If you own a Mac, you already have a high-resolution media file server at your disposal, with very little tweaking required to pass high-quality audio to your audio gear. I recently decided to set up my Mac in this way, to deliver hi-res throughout the signal chain--from my music library, to the player, to the DAC, to my preamp, amp, and loudspeakers (or preamp to headphones). Here is how I did it.
VLC Media Player: Let us start the list of best Mac video players with VLC. It is already known as the best video player for Windows and Android devices it is known for its user-friendly interface and because of its easy keyboard controls, it is very popular among the users. There are a plethora of Mac video players on the app market. From my perspective, the best video player for Mac should support a vast assortment of formats, crisp visual display, and user-friendly operating features. In this huge and intensely competitive market, we can't figure out which free Mac video player is the best choice at once.
Building Your Hi-Res Music Library
The process starts with ripping or downloading music files directly to either your Mac's internal hard drive or an external drive, or designating a cloud site for your file storage (more on this in a minute). I store my music library on a 3TB Seagate external drive. Many people prefer to use an external drive because loading up your main hard drive with music files can potentially slow your computer's overall performance, especially when you get to the end of your drive's storage limits.
Opinions will vary on what constitutes hi-res audio, but I set my sights on resolutions equal to or better than 24-bit/96-kHz. We all know that your system is only as good as its weakest link, so I started with either 24/192 or 24/96 FLAC files. Hi-res files may be offered in the FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) or AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format) format, as well as DSD (Direct Stream Digital) and MQA (Master Quality Authenticated). DSD is the Philips/Sony system used to create the SACD (Super Audio Compact Disk) format, while MQA is a very clever codec that compresses the relatively little energy in the higher frequency bands to make the files smaller while retaining a hi-res result (it's also a good format for streaming services). To get the highest quality, you will want to avoid lossy formats like MP3 (Moving Picture Experts Group Layer-3), AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), and OGG (Ogg Vorbis, the name Ogg derives from the jargon word ogging) that sacrifice audio quality for file size. This was important when storage was expensive, but now storage is plentiful and cheap.
Hi-res music files are available for download from a number of websites, including: HDTracks.com,
primephonic, HiRes Download, iTrax.com, B&W's Society of Sound, Acoustic Sounds, Chandos, and�Blue Coast Records. If you're looking for suggestions on high-quality audio recordings, check out the reviews on our sister site, AudiophileReview.com. Here are a few great-sounding albums (all available as hi-res downloads) that I'd put on my list of desert island discs:
Mozart: Great Mass in C minor
Thelonious Monk Orchestra: At Town Hall
The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers
Bob Marley: Legend (you are on a desert island, after all)
Steely Dan: Aja
Jethro Tull: Aqualung
About a year ago, I grew concerned that my entire life's savings of music--some of which is irreplaceable original music from the various bands I've been in--was all in one place, so I looked to the cloud for a backup/disaster recovery solution. My current total storage need is approximately 2.4 TB. Apple's iCloud offers five gigabytes of free storage, which isn't nearly enough for my music files, so I opted for the 2TB plan that costs $20 per month. I had to leave some of my more esoteric albums off the iCloud drive to fit under the 2TB size limit.
Another cloud option is Google Drive, which offers 15 GB for free or one terabyte for $9.99/month; then it jumps to 10 TB for $99.99 monthly. Microsoft looks at storage a bit differently, tying its One Drive storage to the MS Office suite. When you purchase MS Office 365, you get 1 TB of storage. All your Excel spreadsheets, Word docs, and PowerPoint presentations are automatically stored there and are available for collaboration between users. There isn't anything preventing you from storing your music library there, but access is via Microsoft's Groove Music Pass, which is $9.99 per month in addition to the $99 annual cost of MS Office 365.
Amazon's Drive allows you to upload up to 250 songs for free. Subscribe to Amazon Prime ($99 annually) and get 5 GB of storage; for another $59.99 per year, you get unlimited storage. I currently use Apple's iCloud because I've been deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem from the first-generation iPod, but Amazon's value proposition is compelling. I am strongly considering making the switch. (If anyone out there has made the switch, I'd love to hear about your experience in the Comments section.)
Once you have begun to build your hi-res audio library, how do you play the files in a way that maintains their high bit and sample rate? I chose to download the VLC media player to my Mac (it's free) because it's capable of 24/96 and 24/192 native hi-res output. The VLC player can be downloaded here.
