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Decibel Reviews

1.3.5
22 October 2018

Audio player tailored to the needs of audiophiles.

Robotank
15 February 2012

Most helpful

I've been using Decibel for a couple months, and I'm very pleased with it. The sound is great, and I like the minimal interface. I do hope that some form of global control comes in a future version (i.e., global hotkeys, menubar item). Native FLAC support is also essential for me in an audio player. Regarding comments from a certain individual about player sound quality, I'd like to clear a couple of things up. Strictly speaking, iTunes can be bit-perfect (i.e., it will accurately process the digital information in a sound file) with some features disabled and its digital volume slider at 100%. Where quality degradation usually occurs is along the path between the player and the speakers; Decibel's features are designed to minimize such degradation by minimizing the amount of processing, alteration, and interference to the digital signal. For example, iTunes enables by default the Sound Enhancer feature and (I think) the equalizer. Other possible stops beyond the player include CoreAudio-handled sample rate conversion and audio stream mixing (for handling simultaneous audio from multiple applications). Decibel omits features such Sound Enhancer, can automatically adjust the output device's sample rate to match the track playing, and can "hog" the output device so no other apps can send it audio (bypassing the mixer). There's also integer mode with some caveats (see link below) Memory play can also improve quality and avoid skipping by avoiding interference that can occur when disk access is occurring. The point is that avoiding unnecessary alteration, interference, and processing helps maintain the integrity of the digital signal, and thus the quality of the sound. For a more thorough and technical explanation of how audiophile players work, see this paper by the developer of Audirvana (which uses similar principles to Decibel: http://www.amr-audio.co.uk/large_image/MAC%20OSX%20audio%20players%20&%20Integer%20Mode.pdf ).
Like (9)
Version 1.2.6

Read 27 Decibel User Reviews

Rate this app:

Fmaxwell
24 January 2018
It's a good audio player, but the $33 price, rudimentary interface, and lack of updates since 2015 make it a hard purchase to justify. Lower it to $9.99 and you'll have my order.
Like (1)
Version 1.3.3
1 answer(s)
Uncoy
Uncoy
25 January 2018
Hi Fmaxwell,

I just checked. I paid full whack of $33 myself as well in Feb 2014. Decibel works well on all my computers all the time (I've had about seven in the last two years out of which four are active at any given time). Fidelia (theoretical two computer license) has only ever worked on one computer at a time, worst purchase ever, I've spent more time running around after licensing for Fidelia than using it. Mac App Store apps have choked a couple of times. Other indie apps require a song and dance to authorize. Decibel was engineered to work and work well from the beginning. On the other hand, the lack of development since I bought it in 2014 really annoys me too. Decibel is not a throw away purchase.
Like
Tekl
26 March 2017
I wonder, if this project is dead? Does it work well with Sierra?
Like
Version 1.3.3
Big Johnson
13 July 2015
This app is worthless as far as I'm concerned.

First of all, I don't want to load a few songs or a single playlist, I want ALL my iTunes tracks loaded and ready to play just as if I were in iTunes, and I want them to STAY there!
Loading all my tracks takes about 15 minutes. That's okay...ONCE. But when I quit and reopen, it's blank again and I must start over!

There's no Help file.

The search function in the forums was useless - I wanted to know how to add tracks from iTunes.
A search for "itunes add tracks" (without parenthesis) yields this message: "The following words in your search query were ignored because they are too common words: add tracks itunes."

It's missing a column for Date Added. My iTunes are sorted by date added and I expect the same in other players.

There's NO visible volume control! Either have to click the speaker icon to change the levels, or use odd keyboard shortcuts.

I tried to close Decibel and it hung with a track playing loudly and I couldn't mute or turn down the volume - had to force quit.

There's no equalizer! I suppose this is done for the purists, but guess what? Not all playback devices and speakers produce perfect sound! Adjustments may be needed. Even audiophiles may want to increase the bass, vocals etc. because not everyone's ears hear the same and listening preferences differ.


For these reasons I much prefer Amarra, although I've only used it a few times.




Like
Version 1.3.2
5 answer(s)
Lvdoc
Lvdoc
11 September 2015
It has a 31-band equalizer. Lower right corner. In the preferences "Output" tab, click "Enable equalizer."
Like
Uncoy
Uncoy
26 February 2017
If you like music, Decibel is a great player. Sound quality is second to none. Price is extremely fair.

