Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
boulderskies

Audirvana+ or Amarra - Down & Dirty

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I'm looking for succinct impressions and equipment descriptions:

* What speakers are you using?

* Which Mac? (Macs only please)

* Which amp?

And, finally and most importantly:

If you had to do it all over again, would you choose Audirvana+ or Amarra (the full version)?

My environment: MacBook Pro, Mtn Lion, iTunes 11.0.2, McIntosh Amp, Paradigm Reference Towers.

 

Really appreciate your input and I will definitely share mine.

Scott


MacBook Pro, 16gb RAM, 500gb storage, McIntosh MA-6900, Paradigm Reference Signature 6 Towers, Cambridge Audio Magic Streamer 6, Mountain Lion, iTunes 11.0.X.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both allow free trials. That is probably the best way to proceed. There are also a large number of threads here dealing with this kind of question, but the probability that anyone has your setup and has tested both extensively isn't real high.

 

I prefer Audirvana, but I haven't even succeeded in getting the Amara demo to work properly, so my opinion on that isn't worth much.


--

Do facts matter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have both and prefer AV+ in "integer" mode. Worth checking that your DAC arrangement supports it. Until I was able to use integer mode, I preferred Amarra. AV integrates much better with iTunes/remote IMO, if that's important to you.


Mac Mini/Audirvana Dirac Live Studio/Stello U3 - Weiss DAC202 - Lavardin IT-15 - ART Emotion Sigs.  Beyerdynamic T5p (2nd Gen) & Sennheiser IE800s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Older Macbooks and Minis- I tend to prefer Amarra for some reason. On up to date Macbook Pros and 2012 Minis, I tend to prefer Audirvana+. But it is really just a matter of taste and what you like better at this point. If gapless playback is important to you, or remote control, choose A+. If those are not quite so important, and the sweetness of the music is more important, try Amarra. A+ can be brutally revealing on some systems. I don't know about McAmps and Paradigm though.

 

If I had it all to do over again today, at this moment? A+ I think.

 

-Paul

 

 

I'm looking for succinct impressions and equipment descriptions:

* What speakers are you using?

* Which Mac? (Macs only please)

* Which amp?

And, finally and most importantly:

If you had to do it all over again, would you choose Audirvana+ or Amarra (the full version)?

My environment: MacBook Pro, Mtn Lion, iTunes 11.0.2, McIntosh Amp, Paradigm Reference Towers.

 

Really appreciate your input and I will definitely share mine.

Scott


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys...I will continue to research the forums on this site. I take delivery of the Cambridge Audio Music Streamer 6 sometime late this week or early next week. I also need to buy a 1.0 to 2.0 USB cable...any recommendations??? Also, what is "integer mode?"

 

I do appreciate your input and will certainly provide mine once I get things up and running.


MacBook Pro, 16gb RAM, 500gb storage, McIntosh MA-6900, Paradigm Reference Signature 6 Towers, Cambridge Audio Magic Streamer 6, Mountain Lion, iTunes 11.0.X.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks guys...I will continue to research the forums on this site. I take delivery of the Cambridge Audio Music Streamer 6 sometime late this week or early next week. I also need to buy a 1.0 to 2.0 USB cable...any recommendations??? Also, what is "integer mode?"

 

I do appreciate your input and will certainly provide mine once I get things up and running.

 

If you're getting a streamer, you may not even be needing Audirvana nor Amarra, as the Cambridge streamer should be able to get the music directly from e.g. a NAS in your network.

 

Integer mode is a specific way of transmitting the music data stream directly to the DAC via USB bypassing some of the additional computational treatments the Mac OS environment may do to the Itunes output. It is Audirvana's differentiation, bringing it back to the Mac after Lion got rid of this feature. It works with most, but not all modern DACs.

 

USB cables have been debated over and over again on this site, some claiming they do great things, some doubting, as usual. PLease note that the modern audio standard is USB 2.0, but most commercially available audio cables are built to this.

