Want FLAC on your Mac? Try Vox

Vox application windowiTunes is horrible and keeps getting worse. The current version has come down with dyslexia; it can’t even play my files in order. On top of that, it supports a poor range of file formats, knowing nothing about popular open formats like FLAC and Ogg Vorbis. QuickTime Player has a saner user interface but the same format limitations. If you want to play music in those formats, you need to look for other software. I’ve just grabbed Vox for OS X, and it handles those files nicely.

It’s not an iTunes replacement, even if all you want to do is play music that’s stored on your computer. You can import your iTunes library, but you can’t view the contents of your playlists (which it calls “collections”) or select items from them. What it does let you do, though, is play FLAC, AAC, ALAC (Apple Lossless), Ogg, MP3, and APE files.

APE? Whenever I run across a format I hadn’t known about before, I have to go find out. APE is also known as Monkey’s Audio, a lossless format. Being able to play APE files on non-Windows platforms appears to be unusual, probably because of the restrictive license on its SDK, so that’s a plus if you have music in that format.

The application is “sandboxed,” which means I had to give it explicit permission to access my music files. The way sandboxing is supposed to work is that the application has access only to the folder I designate; but for some reason, I couldn’t grant it access to my Music folder. I had to give it access to my whole user directory (putting it on a security level with any other application I’ve downloaded), and could do that only with some trouble.

The application window is very narrow and can’t be widened, which is annoying if you have classical pieces with long titles. If the user interface isn’t great, at least it isn’t user-hostile like iTunes. There may be better ways to play FLAC and Ogg on a Mac, but this one works.

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