Will be interested to see what will allow full resolution remote playback (overcoming Airplay's resolution limitations); and what might substitute for or enhance the capability I have with Subsonic (a server, not a player) and phone remote of playing my home music collection at full resolution anywhere there's reasonable internet service.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> router -> 2 Cisco switches connected by optical Ethernet -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Very interesting article - thanks!

 

So am I correct in assuming that none of these budget options can do bit-perfect playback or on the fly resolution switching on the Mac?

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1 hour ago, tmtomh said:

Very interesting article - thanks!

 

So am I correct in assuming that none of these budget options can do bit-perfect playback or on the fly resolution switching on the Mac?

 

I can't answer that fully because (as stated in the body of the article) I don't have any Mac hardware right now.  But if you look at the line item detail in the big chart, you'll find 4 that made the cut on my Linux-based Frankenmac.  I installed those I evaluated on a virtual machine running on Ubuntu Studio (19.04), and none worked completely or perfectly under that constraint.  But there are a few that worked well and sounded great even on my jury-rigged platform.  On real Mac hardware (or even a more robust VM - I used freeware only), I suspect they're everything you and most of the rest of us want from a player.

 

Colibri is a simple, bit perfect Mac-only player that should be excellent for audiophiles - I just couldn't get the demo to work well in VMWare, VitrualBox or Boxes.  The full package costs a modest $5, if I understand the website correctly.  As soon as I get a fresh Mac box, I'm going to try it out.  I suspect it's pretty fine from the reviews and specs.

 

Pine was pretty solid even on the virtual machines and deserves a thorough evaluation by anyone looking for a fine budget player for MacOS.  The difficulty downloading, installing, and configuring it was almost certainly from virtualization rather than the program.

 

Vox is another great Mac-only player that performed OK in virtualization and sounded great.  I suspect that installation on a Mac box would result in excellent all around  audiophile performance.

 

Kodi's pretty good on Mac too, although I haven't wrung it out very hard & can't confirm that it'll do everything.

 

I do want to get a Mini to play with, and I'm nuts enough to wring out 31 players on multiple platforms.  But I don't need one and I'm not so far gone that I'd buy a Mac just for this review :) 

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