 

A typical thread is this one:

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/usb-cables-what-are-you-guys-using-14652/

 

In general, the Audioquest ranges (from Forest to Diamond) are well regarded, as are Wireworld, and some on this forum seem to like Mapleshade. Please note that if you were to use your streamer as a network player and not a USB-Dac, you don't need a USB cable, but a network cable instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm looking for succinct impressions and equipment descriptions:

* What speakers are you using?

* Which Mac? (Macs only please)

* Which amp?

And, finally and most importantly:

If you had to do it all over again, would you choose Audirvana+ or Amarra (the full version)?

My environment: MacBook Pro, Mtn Lion, iTunes 11.0.2, McIntosh Amp, Paradigm Reference Towers.

 

Really appreciate your input and I will definitely share mine.

Scott

 

Scott,

 

Hello. As some one who does not have a Dac that is integer mode enabled, I am at a disadvantage only because I am not able to make the comparison, though I will at sometime in the near future either upgrade my Dac through the manufacturer's enterprising future offerings or simply purchase a S/DIF converter which enables integer mode.

 

I would not contradict the experiences of other member's assessments in their posts in this thread. What I will state unequivocally given my system, owning all the players, but presently not able to assess integer mode, Amarra Symphony (the full program) is my player of choice with Audirvana Plus on deck. Or the opposite of what most of the members here in this thread are professing.

 

Amarra plays gapless without any problems (for me). Amarra responds to the Apple Remote App without any problems (for me). The SQ without integer mode is marvelous. In Playlist mode, iTunes is not necessary save to load files from its music library or without it from saved playlist stored in a folder anywhere on your (preferably) external hard drive. Yes there are other configurations for streaming, networking etc. My signature will direct you to how I arrive at the music rendition I listen to with the greatest of pleasure. Choose your trapeze and enjoy the music.

 

Good fortune,

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm looking for succinct impressions and equipment descriptions:

* What speakers are you using?

* Which Mac? (Macs only please)

* Which amp?

And, finally and most importantly:

If you had to do it all over again, would you choose Audirvana+ or Amarra (the full version)?

My environment: MacBook Pro, Mtn Lion, iTunes 11.0.2, McIntosh Amp, Paradigm Reference Towers.

 

Really appreciate your input and I will definitely share mine.

Scott

 

I've had a gutful of both Audirvana + and Amarra, both latest versions.

 

Audirvana + decides after a few songs just to stop playing.

 

Amarra randomly decides to play a section whenever it likes of a song over and over exactly like a broken record. Asked the question to fix weeks ago with no replies from Sonic Studio, dead silence for ticket 4727.

 

Pure Music is no angel either, randomly drops its bundle, and produces white noise.

 

All of these revolve around iTunes, still using 10.7 (21), so is that to blame, maybe it's too old. That's the problem with computer audio, these cases are difficult to pin down the problem, when the POS doesn't tell you what is causing the problem.

 

In some ways I can appreciate the Invicta DAC using the SD Card to play music, and it certainly avoids the current round of DRAMA.

 

If it were not for the outstanding SQ, using a computer for audio is too much a burden.


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm looking for succinct impressions and equipment descriptions:

* What speakers are you using?

* Which Mac? (Macs only please)

* Which amp?

And, finally and most importantly:

If you had to do it all over again, would you choose Audirvana+ or Amarra (the full version)?

My environment: MacBook Pro, Mtn Lion, iTunes 11.0.2, McIntosh Amp, Paradigm Reference Towers.

 

Really appreciate your input and I will definitely share mine.

Scott

 

Hi Scott .. nice system. As it's been stated already, it's a matter taste. All the players bring something over and above iTunes and all have their idiosyncrasies as well. I've tried them all (Amarra, Audirvana Plus, BitPerfect, Fidelia, Pure Music) and generally like each one. That being said, I'm a recent convert to Amarra (standard, not HiFi or Symphony). It's hard to describe the Amarra sound, but it has a full, rich, and beautiful tone. It sounds just right to me. Regardless of player choice, do yourself a favor and install as much memory your Mac can use.

