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28 Free Hi Res Audio Players [Windows Mac]

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Audio Basis - educational articles

yuri korzunovRead definitive guide by audio software developer Yuri Korzunov about free and commercial hi res audio player software apps on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and other [computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets], online for audiophiles, F.A.Q., what is the best music player app, supported formats and other.



Watch and share: Hi Res Audio [How it works. Sound quality. 7 Myths]
 

 

High resolution audio player software

WARNING: This table can contain errors. It is not an offer or advertising. We are not affiliated with listed products. We guarantee nothing. If you found wrong information, contact us, please. To get exact information, contact with the software developers and/or vendors.
Supported sample rate and bit depth may depend on a file format.

Hi res music player software for audiophiles 2019
(Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, online)

Audio player Operation system License Supported file types Sample rate DAC interface Description

Audio players Windows, Mac, Linux

AIMP Windows Free CDA, AAC, ac3, APE, DTS, FLAC, m4a, ogg, mp3, WAV, WMA, WavPack, DSF, DFF, other, web radio   DirectSound, ASIO, WASAPI  
Album Player Windows Free WAV, FLAC, APE, WavPack, ALAC, AIFF, TAK, MP3, MP4, OGG, CD, DSD, DVD-A, other   ASIO, Kernel Streaming, WASAPI  
Amarra Luxe Windows, Mac Commercial DSF, mp3, AAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, streaming service, other   DSD to PCM  
Audiogate Windows, Mac   DSF, DFF, WAV, FLAC, BWF, WMA, ALAC, mp3, other up to DSD128   DAC limitation for the software activation
Audirvana Mac, Windows Commercial DSF, DFF (including DST), SACD ISO, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, WavPack, APE, MQA, streaming service, other   DoP, DSD to PCM Windows 10 compatible
Channel-D Pure Music Mac Commercial   up to 384 kHz / 24 bit, up to DSD128 DSD to PCM, DoP, streaming Gapless and memory playback
Daphile Run as firmware (Linux based) from flash stick memory Free DSF, PCM up to 384 kHz / 24 bit, up to DSD512   Music server. Stereo only
Foobar2000 (with sacd input plugin) Windows Free DSF, DFF (including DST), SACD ISO, FLAC, WAV, mp3, ALAC, WavPack, AAC, other up to DSD512 ASIO, DSD to PCM  
Fostex Audio Player Windows, Mac Free DSF, DFF, WAV, FLAC, mp3, AIFF, ALAC up to DSD128, up to 192 kHz / 24 bit ASIO, DoP Demands certain playback hardware
Gom Audio Windows Free cda, MPL, mp3, ogg, WMA, APE, FLAC, WAV, m4a, WavPack, AIFF, DSF, DFF      
iTunes Mac, Windows Free WAV, ALAC, AAC, mp3, AIFF, CD-audio      
JRiver Windows, Mac, Linux Commercial DSF, DFF (including DST), SACD ISO, mp3, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, other   ASIO, DoP, DSD over DLNA, DSD to PCM, PCM to DSD Gapless playback
Hi-Res Audio Player Windows   DSD, PCM     Require certain hardware
HQ Player Windows, Mac, Linux Commercial DSF, DFF (non-compressed DSDIFF), CD-audio, FLAC, AIFF, other up to DSD1024 DSD to PCM, PCM to DSD, ASIO, DoP  
Hysolid Windows Free DSF, WAV, FLAC up to DSD256, up to 384 kHz ASIO, DoP WASAPI To work on music server PC with smartphone app control
Logitech Media Server Windows, Mac, Linux   PCM, DoP PCM files   Bit-perfect PCM output of DoP Need additional hardware and pre-conversion DSD files to PCM DoP files. How to adjust and use the software.
Media Player Classic Windows Free PCM, DSF, DFF      
MusicBee Windows Free     ASIO, WASAPI  
moOde audio player To run on Raspberry Pi Free       Here information about DSD settings
Pine Player Mac Free mp3, FLAC, APE, AAC, m4a, WAV, AIFF, ogg, WMA, DSD, SACD ISO, other up to 768 kHz / 32 bit    
Resonic Player Windows Free, Commercial WAV, AIFF, FLAC, WMA, mp3, ALAC, WavPack, MID, DSF, DFF, other up to DSD512    
Roon Windows, Mac;
the server on Windows, Mac, Linux
Commercial Audio files and streaming service   Bit-perfect, DSD to PCM The server may be installed on network area storage (NAS)
TEAC HR Audio Player Windows, Mac Free DSF, DFF, PCM up to DSD256, up to 384 kHz / 32 bit ASIO, DoP  
Technics Audio Player Windows, Mac   DSF, DFF, WAV, FLAC, mp3, ALAC, AIFF

