11 Best Music Players for Mac Users in 2023

Best music players for Mac

Not all music apps for Mac are created equal. If you’re looking for a player with broad support for audio files and high-quality playback, we’ve created a list of the best music players for Mac users, both free and paid. You can enjoy any format in your music collection, from MP3 to FLAC and AC3. Explore each solution’s strengths and features to find the best fit.

Most Macbook users are familiar with Apple Music as a streaming service on iOS and iTunes on macOS. Although these are popular apps, users may encounter issues with them, such as:

“I have a 2020 M1 Macbook Pro and am running Ventura. I have Apple Music but when I try to press play it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t show its playing or anything, it’s as if I didn’t do anything. Apple Music works perfectly on my phone but not my Mac”, — Daksh432, Apple Support Community

Therefore, we propose to consider the following players that will give you an awesome music playback experience. Many of them offer integration with iTunes and other streaming services.

1. Elmedia Player

Our list begins with what we consider the best audio player Mac users should explore – Elmedia Player. Its ability to play any music files to the highest standards of audio playback makes it very versatile. From the popular MP3, M4A, AC3, AAC, or WMA, to lossless formats like FLAC, ALAC, and WAV, Elmedia Player can handle your entire audio library, organized in custom playlists.

It features a 10-band audio equalizer for a personalized listening experience. You can either manually tweak it or select one of the pre-defined presets. You can also set up passthrough for hardware decoders like AC3 or DTS for surround sound. The built-in audio visualizer will complement your music with added graphics. Despite all the available features, Elmedia Player remains easy to use. The interface is clean and intuitive, suited for both novice and advanced users.

Elmedia Player - best music player for Mac.

Pros:
  • Wide range of supported formats
  • Easily create playlists for smooth playback without interruptions
  • User-friendly interface
  • Audio equalizer with multiple presets and manual adjustments as well.
Cons:
  • The more advanced features of Elmedia Player are only available in the PRO version and that’s not free.

Supported Formats: MP3, FLAC, APE, OGG, AC3, M4A, AAC, WMA, WAV, and many more.
Supported OS: macOS
Price: free to use, PRO upgrade costs $19.99
Latest update (at the time of writing): July 20, 2023

2. JustPlay

Another good audio player for Mac is JustPlay. This lightweight app will surprise you with its power and selection of essential features. Apart from MP3, it serves as a great WAV and FLAC player for Mac as well. You can customize the playback to your liking using a built-in 10-band audio equalizer. JustPlay also comes with standalone volume control that’s independent of your Mac’s system sound settings. With its easy connection to a range of external audio devices, you can enjoy quality music anywhere – on a simple set of headphones or a complex home theater system.

This small and powerful player is easy to navigate, with a clutter-free interface that blends in with macOS. It also has Mac-specific controls, such as Touch Bar and media keys, and supports M1 and M2 Apple silicon.

JustPlay music player Mac.

Pros:
  • A lightweight app that doesn’t need too many resources to run smoothly
  • Full playback control
  • Doubles as a video player as well
  • Touch bar support.
Cons:
  • The app is offered in only six languages besides English.

Supported Formats: MP4, AVI, MOV, SWF, DAT, MKV, MP3, FLAC, M4V, FLV, etc.
Supported OS: macOS
Price: $4.99
Latest update (at the time of writing): Jul 28, 2022

3. VOX

According to its creators, this next Mac music player is designed for Hi-Res music. Supporting audio with up to 24bit/192kHz, it can play FLAC, MP3, CUE, APE, M4A, and more. It offers integration with iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube Music, so you can access them directly through the VOX interface.

In addition to that, it grants access to over 30,000 online radio stations categorized by country and genre, and it allows you to stream YouTube videos. VOX offers a good selection of settings, although the more advanced features are reserved for VOX Premium.

VOX music player for Mac.

