dBpoweramp comes to OS X


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

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
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  1. You seem to have a belief that there are more audiophiles using OS X than Windows. You also seem to have a belief that there are more audiophiles using iOS than Android. I’m wondering what data leads you to believe this? Although OS X and iOS are doubtlessly extremely popular, in general terms, there are still more Windows users than OS X users, and there are still more Android users than iOS users. Windows still has much more market share than OS X in general terms, just as Android has much more market share in general terms than iOS. I would say the millions of audiophiles in the world are still most likely to be using Windows and Android, not OS X and iOS. Maybe the audiophile world does lean more toward Apple than the broader market, but the Windows and Android dominance in general is so large that most audiophiles are likely also using Windows and Android. It holds true for the broader market, and I believe it holds true for audiophiles as well.

    • Not at all Dave. Although, whilst Windows dominates the broader market most audiophiles I know use a Mac (or Linux). OS X’s dominance as the front end OS of choice is also (in the main) borne out at audio shows. Many, many exhibitors use a MacMini loaded with Amarra or Audirvana+. VERY few use Windows.

      “You also seem to have a belief that there are more audiophiles using iOS than Android” <--- not sure you how you arrived at this? Generally its down to hardware compliance: *very* recent iOS updates aside, most iOS-loaded devices spill digital audio via their Lightning port + CCK. Android on the other hand is MUCH more of a lottery when it comes to digital audio. Some do USB audio, some don't.

      • I still think you have the mistaken impression that OS X is the preferred destination of audiophiles. Maybe you’ve been to too many audio shows. Windows and OS X both do the same things. I hate to ignite the ancient Windows vs. Mac debate, but in the real world, poor slobs still use Windows, because it reproduces music equally as well as OS X for much less money.

        I continually get the impression that you somehow think the same files sound better when played with Apple hardware and software, and I think that is flawed reasoning and incorrect.

        • “I continually get the impression that you somehow think the same files sound better when played with Apple hardware and software.” <--- Not sure where you're getting this impression when I've not used a Mac as digital transport for well over 12 months now. The Antipodes range of servers sound FAR superior to a MacMini, even when a USB converter is added. The AURALiC Aries also bests a fully loaded Mac when it comes to SQ. Ditto the Aurender server that I've just hooked up. 'Poor slobs' might use Windows but the vast majority of show exhibitors and reviewer colleagues use a Mac loaded with either Audirvana+, Amarra or PureMusic. That's not to say Windows doesn't have merit as a digital audio OS (I'm sure it does) but my exposure to it in the context of hifi systems is minimal.

  2. XLD rips CDs to FLAC and tags them (even does cover art). It has been the defacto alternative to EAC for years. Why again would one buy dbpoweramp other than to be different?

    • Because dBpoweramp isn’t just about ripping. It does transcoding for which the menu items are coded into the Finder context menu.

      • You can do that with Max as well (it transcodes all day long too, see Window->Encoder). I mean this stuff is free and easy to use as well.

        • Yes but are the transcode options built into the shell with Max? That is, can you right click and select transcode?

          • Basically. You just add files and hit “Convert.” You use the preferences to select a format (or multiple, you can transcode WAV to both MP3 and FLAC simultaneously if you like). You can also limit the number of converter threads it spawns. Really Max is all you need (and Tag).

            No disrespect to dBpoweramp, but given the tools I have on OSX, I just wouldn’t pay for it.

  3. Downloaded it. Tried it. Loved it. Bought it.

    Thanks John for writing about this. Your site is always a good source of information about the latest. Keep it up!