I don't know why you need to run down so many great independent developers. Are you trying to kill the platform personally?

I use the finder to manage my music. For me Decibel is brilliant.
Like
Fmaxwell
Fmaxwell
24 January 2018
@Uncoy: Whether the price is "fair" is a subjective call. Decibel works fine and I'd be happy to pay $10 for it, but its level of complexity, limited feature set, and lack of active development argue against a $33 price tag. I understand that its appeal is more limited than something like Angry Birds, but it's a lot wider than vertical market products that struggle to get 100 users.
Like (1)
Uncoy
Uncoy
25 January 2018
Hi Fmaxwell,

I just checked. I paid full whack of $33 myself as well in February 2014. Decibel works well on all my computers all the time (I've had about eight in the last three years out of which four are active at any given time). Fidelia (theoretical two computer license) has only ever worked on one computer at a time, worst purchase ever, I've spent more time running around after licensing for Fidelia than using it. Mac App Store apps have choked a couple of times. Other indie apps require a song and dance to authorize. Decibel was engineered to work and work well from the beginning. On the other hand, the lack of development since I bought it in 2014 really annoys me too. Decibel is not a throw away purchase.

Big Johnson is the least reliable reviewer on MacUpdate and his constant slamming of good indie apps really gets in my craw. Wow, what a platform destroyer.
Like
Big Johnson
Big Johnson
16 March 2018
"Big Johnson is the least reliable reviewer on MacUpdate and his constant slamming of good indie apps really gets in my craw."

Hmmm, then how do you account for my 480 score, Uncoy?
A website glitch?
Sorcery?
Serendipity?
Russians hackers raised it?

I don’t "slam" apps unless my experience with them dictates a negative response.

That’s called an HONEST REVIEW.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a huge company or an "indie" developer.
If a small dev. can’t make their software functional or they’re gonna abandon it after people have paid for it, then they shouldn’t be selling software - McDonald's is hiring.

I’m also just as happy to post positive reviews when my experience using the software was positive.

I test and use a lot more software than your average user, and the majority gets removed because I just don’t like it or it’s flawed in one way or another - at least it didn’t work right for me.

Others I continue using despite their many shortcomings because using them is better than not using them.

Path Finder is one such app that has a LOT of issues that users want resolved but I continue using because it’s still so much better than Crapple’s Finder. Its dev's keep promising the new version will fix a lot of them IF it ever gets released - it’s long overdue.
Like
Jazzyguy
12 January 2015
I'd like to get this update but the app store is behind as usual.
Like
Version 1.3.2
1 answer(s)
WetNet
WetNet
11 February 2015
What's with all the double posting around here?! You are like a cry baby emo. "I want *blah*!!", "I want *blah*!!", "This don't work!!!", "This don't work!!!, "Developer won't respond!!!", "Developer won't respond!!!", . . .Get over yourself! What a moron!
Like
Jazzyguy
12 January 2015
I'd like to get this update but the app store is behind as usual.
Like
Version 1.3.2
1 answer(s)
Sbooth
Sbooth
12 January 2015
The new version has been submitted but the current wait time for app review is around 8 days. In the meantime you can use the direct download version with your app store receipt.
Like
chawya22
18 February 2014
A good sounding audio player which allows native playback of many audio formats without conversion. The unfortunate side is the dubious continued development or support. I purchased Decibel in Dec 2013 and attempted to join the support forum, for some questions I had. I'm still waiting for forum posting approval almost 2 months later. I was initially concerned, at the time of purchase, that there had been no updates in a year. The positive reviews I read were encouraging, so I pulled the trigger. I'm hoping this wasn't a mistake.
Like (2)
Version 1.2.11
6 answer(s)
chawya22
chawya22
18 February 2014
Update: Since there is no support, I tried to solve some of the problems I was experiencing by doing a clean install. Surprise, when starting Decibel again I was informed I'm in demo mode. Using the license email I was supplied 2 months ago, I was informed my decibel-license (Not Available). So now I'm out $33.00 and no one to complain to. The world of Shareware. Buyer beware.
Like
chawya22
chawya22
22 February 2014
Was finally able to contact the developer and the licensing issue has been resolved. Still waiting for access to the support forum.
Like (1)
pl-svn
pl-svn
20 June 2014
same here with this 1.3 update: "This copy of Decibel is Unregistered" =:-0 contacted developer. let's see! :-/
Like
Lvdoc
Lvdoc
04 January 2015
Can you please tell me how you contacted the developer? I just tried sending an e-mail, and it came back as undeliverable.

