Is there a difference in sound quality between music playing software?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by karohan, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #1
    Is there a difference in audio quality between different music playing software? If I have lossless music, are there certain music players that will give me higher quality output than others? Is iTunes, for example, better or worse than its alternatives in this regard.

    I'm only asking because I prefer the features in an iTunes alternative (Clementine), but I don't want to take a hit in audio quality.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    What speaker system are you using and how is it connected to what exact Mac?
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #3
    Well I have a variety of set ups, depending on where I am. If I'm at college, I'm either using my crappy skull candy's or my Sennheiser 280 HDs with a cmoy headphone amp. If I'm at home, I just hook it up to my home theater receiver (a Denon, I forget the model at this moment) and some Bose speakers (again, I forget the model).

    I understand, though, that there may be other bottlenecks in my audio quality right now, but I'm just asking on a...theoretical level I guess?
     
  4. macrumors member

    dj-anon

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    #4
    There is absolutely no difference.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #5
    Are you sure because I feel like I can hear a difference? I believe you though. I'm just curious because I've read that a lot of sample converters function differently and use different algorithms. Furthermore, having options such as upsampling and caching songs in RAM can improve sound quality.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #6
    I think if you're lined out to an external dac, then it should make no difference. A line-out should be bypassing any computer processing and give you only the raw data to feed to a dedicated dac to play with your setup.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    musio

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #7
    Should but has to go through the macs internal dac. My thinking is to get sound out via USB.
     
  8. macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #8
    Not if he uses digital out. Then it's bit for bit the same as the source until it hits the external DAC. The only difference would be if there is a plugin that colors the sound (EQ, SRS WOW, etc).
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    musio

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #9
    I've never trusted the digital out on the macs...all those close circuits interfering, jitter, etc... This is highly picky through
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #10
    The whole purpose of digital out is to bypass "all those close circuits interfering, jitter, etc..." with a line-out to an external dac. Asynchronous usb does virtually the same thing as well.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Sackvillenb

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    Canada! \m/
    #11
    True, using an external DAC is one of the best things you can do for audio quality. That way, all of the sound conversion is being done by the external DAC, which will sound much better than the internal dac in your computer, so you don't have to worry about how software may affect your sound. As long as you don't have plugins that effect EQ, etc.

    Also, most DAC's make for good headphone amps, so that will be good.

    And this will sound obvious, but make sure you're using a digital output, wether it's USB or firewire or optical.
     

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