Best Mac MP3 Players in 2023
A Mac MP3 player can do a lot more than just open music. All its aspects – the interface, playback quality, and additional features – can contribute to your enjoyment. We think that it’s important to choose a powerful audio app, some of which are presented in this article.
Top MP3 Player for Mac - Elmedia Player
Elmedia is one of the best MP3 players for Mac. Other than MP3, it supports both lossy and lossless formats – WMA, OGG, FLAC, MKA, and WAV, among others. CUE is also supported, in case you have any music disks. Elmedia Player lets you export the playlists you create, and can open pre-existing ones. While listening, you can turn on the audio visualizer, which has many different options for you to try.
Elmedia Player’s 10-band audio equalizer will help you enhance or decrease the right music frequencies, making some parts of the song easier to discern, or simply making it sound better. It’s even more useful if you have a hi-fi system, since this app can connect to it, and play immersive music using AC3 or DTS passthrough.
Alternative Free MP3 Players for Mac
Elmedia is our top choice for the best MP3 players for Mac. However, there are plenty of other options on the market. Even many of the ones that ask for payment are available in a simpler mode completely free. As we’ve already mentioned, there are a few things you want to take into consideration when picking your best MP3 player for Mac.
For a lot of people, the most important thing is that it can handle a number of different formats. Especially if you’ve been collecting music for a long time, there are good odds some of your files may be in formats that aren’t supported as much as they used to be. Beyond that, the following programs offer a range of features that make them all worthwhile.
Vox often tops the list of the best MP3 players. It offers good file support, handling MP3 as well as other formats such as FLAC, CUE and APE. It also provides high resolution for audio files, offering channel support up to 5.1. Vox is easy to use, thanks in large part to its user-friendly interface. It only takes a couple of minutes to get to grips with the tools on offer, and they’re simple to operate.
There are also plenty of EQ and playback choices, letting you fine tune the way that you enjoy your music. The free version offers plenty of useful tools. If you upgrade to the paid version, you can make use of their cloud service as well, which lets you quickly sync music files between a Mac and iPhone.
- Compatibility with a wide range of file types
- EQ options
- Straightforward interface
- 5.1 support
- Can only access full options through paid version
- Tracks need to be manually uploaded
5KPlayer is another one of the MP3 player Mac options that’s been around for a while. As a result, they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their FLAC player for Mac. The interface has evolved over time, and now offers users a reliable and straightforward way to play their files.
One of its main features is the fact that it can play media directly from online sources such as Vimeo and YouTube. Beyond that, it offers plenty of straightforward options for tweaking sound levels. It’s also capable of DLNA and casting, meaning that you can send content straight to a compatible device. They even provide access to a range of different satellite radios.
- Play media directly from streaming sites
- EQ options
- Cast to external devices
- Radio option
- Supports range of formats
- Uses up a lot of power running in the background
- Very hard to remove from system
IINA is one of the more interesting Mac MP3 players we’ve looked at. As far as playback options go, it’s pretty straightforward, offering much the same options as any other player. However, one thing that makes it stand out is the fact that it’s open source. This means that it benefits from the know-how of programmers around the world, and can be customised depending on users’ needs.
Another nice feature is the dark interface option. If you use your Mac with a dark interface, IINA follows suit, providing a stylish interface that’s easy to navigate. It’s also great when it comes to compatibility with Mac. IINA can make use of just about any of the navigation tools on Mac, from trackpad gestures to the Pro Touch Bar. Definitely worth a look if you want something slightly different.
- Open source
- Dark interface option
- Compatible with a range of different format options
- Compatible with many Mac navigation features
- Tends to crash occasionally
VLC Player is one of the longest running, and most widely used, MP3 players Macintosh currently supports. As an old hand, it’s benefited from many years of updates and adjustments. It’s able to handle a wide range of file types, and is also great for video playback. The minor drawbacks are the fact that you can’t search for files directly through VLC, you need to open them from their folder locations, which can be a minor inconvenience.
VLC is a versatile Mac MP3 player with great foundations, but when it comes to newer features, it’s not quite as high up as some of the other options on our list. If you want a dependable player, it’s a good choice, but if you’re looking for some more interesting features, you may want to look elsewhere.
- Handles a huge range of file formats
- Easy to use
- Easy to modify EQ levels
- Files need to be accessed from folders, no search function
- No tags option
- Interface doesn’t offer customisation
The main benefit of Colibri is the fact that it’s exceptionally lightweight. Colibri takes up very little disk space, and is able to run without using up too many resources. As a result, if you’re looking for a simple player that can run with zero issues, it’s a good choice. Colibri doesn’t offer a huge amount in the way of advanced features.
