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Quality Differences in different OSX player software?
mgincnj
post Apr 11 2013, 14:49
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In the process of converting a library of FLAC music to Apple Lossless I noticed a considerable difference in playback quality between the ALAC version in iTunes and the FLAC version in the XLD player (XLD sounded better). At first I thought it had to be an encoding problem, but then I tested the FLAC and ALAC versions both in the XLD player and they sounded identical (and noticeably better than iTunes when I listened with some decent headphones).

This surprised me for a couple of reasons: First, I'd figure Apple would nail playback quality in iTunes on its own platform. Second, I would have thought that both players were drawing on the same libraries for playback anyway.

Have others noticed this issue? Do you experience systematic differences in playback quality between different software players on the Mac?

I'm running OS-X 10.6.8 which is getting a little long in the tooth, but have resisted upgrading for a variety of reasons (mostly software compatibility).
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pdq
post Apr 11 2013, 15:05
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Any audible difference between two players implies that one or both are applying some sort of signal processing. Alternatively you are not listening to them at the same volume level (less likely).

Playing any kind of lossless files there should be no difference in decoding (and the same really applies to lossy decoding as well).
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mgincnj
post Apr 11 2013, 19:57
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QUOTE (pdq @ Apr 11 2013, 16:05) *
Any audible difference between two players implies that one or both are applying some sort of signal processing.


Thanks for the tip. I went hunting for anything that looked like "signal processing" and found a box in the iTunes preferences for "sound enhanceer" that was checked.

It should be called "Sound de-hancer".

I removed the checkbox, and now the two players sound identical. Who knew?
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