 

I'm happy to say I don't have to choose .. I'll keep both. You can't go wrong with either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've trialled many of the players available for Mac (Pure Music, Fidelia, Decibel, Bit Perfect, Amarra, Audirvana in its early free and current Plus versions), and have just always preferred Audirvana. My preference after Audirvana is for XXHighEnd running in Windows using Boot Camp, even though running on a laptop may handicap XXHighEnd somewhat. As everyone's noted, free trials are available and very helpful to learn what you like.

 

One note about my usage of Audirvana: Unlike some of the other players, Audirvana Plus can use iTunes but doesn't require it. In fact the best sound can be obtained without any iTunes functions running (you'll see options to turn off various iTunes functions in Audirvana's settings), and that also seems to result in the fewest playback glitches. You lose some remote control capability that way, however. Doesn't matter to me, but might to you.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> router -> 2 Cisco switches connected by optical Ethernet -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the record, Scott, I am employing the latest OSX build. I am not disputing what others are experiencing with their software audio players of choice. I do not have the problems described to you by others here with Amarra. Again, I am using their flagship edition, but that should not matter in terms of reliability. In Playlist mode, Amarra does not require iTunes. In Amarra mode (non-Playlist mode) it is Amarra's engine that is operational. One can, if one chooses, select Amarra mode, Playlist mode, or egads, iTunes mode.

 

As Melvin articulates, they are all fine players. Like Melvin, the Amarra sound is preferential to my ears. For example, in my youth I spent a lot of time to listening to live music at various venues in New York. With Amarra, I am in front row center at the Village Vanguard with Audirvana Plus I also front row center but there's a nuance (or bunch of them) that to my discernment makes Amarra preferable. It's subjective, but I am not imagining it. As I own all the players, I have the advantage of comparing them. As previously stated, the one equipment limitation is that I do not employ a Dac that is integer enabled. In fairness to those who do and prefer Audirvana Plus because of that nuance, I have no experience to compare.

 

Long winded of me, but well intentioned.

 

Enjoy the music,

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your very considered (and experienced) replies. Just from scanning your various equipment configs, your represent a TON of experience and thus your input is particularly valuable.

 

My primary playback mode will be via the MacBook Pro shown in my signature, connected to the Cambridge Audio streamer. Therefore, at least initially, iTunes will be very much be part of the equation. I've grown used to it over the various iterations and we've kinda grown up together, you might say. I will take some time to get acquainted with the streamer and have my ears develop a point of view on it (you all know what I mean) and then I'll add a Player to the mix, probably Amarra to start. One specific question I have at that point (and I apoligize for the naiveté of the question), will Amarra have any effect on iPod syncing and functionality? That aspect is a big deal for me.

 

Also looking into type B USB cables on here. It seems Audioquest Forest or Cinnimon might be good alternatives. The cable will be used to connect my MacBook to the stream so its an important component in this mix.

 

I would like to say: After almost 40 years at this addiction (it all started with my Dad buying me a Lafayette Electronics amp, turntable and speakers back in the 60's, saying, "Now Scott, there'll always be something better out there......." No shit Dad...), one of the best parts is trying new things and also selling things and keeping in touch with the buyer (I much prefer Audiogon for the caliber of buyers and sellers) to see how their new addition works out. Moving to computer based audio was big transition in philosophy mainly so all of your feedback is really helpful.


MacBook Pro, 16gb RAM, 500gb storage, McIntosh MA-6900, Paradigm Reference Signature 6 Towers, Cambridge Audio Magic Streamer 6, Mountain Lion, iTunes 11.0.X.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
None at all.

 

I yield to Melvin's assessment.

