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Amarra Issues


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I've been having significant issues with Amarra. They started with the earlier 3162 release, and seem to be still persistent in the latest version - 3177, I think. I thought to be patient, but have not seen an improvement in the latest release, instead, I see more issues.


I'm running Snow Leopard, and using the Snow Leopard approved Amarra 1.02. I'm having problems with Amarra identifying AIFF files - or more specifically, Amarra is NOT always playing AIFF files. Sometimes, iTunes volume will be set to zero simultaneously, which means I get no output at all. Other times, iTunes will play the file as if it were lossless.


Now, I'm experiencing a new problem. Amarra is routinely playing nothing for 10 seconds before it detects a switch from Apple Lossless files to AIFF, after which, it resets to the beginning of the song and starts over, playing the song as AIFF via Amarra. This is happening almost everytime I switch from Lossless to AIFF.


Is anyone else experiencing this?








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thanks jason,


I haven't talked to Jon yet, and will most likely go through my 'dealer' - Vincent/John @ VRS.


I"m trying to make sure it's not PEBKAC by trying to find out whether others might be experiencing the same thing. Lack of others having the issue would point to the former as the source of the problem. :)


Restarting Amarra doesn't eliminate the issue. I thought that restarting the Mac Mini had minimized but further playing around indicates that this is not so. Now it appears that entire discs are not being played by Amarra, even though the Amarra display indicates that the filetype is AIFF.


I recently converted many of my files to AIFF using iTunes, BUT, and this is an important but, there is no pattern consistent with the files that were ripped as AIFF versus those that were converted.


Very frustrating, but I did get a new amp delivered today. :)

Despite the fact that it's just a more recent implementation by the same designer (Nelson Pass), and has the same design philosophy, (Class A/Mosfet/simple circuit) the differences between the amps (Aleph 30 and First Watt F5) absolutely dwarf the differences I hear between Amarra & iTunes.


Some of those differences (e.g., slightly closed-in vocals) should disappear after break-in, but others are here to stay. To be fair, the F5 does employ a bit of negative feedback (boo, hiss!!) which is a new thing for Nelson.


In any event, those who don't hear differences between amps, or don't hear differences during/after component break-in, (or don't believe either is possible), please be forewarned, you're not likely to 'hear' the improvement Amarra makes either.




PS, PEBKAC is a technical support acronym for "Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair"




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Sometimes the volume on Itunes goes to zero, but this never affects playback volume. All of my files are AIFF that were converted using MAX. Amarra has never not played them and there have been no gaps.


My concerns: Amarra will restart every song after it has played for 1-2 seconds. And, Amarra's playback will not match Itunes playback periodically, so there is a delay and I hear an echo effect. I rewind the song and it plays properly. I'm told these problems are related to Amarra having trouble operating with Async USB protocol of my WLA USB....something to do with the clock.


When I purchased the program, they told me they are aware and working on a fix for the WLA compatibility issue. I haven't downloaded the 10.2 version, but was planning to until now. Maybe I'll wait. Still, I agree SQ is fantastic.








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You've probably done this but have you repaired permissions etc.


Did you remove all traces of any demo version. Amarra puts a few files deep within the system library. Mainly to do with Ilock I think.


My last thought is a clean install of snow leopard. As you like to strip back osx could something have been deleted to create the problem? I know some programmes don't function after being xslimmed and the like.


Edited due to bizarre spacing




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Yep, repaired permissions, but that wasn't the issue.


I never installed the demo on this new Mac Mini, but I did have 3162 installed on it prior to the recent release.


I'll do a complete re-install of Amarra tonight and see if this eliminates the problem.


Snow Leopard re-install shouldn't be required. Xslimmer only strips out the unused portions of individual apps, not the OS itself.


Thanks guys!




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"Sometimes the volume on Itunes goes to zero, but this never affects playback volume."


Actually, the iTunes volume goes to zero every time a file is being played by Amarra (rather than iTunes).


One of my issues is that sometimes Amarra knows that the file is AIFF, sets the iTunes volume to zero, and then doesn't play the song via Amarra. IOW, no sound output at all.


More commonly though, the issue I'm experiencing is that iTunes is playing AIFF files.






