More Audiophile iPad Play! FLAC Playback
FLAC Playback Part Deux
In my prior article I mentioned a few apps that will enable FLAC playback on the iPad. Apple would prefer you make use of their own Apple Lossless format, but apps like FLAC Player and Golden Ear allow for a workaround. Those two programs are still being updated, with FLAC Player getting the more significant improvements. But I've recently stumbled upon not one but two excellent newcomers that I feel do a better job.
The first is called Capriccio. For a mere $.99 this app works great as an all purpose media player for day to day use. FLAC files, even hi-res tracks, can easily be added to your iPad and played through Capriccio. Unlike my prior recommendations it also allows access to your standard iPad library, meaning all of your music is available in one spot. It has other interesting features like the ability to speed up or slow down playback in very small increments and support for displaying lyrics (which was hit or miss when I tried it). There is an array of effects such as reverb and echo, as well as a large selection of EQ settings. Unfortunately EQ is handled in a somewhat confusing manner---you can make your own curves and even submit them for others to try, but the process is fairly counterintuitive. Capriccio is the best app I've seen when it comes to retrieving album art. While PC-based programs like Foobar2000 seem to handle art with perfection, as does the native Apple music player, iPad apps with FLAC support still have trouble for some reason. Even when things appear properly tagged you never know what you might get. Capriccio isn't perfect but had a higher success rate than any other app I tried.
The next is called Equalizer Pro. This $2.99 app is similar to Capriccio in that it integrates both the standard Apple approved music library as well as your imported FLAC files (including hi-res versions). As the name implies this app is centered around a high quality parametric EQ. It is actually very similar in appearance to EQu which means it is straightforward and easy to deal with. It includes a dozen presets and lets the user save an unlimited amount of user created EQ settings. The standout feature is the ability to link an EQ setting to each individual track. Picky listeners could literally create a unique EQ setting for each song in their entire library and Equalizer Pro would apply those settings whenever the song comes up in a playlist. That's a novel function.
The one drawback to this app is album art support---I couldn't get it to work in a majority of cases. I'm willing to overlook that issue for the moment considering this is a very new release. I've spoken to the developer and he is enthusiastic about building this up to be the best FLAC app available for iOS. So far he is on the right track.