 

A moment, please of OT: Bill Evans was, perhaps, a rather simple person with a limited talent and perhaps a limited perspective, but the thing of it is, when you are setting front row center at a live (or recorded) set or session with Evans at the piano the complex equivalence of limited (imo) was genius -- a master of technique and musicality.

 

It's curious because whenever I make an initial assessment of the latest build of Amarra Symphony, I play Disc 1 or any of the 3 Discs of The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings 1961 (20Bit HDCD, 3 Disc). At times, the tears flow because he's gone and still beautiful even with the 1s and 0s to present him. I think that sums up the way I appreciate Amarra Symphony in play with honorable mention to the other players with respect and appreciation.

 

Back to the thread's focus.

 

Best,

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey its my thread and I okay and encourage wandering from its focus. After all, isnt that how we make sure all the nuances are included?

Richard, I loved your insights on simplicity and emotion when listening to certain music. The latter is why we do all that we do.

I have narrowed my USB cable search down to:

* Audioquest Cinnimon (or however you spell that)

* Audioquest Forest

* Wireworld Starlight

All comments and wanderings are warmly welcomed.

-Scott


MacBook Pro, 16gb RAM, 500gb storage, McIntosh MA-6900, Paradigm Reference Signature 6 Towers, Cambridge Audio Magic Streamer 6, Mountain Lion, iTunes 11.0.X.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Breaking news: After finding out the Starlight's price, its been summarily rejected.


MacBook Pro, 16gb RAM, 500gb storage, McIntosh MA-6900, Paradigm Reference Signature 6 Towers, Cambridge Audio Magic Streamer 6, Mountain Lion, iTunes 11.0.X.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Breaking news: After finding out the Starlight's price, its been summarily rejected.

 

I kinda wondered. The Cinnamon is a very good cable. You might also look at the Kimber Kable USB cables - I like them a lot. Enough so that I choose them over more expensive cables. ($60 - $100, depending upon cable and length.)

 

-Paul


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A moment, please of OT: Bill Evans was, perhaps, a rather simple person with a limited talent and perhaps a limited perspective, but the thing of it is, when you are setting front row center at a live (or recorded) set or session with Evans at the piano the complex equivalence of limited (imo) was genius -- a master of technique and musicality.

 

I read the Bill Evans quote in my signature recently and am struck by his humility. The man is a legend and his genius is indeed legendary. I only wish I had the opportunity to see him live.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I read the Bill Evans quote in my signature recently and am struck by his humility. The man is a legend and his genius is indeed legendary. I only wish I had the opportunity to see him live.

 

Hypnotic. Imagine some person, setting, food, drink, (substance), activity that is simpatico with all your senses that you feel just right with. Now substitute Evans sitting at the piano solo or with his quartet playing something, anything...I Loves You Porgy, goes in direct to heart, mind, spirit. Perhaps the only thing missing is, My Romance, some one to share the wonderment.

 

What drove his behaviors and the choices he made as a human that eventually took him away from us on September 15, 1980 at 51 may have been playing in his head, Milestones, that may serve as a clue to his self-deprecating observation, but at the piano, Gloria's Step Take 2, another part of him provided a different perspective and we saw into a man with a beautiful Soul.

 

Thank you, Bill. My Man's Gone Now

My time is up.

Best,

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're wanderin' now. I love it. Richard, your heartfelt sentiments are heard and respected. I looked at your pictures of your library system and got a real kick out of it, especially seeing you in your flannel lounge pants. Well done.

Richard's comments bring us back to why we do this whole thing.

I have ordered the Audioquest Cinimmon. Unfortunately its on backorder till March 6th, which makes its arrival after the Cambridge streamer so I will have to cobble something together. In the meantime, its pretty challenging. I'm plugging my iPod directly into a Newmark CDMix-2 DJ unit. Sounds like crap. I used the Newmark for the occasional DJ engagement. Its durable but SQ is very lacking. Dont worry it will be completely by-passed when my digital system is set up.

