Mac OS X Music Players – Alternatives To iTunes

Mac OS X Music Players - Alternatives To iTunes

Mac OS X Music Players – Alternatives To iTunes

There seems to have been an explosion lately in “audiophile” music players for Mac OS X lately. Though iTunes wiped out the need for competition when it was introduced, it has become a huge, multimedia and store program, leaving many people wanting something simpler.  For a while, that was Play and one or two others, but then Amarra came on the scene. Offering higher-quality playback, it has become famous among audiophiles, alongside its biggest competitor, Pure Vinyl (and now Pure Music).  As those two have fought it out in the commercial arena, the developer of Play came up with a free program, AyreWave, in conjunction with Ayre, which combined the simplicity of Play with high-quality 64-bit playback. This now leads the pack of the free players (after the association was dropped and the program re-named Decibel) if you want a simpler program and potentially better sound than you get using iTunes.


So for the curious, here is a list of the players currently available that I know of, along with some basic information about them.


April 2014 Note: Players that are not being actively upgraded have been removed.


Amarra by Sonic Studio

Commercial, demo available for download.

Comes in three flavours: Amarra Hifi, Amarra, and Amarra Symphony with varying features and prices. The player integrates with iTunes, or can be used stand-alone importing tracks into a playlist with one click from the Finder or iTunes. For people with a lot of RAM in their computer, it can be used in cache mode where the files are loaded into memory before playback. Includes iZotope for re-sampling individual files, a parametric EQ (in the regular version) and Symphony includes room-correction features.

Audirvana Plus

Commercial, demo available for download.

Aimed at the high-fidelity crowd, contains a plethora of features ranging from iZotope-based up-sampling (with comprehensive options) to device integer and exclusive access modes. It can also suspend Spotlight and Time Machine for dedicated music servers and either directly play DSD files for supported players over USB or on-the-fly convert them to high-res PCM. It can either play back music using its own playlist or using an iTunes Integrated Mode. Version 2.0 comes with a full interface that can import iTunes playlists.




Integrating with iTunes, this software sits in your menu bar and feeds music via Integer Mode to your DAC. Great if you want a simple and cheap solution while still using iTunes. Now supports up-sampling and DSD playback.


Decibel by Steven F Booth

Commercial, doesn’t appear to be updated.

The developer of Play produced a basic, high-quality music player known as AyreWave in conjunction with Ayre. This has now dropped any association with them and has been renamed Decibel.  The software itself, while basic, allows one-click importing from files selected in the Finder or iTunes, “hog mode”.


Ecoute by PixiApps


With iTunes integration, including song rating and metadata support, this is the player for people who want a slick, theme-able one-window interface and want to share your listening habits on Twitter, Facebook or LastFM.  It also supports the Apple remote control.


Fidelia by Audiophile Engineering


With a main window that looks like a piece of high-end hi-fi gear, but far more classy than that of audirvana, it has the ability to play music directly from iTunes playlists without needing to have iTunes running. Also included are a selection of on-the-fly resampling methods, including iZotope and remote control software for the iPhone and iPod Touch available in the App Store. It now also has an optional licence for headphone listening tools.


JRiver Media Player (Mac)


Well-known for its fully-featured Windows software, which includes video playback.




A multi-platform player based on Songbird (which shut its doors in 2013) that supports a wide range of audio formats.


Pure Music by Channel D

Commercial, demo available for download.

Based upon Pure Vinyl and using its own playback engine, like Amarra, integrates with iTunes, running in a window alongside and can re-sample music on the fly. Unlike Amarra, it requires iTunes to be running to select tracks, but offers a considerable slew of other options.



Commercial, 30 day trial period.

Designed to entirely replace iTunes, including iDevice sync support. It has, among other features integration, watch folders, device sync transcoding rules, a duplicate finder and Airplay support.


Vox by Alessio Nonni

Free (donations requested).

While it has maintained its simple player interface, the features have grown this player into something interesting to audiophiles with automatic sample rate switching, device hog mode, neat playback features such as auto-crossfade between songs, LastFM support, autoload from folder and a bunch of other features worth checking out.

Source :


Share This Post

Related Articles

One Response to “Mac OS X Music Players – Alternatives To iTunes”

  1. usr says:

    … what about roon? from roonlabs?

Leave a Reply

Powered by Indoflac · Designed by OmJoko Theme