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Fidelia Audiophile Mac OSX Music Player Review

fidelia review

For those of you who are unhappy with the clarity of the pre installed iTunes on your Mac 'Fidelia' by Audiofile Engineering will perhaps be right up your street. As we begin the review it is important to say that this alternative music player is not necessarily suited for those who are using low end systems or the standard mac outputs; as your system is only as good as your weakest link and the 'Fidelia' player will not be this.

As an overview of the installation process I have to say that I did not download this product via the App Store, instead I acquired it directly from Audiofile Engineering's website... A heads up is that if you purchase it from there then you will be allowed one extra 'gratis' licence which can be used for another mac that you own. During the installation process it was pretty easy, just download and then enter the licence key that you were sent to your e-mail address. If you, like I did, only purchased the 'basic licence' then you might notice that every time you open 'Fidelia' then you may be greeted with a slight annoyance. This specifically that the other licence option windows may open and ask you to either enter a key or start demo/trial. This has happened a number of times to me when all I want to do is just listen to some good music... FAST.

A great feature of Fidelia is that it will go into your iTunes and allow you to navigate through your music and playlists in Fidelia's own 'Library' window (pictured to the left). It just doesn't look as nice as iTunes and does not support the same functionality, but if you know the music that you want to listen to then this just do a search; it's just as easy. With this said the aesthetics of the player window really do make you think that you are using a high end unit. With a style that is designed to look like a separates Hi-Fi system it has some interesting functionalities. The player allows you to play, skip track, directly click on a part of the tracks waveform to skip to your favourite part, play loop function, randomise, volume control, mute button and an important 'Dim'​ button which seems a bit pointless but it is far from that; I have used it so much. What would make the functionality of this player even better would be if you could set the 'play', 'next track' and 'previous track' buttons on the Mac keyboard to directly control the player not iTunes, and a more sophisticated 'library' window would be nice; but it's still early days.

fidelity reviewWith all of the above said, how does it sound? Contrary to the 'player' window appearance it does not sound at all like it is trying to be yet another 'analogue' warmth simulator, sonic altering plug-in or emulator. This is a serious standalone which aims to just give you the sound as it was when it was recorded. For a couple of years now I have been directly playing music through Pro Tools just so that my Prism Sound 'Orpheus' based system is performing at its best. I paid a lot of money for the system, I demand clarity and neutrality, and the last thing I want to do is mask the sounds of an original recording, so it was to my pleasure that 'Fedlia' does not do this. All the music I play on it does sound almost quite as good as when played through Pro Tools. On the Audiofile Engineering website it states that it aims to "give users the power and the freedom to organise  customise and savour their digital music collection at the highest possible fidelity in any circumstance" and it does deliver this promise.

So how does it work? To put it simply 'Fidelia' allows the music file to be read and/or converted to a high sample rate by filling in the blanks and dithers the sound in order for the sound to be best produced without distortion and gives a full range and depth to the sound... Once again I will say that coloration is not the aim and because of this the depth of the sound that is produced is superb! It has to be said that a great feature here is that the music player supports high quality music formats such as FLAC where iTunes do not offer this. On the App store there has been some reports of systematic crashing of the software but neither I, or my team, have experienced these issues.

Offered at an affordable price, Fidelia really is a little gem and performs above and beyond what you might expect. If you have the technology then you should be enjoying the music that you own at the best possible resolution. When you match a high level of audio quality with ease of use then you create something called 'Fidelia'.

UPDATE: Previously Fidelia was rated by The Pro Audio Web Blog to have a 4/5 rating. Since the release of this review we have had to reevaluate its performance for a number of reasons. The first reason is that we have detected some digital artefacts which conflict with this applications intent. Secondly, if you have purchased a 'Basic' licence then you will find that you are, upon launch, consistently requested to put in the' Advanced' or 'FHX' licence codes which are available for a premium price. The third and final reason is that I feel that 'Audiofile Engineering' could do much better with helping their consumers if they have an issue with the product. The Pro Audio Web Blog rates 'Fidelia' a 3/5.

Edd Harris

Edd Harris - 20th February 2013

Global RRP: $19.99 (single licence)

Editors Rating:

Three Star Award