Although I like Decibel, I'd like to have it be able to use AU plugins. Their forum said that those would be implemented, but that was back in 2011! I find this discouraging, in terms of expecting continued development.
Like
chawya22
chawya22
04 January 2015
You may want to try support@feisty-dog.com. That was the email address the developer gave me after I was able to contact him. Before that, I remember I actually had to do some sleuthing for Stephen F. Booth (the developer) to get an email address for the initial contact. It's been almost a year now, so I really don't remember all of the details. Good Luck!
Like (1)
Lvdoc
Lvdoc
04 January 2015
Thanks! I'll give that a try.
Like
hwgray
22 November 2013
Those three freebies are hardly "similar" to Decibel. Comparable music-players are Amarra Hifi, Fidelia, and Media Center, etc., at a more-or-less similar price-point.
Like
Version 1.2.11
Jadco
29 March 2013
For a good review of three Mac playback apps, including Decibel, that use itunes only as a database: http://www.stereophile.com/content/listening-103 Ideally you would send the output of Decibel to your DAC and amp by way of asynchronous USB.
Like (1)
Version 1.2.11
1 answer(s)
Ozron
Ozron
04 June 2013
Considering the initial review was over 2 years ago, only the update at the end is relevant. And considering their verdicts, you only give Decibel 2 stars? And don't add any comments of your own? Completely useless review mate... As a comment it would be fine however.
Like (1)
GeogProf
29 December 2012
For some reason, when I Command-click a FLAC file, Decibel is not listed as one of the apps it can be played with in the “Open With” menu. MP3s and AACs do list Decibel in the "Open With" menu, but not FLACs.
Like (1)
Version 1.2.11
Jazzyguy
26 December 2012
The BEST Music Player on OSX! The Developer is very responsive and caring about his users. The forum is also very helpful!
Like (4)
Version 1.2.11
wickedsp1d3r
02 May 2012
I have about 4000 songs in my current playlist. The application always freezes when quitting and I have to force quit it. Very frustrating!
Like
Version 1.2.8
Robotank
15 February 2012
I've been using Decibel for a couple months, and I'm very pleased with it. The sound is great, and I like the minimal interface. I do hope that some form of global control comes in a future version (i.e., global hotkeys, menubar item). Native FLAC support is also essential for me in an audio player. Regarding comments from a certain individual about player sound quality, I'd like to clear a couple of things up. Strictly speaking, iTunes can be bit-perfect (i.e., it will accurately process the digital information in a sound file) with some features disabled and its digital volume slider at 100%. Where quality degradation usually occurs is along the path between the player and the speakers; Decibel's features are designed to minimize such degradation by minimizing the amount of processing, alteration, and interference to the digital signal. For example, iTunes enables by default the Sound Enhancer feature and (I think) the equalizer. Other possible stops beyond the player include CoreAudio-handled sample rate conversion and audio stream mixing (for handling simultaneous audio from multiple applications). Decibel omits features such Sound Enhancer, can automatically adjust the output device's sample rate to match the track playing, and can "hog" the output device so no other apps can send it audio (bypassing the mixer). There's also integer mode with some caveats (see link below) Memory play can also improve quality and avoid skipping by avoiding interference that can occur when disk access is occurring. The point is that avoiding unnecessary alteration, interference, and processing helps maintain the integrity of the digital signal, and thus the quality of the sound. For a more thorough and technical explanation of how audiophile players work, see this paper by the developer of Audirvana (which uses similar principles to Decibel: http://www.amr-audio.co.uk/large_image/MAC%20OSX%20audio%20players%20&%20Integer%20Mode.pdf ).
Like (9)
Version 1.2.6
1 answer(s)
Ozron
Ozron
20 May 2012
Great comments Robotank. Agree completely!
Like (2)
muirtone
14 February 2012
I am currently listening to Decibel, and find it does enhances the music in the way others have said. I too would like to have equalization, the Fletcher-Munson curves would be nice. Has anyone compared it to Bitperfect, and Pure Music? Does it support Direct DSD streaming without PCM conversion on supported DACs? Is there device integer support, or is the way things are set up on the Mac not allowing this? I use a NuForce D/A convertor, Beyer DT770, Senn HD600, and Genelec 8030A Nearfield Monitor Speaker, and I hear a difference.
Like
Version 1.2.6
2 answer(s)
Robotank
Robotank
15 February 2012
You could always use something like Audio Hijack Pro for applying equalization (though I think Decibel will eventually have AudioUnits support). Regarding your third question, Decibel does support integer mode. Last I heard, however, there's a bug or deprecation in Lion that prevents it from working.
