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Amarra experience?


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Anyone with experience with the new Amarra?

 

Wondering how it would sound vs. more "traditional" Vista or Mac into a Berkley or Weiss or similar with USB input.

 

Roon + HQ Player front end; Bricasti M3 with Ethernet and headphone amp; Pro Audio Technology 2115sm active speakers and amps plus four 15" subs; Lumagen Radiance video processor; Wolf Ref 700 projector; Kii3 + Control in another room; Accourate, Trinnov, and Dirac bass management and room correction; extensive RPG room treatment; HifiMan and Focal cans; Decware Taboo Mk3; 20 amp hospital grade UPS; EtherRegen, Sonore Empirical Audio and SOTM, all on LPS, feeding DACs

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Hi Brucemck2 - I've listened to Amarra with an Alpha DAC and with Sonic Studio hardware extensively. I also have XP and Vista music servers to compare. So far I am very impressed but I'll withhold an official statement until Amarra is officially released. It's only fair to Sonic and all the readers :~)

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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When's the official release likely to occur?

 

Their web site is well developed, it appears the product can be ordered already, etc.

 

Roon + HQ Player front end; Bricasti M3 with Ethernet and headphone amp; Pro Audio Technology 2115sm active speakers and amps plus four 15" subs; Lumagen Radiance video processor; Wolf Ref 700 projector; Kii3 + Control in another room; Accourate, Trinnov, and Dirac bass management and room correction; extensive RPG room treatment; HifiMan and Focal cans; Decware Taboo Mk3; 20 amp hospital grade UPS; EtherRegen, Sonore Empirical Audio and SOTM, all on LPS, feeding DACs

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been reading your forum for over a year, and this is my first post. Thanks for all the great info you share with us. I am dying to try Amarra, as it seems the audio engine is a lot better than iTunes. I am a hobbyist producer, and I notice that when I play AIFF audio (16bit or 24bit at any sample rate) through Logic Pro 8, it sounds better than iTunes. This is disappointing, but surely not surprising given iTunes still only sells 256 kbps compressed AAC files through its store. If it cost them $5m to upgrade their audio engine, they could easily amortize that over the billion iPod purchases to date, and they could offer high res audio ... see who bites ... and charge more for it. Alas, we audiophiles are on the fringe.

 

In any case, I digress. I am trying to get better sound out of my system. I currently use an Apogee Ensemble -- balanced TRS analog outputs to XLR balanced analog inputs on my Krell HTS 7.1 (bypassing any digital processing on the Krell). This still doesn't sound as good as a CD, burned from the same source, played on a Samsung Blu-Ray player, fed via SPDIF to the Krell HTS 7.1.

 

I am thinking about trying SPDIF from the Apogee Ensemble to the Krell HTS 7.1 instead of using the analog cables (will try internal and Krell clocking) ... The problem is, I need a 50-foot cable run, as they are in different rooms (with no way around this). Any thoughts on this?

 

Sorry ... I realize this is off topic .... I definitely want to hear Amarra. I have had lots of dialogue with Jon, so am anxiously awaiting them to approve my sound card. Thanks!

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I tried Amarra today and I was blown away. I tried 16bit/44kHz material, I tried 24bit/44kHz material, and I tried 24bit/96kHz material (all had to be converted to AIFF for the experiment, since ALAC -- my preferred format -- is not supported yet). Wow! What an impressive difference over iTunes. The image / sound stage was so much more tightly controlled. At first I thought the gain was reduced and some compression applied, but on more critical listening, I realized it is just a much, much better playback engine. And this was with an Apogee Ensemble direct to my full-range analog system (my Lavry DA11 has not arrived yet). I recommend you all try this and hear for yourself.

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

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Happy to share ... So now I am very intrigued. Check this out ... maybe someone with a little more experience in computer audiophilia can help explain this:

 

Signal Chain 1: iTunes > Mac Pro > Firewire > Apogee Ensemble > Analog System

With iTunes alone, the sound was average at best.

With Amarra + iTunes, the sound was much improved (as above).

As a side note, Logic 8 was able to produce very similar results to Amarra

 

Signal Chain 2: iTunes > Mac Pro > Firewire > Apogee Ensemble > SPDIF/Optical > Krell HTS 7.1 DAC > Analog System

The Krell's DAC did wonders here. In this configuration, the difference between iTunes/Amarra vs. iTunes alone vs. Logic 8 was very small.

 

So this all has me wondering ... and I'm a little confused by all this. Anyone know what's happening? The only thing I can think of is that the Apogee Ensemble and Amarra have very good synergy. However, if one sends the information to another DAC, the receiving DAC re-sets the clock and handles the audio in its own way. Just a guess though ...

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

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Do you have all the HT effects off?. Sometimes it is not totally intuitive to turn off all the effects in a HT receiver. The Krell dac may also be doing upsampling and reclocking but those cannot be bypassed. But based on my experience, those should not change the sound in the magnitude you described.

 

www.hifiduino.wordpress.com

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Good point. Well, the Krell HTS 7.1 accepts all kinds of inputs via its digital inputs. For movies, you can input DTS, Dolby Digital, etc. (all compressed multi-channel formats). For PCM inputs, you have the option of direct Stereo with no conversion, which is what I use. It is possible to do Matrix, Dolby Pro Logic Music etc., but I have a 2-channel system and always use Stereo. I am quite sure that the Krell up-samples to 192kHz, but I'd have to check their manual / literature to be sure.

 

I will report back when I get my dedicated 2 channel DAC -- the Lavry DA11. Let's see how it does ...

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just installed my Lavry DA11. This DAC is unbelievable. I highly recommend people give it a long, serious listen. It is the most musical and open DAC I have heard, and frankly, I think it rivals those 3-5x its price. Hear it. You will not be disappointed.

 

Now that I have a good DAC, I can really hear the difference between material played through Amarra and the same material played directly from iTunes. The difference is unmistakable. Amarra controls the sound much more tightly. This is most immediately obvious in the highs, but if you listen carefully, you'll notice a similar result in the mids and lows as well. Frankly, I think it is worth it. I wish the price were lower, but considering I was about to spend $5k on a DAC, the fact that I got my Lavry DA11 for under $1400 and I'm extremely happy with it, I can justify it.

 

Oh yes ... I also added the Lynx AES16e to my Mac Pro and am sending the digital signal via AES/EBU. This is highly robust and stable, and I also think this is the way to go. Good luck Amarra. You guys deserve it.

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

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