If you don't already know (but you should), BitPerfect ($4.99) is an add-on application for iTunes that makes it sound better. BitPerfect also adds some very useful and practical features including automatic sample rate switching, gapless playback, memory playback and integer mode to name just a few. And it does all of that for under five bucks.
Perhaps the most interesting thing we learned in the BitPerfect room at SSI 2012 is the new beta version of BitPerfect ($TBD available "in a few months") sounds a lot better than the existing version. And I'd go as far as saying it sounds a hell of a lot better as it makes your music sound more compelling. More like the kind of musical presentation that you can dive into and get lost within without getting distracted by the fact that you're listening to recorded music through a bunch of stuff.
But from a certain perspective there's bigger news to this news and that's only half of the story.
I'll just say it plainly - the beta version of BitPerfect we listened to was playing on a MacBook Pro running the developer version of Apple's new OS X Mountain Lion and it was running in integer mode. There, I said it. The cat's out of the bag, it can be done (of course I'm taking Tim Murison at his word but I feel very comfortable doing so and so would you if you spoke to him). Tim Murison has figured out a way to get integer mode to work on Mountain Lion. If this doesn't mean anything to you and you're wondering what integer mode is let's just say for now that its one reason why the beta version of the new BitPerfect sounds so damn good. And I say this knowing perfectly well that I cannot explain exactly why this is the case and why different media players that do essentially the exact same thing (such as offer integer mode, memory play, and so on) sound different from one another. And neither can Tim Murison and he'll tell you so if ask him (I know because I did).
We listened to some lovely recordings made by Peter Mc Grath, Director of Sales for Wilson Audio on a system consisting of the Light Harmonic Da Vinci DAC ($20,000) direct-connected to the Classé Audio CA-2300 amplifier ($7,000) driving a pair of Wilson Audio Sophia 3s ($16,700). Not bad company for a $4.99 product. The system was wired up with brand new interconnects from BitPerfect ($300/1m balanced only) and received its power through BitPerfect power cords ($450/2m).
BitPerfect Audio is also developing the software that will run Light Harmonic's forthcoming music server ($TBD), which is based on a modified version of the Apple Mac Mini. We also spent some time talking about the perils and pitfalls of metadata, and a father's love of classical music that was the spark for BitPerfect Audio. Which leads me to two things I really enjoy about hi-fi shows—discovering new music and having an opportunity to learn about the people who make the things that make the music we listen to on a hi-fi. The human side of this hobby is where you can learn something truly important.