BitPerfect is...erm...perfect!

MajorFubar

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I saw this app in one or two signatures round here so I thought I'd give it a go.

I use iTunes to listen to ALAC rips from my favourite CDs through my HRT Streamer II+

First album I tried is the first album I always head to when I've upgraded a piece of HiFi: China by Vangelis.

Wow. :O That's really the only word which covers it.

Someone's just widened the space between my speakers by three feet and knocked-out the back wall.

How the heck does it do this???

Furthermore - and here's a bit of a gripe I guess - why doesn't iTunes sound THIS GOOD out of the box??!
 

Dan Turner

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MajorFubar said:
Furthermore - and here's a bit of a gripe I guess - why doesn't iTunes sound THIS GOOD out of the box??!

And why doesn't iTunes automatically switch sample rates? Fortunately another thing that Bitperfect takes care of! It's good isn't it?
 

6th.replicant

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Does BitPerfect require much setup faffage and geek skills?

I've tried similar iTunes upgrades/bolt-ons in demo form, such as Amarra, Pure Music et al, and lost patience with the required myriad re-sets/re-boots etc. (Although will admit I've the attention-span of a crack-addicted squirrel.)
 

Dan Turner

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It requires no setup. You install it, launch it, and it just sits in the background doing its thing whilst you use iTunes, or another media player, just like you normally would. There are some preferences, but it's configured fine for most users straight 'out of the box'.
 

chebby

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How about gapless playback and other settings? I have a lot of gapless material (especially dramas) where I can't afford to have software messing it up.

I have already ripped all of my CDs with error correction switched on. How can it improve on that?

How does this software work? Does it get into the inner workings of iTunes or just sit 'outside' it and improve the digital signal coming from iTunes?

Is it competent?

I would like to read about the problems as well as the praise before I try it.

Thanks.
 
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Anonymous

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Hi Chebby, it does support gapless playback and is very competent, it's basically iTunes in every sense and is as straightforward as it gets. It just sits alongside iTunes correcting the shortfalls of it (such as automatically switching between high resolution and normal resolution and cutting out the computer's processing) seamlessly. I've used JRiver which was also good but only works on Windows and had some issues with errors occurring in playback and did not support protected AAC format. I then bought a Mac (which you can't use JRiver on) so bought BitPerfect.

JRiver is about £40 or so I recall and BitPerfect around £6 or £7.

BitPerfect was very easy to install and has a good straight forward guide on how to set up for optimal performance on your system (5 mins max.) or you can run it in default mode which will still be bit perfect.

The iTunes interface is completely unaltered and the BitPerfect settings once established at the start don't need changing at all but if you want to access it or disable it etc the icon just sits in the menu bar at the top of your screen. If you like the iTunes interface and have a Mac it does make a positive difference by correcting the auto-switching between high and normal res. so although you may not notice any audible improvement in sound by enabling an unaltered processing of the audio - for the money it is still a no-brainer in my view.
 

MajorFubar

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Hi Chebby, ^^^WHS, really. I haven't noticed any issues re gapless playback on my system running Lion and iTunes 10.6.1. I doubt you would do either. There are a few configurable parameters, with recommendations for their settings explained here: http://bitperfectsound.blogspot.co.uk/p/manual.html. But tbh it worked absolutely fine 'out of the box'. It's very easily the best £7 I have ever spent on my HiFi and imo has given me an increase in performance that I usually associate with a hardware upgrade of some kind, which sure as heck usually costs a darn sight more than £7.

EDIT: just for info, I've been messing with the params a bit and I've noticed on my Mac that gapless is a problem only if you instruct BitPerfect to upsample. Leave its preferences set to 'do not upsample' and it works a dream.
 

chebby

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Thanks for all the input/feedback.

Alas, I found their FAQ page and it states it doesn't support AirPlay.

Oh well.

It's not as if i'm unhappy with performance from either of my iTunes (far from it) so I shan't miss what I can't use.
 
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Anonymous

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knacker said:
does it work on MAC or is it not o/s based

Would help if I read the whole thread ehh, numbnuts:wall:

Hi, BitPerfect only works on a Mac
 

SteveR750

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Is iTunes not bit perfect?

No in Windows, no far from it, but I thought it was in Mac O/S....

Media players like J River bypass the Windows kernel mixer to attain "bit perfection" , I didn't think O/S undertook any resampling / mixing when using iTunes (i.e. the direct exclusive control of the soundcard) unless there is some resampling going in within iTunes of course.
 

eternaloptimist

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Bitperfect is a lovely piece of software - just does what it says "on the box". Unobtrusive, automatic rate switching, "gets out of the way" when playing compresssed files / internet radio - excellent!

I have tried just about every player software out there on both Windows 7 and MacOS (Mountain Lion) on a dual-booted ("bootcamped") MacMini 2011: Bitperfect, Audirvana Plus, Amara (different versions), Decibel, Fidelia, J River MC, JPLAY.....

In my system, Bitperfect is very nice but I have found Audirvana Plus the best - is not quite so bright and sounds "smoother" - especially female vocals. I suspect my Cyrus and Audiovector system is contributing to this observation and in other systems, Bitperfect would sound better. Incidentally, I found Amara too "muddy"...

Maybe try Audirvana Plus for comparison?

Just my 2 cents...
 

Overdose

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But if iTunes is already 'bit perfect' (whatever that really means), then what is an additional piece of software required for?

In addition, what is this additional software doing to change the sound of an already bit perfect program?
 

SteveR750

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Overdose said:
But if iTunes is already 'bit perfect' (whatever that really means), then what is an additional piece of software required for?