Like (2)
Arjuna
Arjuna
21 April 2012
Bitperfect is still buggy, but Fidelia is amazing in my view.
Like
Echorob
26 December 2011
Audio players do not differ in sound quality unless something is seriously wrong, in which case it will certainly not be “sonically better”.
Like (1)
Version 1.2.5
1 answer(s)
Surfspirit
Surfspirit
26 March 2012
Educate your self!
Like
Penguirl
06 December 2011
Seems odd to use Taylor Swift for the screenshot of an audiophile oriented app when she has no talent at all other than a good engineer.
Like (2)
Version 1.2.5
2 answer(s)
Big Johnson
Big Johnson
22 December 2011
No talent??? So I guess it's just a fluke that she's smashed several records and won nearly every award possible? Everyone else must be wrong, right? Just because YOU don't like her is no reason to criticize her as a performer, especially on this website that is all about software, not music! There are millions of artists, and no matter which one was used in the screenshot, somebody wouldn't like it.
Like (3)
Penguirl
Penguirl
22 December 2011
There's no accounting for taste, or lack of. Keeping this software related I'll say this: AutoTune.
Like (3)
El-Duderino
06 December 2011
Can't speak on Decibel yet but does anyone, who knows at least a bit about audio, think that these kinds of iTunes alternative programs are basically snake oil, i.e. they just EQ and compress & louden the signal which obviously makes it seem better to the layperson. I'd be interested to hear from anyone that thinks the same as me on this, thanks.
Like (1)
Version 1.2.5
4 answer(s)
craigkabis
craigkabis
06 December 2011
iTunes does not play FLAC which make it useless (to me). I've used other apps this developer has blessed us with for years but I took advantage of a half off sale of Swinsian on this site and have been using that for a couple months.
Like
Penguirl
Penguirl
06 December 2011
It's possible that some apps might do that, but I suspect some hardcore audiophile would do the testing and let the cat out of the bag. That is my scientific wild a** guess.
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sbooth.org
sbooth.org
06 December 2011
Decibel is demonstrably bit-perfect. The audio isn't altered unless explicitly requested by the user, for replay gain or digital volume control.
Like
Echorob
Echorob
26 December 2011
Audio players do not differ in sound quality unless something is seriously wrong, in which case it will certainly not be “sonically better”.
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Echorob
01 September 2011
Using this player and my $800 Audiophile ethernet cables the sound is incredible.
Like (1)
Version 1.2.4
3 answer(s)
lemon-kun
lemon-kun
11 September 2011
Haha, good one. By now I think everyone got your point. I think you're right with some of your views, and of course Ethan Winer (the YouTube link you've posted) is right, at least about the the examples he shows. However, I feel you've misunderstood one or two things… It's true, audio has a lot to do with placebo effect, and many audiophiles are embarrassing – little story here: once we had a recording session where a guy claimed he could hear the difference between 176.4kHz and 88.2kHz (I cannot). After a while, I heard a very high frequency hiss. I asked the others about it, but none of the others heard it. Then I recorded silence and played it back at much lower speed, and now everybody could hear the (now by some octaves lower) hiss – even the guy with the super accurate 176.4kHz-ears… However, there really exists better and worse audio quality. To say there isn't a difference between 16 and 24 bit tells much about your equipment and the music you listen to. Do you listen through the build-in output or do you have a dedicated audio interface? What kind of speakers do you have? Electrostatic headphones? What amp? Equally important: What do you listen to? Pop music? Classical music? Who made the recordings and with what equipment? What file type? With most pop music, and even orchestral music I don't hear a difference between 16 and 24 Bit. However if I record a lute or a clavichord with a singer, it's starting to matter (that said, maybe 18 or 20 Bit would be enough for me). Same with dither; for 99.9% of music it really doesn't matter (at least for me; but I always consider there are people who hear better; my wife for example...). I haven't tried Decibel, so I can’t say anything about it. However, I used Fidelia for playback, and there is a huge difference between the Izotope resampler and the standard built-in Apple AUconverter. You could download Fidelia, and try the Izotope resampler (select in Preferences); if you don't hear a difference (or it sounds worse, so to say: thinner=more highs), the weakest point in your audio system is not the software. Try with better loudspeakers or headphones; try to go into a good amp. For DA the Mac output