Decibel is an audio player tailored to the particular needs of audiophiles.
Decibel supports all popular lossless and lossy audio formats including FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, Musepack, WavPack, Monkey's Audio, Speex, True Audio, Apple Lossless, AAC, MP3, MOD, DSF, DSDIFF, WAVE and AIFF.
For lossless formats such as FLAC and WAVE, and for Ogg Vorbis and specially tagged MP3 files, Decibel supports gapless playback with seamless transitions between tracks. Decibel also features replay gain adjustment for more comfortable listening.
Decibel has an intentionally minimal user interface designed to be instantly intuitive and non-intrusive. Decibel has an optional 31-band equalizer for unlimited sonic adjustment and provides precise digital and device volume control.
For users desiring more control over their audio, Decibel can take exclusive control of the output device using hog mode. 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.
For users with exaSound DACs, Decibel supports native DSD playback via ASIO. Decibel also contains DoP (DSD over PCM) support.
- macOS Mojave compability
- DSD64 to PCM conversion
Ratings and Reviews
Infinite waiting time (or should I say, infinite waste of time?)
Decibel has a noticable improvement in sound quality over BitPerfect, which is also available on the Mac App Store. However, the lack of media management in Decibel is really a deal breaker. So for ever time I want to change a song I have to get up and switch it, unless I build a playlist in iTunes first and then load it up in Decibel. That is not ideal for me. Also, for large libraries of music it will take over a minute to load (I have a mid-2012 Macbook Pro with 16 GB of RAM…not a slow computer by any means).
In the end, after trying both BitPerfect and Decibel, I bought Audirvana Plus (not available on the Mac App Store). It is far superior in sound quality to both BitPerfect and Decibel and integrates with iTunes. The developer will reply to support questions & it is a little bit over two times what I paid for Decibel, which was $30. Don’t even waste your time with this app. You’re best off just spending a bit more money and getting a higher quality app that integrates nicely with iTunes.
Very good niche product
This product is for those who want to listen to music on their computer similarly to the way you’d listen to a vinyl album. Change the settings to “Load files in memory”, “Obtain exclusive access”, “Adjust sample rate for best quality”, and Sample rate converter to “Maximum quality”. Open Decibel and load an album that you have saved as a lossless format, and press play. Then just listen! The program can be a memory and processor hog, but that's because it’s using lots of resources to best play your audio files. You may experience some “not bit-perfect” audio if you’re using your computer for other processes (and Decible knows when it’s made an error). But you’re busy listening to your music, so why are you doing that??
I bought this because I was originally listening to flac files using vlc and was frustrated with the lack clarity and abundance of errors during playback. Using Decibel and an external sound card makes my digital music library sound just as good as my physical library.
used to do everything it says it does but now just crashes
The review below is how I felt when it was working. Unforutnately, under El Capitan, all it does is crash :(
When it starts working again, my review will return to being:
I tried the various hacks to play lossless music on my Mac like Fluke etc and none were satisfactory. Free stuff like VLC can work in a pinch, but it's not optimized for performance nor sound quality (playing from memory, sample rates, processing quality).
Decibel does what it says it will do and it does it very well. Quality sound, reliable playback and the key lossless formats that iTunes doesn't support.
What's missing? Media management. I'm not looking for something too fancy, and even a hook into another software program would be acceptable. Right now, there is nothing like that from what I can see. And ripping would be cool too. Of course, if both those were added, the price would likely double.
Get it now. It's a bargain and does what it says it does and does it well. (And use an external DAC. The quality of decibel means that the weak link will be the Mac's own DAC. You can still use your Mac's DAC of course, but you'll be even happier with something better and decibel can make use of it.)
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.