Pros:
  • Built-in equalizer with 30 presets
  • Queued tracks playback without any gaps
  • Native audio engine for exceptional sound quality.
  • Numerous playback control extensions
Cons:
  • The iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube Music integration is only available in VOX Premium
  • The online radio stations include ads in the free version.

Supported Formats: FLAC, DSD, M4A, PCM, APE, MP3.
Supported OS: macOS
Price: free, Premium version starts from $4.99/month
Latest update (at the time of writing): Aug 31, 2023

4. 5KPlayer

Contrary to what its name suggests, 5KPlayer is not only a video player but a free music player for Mac as well. It supports MP3, AAC, OGG, AC3, WMA, FLAC, and ALAC, among others, automatically detecting and playing Dolbys, RStereo, and DTS multi-channel surround sound.

The audio player comes with a built-in radio to enjoy a number of satellite radio stations, as well as the ability to create your own playlists. Navigating the interface feels easy and natural. However, user reviews on Trustpilot describe the app as difficult to uninstall, full of ads, and heavy on the CPU.

Audio player for Mac - 5KPlayer.

Pros:
  • It doubles as a YouTube audio downloader
  • Support for home theater systems
  • Free to use
  • Built-in Radio Player.
Cons:
  • A limited range of sound settings users have access to
  • Occasional crashes.

Supported Formats: MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC, AC3, OGG.
Supported OS: macOS, Windows
Price: freeware
Latest update (at the time of writing): Oct 27, 2021

5. IINA

IINA is an open-source media player that looks and feels modern. Specifically designed for macOS, the interface is minimalistic and very smooth. The app has integration with a range of Apple features, such as touch bar controls, gesture controls, and even dark mode.

It works for playing your local files, online streams, and YouTube playlists alike. The browser integration feature is another advantage of IINA that’s worth pointing out. All in all, it might be one of the best free music players for Mac if you’re looking for power and simplicity.

IINA Mac audio player.

Pros:
  • Free to use since it’s an open-source app
  • Great user interface with support for macOS gesture and touch bar controls
  • Picture-in-picture mode
  • Dark Mode
  • Available in over 20 languages.
Cons:
  • The minimalistic approach may seem basic to advanced users.

Supported Formats: M4A, MP3, AAC, M4A etc.
Supported OS: macOS
Price: free
Latest update (at the time of writing): Jul 20, 2023

6. VLC

When thinking about music players for Mac there’s a good chance to dismiss VLC because of its predominant video player function. However, you’d be missing out on an excellent free music player for Mac. It handles audio playback with the same proficiency and meticulosity as the video function and supports lots of formats without the need for codecs or plugins.

Furthermore, it’s available for macOS and iOS so you can add it on your iPhone or iPad as well to enjoy the same top-quality audio playback. The total absence of ads, spyware, or user tracking is another plus for VLC.

VLC music player for Mac.

Pros:
  • Multiple customization possibilities
  • Advanced audio settings and control
  • Completely free
  • Available for the most popular operating systems.
Cons:
  • Outdated interface
  • Sometimes there are glitches after updates, but the developers try to fix them quickly.

Supported Formats: MP3, AAC, Vorbis, AC3, WMA, FLAC, ALAC etc.
Supported OS: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android
Price: free
Latest update (at the time of writing): Oct 14, 2023

7. Swinsian

Swinsian is the next music player on the list that packs an interesting set of features. It’s a powerful Flac, MP3, AAC, ALAC, WAV, Opus, AC3, AIFF, DSF, APE, and WMA player for Mac. To view and navigate your music in the most convenient way, you can choose between an art grid, column browser, or track inspector, or hide them altogether. Creating smart playlists, Last.fm scrobbling and global keyboard shortcuts are also available in the player.

Swinsian also comes with an advanced tagging system, so you can manage your music files by quickly editing tags, finding duplicates, and more. The app offers a mini window, as well as a desktop widget that discretely shows what track is currently being played.

Swinsian audio player for Mac.