will do for the beginning – it needs a lot of experience to hear differences anyway (and after a certain quality level, there are no differences: everything sounds neutral). The last and most important thing: what sounds „good“? what is „good“ sound? There is no definitive answer for that, and for most people this is a matter of taste. My quality measure, as somebody who works in classical music recording: it must sound as realistic as possible. Problem here: the only way to know how it sounds in reality: you must be there to hear it „live“ when it's recorded, to know how reality actually „sounded“. And then: microphones, microphone placement, recording position, etc. have much, much, much more influence over the result than sample rate, file type etc. or the software you use to listen to it afterwards. So is Decibel a waste of money? I can't say, haven't tried – probably for you it's a waste of money, but for others it might make well sense. Even if it's just a placebo: if it sounds better for the believers, than it's an improvement. And what if it is for real and your equipment is just not good enough to make the differences audible? Or you are not trained to hear the differences (many very good musicians are not good at judging sound quality. Matter of practice and experience). However, if I'd be you, I would be careful with negative comments (unless you checked with phase invert that there is no effect so you can proof the results). Thanks for the laugh with the Audiophile Ethernet cable though ;-)
Like (1)
Echorob
Echorob
29 September 2011
16 vs 24 bit listening to music is going to be impossible to spot the difference. Test like yo conducted is a different storry.
Like
Echorob
Echorob
29 September 2011
There is no way this app can make your music sound better than other free players e.g... iTunes.
Like
Jazzyguy
19 August 2011
This is the BEST performing Music Playing App that I encountered.I have tried them all,Cog,Play ,Songbird ,Taplay even Foobar(which is pretty good but has to be configured with X11) but this is special.I bought it sight unseen without trying it because of the Developer's reputation. It turned out to be a good decision.
Like (4)
Version 1.2.4
1 answer(s)
PorkPieHat
PorkPieHat
21 October 2011
Not Vox??
Like
emce
09 August 2011
Pricey and lacking some features I'd love to see (library management and internet radio are the big ones), however, it plays my preferred formats and gets me out of the iTunes bloat and store front. Overall the best iTunes alternative I've found thus far. Thanks!
Like (1)
Version 1.2.4
Barrettisgold
07 July 2011
I was looking for a simple good quality audio player to make playlists, without the bloated features that iTunes and Songbird offer. I also wanted FLAC support. Really pleased with it and SBooth seems on top of the development, ironing out bugs. Keep up the good work.
Like (3)
Version 1.2.4
Arjuna
21 May 2011
Still crashes upon start up, as v. 1.2 :(
Like (1)
Version 1.2.2
3 answer(s)
Sbooth
Sbooth
22 May 2011
Please try version 1.2.2 which fixes the crashing issue.
Like (1)
Arjuna
Arjuna
22 May 2011
Thank U. After restart it indeed stopped crashing. Besides, can Decibel do upsampling to 96 as Audirvana and Fidelia? Couldn't find the setting.
Like
Sbooth
Sbooth
23 May 2011
Decibel will perform sample rate conversion as required to match the file and DAC sample rates. If you want to force 96 as a sample rate set your DAC to 96.0 (using Audio MIDI Setup) and uncheck the "Automatically adjust device sample rate" checkbox in Decibel's preferences.
Like (1)
Ochre
15 May 2011
At the risk of being flamed by Echorob, I wanted to post my preliminary opinion of the difference in audio output quality between iTunes 10.2.2 & Decibel 1.1. System: Mac Pro 2010, OS X 10.6.7, optical cable to upgraded Beresford DAC, Alessandro MS1 headphones. SecureRipped ALAC audio files. Decibel: Obtain Exclusive Access; Load Files In Memory; Adjust Sample Rate for Best Quality. Whilst the difference is not always apparent, I've certainly noticed that the bass produced when playing through Decibel appears tauter and perhaps a little deeper - certainly better controlled. Most noticeable so far with Johnny Cash's "A Satisfied Mind," where he sounds distinctly more gravelly through Decibel; with the cello in Thomas Newman's "Shawshank Prison (Stoic Theme)" and also with the grinding bass guitar in Blue States' "Season Song" from the 28 Days Later OST. Also, there seems to be more clarity and decay to high trebles, such as in "Urami Iibushi" from Kill Bill 2 OST. Finally, the timing when played through Decibel seems superior also - Johnny Cash seems to hold his rhythm far better than in iTunes. At the moment, the difference isn't sufficient to make me pony up for Decibel (using the trial just now) , and there does seem to be ways in which iTunes remains superior - some detail comes through in the latter when it doesn't seem to in Decibel. But perhaps my setup isn't sufficient to properly resolve the differences. One thing's for certain - Decibel shouldn't be ignored by experimenting with improving their audio output on the Mac.
