It seems a little crazy to pit a $75US ‘audiophile’ application against a free Music player, but this is the situation i’m finding myself in.
I am sitting on the edge between purchasing Audirvana and sticking to Pine Player (used in combination with Rogue Amoeba’s Sound Source 5). I get that Pine Player has no official support for MQA, but it does support up to 768kHz audio output, it supports up sampling audio, it supports many file formats, etc.
I also get that it doesn’t have Qobuz, TIDAL, etc integration that Audirvana has, but given when i’ve used that integration with Audirvana it only streams 96kHz files at 44kHz, I end up playing files using the local versions anyhow.
I understand that Audirvana has its own audio processor, but interestingly, when comparing it to Pine with the same audio files, i’m getting a slightly warmer / more rounded sound with Audirvana but the frequency response feels narrower to me than when compared to playback with Pine, which has a wider more spacious sound to me and feels as a result like I have better clarity.
It is entirely possible that the performance of Pine Player is in part due to SoundSource’s ‘Magic Boost’ feature, but either way, it’s left me comparing again and again the same music via both players and not feeling like either is a ‘clear winner’ (as sound quality goes).
I am using these applications on a MacBook Pro Retina 16" w/ Mac OS 10.15.6 and an ifi iDSD BL.
I don’t actually mind purchasing Audirvana, but I am conscious that a license will only buy me the current version (3.5) and Pine Player may retain free upgrades (+ no initial cost) for the life of the product by comparison.
So I was wondering if I am alone here with my experience, or if others have had similar experiences when comparing the two.