Pros:
  • Support for importing iTunes libraries
  • Can download album art
  • Identifies duplicate tracks
  • Offers advanced tagging.
Cons:
  • Except for the basic playback functions, you need to upgrade to the paid version to unleash it’s full power
  • Mediocre UI
  • The last update was over 2 years ago.

Supported Formats: FLAC, AAC, MP3, OGG, WMA, ALAC, WAV, AC3 etc.
Supported OS: macOS
Price: free trial, the price is $24.95
Latest update (at the time of writing): Jul 21, 2021

8. Fidelia

Fidelia is one of the music players for Mac definitely worth mentioning due to its commitment to high fidelity. Created with music lovers in mind, it focuses exclusively on audio playback. Its cool design stands out from the crowd. You can import your iTunes library or build new custom playlists regardless of the format.

The app supports the 64-bit audio unit plug-ins and access to AUGraphicEQ for fine-tuning. You can use AirPlay to stream wirelessly to an output device or download Fidelia’s iOS app to use your iPhone as a remote.

Fidelia music app for Mac.

Pros:
  • Premium user interface
  • Available for iOS as well
  • You can control Fidelia music player from a mobile device.
Cons:
  • Only available for macOS 10.13 and later.

Supported Formats: Apple Lossless, FLAC, MP3, WAV, AAC, Vorbis, CAF.
Supported OS: macOS
Price: free trial, the app costs $29.99
Latest update (at the time of writing): Sep 9, 2022

9. Colibri

Colibri’s creators have dubbed it a native lossless macOS audio player for audiophiles. And with its crystal-clear bit-perfect gapless playback, it’s very much so. At the same time, the app uses very little computing power, thus saving on battery.

It plays a wide range of lossless and lossy audio formats. Gapless playback requires no extra RAM or CPU. Its 10-band peaking equalizer, full support for cue sheets and metadata types, and BS2B support to reduce the “stereo fatigue” only add to the customization and enjoyment. Colibri can also correctly read playlist files exported from iTunes/Music.app in M3U and M3U8 formats.

Colibri Mac audio player.

Pros:
  • Plenty of features for a lightweight app
  • Advanced RAM disk support
  • Offers Finder integration and lots of hotkeys.
Cons:
  • Most of the advanced features that make the difference are only available after you purchase the app.

Supported Formats: FLAC, WAV, ALAC, APE, AIFF, TTA etc.
Supported OS: macOS
Price: free, PRO version costs $9.99
Latest update (at the time of writing): Sep 28, 2023

10. Pine Player

Pine Player is another one of the music apps for Mac on this list that is solely used for audio. It serves as an MP3, FLAC, APE, AAC, WAV, AIFF, OGG, WMA, DSD, OPUS, and M4A player, working with 16 to 32-bit sources and up to 768kHz. Pine Player has an Audio Queue for real-time converting which prevents damage to sound quality but takes up more memory.

The app offers cross-fade, gapless playback, and text decoding. It also automatically isolates damaged sound sources by taking them to the so-called Vault file. Although not fully integrated with Mac’s media keys, it’s still a pretty good option.

Pine Player - Mac audio player.

Pros:
  • Support for mass storage queues
  • Automatically isolated damaged sound sources for smooth playback
  • No ads despite being 100% free
  • Playback control function in the control center.
Cons:
  • The user interface can feel a bit too complicated for inexperienced users.

Supported Formats: FLAC, MP3, M4A, APE, AAC, WAV, OGG, AIFF etc.
Supported OS: macOS
Price: free
Latest update (at the time of writing): Jul 10, 2023

11. Audirvana

Audirvana Studio is focused on pristine audio quality. It minimizes processor activity to prioritize music playback, always following the shortest possible software path to the audio output. Its exclusive toolset lets you monitor and fine-tune your system with features such as: Active Settings Dashboard, Audio Scan, and Device-Specific Settings.