Like (5)
Version 1.1
Docmark
25 April 2011
I've been using Decibel for the past while, along with an external DAC, either the DACport from CEntrance or the DAC 202 from Weiss. Decibel is a great program, and very definitely does make a difference to sound quality. Echorob's sweeping statements are ridiculous - I suspect he hasn't tried Decibel or any other newer apps. Many things make a difference to the quality of the music, including interconnects and power cables, and in this case, Decibel. If Echorob can't hear this, he should get a better system or have his ears cleaned.
Like (4)
Version 1.1
6 answer(s)
Echorob
Echorob
12 May 2011
Make a difference in sound? Where is your proof ? Thats right you can show any because it simply does not. Continue to waste your $$ of useless rubbish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=337164a263dc2eaa2f727ab896701459&showtopic=49843&st=200 2 Place you could learn a thing or 2
Like
Echorob
Echorob
12 May 2011
When it come to Audio for listening to music purposes you just wont hear the difference between 16 and 24 bit. I can't believe the $$$ people waste on audio myths. How about showing some proof with proper ABX test.
Like (2)
Espiridion
Espiridion
18 May 2011
I can't comment on Decibel since it's Intel-only. I will say that it's very easy to analyze the differences in sound. At least it's been easy to do with similar programs (e.g., Pure Music, Fidelia). Record the output of each (e.g., iTunes, Decibel), and -in addition to listening- run it through some analyzer/visualizer/metering plugin. Even easier if you have a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Import both tracks, align them, and invert the phase on one. This can be done with various plugins, including FreeG. If both files are identical, the result will be silence. I love Ethan's Audio Myths presentation and have posted it numerous times in the past couple of years. This has little to do with a myth, though. As mentioned, it's easy to actually "see" the differences. Hearing the differences might be tricky, since it will be effected by the playback system being used. Regarding the forum thread, I only read a few pages. Some links are not working, but my overall impression is that people are comparing apples and buildings :-) There are one or more confounding variables (e.g., converters, dithering). How about this for a proper (or as close as possible) ABX test? http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.com/format.htm Note that bit depth is only part of the issue. Sample rate plays a big role too. I was unable to get silence after aligning 2 of the tracks and inverting the phase on one. I even tried it at different volume levels. They don't cancel each other, which indicates that the tracks are indeed different. Is one better than the other? That's subjective. People with better ears than mine seem to think so, and can explain specifically what are the improvements they are hearing.
Like (2)
Echorob
Echorob
27 May 2011
No one has passed any abx under music listening
Like
Espiridion
Espiridion
27 June 2011
No one? Who has done a serious ABX test in this area? By design, you would need a very large number of tests which should be done either with long breaks or across different days in order to avoid ear fatigue from the listener. Some of the statistical issues are described here http://www.moultonlabs.com/more/whadda_ya_mean/ In terms of generalizability, you would need to decide whether you're going to test a random sample of the population, audiophiles, mixing/mastering engineers, people familiar with listening to vinyl and tape, younger people who might be more used to MP3s through their iPods, etc. It can get tricky. I have done blind A/B testing with a variety of sound enhancers (e.g., Fidelia, HEAR, DPS, etc) as well as plugins. I've consistently heard the differences, or no differences when I missed the bypass button since my eyes were closed. I'm pretty sure that I would perform better than chance in an ABX test. All of this has little -or nothing- to do with bit-depth and sample rates, and as mentioned before it is VERY easy to measure objectively. I'll add that I do this type of testing using Grado SR225 headphones. With other headphones or speakers the differences are not noticeable. Now, if I had to consistently identify files based on their bit-depth and/or sample rate I would NOT be able to do that. The differences are small in practical listening terms, and I don't have golden ears. OTOH, many people with great ears should be able to hear differences between converters, or actually hear differences in resolution. For example: "The first question, of course, has to be, can I hear a difference with all this increased resolution? And the answer is, interestingly, yes. Well, sort of yes, anyway. CDs passed through the workstation sound distinctly better than