As an alternative to VLC, you might consider the VOX Music player, which is also free and can be downloaded here.
Why not just use iTunes? The iTunes Store only sells music in the compressed AAC format, and the iTunes player doesn't support the most widely sold lossless format: FLAC. Some hi-res file formats like AIFF may be played by iTunes but will not be at their native hi-res rates. Beware: If you convert a 24/96 FLAC file to ALAC, for example, you will not get the original file's full resolution.
There are three ways to get hi-res audio out of your Mac: 1) through an optical Toslink cable connected to the headphone output; 2) through a USB cable; and 3) through a standard stereo eighth-inch mini-jack connected to the headphone out--which will use the Mac's excellent internal DAC that supports up to 24-bit/192-kHz.
I suppose you could also count Bluetooth as the fourth way, but I'm not convinced that, even with A2DP negotiating between the transmitter and receiver the best CODEC available, you aren't losing audible quality in the wireless transmission.
Any of the above three connections ensures output of your audio files at the full resolution. Options one and two are still in the digital domain, so you will need to convert the signal to analog before sending it along its path that ultimately leads to your analog ears. The HTR archive is full of reviews that will steer you to a great digital-to-analog converter (DAC) at any price point. Just remember to make certain that the DAC supports the highest quality files in your catalog.
The next component in line is either your preamp or integrated amp. My setup includes a tube preamp that has both a headphone output and individual right and left line-level RCA outputs, which then feed either my tube or solid-state amplifier (I have one of each). Either amp then leads to my loudspeakers. If I'm listening through headphones, they are fed directly from my preamp.
I am enjoying incredible results using my Mac as a hi-res server. When comparing hi-res FLAC files via VLC to music coming from my iTunes library at 16/44.1, the difference is truly amazing in terms of imaging, dynamic range, extended high and low frequencies, clear and detailed mids, and the all-important warmth, air, and intimacy. When listening to the same song, switching only the file resolution, the iTunes files sounded flat and one-dimensional. Don't believe me? I recently read an excellent open-access paper on our ability to hear differences with high-resolution audio that can be found here.
You Can Take It With You
Want to enjoy your higher-quality audio on the go? That's become a lot easier, too--thank to players like Astell & Kern's AK240, Sony's NW-ZX2, Onkyo's DP-X1, Questyle's QP1R, and HiFiMAN's HM802s and HM901s. Do these players offer an improvement over a basic standard-res player? Yes, but remember that your environment and choice of headphones will impact your ability to hear all the differences.
Of course, there are a lot of excellent hi-res digital audio players on the market that would make a great addition to your gear rack, if you prefer a dedicated component. But if you're looking for high quality on a budget and you already own a Mac, then why not work with what you already have right in front of you? My results were outstanding.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the importance of how the music came to exist in the first place. The composition, the quality of the musicianship, the groove (or the tempo in classical pieces), the production, the mix, and the mastering process ... all of these have great impact and ultimately contribute to what resonates with you. I've heard amazing music that was recorded in the 50s and really poor-sounding music that was recorded mere months ago ... so technology is one thing, passion another.
� Chasing the Holy Grail of Audio at HomeTheaterReview.com.
� Examining My Love/Hate Relationship with Video Discs at HomeTheaterReview.com.
� What's the Ideal Speaker Driver Configuration? at HometheaterReview.com.
There is certainly no dearth of third-party video Players for Mac. But the best players is certainly the one that supports the maximum number of video formats, is ad-free and with easy shortcuts.
We understand that it is not easy for to try your hands on each and every video player available on the app store. Therefore, we are listing 15 Best Video Players for Mac and their key features, so you can easily choose a video application less time.
Top Video Player Apps For Mac
1. Cisdem Video Player for Mac
If you are looking for a lightweight player which can play most video formats, then Cisdem video player is a great choice. What makes Cisdem Video Player superior is its capability to play high-quality video formats such as 4K or 1080p. It is also 100% free from any ads or spyware. The user interface is kept clean and simple making navigation quite easy.
2. VLC Media Player:
Mac Os Music Player
Let us start the list of best Mac video players with VLC. It is already known as the best video player for Windows and Android devices it is known for its user-friendly interface and because of its easy keyboard controls, it is very popular among the users. You can get this amazing video player for your Mac. It can also be used as a default player for DVDs or CDs. You can even choose from different skins and teams. Some of the popular playback formats are MKV, M4V, AVI, MPEG, MOV, WMV.
