I’ve been using a few different OSX Audio Players in the past few months, and I found them to be interesting enough that I’m going to be writing more about them in the future. For now, I decide to start out with a review of Tim Murison Bit Perfect, a player that I found to have strong points in performance, ease of use, and pricing.
APP STORE LISTING
Being listed in the App Store has big advantages not only for the developer, but also for the customers, since it simplifies the whole purchasing-downloading-installing process to one or two clicks. At the moment, none of the other audiophile players are listed on the App Store, but I personally think that it’s the proper way to go, seeing how the majority of Apple users these days shop regularly on the App Store. I give BitPerfect a +1 just for this.
BitPerfect runs together as sort of an add-on to your standard Itunes player, with the only tweak being the superior data transmission offered by BitPerfect as opposed to the standard Itunes engine. Now this is a good thing, as I don’t need to spend time over getting familiar with a new user interface and a library management interface. Indeed I can’t seem to get totally comfortable with the other player’s interface regardless of how many weeks I spent with them. That may be due to the design of the interface itself, and not a matter of familiarity. But since most people with a Mac also tend to use Itunes, I really think that going the Itunes way is the way to go. We don’t have to worry about getting music purchased from the Itunes store to a separate audiophile player, and likewise importing content from CDs can still be done within the convenience of Itunes’ importer feature. Besides, we know that Apple spent a lot of money developing Itunes into the state that it’s in right now, and in my view it would be a futile attempt to try to spend time to develop a new interface to compete with Itunes. As of now, BitPerfect along with the Amarra players are the only two developers who have made their programs to run alongside Itunes, but I think it would be a good thing for the other developers to follow suit.
BITPERFECT AUDIO PERFORMANCE
I’ve tested BitPerfect with anything as basic as the Fiio E10 + Superlux HD661 to something as exotic as the Audio-Gd Ref7.1 + WooAudio WA5/Apex Peak + Sennheiser HD800/Beyerdynamic T1 and found that I get the same improvement regardless if I’m on the Fiio or the Ref7.1 system. Music becomes more open and less congested. It’s similar to if you had just upgraded your source to a better DAC. So this is definitely something that everybody can benefit for, and for merely $4.99. Granted, the difference can be subtle to untrained ears, but if you’ve been very critical of the quality of your DAC, I think that for $4.99, the BitPerfect is really something you should give a try.
Now, I don’t think that the $4.99 price tag is an indication of lower quality programming. Like how the best App Store apps often sell for $0.99, I would see the price tag to be a reflection of BitPerfect’s marketing strategy. At $4.99 added with the App Store placement and the Itunes integration really makes it a very good offering for the average Joe who’s just getting interested in improving the quality of his computer audio playback. So far I’ve compared BitPerfect with Fidelia, Decibel, and Audionirvana, and I think BitPerfect ranks just as well as the pricier options. I should write a more detailed sound comparison at some point, also with the Amarra players.
Recently I’ve started recommending the BitPerfect to my audiogeek friends with their $5,000 headphone systems. I told them that this is the easiest upgrade you can get, all for merely $4.99. What I didn’t consider is that many of them are still running Windows systems, on which BitPerfect doesn’t run on.
Tim said that he’s contemplating about the Windows version, but only after Windows 8 and the Windows App Store are out. And yet he also expresses some concerns about Windows’ lack of OS support for USB Audio. The interesting thing is this: both Tim and I have witnessed (on different audio systems) that audio playback does sound better out of Mac computers. So, I guess Steve Jobs is doing a lot of things right.
For those of you interested to test out BitPerfect, they can be found right here on the Mac App Store.
Now I don’t know why but for some reason my writing feels very rigid for this article. Maybe it’s because I’ve never written software reviews before.
Gear used for review:
WooAudio 5, Apex Peak and Arete, Audio-Gd Ref 7.1, MacPro, Macbook Air, Sennheiser HD800, Beyerdynamic T1, Fiio E10, Superlux HD661, along with a few other headphones.