Recommendations for new Mac for HQPlayer 5

I currently have a Mac Mini M1 with 8Gb running both Roon and HQPlayer 5. My DAC is a Gustard A26.

I can pretty much run most filter/modulator combinations at DSD256. There are some that, not unexpectedly, will not run such as Sinc-L and ASDM7ECv3.

I would like to upgrade to a new Mac that will allow me to run any filter/modulator combination at DSD512.

I have been considering the following:

  1. Mac Studio M1 Max, 10 core CPU, 24 core GPU, 32 Gb
  2. Mac Studio M2 Max, 12 core CPU, 30 core GPU, 32 Gb
  3. Mac Mini M2 Max, 10 core CPU, 16 core GPU, 16 Gb

Any input appreciated on which of these would provide sufficient horsepower for Roon/HQPlayer 5.


i dont like any of them, bit if i had to choose, id choose #2 but id get more ram. thats just me though.

i have #1 for reasons other than roon and hqplayer and i really do not like it. id sell you the 4 month old M1 studio i have but im willing to bet you wouldnt like it.

Do you have an Apple Store nearby?

They have 14 day return policy?

If you can afford the Mac Studio M2 Max then try that one.

And report back !

Thanks for the reply. Would you mind telling me what you don’t like about the M1 Mac Studio? Mine will be used solely for Roon/HQP.

I do have an Apple Store close by and the M2 Max should be in-store tomorrow so that is certainly an option.

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You will be able to answer all your questions without risk, and be one of the first to share first hand experience about what it can and can’t do.

Let us know !

Did not pull the trigger on a Mac Studio. However, I just read on audiophilestyle (HQplayer 4 and Mac-mini M1) where a poster compared the Mac Studio M2 Ultra with the M1 Ultra and said there was no performance improvement with the M2 over the M1. Interesting analysis by the poster.

This may be one of the absolute best values in hqplayer hardware, especially used. I picked mine up used for $300. It can’t max out hqplayer options, but the ability to run all PCM options quickly, and almost anything at dsd256, and all in a small (mostly silent) form factor is solid for the money.

It makes me very curious where you end up on your shopping here. If the latest apple silicon can handle the full set of hqplayer options, then please just take my money now :money_with_wings:


Erik, thanks for the comment. You are absolutely correct. The Mac Mini M1 performs the same for me. I can stream at DSD512 with some modulators/filters as well. It certainly helps that I only have Roon/HQP5 installed on the Mac Mini

I am going to wait for some additional feedback before deciding on a new purchase.

Unfortunately, there are no current Macs that will do this.

I agree. I’ve come to the same conclusion. Maybe the next generation M SoC will get there.

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I don’t believe that to be the case. I’m considering exactly the same upgrade, and Jussi suggests that an M2 with 6 performance cores or better will run DSD512 fine. Just remember that MacOS USB is limited to DoP rather than DSD Native, so bear that in mind. As a general rule, the Apple Silicon has much higher throughput/core and memory I/O than x64 architecture machines, and vastly better power efficiency when doing so. Where it runs into problems with HQP is (according to Jussi) with the specific CISC instruction sets that x64 has for some of the DSP work that HQP does - in a RISC system you effectively have to assemble complex instructions on the fly, which seems to be where it takes the hit - in this case, the x64s are analogous to an FPGA with a dedicated instruction.

Keeping to the context of this thread i.e. being able to run any/most filter/modulator combinations at DSD512, this is what @jussi_laako has said … Which HQP Filter are you using? [2023] - #629 by jussi_laako

Here is a user report of top of the line M2 Ultra (> 6 P cores) testing various combinations at DSD512 … HQ Player - Page 1151 - Software - Audiophile Style

Depends on what filters/modulators you want to run at DSD512 - but there are a lot of constraints and limits, even with the M2 Ultra.

Yes, I was referencing those, just providing a little context as to why the Apple Silicon still falls short in some areas, despite outperforming x64 in others. If I stick with MacOS for my Roon/HQP server, my use case tops out at DSD256, so an M2 Pro will do the job nicely. Otherwise I’ll custom build an ubuntu/AMD machine

It all depends on how many calculations single core can do per second, in practice.

Apple silicon runs at a bit over 3 GHz clock speeds. Latest Intel CPUs run at 6 GHz clock speed. Apple silicon can process for example two 64-bit values per clock cycle per core. Intel silicon can process four 64-bit values per clock cycle per core. With AVX512, Intel silicon can process eight 64-bit values per clock cycle per core.

But Apple silicon consumes less electricity per calculation though, and thus produces less heat as well.

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I’m very happy with the M1 Mac Mini. As @elementze pointed out earlier, it is a really great cost effective solution for DSD256 as well as some 512.

I really want to stick with MacOS. That being said, I will only upgrade when Apple has a chip that will support DSD512 with all modulator/filter combinations.

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Comparing a close-coupled RISC architecture with a discrete CISC (actually somewhat hybrid) architecture is a LOT more complex than that, but is getting seriously OT for the purposes

Vector operations, NEON vs AVX are not so different on these architectures. With non-vector instructions, Intel has deeper pipelining due to CISC, but since it is pipelined architecture, it can consume equivalent number of instructions per clock.

In the old days (i486 and such), before CISC moved to pipelined microcode instructions, there was more difference. And those differences have never applied to vector units anyway.

Still using my Mini M1 (16GB), now with HQPlayer 5 to drive Holo Spring 2 KTE at DSD256. The filter-modulator combo below do a great job, maybe the best piano sound quality I’ve heard outside a good live venue. Steady performance at ~65% of the Mini M1’s capacity.


Hi @jussi_laako

Can your M1 Max do 8ch upsampling to DSD256 with convolution of PCM192kHz sources

ASDM7 (non-EC) with 1x = gauss-long

M1 Max has 8 performance courses, so should be ok?