Media Player Q&A: 10 Questions for 8 Companies

For many computer audio enthusiasts, the choice of media player ends up being akin to most other choices in the world of hi-fi which is to say it comes down to personal preference. One thing is certain—using a third party media player is essential for getting the best quality from personal computer-based playback. I enjoyed getting a peak into the minds of some of the makers of our media player software and I want to thank all of the participants for their time and candor.

The participants: Damien Plisson of Audirvana, Tim Murison of BitPerfect Sound Inc. (BitPerfect), Dr. Rob Robinson of Channel D (Pure Music/Pure Vinyl), Josef Piri & Marcin Ostapowicz of JPlay, Jim Hillegass of JRiver, (JRiver Media Center), Jussi Laako of Signalyst (HQ Player), Stephen F. Booth of (Decibel), and Jon Reichbach of Sonic Studio, (Amarra).

Here are the 10 Questions which also serve as links to the associated Answers...

  1. What are the main reasons people should consider replacing or augmenting iTunes?
  2. What are the most important features of your product that directly affect sound quality, and can you talk about why they offer an improvement?
  3. Are there any features in your product that you feel are underutilized, under appreciated, or just plain misunderstood?
  4. What makes one media player sound different from another?
  5. Is there a DAC connectivity method (asynchronous USB, Toslink, Coax...) that you feel offers superior performance or that makes your product development job more or less difficult?
  6. Is it more beneficial to handle upsampling in a media player or in a DAC?
  7. Are there any special considerations people with large music libraries need to address?
  8. Can different versions of the same OS sound different and if so why?
  9. Can you share some basic set up tips for getting better sound from computer playback?
  10. We're seeing support for native DSD and sample rates up to 384kHz. What else do you see on our playback horizon?