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mitchco

Article: JRiver Mac vs JRiver Windows Sound Quality Comparison

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Amazing job as usual. Unfortunately there are those that will never believe the result, no matter how well you set up the test.


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Amazing job as usual. Unfortunately there are those that will never believe the result, no matter how well you set up the test.

I think that's totally fine as long as everyone continues to enjoy this terrific hobby.


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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(grin)

 

But what did it *sound* like when you *listened* to it?

 

-Paul

 

(I just could not resist. :))

 

Actually, I was just being a smart tail above, but it does occur to me, that what would be an even more useful comparison is say, A+ to JRMC on the Mac, then A+ to JRMC under Windows. Turning on all the recommended options of course, except for for upsampling.

 

-Paul

 


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

Robert A. Heinlein

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I don't want the comments here to devolve into the "bits-is-bits" crowd versus everyone else--mitcho and everyone endured enough of that after his null-testing between JRiver and JPlay last year.

 

But I do have a question about a sonically meaningful (to me and many others) feature of a number of the players: Integer Mode.

I am quite certain that programs such as Amarra, Audirvana, and Pure Music would all pass the same bit-perfect null-tests as performed here--without Integer Mode turned on. But turn Integer Mode on and the music becomes (at least in my system) vastly more real. And I bet a given player could even be compared to itself (Integer Mode on/off) and pass these null tests.

So what is really going on?

I plan to give JRiver Mac a listen, but I'll be pretty shocked if can rival a highly evolved player like Audirvana Plus 1.4.6. I wish the two could integrate the way A+ does with iTunes.

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Thank you so much Mitchco for the analysis and the eventual conclusion. I will stick with JRMC on the Mac mini, it works well, and I get to use ASIO with my DAC :) The current Alpha for OSX needs a few weeks (months) to match the development on Windows, and if the same bits come out, it's a no brainer decision.

 

SuperDad - JRMC doesn't need to integrate with iTunes, and there are substantial advantages :

1. No proxy files needed for FLAC, DSF/DFF, ape and other lossless no Apple formats. This is so important as the proxy files cannot be read by say Amarra, and the proxy files are a Channel D patent

2. Ability to import and export a library without requiring a PHD

3. Ability to transfer library from computer to another computer without a PHD


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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SuperDad - JRMC doesn't need to integrate with iTunes, and there are substantial advantages :

 

Sorry if I was not clear. What I want is for JMRC and A+ to integrate so that I might be able to leave iTunes behind. Perhaps that won't be necessary once I hear JRMC by itself. But I don't think JRiver supports Integer Mode, and I know they did not license the iZotope SRC engine. These are features of A+ that I can not life without.

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I don't want the comments here to devolve into the "bits-is-bits" crowd versus everyone else--mitcho and everyone endured enough of that after his null-testing between JRiver and JPlay last year.

 

But I do have a question about a sonically meaningful (to me and many others) feature of a number of the players: Integer Mode.

I am quite certain that programs such as Amarra, Audirvana, and Pure Music would all pass the same bit-perfect null-tests as performed here--without Integer Mode turned on. But turn Integer Mode on and the music becomes (at least in my system) vastly more real. And I bet a given player could even be compared to itself (Integer Mode on/off) and pass these null tests.

So what is really going on?

I plan to give JRiver Mac a listen, but I'll be pretty shocked if can rival a highly evolved player like Audirvana Plus 1.4.6. I wish the two could integrate the way A+ does with iTunes.

 

When you say amarra (which in my comparison easily bests pure music, and an earlier version of A+) sounds vastly better in integr mode -- how did you do that? I have , I think, no ability on my lion Mac mini to play amarra in integer mode .


mac mini 2011, Transparent audio usb cable, bryston bda-2, hegel h300 integrated amp, audio physic virgo 25 speakers, transparent audio speaker cables interconnects and digital cables.

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Wow, thanks Chris, that's the same conclusion I came up ( no real difference between the two except the platform providing the base for the software). . Of course I didn't borrow my cousins Rhode & Schwarz spectrum analyzer to dig into the real details.


The Truth Is Out There

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Wow, thanks Chris, that's the same conclusion I came up ( no real difference between the two except the platform providing the base for the software). . Of course I didn't borrow my cousins Rhode & Schwarz spectrum analyzer to dig into the real details.

 

Hi Mav - You can thank Mitch for his thorough work on this one :~)


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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One question... I assume that the loop-back on the hilo is done using digital connection right?

 

If so, I noticing you dismiss the minute difference saying...

Note the microscopic signal that is -144 dB at 48 kHz. I do have dither turned off as per Audacity’s recommendation for export. However, reading over their lengthy description, there appears to be opportunity for inaccuracies. Additionally, looking at Audacity’s bit-depth recommendations, I should have left the default recording quality at 32-bit float and not 24 bit as -144dB is the theoretical signal to noise limit for a 24-bit digital media file. In the end, it is a moot point as -144 dB is below our absolute threshold of hearing. What does this mean? The Audacity difference test indicates that any sound quality difference between JRiver Mac and JRiver Windows is inaudible. Even if the measured difference was considerably more, say -120 dB, it may be barely audible, with headphones on, with the volume at maximum, and in a very quiet environment. However, it would be completely masked at regular program levels (e.g. -3 dBFS). If one wants to try to determine his/her ability to hear masking, try Ethan Winer’s, Artifact Audibility Comparisons.

 

Could it be that even at the minute levels that these differences are at, they can affect the Digital to Analogue conversion in a way that will be audible? By removing the DAC from the system you have eliminated this.