CDs converted to analog by the CD player. Sound files imported into the workstation sound really nice on playback...slightly richer, more luminous, with greater depth and detail than I normally experience..." (Dave Moulton). Note that these are old articles, but if you're interested in reading they're here http://www.moultonlabs.com/more/taking_stock/P0/ You can find many additional articles on the topic in Dave's website. Throughout his articles, Dave actually emphasizes that there's little difference between different resolutions (e.g., 16 bit vs 20 or 24 bits). I wish I could use Decibel, do a test, and post the results. I can't since it's Intel-only. (It says Universal Binary but only works on 10.6 which is not PPC-compatible). For my needs I use a combination of equalizer, compressor, and reverb, while maintaining the overall volume the same in order to make a more accurate comparison. What is Decibel doing? If it is like other sound enhancers, it is not just changing the resolution of the audio file. Again, unfortunately I cannot try it.
Like (2)
Lookin2it
Lookin2it
03 September 2011
#Echorob - Where is the "proof" that one wine tastes better than another; or that one flower smells better than another. Not everything should be subjected to a randomly selected population in a placebo, controlled, double blind, scientific experiment. That is why God gave us sense. Not only the sense of taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound; but also COMMON SENSE. It is perfectly appropriate to apply these (applicable) senses to an observation of audio sounds without requesting assistance from an audio engineer.
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Blacksmith-tb
24 April 2011
As the screenshot shows, audiophiles are always listening to Taylor Swift...
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Version 1.1
Lyr
18 April 2011
I am very new in the macworld and tested several musicprogs to replace foobar what i loved in the Windowsworld. I also tested VOX and was very happy about the customisabilities there, but i have to say, no one can beat the Soundquality of Decibel. Maybe iam not that professional in adjusting and hearing good quality like you (iam a normal user), but the audible experience in Decibel was very convincing for me. That much convincing that i have not much problems to pay the money for the prog (and iam a student) and accept some missing feature like last.fm-support (Hope it will be added in future). great prog!
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Version 1.0.2
3 answer(s)
Echorob
Echorob
18 April 2011
All Placebo. There is nothing this app can do to improve sound quality.
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Lyr
Lyr
18 April 2011
How can that be a placebo, if it happened in a direct compare to VOX. If you say, you can modify VOX that it sounds like Decibel, i have to say i am not able to do that and happy that Decibel did it for me. If you stay in sayin that this was placebo, i answer i like this placebo :-) cheers
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Echorob
Echorob
19 April 2011
Everyone all over the web makes these claims how they can clearly hear differences but hardly if ever back it up with any evidence. People waste thousands on hardware software buy very expensive cables when there is just no need to. This is a good place to start http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ
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Ozron
10 April 2011
I've compared this to all the free and paid alternatives. That includes Amarra, audirvana, Clementine, Play, Fidelia and Pure Music. Some of these are very much more expensive, so $33 is very reasonable indeed. The sound quality through my high quality system (top of the line Audio-GD DAC & amp units and BeyerDynamic DT880) is noticeably or significantly better than the alternatives. Where it beats most of the alternatives however is that it is rock stable, unlike any flavour of Amarra. It does what I need it to do - play music from my Mac that sounds musical, detailed, non-fatiguing, and without crashing. Yes it's a relatively basic GUI, but it's functional, and it's the results which matter. It lets me enjoy the music, in whatever format it might be in, more than any other player I've compared it to. At the end of the day, that's what it's about. And the cost is nothing compared to the cost of my Mac, hi-fi gear, and high quality music collection.
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Version 1.0.2
5 answer(s)
Echorob
Echorob
14 April 2011
This application at $33 is far too expensive. Don't give me rubbish about how superior it sounds, if you know anything about audio you will know it can do anything to sound better. iTunes is Free VOX is Free at $33 this thing needs to make my breakfast as well. This app is a total rip off.
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Ozron
Ozron
14 April 2011
