Yes, it’s true: OS X tends to the get the lion’s share of developer love when it comes to ‘audiophile’ music playback software. Channel D’s Pure Music, Sonic Studio’s Amarra and Audirvana+ are all OS X only. If you’re a Windows user, JRiver Media Centre, JPlay, XXHighEnd and Foobar are solid alternatives.
However, the tables get turned when it comes to ripping, tagging and file format conversion. OS X users are often (wisely) directed to Stephen Booth’s Max to rip CDs and XLD for converting between FLAC and Apple Lossless. There are numerous options for tagging but I tend to favour MusicBrainz Picard and Kid3.
Over in Windows land, Exact Audio Copy is widely regarded as the finest CD ripper to ever walk the earth and, as pointed out recently, one could easily make a case for mp3tag (still!) being the most comprehensively featured tagger in the land.
Then there’s the motherlode. Capable of handling all three tasks – ripping, converting and tagging – is dBpoweramp. Many a Windows-centric computer audiophile will swear by its ease of use, secure ripping features and shell integration; right-click on a file (or files) and you’ll be greeted with context menu options for tagging and converting. dBpoweramp is a God among men of Windows audio utilities.
And after years and years of being a Windows only application, dBpoweramp is finally being ported to OS X by its developer (known as Spoon) – not with a winewrapper but as a bona fide native application.
From Spoon’s blog: “dBpoweramp previously Windows only, is now available on Apple OS X (Mountain Lion or newer). Regulars of dBpoweramp on Windows will instantly feel at home: Converting tracks, with Finder integration make editing tags and instigating conversions quick and easy. Batch conversions take the hard work out of whole library conversions. CD Ripper employs the same secure ripper, with AccurateRip, c2 error pointer support, utilizes 5 metadata providers for consistent and high quality metadata, finally multi-encoder enables two or more audio formats to be created at time of ripping.”
The implications are significant: no more XLD, no more Max and no more MusicBrainz Picard. dBpoweramp has the potential to supplant all three.
Nowhere is dBpoweramp’s potency more apparent than in its Finder integration: right click on a file (or files), drop down to ‘Services’ and you’ll see options for ‘Edit Tags with dBpoweramp’ and ‘Convert with dBpoweramp’. The latter allows for batch conversion to all manner of formats, bit depths and sample rates whilst the former allows for batch editing of tags as well as adding cover art from either a locally hosted image file or the app’s web search results. That’s a lot of possibilities from a simple right click!
Don’t get your credit card warmed up just yet though. Despite the option to buy a single user license (US$39) from the website’s Purchase page, a release candidate from 10th March remains available for evaluation as a FREE download here with users urged to report/discuss bugs in the associated forum thread here. Your conscience is your guide.
My advice? If you like it, buy the darn thing. Besides, that RC1 download won’t be there forever at which point we can assume that the standard OS X download will revert to a 21-day trial.
Further information: dBpoweramp