In addition, you can enjoy over 65,000 internet radio stations, 55,000+ podcasts, and music from integrated partners Tidal, Qobuz, and High Res Audio. Audirvana also offers a free remote control app for iOS and Android.

Best music player for Mac with excellent playback quality.

Pros:
  • Excellent playback quality
  • Improved dashboard with all available audio settings, audio track analysis, etc.
  • Well-establised app with 10+ years of history.
Cons:
  • Audirvana Studio only offers a monthly/annual subscription. One-time license purchase is available for Audirvana Origin
  • High price.

Supported Formats: AIFF, WAVE, AAC, MP3, FLAC, Monkey Audio APE, WavPack, Apple Lossless, DSD, etc.
Supported OS: macOS, Windows
Price: free trial, $69.99
Latest update (at the time of writing): Sep 24, 2021

How We Chose These 11 Audio Players

In case you want to learn more about our process when building this list of best music player for Mac recommendations, we’re sharing the criteria applied during the selection.

  • Supported Formats – the first thing we checked at any music player for Mac listed was the range of formats it supports. It’s vital that you can play a wide range of formats without needing extra codecs or plugins.
  • Compatibility – we made sure that all the players are compatible with the latest macOS versions and get constant updates from developers.
  • UI/UX – an excellent audio player with lots of features and options is nothing without a good user interface and experience. That’s why we tested to make sure all users can easily navigate and operate these apps.
  • Features – complete playback control, playlist support, gapless playback, or the possibility to tag and remove duplicates are some of the features we checked for the suggested music players for Mac.

Discover the Best Music Player for Mac (2023)

The article lists some great players we’ve come across. Take a look at the best music players for Mac, and choose what’s right for you!

ElmediaJustPlayVOX5KPlayerIINAVLCSwinsianFideliaColibriPineAudirvana
Audio Equalizer
Supports local file streaming to TV✅ (PRO)
Playlist Creation and Editing
Subtitle support
Trial Version

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed the recommendations above. From lightweight apps, through audio-only players, to software that also doubles as a video player for Mac, there is a solution to everyone’s specific needs and preferences. Devoted audiophiles will enjoy the advanced features of some of these players, while casual music listeners will appreciate the simplicity of others. Whichever the case, you’re sure to find your next favorite music player for Mac.

FAQ

To listen to music on macOS, you can use Apple Music or QuickTime. But if you want to get better listening experience and more playback features, we recommend using a third-party app like Elmedia Player, VLC, IINA, Colibri and others that we’ve covered in the article.

We consider Elmedia Player the best solution for Mac users due to its versatility, intuitive design, and seamless integration with iOS. Also, many users favor VLC for its convenience and useful features, however, its interface may seem obsolete.

Uncompressed audio files like WAV, AIFF, and FLAC are considered the best audio formats, as they retain their original sound quality. All of the players we mentioned in this article enable you to play these file formats. 

Mac comes with a pre-installed QuickTime player which supports MP3 files. For a select number of files unsupported by QuickTime, you may need a third-party media player on your Mac.

I am an internationally certified Freelance Technical Author/Embedded System Developer. I briefly studied computer science before starting a career in freelance software development. My expertise extends into Mac and iOS app development. Having worked extensively with iOS technologies, I’ve contributed to projects ranging from app development to system optimization, gaining a reputation as a versatile and knowledgeable professional in the tech industry. Fascination with Apple products eventually led me to pursue a career in technical writing. My commitment to delivering accurate and accessible content laid the foundation for my success. Now I'm actively engaged in the development and improvement of projects related to virtual COM ports as well as working on USB over Ethernet technology, Embedded Systems and Multimedia Software. I follow tech-related YouTubers, and frequently watch their webinars and lectures to expand my knowledge and stay updated on upcoming major changes in the digital world. Besides, I use online platforms that offer valuable information for tech writing. I write on varied topics including Electronics, Computers, Technology, Mac software and Apple devices.