 

I'm only putting forward a hypothosis here (in an attempt to explain why people may hear differences which measure as inaudible) ... but there could be an effect similar to the "butterfly flapping its wings..."?

 

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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When you say amarra (which in my comparison easily bests pure music, and an earlier version of A+) sounds vastly better in integr mode -- how did you do that? I have , I think, no ability on my lion Mac mini to play amarra in integer mode .

 

I don't want to hijack this thread with other topics, but I can confirm for you that Audirvana Plus (since about version 1.4; but you must audition 1.4.6 it is fantastic) does indeed support integer mode in with Mountain Lion. Not only that, but unlike Pure Music, A+ permits integer mode to be active even when the upsampling engine (iZotope, much better than Core Audio's engine) is active. Try it out!

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"In the meantime, enjoy the same JRiver Media Center sound quality whether on PC or Mac."

 

I haven't used a Windows computer in years at home...I'm happy to have the choice of JRiver on my Mac!

 

John


Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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Big ups! Great job and thanks for the book reference! Looking forward to JRiver for Mac when it moves out of alpha!


A Digital Audio Converter connected to my Home Computer taking me into the Future

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I just have a question - if you do the same test with jriver versus any other playback software (e.g. windows media player or itunes), is there a difference?

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Mitchco, great job in defining the problem, walking us through the testing procedures, and summarizing the results. Your organizational and presentation skills are obviously very good.

 

However, haven't we already determined that bit perfect playback from different players on the same platform (let alone Mac Mini vs CAPS) sound different? I mean, after all this testing, can you tell us subjectively that your Windows server playing music through JRiver sounds the same as your Mac Mini playing music through JRiver? That (and a subjective listening comparison of MAC players against JRiver MAC) is what I'd certainly like to know, from your perspective.

 

My own ears have told me that my minimalist CAPS V2+ server sounds better on JRiver than any player on my MAC Mini (short of trying JRMC there). The hardware, OS and internal software variables are many....but so be it. And I assume all of them were bit perfect, as DSD, for example, can't really be DSP'd anyway.

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Good point Ted.

Good point? Well the only "point" I see is that Ted feels a subjective view tramples all over the objective evidence presented.

 

I'm sorry but when people post subjective opinions that tweak x improves a system; and someone says well all objective evidence points that the difference is impossible they are told they are acting impolitely. So I call Ted's post equally impolite.

 

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Good point? Well the only "point" I see is that Ted feels a subjective view tramples all over the objective evidence presented.

 

I'm sorry but when people post subjective opinions that tweak x improves a system; and someone says well all objective evidence points that the difference is impossible they are told they are acting impolitely. So I call Ted's post equally impolite.

 

Eloise

 

I agree with Eloise's opinion. Mitchco's experiments are at the digital domain, the smallest signal source level, which is correct for the experiment and the results speak for themselves. You can't hear at this level, sunshine.

What happens after the signal is processed by DACs, cables & amps is a different matter entirely, Ted's and Mercman's subjectivitity may be based on the final signal, coming from the speakers or headphones. With so many equipment combinations, that is very possible to hear the difference.


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Eloise, I am dumbfounded how you see my post as impolite?? I take that personally. I must have completely miscommunicated!! Mitchco did an amazing job of comparing recorded music from both systems, and explaining and diagramming not only his efforts but also his workflow and logic. They are clearly both bit perfect. But do they sound the same on different systems? Maybe I am misinterpreting the experiment, but it seems he's ABX'ing via Foobar, which doesn't run on both systems, it only compares two tracks recorded on both systems..so I simply wanted to know...via one's ears. I'm sorry this question, as legit as I can make it, seems somehow impolite...

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Mitchco's findings concur with my experience. I have both versions on a Bootcamped MacMini 2011 and I can't hear the difference... Mind you, since the Audiophilleo2 is in the chain, I struggle to hear much difference between any of the bitfect players! I am hoping the Mac version can come up to the Windows version so I don't have to bootcamp MacMinis in the future...!


Roon + HQPlayer / JRiver Win -> T + A DAC DSD -> Cyrus Mono x200 Signatures -> Audiovector Si3 Avantgarde Arretes

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Yesterday I loaded Windows 8 Pro with Boot Camp on my Early 2011 MacBook Pro. I installed the driver for the MSB Tech Analog DAC and used JRiver 18 to play back files from a Thunderbolt G-RAID drive.

 

Folks, JRiver in Windows 8 does not sound the same as JRiver for OSX 10.83 with the same hardware.

 

I know this is an impossible finding, but it has been confirmed by Lucy.


Steve Plaskin

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I agree with you Steve, using a late 2012 Mac Mini and Windows 7 Ultimate. The Mac sounds quite different to me, as does A+ and Amarra. Using the exact same hardware, cables, speakers, and even the same disks formatted to NTFS. But I don't argue with Mitch's measurements, as I am sure they too are real and accurate.

 

So it makes the whole thing a terribly touchy subject, as people, perhaps on both sides of the issue, will demand that they are right and have a lock on the truth. Time to go listen to some cool music. JRMC also has just published a new version with more stuff working in it, including media network that allows using JRemote. ;)

 

-Paul

 

 

Yesterday I loaded Windows 8 Pro with Boot Camp on my Early 2011 MacBook Pro. I installed the driver for the MSB Tech Analog DAC and used JRiver 18 to play back files from a Thunderbolt G-RAID drive.

 

Folks, JRiver in Windows 8 does not sound the same as JRiver for OSX 10.83 with the same hardware.

 

I know this is an impossible finding, but it has been confirmed by Lucy.


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

Robert A. Heinlein

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