Paul, I too like Kimbers. I've got a SPDIF pair I use to interface with my McIntosh.


MacBook Pro, 16gb RAM, 500gb storage, McIntosh MA-6900, Paradigm Reference Signature 6 Towers, Cambridge Audio Magic Streamer 6, Mountain Lion, iTunes 11.0.X.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're wanderin' now. I love it. Richard, your heartfelt sentiments are heard and respected. I looked at your pictures of your library system and got a real kick out of it, especially seeing you in your flannel lounge pants. Well done.

Richard's comments bring us back to why we do this whole thing.

I have ordered the Audioquest Cinimmon. Unfortunately its on backorder till March 6th, which makes its arrival after the Cambridge streamer so I will have to cobble something together. In the meantime, its pretty challenging. I'm plugging my iPod directly into a Newmark CDMix-2 DJ unit. Sounds like crap. I used the Newmark for the occasional DJ engagement. Its durable but SQ is very lacking. Dont worry it will be completely by-passed when my digital system is set up.

Paul, I too like Kimbers. I've got a SPDIF pair I use to interface with my McIntosh.

 

I deserve the reprimand. I was in my pajamas at the time.

Best,

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm looking for succinct impressions and equipment descriptions:

* What speakers are you using?

* Which Mac? (Macs only please)

* Which amp?

And, finally and most importantly:

If you had to do it all over again, would you choose Audirvana+ or Amarra (the full version)?

My environment: MacBook Pro, Mtn Lion, iTunes 11.0.2, McIntosh Amp, Paradigm Reference Towers.

 

Really appreciate your input and I will definitely share mine.

Scott

 

To me, Amarra GUI has some idiosyncrasies that I really dislike. I am a Decibel and Audirvana user. Both of them without any iTunes interface. My only music management system is the Unix file system itself, select, drag and drop into either one of them in integer mode. Lately I am finding that A+ is a bit more stable and sweeter sounding than Decibel.


DS411+II <-> Mac Mini -> El cheapo 1 ft USB Cable -> QB9 -> Tyr XLR -> YBA Passion Integre 300 -> Auditorium 23 -> Vaughn Cabernets

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey its my thread and I okay and encourage wandering from its focus. After all, isnt that how we make sure all the nuances are included?

Richard, I loved your insights on simplicity and emotion when listening to certain music. The latter is why we do all that we do.

I have narrowed my USB cable search down to:

* Audioquest Cinnimon (or however you spell that)

* Audioquest Forest

* Wireworld Starlight

All comments and wanderings are warmly welcomed.

-Scott

 

I had compared the Forest vs. Carbon and couldn't really find a difference. Plus I'm using 3m length, so cost difference was becoming significant. Result in my sig. Apparently the impact of the USB cable depends very much on the DAC, so don't buy before you have the Cambridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...Hypnotic. Imagine some person, setting, food, drink, (substance), activity that is simpatico with all your senses that you feel just right with....

 

sorry, just can't resist. i'll spare you some of the details, but back in october my puppies chewed the speaker cables to my main system which happened to be nearly 25 years old. back then, i'd purchase one component at a time after saving my summer earnings and ended up with meitner amps, sota table, and energy reference connoisseurs, which were quite a bit different than today's energy. anyway, because i always left the amps on, chewing the cables fried three of the four speaker drivers and made the amps a little dicey.

 

so i purchased some used shindo amps and just took delivery of a pair of new devore speakers. by 4am on sunday morning, i'd rewired and installed everything. and the first song i put on was waltz for debbie (take 2, of course). i, too, love live at the village vanguard: the ambient sounds, the chatting, the clinking of spoons on saucers. it makes me think we could all--like those seemingly oblivious folks in the audience--stumble upon history. i've never been much of a piano fan in general, but evans alone converted me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...