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but the other issue (not all AIFF files are playing) is related to the known 3177 (v 1.0.2) bug that doesn;t seem to like long path names or long album/artist names. I documented in the main Amarra thread that I edited down some artist and/or album names and it works fine. Jonathan is aware.


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It is not unexpected which makes me ask why isn’t Amarra a standalone program? Amarra has to deal with a changing iTunes and a changing OS which will require increasingly more computer programming and technical support efforts from Sonic Studio. Add in two current versions of Amarra, maybe a third in the future that is still in development, all with multiple releases and I’m not sure that Sonic Studio is geared up for this.


I thought Sonic Studio wanted to sell a turnkey hardware/software solution. It appears to me that less than 20%, probably less than 10% of the Amarra sales are being used with Sonic Studio DACs. Amarra is officially supported on a number of other DACs but I doubt that Sonic Studio receives any financial compensation from these other DAC manufacturers. Now with all the expectations and hype over Amarra a lot of Mac audiophiles are looking for great sonic improvements often using the DACs they currently use with iTunes, only adding to the support burdens of Sonic Studio and unfulfilled expectations of some users.


I think the Amarra solution is a great idea, it sounds good but as someone else posted, if iTunes is inferior and flawed, why would anyone want to build upon a lesser product if the goal is sonic excellence and not monetary gain? So my commentary on Amarra remains essentially unchanged that most people feel that Amarra is sonically better than iTunes or they hear no difference. I think only one or two persons stated Amarra to be sonically inferior to other Mac players. And the majority of folks believe that Amarra is overpriced, though no one to date has paid the full $1,500. When you consider the probable alternatives from future competition and the above issues, IMO Sonic Studio would be better just sticking to their original hardware/software turnkey solution or selling Amarra to Apple.


Time will tell and one thing for sure, with Amarra it hasn’t been boring.



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I feel that Amarra's use of the iTunes interface is a great idea. SS would have a hard time beating this interface. The integration is excellent.


As for SS allowing Amarra to work with other DACs, this is also a great idea. The project would probably sink if SS had to depend on their hardware sales.


Wavelength Silver Crimson/Denominator USB DAC, Levinson 32/33H, Synergistic Research Cables and AC cables, Shunyata Hydra V-Ray II with King Cobra CX cable, Wilson Sasha WP speakers with Wilson Watch Dog Sub. Basis Debut V Vacuum turntable/ Grahm Phantom/Koetsu Jade Platinum. MacBook Pro 17\" 2.3GHz Quad Core i7, 8GB RAM, Pure Music, Decibel, Fidelia, AudioQuest Diamond USB Cable.

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Thanks Ted.


For some reason I still had only internalized the issue as a special character issue, and not a file name length issue, this despite having read your posts here and on AC. doh!


I had incorrectly assumed that the 'special character' issue actually caused the program NOT to play the file, as opposed to handing it off to iTunes.


I'll verify, but I think you're spot on.


I"m surprised at the large number of disks (I have) that are unplayable due to this issue.


thanks again









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when you edit in iTunes it actually changes the folder names, etc so shortening "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars" to "Ziggy Stardust" ripples down to the path name and fixes the problem. I only did this for my faves; Amarra or Apple needs to fix this asap.


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They have fixed the long filename/pathname issue and will release 3178 within the next few days They are still working on another bug (maybe the "Clay" bug ;) ) before releasing.


Jonathan also committed to working hard on the gapless issue. We discussed Abbey Road medley as the benchmark (at least a good example). He has it at the top of his list.


BTW, I am firmly convinced that 3177 is a dramatic sonic improvement over 3162, and that has been echoed on AC and other forums...as well as feedback to Jonathan.


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regarding the sonic improvement - what precisely improved in your opinion and.or the collective opinion?


The sound of my setup is a bit more 'etched' than in the past, but I've changed other things recently as well - Snow Leopard, new Mac Mini, iTunes 9, firewire 800 cable (non GoldX until I get an adapter), new drivers/firmware for the Metric Halo, etc.


And all this before I got a new amp yesterday. :)


So I've got break-in to deal with, and way too many other new variables at once, with Alan Maher AC conditioning gear on order.


