Pure Music: High Resolution Music Server Software for Apple Macintosh Computers

based on Channel D's acclaimed Pure Vinyl audio playback engine
 
    Ferature Comparison with a Popular Audiophile Music Player Software Package

    Feature Pure Music Player "A"
    Uses iTunes for Playlists, Database Yes Yes
    Dithered Volume Control Yes Yes
    Adjustable Noise Shaping for Dithering Yes
    Can Change Audio Device From Within Application Yes (using Advanced Audio Setup... Feature)
    Supports Audio Device Driver "Hog Mode" Yes
    AudioUnit Plug-In Support Yes, Globally or Crossover Bus Assignable
    Automatic Sample Rate Switching Yes Yes
    Gapless Playback Yes Yes (but requires "Playlist Mode")
    Memory Play (loads entire track or group of tracks into memory before playing) Yes*
    Play Music Directly from CDs See Note (1) Yes
    Playlist Mode No (unnecessary because iTunes interaction works in Memory Play / Gapless) Yes
    FLAC File Format Support Convert to AIFF, WAV or Apple Lossless. Easy conversion instructions are provided on the Linn website (a) Must use "Playlist Mode," or (b) convert to AIFF, WAV or Apple Lossless, or (c) to use in iTunes, requires Fluke, a third party application limited to 44.1 kHz / 16 bit
    Apple Lossless File Format Support Requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Supported with G4, G5, or Intel CPUs Requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Supported with Intel CPU Only
    Maximum Sample Rate 384 kHz 192 kHz
    Internal Signal Chain Resolution 64 Bit (Double Precision) 64 Bit
    High Quality, Real-Time Upsampling (2) Yes (64 Bit Internal Resolution; Defeatable; up to maximum supported DAC sample rate). Click here for technical information regarding the quality of our real-time upsampling.
    Adjustable Stereo Crossover Yes, With 64 Bit Resolution, Variable Frequency and Slope, up to 4-way
    Crossover Time Alignment Yes (0 - 100 msec)
    Supports Airport Express (limited to CD quality, 44.1 kHz) With Third Party Software, or through Pure Music Bypass in Less is More Mode With Third Party Software
    NetSend Feature for High Resolution Streaming and Distributed Audio Yes, Low Latency, 4 Independent Streams, up to 192 kHz / 24 bit uncompressed
    Apple Remote App (for iPhone, iPad, etc.) supported (including volume control) Yes
    Queue Selected Track for Play Next Yes
    Minimal UI "Less is More" Mode Yes
    Mix to Mono, Exchange Left and Right Channels, Invert Polarity / Phase, Channel Balance Trim Yes
    Supports "invertpolarity" tag to automatically invert track playback polarity Yes
    Play Audio Backwards (Reverse) option Yes
    Automatic iTunes and Player Window Docking / Drag Tracking Yes
    Animated, optional "Times Square" Style Scrolling Track Information Display Yes
    Fast-Responding Firefly Metering Yes
    Real-Time Dynamic Range Meter Yes
    "Fun" Vinyl Single Animation with Playhead Cartridge Yes
    Other Pure Music Player "A"
    Bloatware? (3) Application File Size less than 6 MB

    Application File Size more than 60 MB

    Copy Protection Software (no risky Kernel Extensions) Hardware Dongle / Kernel Extension "or License File (machine locked)"@
    License Multiple Computers Owned by Same User One Computer (Must Move Dongle) "or License File (machine locked)"@
    Demo 15 Day, Unrestricted Features No demonstration version
    iTunes Linking Automatic on launching Pure Music (4) Manual or Automatic (requires separate iTunes Plugin)
    Relies on iTunes "Ghost Play"? (5) No Yes
    Price @@ $129 $695


Information pertains to publicly available, current versions (not beta or prerelease versions) of software. Information obtained from software documentation (and developer input, if not already available in current documentation).

@ direct quote from developer
@@ comparison of companies' top products; a comparison with the cheaper (but still more expensive than Pure Music), feature-limited version of the other company's software would show a greater disparity in features

*Pure Music Memory Play may default to Play From Disk when attempting to load single tracks larger than about 750 MB.

(1) Playing tracks copied to a hard drive will always give better performance than depending on a CD drive for real-time playback... and Pure Music is about performance and sound quality. Playing the CD directly uses the computer CD drive as an "audio CD" transport, because it then has to perform real-time error correction on the audio. It only takes a minute or so to "rip" a CD to the hard drive. Any bad sectors can be read repeatedly during copy, which is not possible during real-time playback without skipping.

Note: An externally housed, "drawer" - type DVD-R drive connected via FireWire is much faster than an internal slot-loading drive (a drawer mechanism has greater precision in disc handling).

(2) Real-Time upsampling doesn't require wasting time or disk space for creating duplicate versions of audio files, and allows immediately making A/B comparisons between native and upsampled playback.

(3) For reference, Adobe Photoshop CS 7 is 45 MB. Pure Music was adapted from Channel D's Pure Vinyl, designed and built from scratch for the specific purpose of two channel playback (and recording), and does not contain unnecessary parts (such as support for "up to 48 tracks of real time audio," according to the developer of the other application).

(4) To use iTunes in standalone fashion, simply Quit the Pure Music application or activate Less is More mode

(5) Both the Player software and iTunes are playing the track at the same time, so the computer is doing twice as much work. (It doesn't matter that the iTunes volume is turned down, iTunes is still playing the file in tandem with the other player, placing extra burden on disk or network I/O and the CPU.) "Playlist Mode" circumvents this problem, but direct iTunes playlist interaction and control is not possible in this mode, which also requires performing additional steps (selecting a playlist or a group of songs, then activating Playlist Mode), which is unnecessary with Pure Music's design.

A "comparison of playback engines," regarding sound quality, is not made above. The table provides a comparison of features. A published assessment of "playback and sound quality" can only be subjective. If sound quality, performance, and usability may be determined easily by auditioning a downloadable demo, why rely on someone else's opinion? A published review can provide valuable guidance. But when the final decision on purchasing the product can be made in the comfort of one's listening chair, without first making a financial commitment: that's the beauty of software.

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