Minimalist

These players are built on the assumption that minimizing the use of system resources improves the sound quality.
Most of the time this is at the expense of the user interface.

cMP² = cMP + cPlay

Price: free

cPlay is a minimalist audio player using the latest high quality SRC resampler (Best Sinc SNR 145.68db or 121.33db) or SoX (VHQ or HQ). cPlay's design offers state-of-the-art ASIO-only playback and caters for touch screen users.

 

cMP (cics Memory Player) is an open source audio construction. It describes how to build and configure a PC system costing around $1,000 (including a quality soundcard and case) that does not merely match but exceeds the performance of the very best CD transports.

 

Lots of information about this project on Audio Asylum.
Massive treats on cMP and cPlay.

JPLAY

Price: EUR 99,- single user.

Puristic design provides transcendent quality

Jplay was built with only one goal in mind: optimal music reproduction. Its stripped-down, bare-bones playback engine fits completely inside CPU cache and can be used as stand-alone player or together with popular music management software: JRiver Media Center, iTunes, Foobar, mp3toys etc.

 

A debate on Hydrogenaudio: Jplay - just another scam?

MQn

 

MQn - Just good music is a minimalist WASAPI Wav memory player that is stripped back as far as possible to reduce noise.

Innovations are optimised render loop, page aligned memory, optimised memcpy, Visual Studio 2012 compile using the latest optimisation techniques, auto vectorisation, profile guided otimisation, use of Intel C++ libraries during build, each setting has been tested to ensure best sound quality, fixed period sizes to align with memory page size, each sample rate/bit depth combination has it's own render loop, use of goto in loop rather than for/while, static libraries, single core compile etc.
Rrequirements are x64 Intel cpu with x64 win 7 or x64 win 8 and as much ram as you need to load the music you are about to play.
It plays 16 bit 44/48 in 16 bit containers and 24 bit 44/48/88/96/176/192 in 32 bit containers.

Source: sbgk on Head-Fi

PlayPcmWinEn

Price: free

 

PlayPcmWin is yet another opensource audio player for audiophiles.

 

Features

StealthAudioPlayer

Price: free

StealthAudioPlayer is a minimalist GUI-less ASIO/WASAPI audio player for Windows,
which supports ASIO and Vista/Win7's new audio WASAPI in exclusive mode, and with "Pro Audio" priority.
It loads the whole audio file into memory before playing.
The main feature of this player is that it does not have neither GUI nor CLI interface.
All interactions are performed by running another instance of executable with specific parameters to Stop, FF, Next etc.
I intentionally avoid using GUI for this player, anything may influence the sound.

Source: Andy

Started as a WAV/WASAPI player only, later other formats and ASIO where added.
This player has no interface at all.

Signalyst HQPlayer

Price: EUR 141/US$ 211

HQPlayer is a high quality audio player for Windows and Linux, capable of bypassing the operating system's software mixer and resampler. HQPlayer also features several selectable high quality upsampling and downsampling algorithms as well as selectable dither, noise shaping and modulator algorithms.

 

All modern DACs employ oversampling and delta-sigma modulation, however the hardware implementations are more or less resource constrained. Higher quality oversampling and delta-sigma modulation can be done by utilizing vast mount of processing power available in modern PCs. Many AVRs also resample internally to 48, 96 or 192 kHz, with the HQPlayer, these can be fed at the native rate.

 

Want to buy 192/24 files for future but currently own only 96/24 capable hardware? Or want to buy DSD128 files but currently own only DSD64 or 192/24 PCM capable hardware? Resampling and dither/noise shaper can be used to playback high resolution files on a lower resolution hardware, allowing future-proof investment on high resolution files.

 

For digital room correction and other equalization purposes, selectable convolution algorithms are included. Convolution engine supports RIFF (WAV) format FIR impulse responses, which can be produced with suitable software, such as Room EQ Wizard or DRC.

Source: Signalyst website

 

Signalist also has a NAA, Network Audio Adapter.


The player does all the processing on the PC. The output is send over the network to a small computer running Linux. Today the deamon also runs on ARM-based hardware platforms like the BeagleBoard/BeagleBone, Raspberry Pi , Acme Systems FOX G20 and SolidRun CuBox.

 

SolidRun CuBox 2 × 2 × 2 inches

HQPlayer's Network Audio Adapter