• Sat. May 14th, 2022

The 5 best high-resolution music player apps for Mac

Most Mac owners use iTunes or a streaming service to manage and listen to their music. That’s great, but if you’re an audiophile who prefers high-resolution audio, iTunes just won’t cut it.

If you have music in a high fidelity format, you may need to look beyond iTunes. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options available to you, so here are the best high resolution music player apps for Mac.

1. Vox

Vox screenshot

If you have looked at solutions to play FLAC files on Mac, chances are you have come across Vox. In addition to FLAC, Vox supports other high resolution formats such as ALAC (Apple Lossless), DSD (Direct Stream Digital) and uncompressed formats such as PCM, WAV and AIFF.

Vox can play high resolution audio up to 24bit / 192kHz. If you have music in surround format, you also get 5.1 channel support. It’s not particularly common, but it’s a nice feature to have. Overall, Vox is one of the best alternatives to iTunes for Mac users.

Vox is free, but Vox Premium is an optional subscription that adds several features. You will pay $ 49 / year or $ 4.99 / month for the subscription.

With the subscription, you’ll also get advanced audio settings, like a built-in 10-band EQ to tailor the sound to your taste. The subscription also adds uninterrupted playback and the ability to automatically set the sample rate of your output device to that of the file currently playing.

Vox Premium also includes unlimited storage with Vox Music Cloud, which is handy if you are running out of hard drive space. This feature is also useful because it is linked to the Vox iOS app. With your files in the cloud, you can listen on your Mac or iPhone whenever you want without worrying about running out of space.

To download: Vox (Free, with optional Vox Premium subscription)

2. Audirvana +

Audirvana Plus screenshot

On its website, Audirvana + is described simply as “the audiophile music player”. Using this term probably turns you on or bothers you. If you think high resolution audio is a scam, Audirvana + probably isn’t for you. Especially when you consider the price.

While not the most expensive player on this list, Audirvana + is still far from cheap. You get a fair amount of features for your money. Some of them aren’t even found elsewhere on this list. You also get a three-month trial of Tidal, plus a three-month trial of Qobuz if you’re not located in the US.

Audirvana + supports major high resolution formats including MQA (Master Quality Authenticated). This app was the first to integrate the MQA Core decoder, which brings out all the quality of music even if you are not playing through an MQA compatible audio device.

The app also supports formats like FLAC, ALAC, DSD and even SACD ISO. Audirvana + also offers extensive features for cataloging your library, including extended tags for classical and jazz. Full-text search makes it easy to find your music.

To download: Audirvana + ($ 74, with a 15-day free trial)

3. Hummingbird

Screenshot of Colibri

The cheapest player on this list that isn’t free, Colibri offers plenty of features for its low price. The website even emphasizes that this is a one-time purchase and guarantees free upgrades. It’s not even mentioned on the websites of the more expensive players.

Colibri offers flawless playback of lossless audio formats and also supports lossy formats. Supported lossless formats include FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, APE, TTA, DSD, and WavPack. As for lossy formats, Ogg Vorbis, MP3 and AAC / M4A are supported. The app also supports cue sheets.

If you prefer your Mac apps see like Mac apps, you’ll love Colibri. The website says one of the goals of the project is to be “as native to macOS as humanly possible”. It also aims for a reduced memory footprint and minimal impact on the battery. This is great if you want to listen while you work in a cafe without having to plug in.

To download: Hummingbird ($ 4.99)

4. Amarra Luxe

Screenshot of Amarra Luxe

At $ 99, Amarra Luxe is the most expensive app on this list. It is also one of the few Amarra branded products from developer Sonic Studio. It’s not cheap, but the app has some unique features.

Amarra Luxe supports a multitude of file types including DSD, MQA, and FLAC. The app features real-time DSD to PCM conversion, which means you can listen without the need for a fancy digital-to-analog converter. You also get integration with Tidal and Qobuz, allowing you to listen to feeds from multiple services in one place.

One of the biggest features of Amarra Luxe is iTunes integration. If you like the iTunes interface but want Amarra Luxe format support and sound quality, this is a great feature.

To download: Amara Luxe ($ 99)

5. Pine player

As the only completely free player on this list, Pine Player is anything but barebones. While the player isn’t as flashy as some of the other apps, it should still do your high-res audio files justice. If you’ve just spent a lot of money on digital albums, that’s a good thing to know.

Pine Player supports a ton of formats including MP3, FLAC, APE, AAC, M4A, WAV, AIFF, OGG, WMA, DSD, and ISO SACD. It also supports listening to BIN / CUE files. Best of all, it supports high-resolution audio up to 32-bit / 768kHz.

If you’re a fan of keyboard controls, you’ll find a lot to like in Pine Player. You can control almost every aspect of the app with a handful of keyboard shortcuts. This includes playing, volume, and editing the playlist.

Other features include crossfading and non-stop playback, as well as an automatic isolation feature for damaged files.

To download: pin player (free)

What if you don’t have a high-resolution music collection?

These high resolution music player apps are great, but what if you don’t have a high resolution music collection? For starters, you can use a streaming service like Tidal, which offers high-resolution audio in MQA format. Deezer is another option, but it only offers CD quality sound, not high resolution.

Streaming may still be far from ideal. So if you are looking to start a collection, take a look at our list of music sites that every audiophile needs in their life.

And as an audiophile, you might also consider getting one of these dedicated digital audio players or take a look at our list of the best DACs for high resolution audio.


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