In addition, what is this additional software doing to change the sound of an already bit perfect program?

On the one hand I agree, so long as you believe that bit perfection is the right way. On the other hand, if your ears prefer something else, then why not go with that. TBH the latter is soo much easier to verify than the first!
 

MajorFubar

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eternaloptimist said:
I found Amara too "muddy"...
Just shows that it's all about balance because I preferred Amarra's creamy delivery on my system, which can often sound too forward with digital playback. I'd buy it but over here it's still too expensive at €178/£142. I find myself asking if it really makes £150 worth of difference. The much cheaper 'HiFi' doesn't interest me because it lacks what I consider to be several important features.
 

Overdose

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SteveR750 said:
Overdose said:
But if iTunes is already 'bit perfect' (whatever that really means), then what is an additional piece of software required for?

In addition, what is this additional software doing to change the sound of an already bit perfect program?

On the one hand I agree, so long as you believe that bit perfection is the right way. On the other hand, if your ears prefer something else, then why not go with that. TBH the latter is soo much easier to verify than the first!

All very true and this is the problem that I have with claims of bit perfection and clarity, because if differences exist between software, either only one is correct and provides bit perfection, or none do.

I'm sticking with iTunes in the unfiddled with config for now and if I need a change, then the best proposition is probably EQ.
 

shooter

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Overdose said:
SteveR750 said:
Overdose said:
But if iTunes is already 'bit perfect' (whatever that really means), then what is an additional piece of software required for?

In addition, what is this additional software doing to change the sound of an already bit perfect program?

On the one hand I agree, so long as you believe that bit perfection is the right way. On the other hand, if your ears prefer something else, then why not go with that. TBH the latter is soo much easier to verify than the first!

All very true and this is the problem that I have with claims of bit perfection and clarity, because if differences exist between software, either only one is correct and provides bit perfection, or none do.

I'm sticking with iTunes in the unfiddled with config for now and if I need a change, then the best proposition is probably EQ.

Bit perfect is an unaltered passthrough of an audio signal. There will be no processing, filtering, equalising or resampling. Basically, what is on the file is the file when heard.
 

Overdose

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shooter said:
Overdose said:
SteveR750 said:
Overdose said:
But if iTunes is already 'bit perfect' (whatever that really means), then what is an additional piece of software required for?

In addition, what is this additional software doing to change the sound of an already bit perfect program?

On the one hand I agree, so long as you believe that bit perfection is the right way. On the other hand, if your ears prefer something else, then why not go with that. TBH the latter is soo much easier to verify than the first!

All very true and this is the problem that I have with claims of bit perfection and clarity, because if differences exist between software, either only one is correct and provides bit perfection, or none do.

I'm sticking with iTunes in the unfiddled with config for now and if I need a change, then the best proposition is probably EQ.

Bit perfect is an unaltered passthrough of an audio signal. There will be no processing, filtering, equalising or resampling. Basically, what is on the file is the file when heard.

Which is presumably what Mac OSX iTunes does when EQ is switched off?
 

MajorFubar

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Don't know mate. I won't even begin to claim I know how it all works, but the various software players I've tried (BitPerfect/Amarra/Pure Music) all do sound a bit different. I don't know why or how they work, it's probably more complicated than any one of them being less or more 'bit perfect' than the others. I think it's something to do with how they directly interface with your, erm, interface, often in 'hog mode' so not even OSX itself can use it. Those in the know also say that there are SQ gains to be made from directly playing from RAM rather than a HDD, which is a feature most of these players offer. Sure enough, both Pure Music and Amarra sound best to me when used in this way. Again I don't really know why it works.
 

shooter

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Overdose said:
shooter said:
Overdose said:
SteveR750 said:
Overdose said:
But if iTunes is already 'bit perfect' (whatever that really means), then what is an additional piece of software required for?

In addition, what is this additional software doing to change the sound of an already bit perfect program?

On the one hand I agree, so long as you believe that bit perfection is the right way. On the other hand, if your ears prefer something else, then why not go with that. TBH the latter is soo much easier to verify than the first!

All very true and this is the problem that I have with claims of bit perfection and clarity, because if differences exist between software, either only one is correct and provides bit perfection, or none do.

I'm sticking with iTunes in the unfiddled with config for now and if I need a change, then the best proposition is probably EQ.

Bit perfect is an unaltered passthrough of an audio signal. There will be no processing, filtering, equalising or resampling. Basically, what is on the file is the file when heard.

Which is presumably what Mac OSX iTunes does when EQ is switched off?

In a word, yes.
 

shooter

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MajorFubar said:
Don't know mate. I won't even begin to claim I know how it all works, but the various software players I've tried (BitPerfect/Amarra/Pure Music) all do sound a bit different. I don't know why or how they work, it's probably more complicated than any one of them being less or more 'bit perfect' than the others. I think it's something to do with how they directly interface with your, erm, interface, often in 'hog mode' so not even OSX itself can use it. Those in the know also say that there are SQ gains to be made from directly playing from RAM rather than a HDD, which is a feature most of these players offer. Sure enough, both Pure Music and Amarra sound best to me when used in this way. Again I don't really know why it works.

I did read someplace that Bit-Perfect minimises on CPU usage, not sure if how much of an infuence that has in terms of sound but...
 

MajorFubar

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Maybe. I know Amarra certainly doesn't minimize memory usage. When I had the trial version running on my 4GB iMac, if I told it to buffer a full album to RAM it used to moan repeatedly about low memory if I had any other app running at the same time, even iTunes itself (Amarra will happily run without iTunes using its own Playlists function). There's even an option to close down OSX Finder to release even more memory.
 

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