I hope it all sounds great together as I don't think I'll have the patience to go back and test each piece singlehandedly to weed out an excess 'etch', or similar. I think I nailed the 'etch' already anyway, I forgot that I had switched back momentarily (from Gordon's linear power supply) to the MH-supplied switching PS on the ULN-2 when I was having trouble re-booting after the firmware upgrade.









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I posted on A.C. about the sonic improvement on Amarra (3177). Instantly I knew something was different (better IMO). What? The overall sound. I will refrain from the typical lingo and let others use. :)


W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs


Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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I've had no time to listen this week, so starting tonight I'll look forward to hearing an improvement! The gapless playback is becoming a very big issue. I recently purchased Mahler 8 Symphony 24/96 from HDtracks. I can't listen to it with Amarra. I have a number of classical pieces that are ruined with Amarra in its present state. I hope Jon can solve this issue soon.




Wavelength Silver Crimson/Denominator USB DAC, Levinson 32/33H, Synergistic Research Cables and AC cables, Shunyata Hydra V-Ray II with King Cobra CX cable, Wilson Sasha WP speakers with Wilson Watch Dog Sub. Basis Debut V Vacuum turntable/ Grahm Phantom/Koetsu Jade Platinum. MacBook Pro 17\" 2.3GHz Quad Core i7, 8GB RAM, Pure Music, Decibel, Fidelia, AudioQuest Diamond USB Cable.

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I can't seem to reproduce the 10second delay in moving from ALAC to AIFF. Until I can, I'll lay low on that one. Perhaps the Mac Mini restart cured that for now.


As for the filename length issue, I have confirmed that a fix to this would solve the problems I've been experiencing. I'll avoid any more tests (or reports of issues) until after getting a go with the new version.





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Amarra doesn't play lossless files, but simply reverts to iTunes playing them. IOW, the ALAC songs still play - if selected in iTunes (as all songs are when using Amarra) - just not via Amarra's sound engine. A nice feature, I suppose, of the Amarra/Itunes integration.




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  • 2 weeks later...

As far as I know, 3177 is the most recent release and should be applicable for all OSes.


The gapless bug is significant, but the file name length issue is even more so, at least for me. Perhaps 1/3 of my collection cannot be played. As a former developer I can tell you this issue should NOT be difficult to fix (or test) and there is NO reason that it should not have been fixed and released yet. Indeed, it should have been quite easy to prevent with proper testing.


More importantly, we've heard NOTHING about a release date from anyone at Sonic. I've also not heard back from my dealer on the issue. My dealer claims to be busy preparing for RMAF.


Jon, if you're reading, please advise. We got a flyer about your participation at RMAF but no new code, or even a hint about the release. We were told by Ted two weeks ago - read upstream in the thread - that it was fixed and was waiting to be released.


I for one will be very disappointed if this is not released before RMAF.


If it's not released soon, I will likely return my license.


very sincerely,








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What a buggy piece of software!


The packaging with which a $400 piece of software was presented should have said something. Stuff a couple of photocopied pages into a cheap plastic folder with an amateurish copied and handwritten disc containing the software.


The 'automatic sample adjustment' works when it wants to, but more often than not comes crashing down and is stuck in one place. This is great if you like making singers sound like the smurfs. Not to mention the kernel panic attacks that sends the G5 into a jet take-off mode.


I rolled back, hopefully correctly, to the 3162 version which seems less bad.


Whenever your Mac goes to sleep, prepare to reboot (version 3162 as well) and re-check the Amarra settings as the 'automatic sample adjustment' does not seem to work then.


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Some of you can bash all you want, but Amarra offers a considerable improvement in SQ (IMO) in comparison to just Itunes on Mac. And, each new Amarra release gets better, less buggy.


For me, the newest release, 1.0.2, has been bug free, and is interacting seamlessly with OX and Itunes.


To put things in perspective, lets talk about Tara Labs pricing interconnects at $16k per meter. And, Synergistic Research is now coming out with a line of cables that is even more expensive than that!


I've paid a lot more than $1k for CDP's, DAC's, power cables, interconnects, etc. I have to say in comparison to other stuff I've tried, owned, used, whatever, Amarra offers great results for your buck.


I expect upcoming versions to continue to improve the package.




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