up to DSD128,
up to 384 kHz / 32bit

USB driver Read the software license agreement about using limitations
Volumio

Run as firmware from flash stick memory on PC, Raspberry Pi, other

Free MP3, FLAC, WAV, AAC, ALAC, DSD   UPNP \ DLNA, Airplay, DoP Open source music server
VLC Windows, Mac, Linux, other Free mp3, AAC, MLP / TrueHD, DTS, WMA, FLAC (including uncompressed), ALAC, ATRAC 3, WavPack, APE, WAV, other      
Vox Mac Free DSF, WAV, AIFF, FLAC (including uncompressed), ALAC, mp3, other, network radio      
Wtfplay Linux Free WAV, FLAC, DSF

up to DSD128; DSD256, DSD512 are experimental,
up to 384 kHz / 32 bit

DoP  

Audio players Android and iOS (mobile applications)

AIMP Android Free APE, mp3, WAV, ogg, AAC, FLAC, mp4, m4a, WavPack, DSF, DFF, other      
Amarra Play iOS (iPhone, iPad) Free, In-App Purchases AIFF, AIFC, MP3, ALAC, FLAC, MQA MQA Decode up to 96 kHz with Amarra Luxe license   No DSD. Amarra Luxe unlocks some features. Amarra Play must be running on the same wireless network as the computer
FiiO Music Android, iOS Free DSD, PCM up to 384 kHz / 24 bit Raw DSD output Support HWA (LHDC) Bluetooth transmission
Foobar2000 Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad) Free MP3, MP4, AAC, Vorbis, Opus, FLAC, WavPack, WAV, AIFF, Musepack     Gapless playback, playback / downloading music from UPnP media servers
HibyMusic Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad) Free DSF, DFF (including DST), ISO, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, M4A, AAC, mp3, ogg up to DSD256,
up to 384 kHz / 32 bit
net driver (Dropbox / DLNA / LAN) native DSD, DoP, DSD to PCM  
Hi-Res music player-NePLAYER iOS (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch) Commercial ALAC, FLAC, WAV, mp3, AAC, HE-AAC, DSF, DFF up to DSD256, up to 384 kHz / 32 bit DSD to PCM, DoP Check DSD replay issues at the online store page
HYSOLID Android, iOS Free WAC, FLAC, DSD up to DSD256, up to 384 kHz ASIO, WASAPI, DoP, native DSD Music server control application
Neutron Music Player Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad) Commercial mp3, ogg, FLAC, AC3, AAC, M4A, MP4, 3GP, 3G2, ALAC, APE, WavPack, WAV, AIFF, other, DSD   UPnP / DLNA, USB DAC, DoP, native DSD, DSD to PCM There is evaluation version "Neutron Music Player (Eval)" on Android
Onkyo HF Player Android, iOS Free, In-App Purchases DSF, DFF, mp3, ALAC, AAC, WAV, AIFF up to DSD256, up to 384 kHz AOA 2.0, DoP, DSD to PCM Some limitations of the free version. Sample rate depends on the format and In-App purchases.
TEAC HR Audio Player Android, iOS Free, In-App Purchases FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, ogg, DSF, DFF up to DSD256, up to 384 kHz DoP, DSD to PCM  
USB Audio Player PRO Android Commercial WAV, FLAC, ogg, mp3, AIFF, AAC, m4a, APE, DFF, DSF, other up to 384 kHz / 32 bit DoP, DSD to PCM, native DSD playback  
VLC Android, iOS (iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch) Free ogg, FLAC, WavPack, AAC, other      
Vox

iOS

Free, In-App Purchases FLAC, ALAC, mp3, DSD, other      

Online audio players (hi-resolution streaming services)

High Res Audio   Free trial, Commercial up to 24 bit      
Primephonic   Free trial, Commercial up to 24 bit      
PrimeSeat   Free trial, Commercial PCM, DSD up to 11.2 MHz      
Qobuz   Free trial, Commercial up to 192 kHz / 24 bit     streaming and downloads according to purchased plan
Tidal PC/Mac, web-player, iOS, Android Free trial, Commercial FLAC 44.1 kHz / 16 bit, MQA     supported with audio players (details)

Online audio players (streaming services)

Amazon Prime Music   Free trial       Allow listening online and offline
Apple Music   Free trial       Music platform
Datpiff           Audio platform for musicians and music discovering
Google Play Music   Free trial       Music platform with the store. Offline listening is available
Jamendo Music   Free trial       Audio platform for musicians and music discovering. Free and paid stuff
Noisetrade           Audio platform for musicians and music discovering
ReverbNation           Audio platform for musicians and music discovering
SoundCloud           Audio platform for musicians and music discovering
Spotify           Music platform
Яндекс Музыка   Free, Commercial       Music site "Yandex Music". Offline listening is available

 

Watch and share: FLAC vs  DSD [Format Comparison]
 

 

Read more:

 

 

What is the best audio player

 

It is a personal choice always. Below how to make the choice is discussed.

