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Audirvana Hardware/OS Optimisation


Vagn Pedersen

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Very pleased with Audirvana performance, however, I have noticed that the playback quality of identical files varies considerably, depending on whether they are being played singly (no other files in the Audirvana playlist) or as part of a larger playlist, e.g. an album.

 

I am currently running an early-2009 iMac (Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz, OS X 10.7 Lion, 8GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 9400m).

 

I plan to build a Mac Pro to support Audirvana optimally and have some questions re specs:

 

1)

Does Audirvana make use of any libraries or OS APIs (e.g. OpenCL, GCD etc…) which would be best served by a particular spec? For example, if OpenCL is used, a machine with a dedicated GPU would be desirable.

 

2)

What hardware resources have the most impact on Audirvana operation? For example, how RAM intensive is it? Does it operate better with more CPU cores? Would there be a noticeable performance difference between DDR2 & DDR3 memory?

 

3)

Is there an optimal version of the Mac OS to target? An older version will place less load on the rest of the system, but might not offer optimal API support for the application. This will be a dedicated machine, so compatibility with other software is not important.

Vagn

 

iMac Early 2009 8 GB > Audirvana Plus > D-Fi USB > Hugo DAC > WireWorld Oasis 6 > Naim XS2 > Audio Quest Type 4 > B&W P2H

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I am running A+ 1.5.10 on the current (late 2013) Mac Pro 3.7GHz Quad-Core with 20GB DDR3 RAM (I bought the 12GB base model and added an 8GB OWC module), and the 256GB PCIe flash memory. Music is stored on a 480GB Firewire 800 SSD, connected with a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter. USB -> Playback Designs MPD-5.

 

I don't know if A+ supports multithreading, so I don't know if more cores will buy you much. Nor do I know if the GPUs are used at all. As is usually the case, more RAM is better. I went for the fastest base processor and use the machine headless and optimized only for music. Running Yosemite as the OS, the machine works very well. It outperforms sonically, and by a wide margin, my Macbook Pro Retina or my Mac Mini. And it is totally silent. I can't imagine you're going to get better performance with a dedicated music server, but hey, anything is possible.

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I've found the same thing (oldish Macs, mid-2009): the reason probably has to do with Audirvana reading and processing two files at a time to support gapless playback.

 

More processing/electrical activity -> more induced-jitter.

 

For resources on my machine, at high-res (DXD and DSD), the CPU works hard. You can check yourself in Activity monitor and compare between a single file in the playlist and two identical files in the playlist.

 

I don't think Audirvana uses OpenCL or GCD, but Damien is better placed to answer.

 

It is likely machine with larger RAM space and better CPUs have less of a problem with the above.

 

Very pleased with Audirvana performance, however, I have noticed that the playback quality of identical files varies considerably, depending on whether they are being played singly (no other files in the Audirvana playlist) or as part of a larger playlist, e.g. an album.

 

I am currently running an early-2009 iMac (Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz, OS X 10.7 Lion, 8GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 9400m).

 

I plan to build a Mac Pro to support Audirvana optimally and have some questions re specs:

 

1)

Does Audirvana make use of any libraries or OS APIs (e.g. OpenCL, GCD etc…) which would be best served by a particular spec? For example, if OpenCL is used, a machine with a dedicated GPU would be desirable.

 

2)

What hardware resources have the most impact on Audirvana operation? For example, how RAM intensive is it? Does it operate better with more CPU cores? Would there be a noticeable performance difference between DDR2 & DDR3 memory?

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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