If you ask, then you’re not a big iTunes user. iTunes started out as a music player, then became a music store, then a TV show and movie store, then podcasts, and album art, and lyrics, and, well, you get the idea. iTunes is the world’s largest media mall and it’s out of control. Is there a better way? No.
Back. To. Basics.
Mac users who love music are careful about things like bit rate, audio file types, and all the controls that supposedly make the audiophile experience worth the extra effort. BitPerfect is a Mac app which claims to be an ultra simple, elegant, high-quality audio player that lives in the background until you’re ready to play music or hear audio.
What’s so special about yet another Mac audio player? From the developer:
We began by examining how a computer manages audio playback, and focused on the concept of ‘bit perfect’ playback. This term refers to the idea that all a computer has to do is deliver the exact data contained in the audio file to the DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter), a device which turns the data into actual music. Many Audio Player applications exist which ensure that ‘bit perfect’ data is indeed delivered to the DAC, but it was a surprise to us to find that despite this, they all sounded different. Our research showed us that there are two contributors to these audible differences – the server software and the operating system. And we found that Mac’s OS X operating system consistently provided superior results when compared to Windows – even when we ran both OS X and Windows on the same piece of Mac hardware (dual-booting into one or other operating system).
Does it work?
Yes. And no. Why? Sound often is subjective. What I think is good quality audio may not be what you think is good quality audio. The variables are enormous and include speakers, how audio was recorded, audio file format, which Mac app is used to play the audio, and on and on.
What BitPerfect does is play audio files from the simplest user interface ever, and uses a playback engine that handles nearly every audio file you can find or use, including DSD, and with automatic sample-rate switching, all with the least amount of effort.
Does it work? Does using BitPerfect result in a better sound from your iTunes music collection?
Honestly, I don’t know. There are too many variables to make an honest and knowledgeable decision. What I do know is this, the sound is different. Better? I’m not sure if I’m qualified to say, despite having nearly 10,000 songs stuffed into iTunes, many of them different file formats, with multiple bit-rates.
My music listening ears are not old and I don’t need to turn up the bass or use $1,000 headphones to enjoy my music collection, but I suspect many of us Mac users who employ iTunes as the de facto choice for music or audio playback, have an issue with what I call diminishing returns.
I’m thinking of the difference in music purchased from iTunes and played back through a good set of speakers or headphones vs. Neil Young’s Pono which promotes high quality music. It may be higher quality but does it matter if you can’t hear it?
That’s the problem I have with BitPerfect. You can use it to replace the iTunes music playing function but you need Spock’s ears to do so.