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Audirvana+ and Dirac Live on Mac OS - what should I do?


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I have a 2010 Mac Mini running Mac OS 10.6.8 and Audirvana+ 1.5.12. I keep meaning to update but always get cold feet after reading about new technical glitches. I am keen to try out Dirac Live and would like advice on what is the most stable platform for it?

 

e.g. should I upgrade the OS to the latest 10.11 (El Capitan), or is 10.10, 10.9, 10.8 or 10.7 a better choice? And should I upgrade to the latest version of Audirvana+ 2.5.x, an earlier version of 2.x, or stick with 1.5.12? Or is there a better alternative? I'm basically after the most reliable operation without compromising (too much) on sound quality.

 

Also can anyone confirm if Dirac Live works with Apple's DVD Player or VLC?

Loudspeaker system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Yamaha A-S3000 -> Tannoy Edinburgh Monitor Gold 12 & BK XXLS400

Headphone system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Schiit Mjolnir 2 / Schiit Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD800S / HD600

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Any opinions on which MacOS Dirac Live plays best with?

Loudspeaker system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Yamaha A-S3000 -> Tannoy Edinburgh Monitor Gold 12 & BK XXLS400

Headphone system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Schiit Mjolnir 2 / Schiit Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD800S / HD600

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  • 1 month later...

OS X 10.10 is a safe option and you can run the latest version of Audirvana. I am running this setup with the Dirac plugin and it works like a charm. Very reliable, even after waking up from sleep mode or after reboots.

Mac mini (Mojave, Audirvana/Amarra/Roon) -> Dirac -> Audioquest Carbon USB -> devialet 200 -> MIT Shotgun MA -> Verity Audio Leonore

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I am running 10.11 on a 2012 mini and using Dirac with Audrivana, via the plugin. Works well. The stand-alone DAP for me at least has always been the low point in the Dirac experience, so the plug-in was a great leap forward. You can use the DAP with anything on the mac, including the DVD player.

 

In many ways, 10.6.8 was the finest OS Apple ever produced. 10.7 was Apple's Vista; a total hell-disaster. Also, each increasing increment puts more demands on the system's memory and processors, so with a 2010 mini, it might actually make things worse. At the very least, keep a full image of your 10.6.8 installation, in case you need to wipe the internal hard drive clean and go back.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In the end I upgraded to 10.11.4, iTunes 12.3.3 and A+ 2.5.3 and installed the 30-day trial of Dirac Live 1.2.

 

Initially I was not impressed with the change Dirac made to the sound, but this was because I "cheated" the software by only taking a single reading exactly at my sweet spot . I did a RTA pink periodic noise measurement in REW to see the effect of the Dirac correction, and the graph was spectacularly flat, but listening to music sounded very strange (I could hear strange phasing or resonance problems in the midrange).

 

So then I repeated the process correctly taking the nine recommended readings, accurately spaced out over an invisible 56inch wide x 18inch deep 'sofa'. Each measurement was spaced 14 inches apart left to right, 12 inches forward and 6 inches back from the 'sweet spot' mic location. I chose not to vary the height of the mic as this would have made the process even more time consuming. The difference in the result this time was very noticeable. While the 'corrected' response did not look as flat this time, it sounded far more natural to my ears.

 

I don't have enough knowledge of how Dirac works to explain why taking only one reading did not give a good result, but I'm assuming it has to do with the implementation of its mixed phase filters, for which it requires measurements in varied locations in order to gain enough information about the loudspeaker/room interaction to optimise. Or perhaps my speakers were not amenable to such radical correction as was implemented based on the single measurement, I don't know.

 

Regardless of how it works, work it does! The improvement in the sound has been nothing short of jaw-dropping. It is by far the biggest improvement in my system I have heard. The smoothness and openness of the sound from top to bottom is a joy to listen to. The clarity and detail that has been fleshed out in the upper mids has been the biggest revelation. Vocals and instruments have a real presence and no longer sound scooped. I honestly don't remember my system sounding this good, and I've had some pretty decent kit in my room over the years.

 

Before installing Dirac I spent a full day experimenting with positioning to try and minimise the bass nulls caused by SBIR. It turned out that hard against the wall was the best location, which is an added bonus as I can reclaim some floor space. After implementing Dirac, close your eyes and you'd never know the speakers are hard against the wall, such is depth of soundstage and clarity of image being produced.

 

I went with the default Target curve in Dirac but then raised the bass curve <100Hz by 1dB as it sounded slightly bass light (probably because I'd become accustomed to the +10dB peaks in the uncorrected response). I may boost the bass a little further just to restore a touch more impact, we'll see...

Loudspeaker system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Yamaha A-S3000 -> Tannoy Edinburgh Monitor Gold 12 & BK XXLS400

Headphone system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Schiit Mjolnir 2 / Schiit Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD800S / HD600

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Only problem is, my 30-day trial has now EXPIRED!!! I want to buy Dirac Live 1.2, but I don't want to lose the filters I already created in the trial version. It isn't clear from the Dirac website if you can simply buy a license to unlock the trial version into the full version, or if you need to uninstall the trial version and install the full version. Can someone advise the best way to proceed so that I don't lose my existing filters?

Loudspeaker system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Yamaha A-S3000 -> Tannoy Edinburgh Monitor Gold 12 & BK XXLS400

Headphone system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Schiit Mjolnir 2 / Schiit Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD800S / HD600

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Don't worry! your filters and measurements are stored as normal files on your disc in ~/documents/Dirac and you can make a backup in the usual way. AFAIK the files are not removed when you purchase the full version. You will receive a code for registering on portal.dirac.se, that's all.

Mac mini (Mojave, Audirvana/Amarra/Roon) -> Dirac -> Audioquest Carbon USB -> devialet 200 -> MIT Shotgun MA -> Verity Audio Leonore

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