Configuring Echoes Music for best music reproduction

High fidelity digital music playback, can be an expensive trip. 
A very popular (and very well made) software player for the Mac can cost you an annual subscription at the level of Adobe Photoshop, while high end music systems with digital music streamers can go into the 10s of thousands.

Having said that, exceptional results with the best user experience can be achieved with Echoes Music with a minimum budget.
Let’s go through the steps from absolute basic (not so good) to totally best.

The Basic Scenario

You have your music on a Mac (iMac, Mac mini, etc, capable of running macOS 11 or better).

Your music (that is 1000s of albums) is stored on your Mac’s internal drive, probably in mp3 or aac format, played back with iTunes/Music, which is effectively a front end to Apple’s music store, with little concern of your collection and a tremendous lack of useful features.

You connect your mac to your headphones or bluetooth device.

This setup is convenient. Music app Has a great CD rip engine (Apple still restricts CD access to sandboxed apps!), and is currently the only way to add music to your phone. But there are some major areas of improvement which we’ll address next.

An Improved Scenario

First in comes the User Experience, and to that there is simply no UX parallel to Echoes Music. 
iTunes/Music and pretty much any other music players available are fine when you have a limited collection, mostly made up of similar styles by super well known artists. Think Rock/Pop, Pink Floyd or Beyonce.
In all other cases navigating a library with thousands of digitised records, spanning anything from top hits to Classical of various performances, to Jazz, Flamenco, Samba, Improv, Noise, to obscure Ocora recordings, can be a major issue, especially when artist names are not so well known. For example Japanese, German or Gamelan from Bali. Browsing Beethoven, next the Beatles doesn’t help either. Echoes Music to the rescue. with a grid like interface it presents albums in groups similar to those you will find in a well managed record store. Moreover anything you click reveals links to related music that ‘s in your collection. A feature that can be optimised with the ultra feature rich metadata editor on offer.

Second, the storage location. The Mac’s internal drive is not the best place to keep your valuable collection. 
Stored along side your OS, documents and apps, space quickly becomes a concern. Moving to a new computer can also be a drag.
So best move it to an external SSD drive. Or possibly 2. 
One for your library and a second (any old drive with enough capacity will do), to act as your backup drive. Echoes Music integrated backup and archiving features will assist on this.

Finally, the mp3 or aac file formats – while convenient for use on phones or portable devices – it is not ideal for quality (especially if not encoded at 320kbps). A substantial part of the music is lost, and it is noticeable as you improve your output. 
Same applies to more or less any streaming service, where quality is at best related to your connection speed.
The ideal library (when size is not an issue) is made up of lossless uncompressed files. We’ll expand on this later.

The Ultimate Scenario

With Echoes Music in place and with your music library safely on an external disc with backup, you should look at your System Output.
Your Mac (as indeed all computers today) has a built-in DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), that converts your music files to analogue signal which is what you listen to on your speakers.
DAC prices range from a few cents to mega-bucks. Price corresponds to performance and conversion quality. Our suspicion is that the built-in DAC of your computer will most likely be at the (very) low end of this spectrum.
So, at best, this should be replaced by an external DAC or even better, a dedicated music system that includes a DAC, amplifier and speakers.

In that case all the Mac has to do is send uncompressed data down the connecting cable.
The dedicated gear does the conversion.

This will address quality, but not necessarily High-Fidelity.
There is a debate out there with regards to what is sent to the external system from a computer.

It is music bytes for sure, but as electrical signals also carry noise, it will most probably end up in the signal you listen to.
The computer is a particularly noisy device. Hence the existence various dedicated music streamers. Effectively pared-down computers that will most likely improve on sound quality but at very high costs, and with sub-optimal software players that just about let you browse your albums.

There are 2 remedies to this including :

(a) to let the computer do as little as possible, and

(b) to isolate your computer from the rest of the system as much as possible

Echoes music offers targeted features to help on point (a). With options such as RAM playback, locking the output device, and sending bit perfect data by adjusting the output to the format of the currently playing song, there maybe noticeable improvement.
In addition to using uncompressed files, it means mean less work for your computer and therefore less noise generated.

Point (b) can be a little more nuanced, and there are tons of solutions. They may include, switching from USB to ethernet connection (if supported by your music player), OR using external signal purifiers. The one we have found best and recommend is using an external D2D converter. Where the digital signal is reconverted clean signal.

To complete the picture, a dedicated system rests in complete isolation, from your work machine, and can be easily controlled via Screen sharing app, or Echoes Music remote running conveniently on your phone.