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Another best video player for Mac is a real player. It is one of the best known cross-platform video player. It offers many other user-friendly features such as locking videos with a Pin. You can also create fun videos and stories from the videos in your gallery. RealPlayer is known as the best player from the time we were using featured phones.
Plex is more than a video player. Plex on your Mac can manage music TV shows photos live streaming having parental controls file sharing and many other amazing features. It is the best choice for the users who particularly want to stream videos from one device to another. It shows your videos and Music organized in a better way and you can quickly play them in just few clicks.
5. Watch This:
Watch this is an application which is mostly for those who often watch movies and TV shows. You can subscribe your favorite TV shows and get a notification whenever a new episode releases for the show subscribed by you. You may find some of the video formats not playing in this player but if you love to watch online videos then nothing will delight you more than this video player
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6. Elmedia Player:
The player is having its two versions available the free version and the pro version. Player is also having an ability to play online videos. It seamlessly plays HD videos and with this you can perform some basic edits to your videos such as noise reduction brightness and saturation control. If you love to watch video songs or love to play music on your Mac then Elmedia player gives you a 10-band equalizer.
Another powerful media player focusing on playing almost all the available formats in the market is 5K player it is capable to play ultra HD 4k and 5k video content. If we talk about other abilities of this player then what you will like the most about this player is that it is capable to download videos from online video sites such as YouTube. It supports online radio stations such as BBC, heart planet rock etc. You can also use this app download Music from SoundCloud. This makes it one of the best Mac video player.
8. DivX Player:
This player delivers high quality playback for your video formats including AVI, DivX. MP4 and MKV it can be considered as the best video player to watch 4k videos. The player comes with a free 15-day trial of DivX plus converter. So, if you want to convert some of your favorite videos in a format which can run on any device then you can make use of 15 days free trial to do this.
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Next in our list of best Mac video player is Movist it supports FFmpeg and subtitles. The player also allows you to do some General and Advanced settings. It is very useful for those who need to encode and decode Quicktime and FFmpeg formats. Tough in this player can play limited video formats for you and does not support apple remote but still if you are looking for a replacement for Quicktime player then it will be a better choice.
Another video player which is best suited to those who love to watch online videos and movies. It automatically plays the next episode of the season you were watching. It can be controlled through Apple TV remote. For better audio experience, you can pair your Mack with home theater. If we talk about supported video formats then this player is capable enough to play video of almost every format.
11. NicePlayer For Mac
One of the most amazing Mac video player apps, NicePlayer is very powerful, and yet free for all. You can play songs, movies or any other video swiftly, which settles all over the screen and any border does not budge the attention. In fact, you get to queue the videos and create own playlist smartly.
Hey, modern Mac users, this video player for Mac is for you. Apart from having good GUI settings and user-friendliness, IINA supports features like Force Touch, Touch bar, Picture-in-Picture, etc. to cope with modern techniques. Most importantly, this Mac video player app can be customized in dark mode, and even lets you adjust colors, icons, textures and a unified look. Cool, isn’t it?
13. QuickTime Player
Another cool video player for Mac, it exists as a one-in-all solution to watch different video files, DVDs, and much more. In fact, you can record videos quickly over here in a low-cost manner. Gamers especially love this software to get their gameplay footage, and its ease of use is simply worthy to keep in your Mac.
14. Brosoft Player For Mac
Play your favorite videos anytime using this video player for Mac, and enjoy additional features like bookmarking the video from a certain point, capture screenshots, get videos recorded. In case, you need tutorials, get them all here! The goodness doesn’t end here, it supports video files like Blu-Ray, 3D, MKV, MP4, etc. for utmost comfort. Plus, ISO files are directly supported without the need for any third-party app!
Absolutely free of cost, Leawo is one of the best video players for Mac with a focus on Blu-ray, DVD, 4k HD player on the top. The quality of a video remains absolutely refined and provides excellent movie enjoyment experience overall. Its user-friendliness is worthy to note down along with screen capturing capacity and in-built power manager. Happy users, right?
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So, these were the best video players for Mac. We hope our list will help you figure the best for your Mac and get the best video playback for almost all formats.
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