 

Sound quality

Playback modes

An audio player may works in 2 base modes (depend on the software abilities):

  1. bit-perfect (transmitting data from an audio file to DAC without altering);
  2. processing mode (resampling, room correction and other).

In bit-perfect mode, the sound quality is defined by DAC and next audio devices.
This mode consumes minimal computing resources and is desirable for non-powerful computers.

Processing mode sound quality depends on the player and/or processing plug-in.
This mode may consume many computing resources (more quality = more resources), and, sometimes, can't work at lower-performance computers. Also, this mode consumes more electrical energy for calculations and cooling, than bit-perfect one.
When fans work in intensive mode, they cause more noise.

 

Gapless playback

Some albums (operas, live concerts, etc.) should be played back as a continuous stream.

Some players can begin the next song without DAC re-initialization.
This ability is called as Gapless playback.
It may be applied for as bit-perfect as processed modes (see "Playback modes").

Also played back audio files may be pre-converted in gapless mode too.
This mode has a sense when audio files are resampled or DSD files are processed.
Gapless conversion has a sense, when the audio player works in gapless mode.

 

Functionality

One of the widespread demands to players are:

  • album artwork displaying;
  • text metadata displaying;
  • search in song database;
  • web radio/streaming playback.

 

Audio player software F.A.Q.

Do audio players have different sound quality?

It depends on the mode of playback. In bit-perfect mode, music player app just transports audio data from a sound file to DAC without audio processing.

When audio player software process audio data (resample, alter bit depth, apply dithering, EQ, etc.), it causes different distortion level. If consider psychoacoustics, distortions may have a different character, that also impacts the final perception of the distortions. Also, the interaction of the distortions with a playback system (DAC, amplifier, speakers) is matter.

EXAMPLE

Some apparatus can cause the audible level of intermodulation distortions, that generated by ultrasound components.

Practically it can cause audible noise.

You can:


Watch and share: How to remove noise into hi res audio file
 

 

General recommendation:

  • Do a sound check of different players in various modes and audio resolutions on your music equipment. Read details...

 

Does memory playback improve audio quality?

Memory playback doesn't improve "transparency". But the mode can get rid of pauses if file played from slow/overload network or album player in gapless mode.

 

Do gapless playback is helpful?

If audio player re-initialize DAC, it can cause quiet clicks.

When files played back without re-initializing, there is no kind of clicks.

 

Do computer digital hardware interface (HDMI, USB, SPDIF, etc.), its cables impact to sound quality?

Digital audio interfaces don't impact to sound quality, that may be defined as "sound transparency".

Also, digital interfaces have sample rate and bit depth limitations.

Operating system built-in driver can additionally process sound and impact to sound quality.

But pauses, clicks, serial interruptions are possible when audio interface doesn't work properly (poor cables, grounding, shielding; hardware issues, etc.).

General recommendations:

  • Buy thick cables in the mid or higher price range. It is fairly for longer cables especially.
  • Ferrite rings/barrels can give some advantages. But it's recommended, that measurement tools are used.

 

Do analog audio cables impact to sound quality?

Analog inter-module cables (linear inputs and outputs) can impact to the noise floor, crosstalk and frequency response.

General recommendation:

  • If you hear hum at 50 Hz or multiple frequencies (power high voltage network), try to use other analog cables or use digital inter-module connection instead.

 

Is jitter a real issue for audio playback?

DAC clock source can impact to analog output jitter of digital-to-analog converter . But all other factors, including memory playback, cables and interfaces - no. Read details...

General recommendations:

  • Don't bother about jitter, when DAC is clocked by its internal source.
  • Don't use synchronization by SPDIF digital audio input.

 

What is the best audio format for sound quality?

To achieve maximal sound quality, lossless audio file formats are recommended: FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSF, DFF, SACD ISO. Read details...

 

What is 24 bit / 192 kHz audio?

It is resolution audio with sample rate 192 kHz and bit depth 24 bit in PCM format (modulation). Read details...

 

Is WAV better than FLAC?

In audio resolution 384 kHz/32 bit and lesser, there is no difference between FLAC and WAV by sound quality. Watch video...

If you need higher resolution, WAV can provide it.

Read details about:

 


High resolution audio player list

 


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