These are ridiculous comments, which appear to be typical of you Echorob (checked your history). Yes I know plenty about audio, but you haven't said anything which demonstrates that you do. You have simply stated a view, and you're entitled to that, however you have not provided anything to back up your statements. Why is Vox better? Just because it's free? What music do you listen to? What sort of equipment? Sorry but IMHO Vox is a nice but simple player designed to minimise memory use, and does not come close audio wise. Don't get me started on the bloated app that iTunes has become. If you're happy listening to iTunes quality music or mp3's using these players, then good for you. For those of us with 24bit 96kHz/192kHz high quality music libraries and high quality audio gear, the differences are apparent and appreciated. Also considering most of the alternatives I mentioned are way more expensive, the $33 asked is not a total rip off. Amarra is a complete rip off though, as it's grossly over priced for what it offers and is extremely unstable. I listen predominantly to jazz and orchestral / classical, and I can hear a very worthwhile improvement in the sound because of the underlying design. If you knew anything about audio and how Mac's handle audio, you'd understand why these features (not offered by Vox or iTunes) make a big difference: "For audiophile users desiring more control over their audio, Decibel can take exclusive control of the output device (using hog mode) and send audio in the device's native format. Additionally, Decibel can automatically adjust the output device's sample rate to that of the playing track, preventing audio quality degradation associated with software sample rate conversion. Finally, Decibel can load and play files entirely in memory, eliminating audio glitching associated with disk access." So are you going to come back now and say that we're just imagining this? That there is no merit in higher bit-rate recordings or audio gear? If you can't hear a difference or have basic needs, then stick with Vox etc. Products like Decibel are developed for a specific niche market of audiophiles who understand and appreciate the difference. If you're not in that demographic, it is unfair to come here and make comments like these with no specific details to back them up. These are my final comments, and I'm not going to get into an argument with ignorant people like Echorob.
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Echorob
Echorob
15 April 2011
Yet, i see not one ABX test to prove your claims. There have been many properly conducted ABX tests done proving 99.9% of people can't hear the difference between 16 and 24 bit. People like yourself make all these claims how much better so and so is yet no proof what so ever. Check out the Hydrogenaudio forums if you want to see actual results. Why should anyone believe what you are saying with no proof ? Prove to us you can tell the difference between 16 and 24 bit. Lets see some results. Until then it's all shenanigans. PLACEBO.
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Echorob
Echorob
15 April 2011
You say "I listen predominantly to jazz and orchestral / classical, and I can hear a very worthwhile improvement in the sound because of the underlying design." Show some proof that you can hear a difference. Until then i call shenanigans.
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Jazzyguy
Jazzyguy
19 August 2011
Well let me add my voice to this discussion. You can buy a Ford and it will get you down the road to your destination(and in these times in heavy traffic it will get you there just as well as any vehicle on the road) OR you can buy a Lamborghini and get there in style. This app is sonically like the latter. It just doesn't sound good (to my ears which are not golden)it sounds wonderfully transparent I hear the music the way it should be presented. I tried Vox and it doesn't sound the same. Th only app that came close was FOOBAR and you have to have X11 as well as Wine but it doesn't sound as transparent.
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Echorob
07 April 2011
$33 For this? you got to be joking. One must be silly to spend this much on this app when their are free better alternatives. This has to be a joke. $33?
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Version 1.0.2
3 answer(s)
Ozron
Ozron
10 April 2011
No there aren't - name one! You're the joke mate.
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Echorob
Echorob
14 April 2011
VOX
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Ozron
Ozron
14 April 2011
Why exactly? Oh that's right. You don't have to tell us why. You're the selfless crusader who's job it is to inform us poor plebs why we've been subjected to highway robbery by a developer that is simply working hard trying to provide a superior product for people like me who appreciate it. You like Vox, stick with it. Good for you. Myself and many others will stick with Decibel.
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