The interface is easy to make use of, though it doesn’t offer any advanced features. On top of that, Colibri has been designed exclusively as a music player. If you want to use it to play videos, you’ll be disappointed. Given the versatility of many of the other options we’ve looked at, this does make Colibri somewhat limited for many users. However, if you’re only looking for a music player, it might be a good choice.
- Ultra lightweight
- Straightforward interface
- No video playback
- Limited advanced features
Audirvana stands out from the other options here by the fact that it’s basically been designed for audiophiles, providing a broader range of EQ options than most players. If you’re really looking for the highest quality playback, this might be the best option for you.
It even features a noise reduction function – by analysing electrical activity running in your home, it’s able to adjust playback accordingly for the best quality. Something that we’ve definitely not seen in other options.
However, while it’s great for someone looking for the best possible quality, it falls short on other functions. Audirvana is aimed exclusively at music and audio playback. That means that if you want to run it with videos, it won’t be an option. On top of that, Audirvana doesn’t have a free option – beyond a brief free trial, you’ll need to invest if you want to use it at all.
- Very high playback quality
- Noise reduction feature
- Extensive EQ options
- No video playback option
- No free version available
Pine Player is a great player for anyone with a library full of different file types. It offers really great compatibility with just about any file format you can think of, meaning that it can make use of any music you’ve got stored. Unfortunately, beyond that, Pine Player doesn’t have that much to offer.
The interface is attractive and easy to make use of. It also has the ability to automatically isolate damaged sound sources, letting you easily work out where any playback issues are coming from. And Pine Player is available completely free. However, as far as more advanced features go, Pine Player doesn’t have as much as some of the other options we’ve looked at in this article.
- Available for free
- Great compatibility
- Isolates damaged sound sources
- Limited features
Swinsian has plenty of fans, and it’s easy to see why. The player is mostly modeled on iTunes, making it easy for most Mac users to get to grips with it. The main thing that impresses people is the speed with which it’s able to import files into its library. The whole process only takes a few seconds. And once files are imported, Swinsian is able to automatically manage them, deleting duplicates and importing new files as they are added to your library.
The only major issue people have with it is the fact that it’s not great on older systems. On top of that, some users have reported that it has limited Airplay features, despite being advertised as compatible. But if you’re looking for an efficient player with great sound quality, it’s a good choice.
- Easy to use interface
- Extremely fast file import
- File management features
- Compatibility isn’t great with older OS
- Limited Airplay features
A comparison table of the best MP3 players for macOS
|Top features||Elmedia Player||Vox||5KPlayer||IINA||VLC Player||Colibri||Audirvana||Pine Player||Swinsian|
|Range of file formats|
|Stream from online sources|
|Cast to external devices|
What is MP3 File
MP3 is both a container format and the codec inside. It’s one of the MPEG-developed formats, and one of the first that offered a way to compress music. This has made it incredibly popular, and led to it being universally supported on media devices, not to mention the countless Windows and Mac MP3 players.
Today, it has been outcompeted by MPEG’s own AAC, OGG Vorbis tracks, and others, which can be compressed more while maintaining the same audio quality. Currently, MP3 is a legacy format, and it’s likely going to be a very long time before it is completely abandoned.
Tips for choosing the best MP3 player for Mac
The above article and table should give you some idea what to bear in mind when it comes to choosing the ideal FLAC player for Mac. Probably the first thing you should think about is whether or not you want to spend money on the player. Some of the ones we’ve looked at aren’t available in a free version, meaning that you’ll probably be able to check them out on a free trial then decide whether to commit.
Another major point is whether you want your player to feature video. Players such as Elmedia not only offer video, they also let you play music and video directly from online sources.
Finally, you’re probably going to want to consider how easy it is to manage files. Some of the options above have more limited options when it comes to file management. Others offer detailed features, as well as straightforward interfaces that let you handle files quickly and easily. Whatever your preference, everything you need to know about the best Mac MP3 player can be found in the article above.
Frequently Asked Questions
The options we’ve looked at are great ways to play MP3 files on Mac without iTunes. One of the above players can handle MP3 files with zero difficulty, as well as a range of other formats. Whatever your requirements, you can find the ideal player in this article.
We recommend Elmedia Player as the ideal player for anyone using Mac. It’s got a range of different features, and is just as effective as a video player as it is as a music player. Elmedia has been custom designed for Mac, ensuring that it offers the best usability, with integration into Mac’s Finder feature.
You can use a free media player to listen to music on Mac. You can also simply make use of online sources such as YouTube to enjoy free music on Mac.