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Next wave of Amarra issues


cfmsp
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Recently, I posted my comments below after reading a response on an Audio Circle forum by an Amarra dealer who said that "We have sold many copies in the Northeast region, and I haven't had a single customer come back to us complaining about the sound quality or stability of the program."

 

My words:

 

" ... there are still a few bugs in the system.

 

Far from seamless, I find that after the recent release (of which I was a beta tester), most of the frustrating issues arise primarily due to interactions with iTunes (or at least that's where the source appears to be), i.e. the inability to have the two apps function together seamlessly.

 

More often than should occur in an application that has been in 'beta' this long, the system will lose track of 'who' is in charge. Said another way, the app will occasionally hang (requiring restart to resolve), or it will switch from Amarra to iTunes - without changing the volume settings - which means your music stops in the middle of a playlist and requires attention.

 

Coming back to the app after a period of inactivity (e.g. sleep) also often results in 'confusion' as to which of the two players should be in use. In some instances, no output will be forthcoming without restart.

 

Lately I keep getting notified that BOTH apps have their volumes set to zero, and asked if I would like Amarra to set volume to 'full'. If I answer 'no', nothing will change, and I get the same message again. The only way out (other than restart) appears to be to answer 'yes' to setting Amarra volume to full, which is DECIDEDLY NOT the correct answer for someone not using a preamp and relying on Amarra's dithered volume control.

 

As I said, still a few bugs in the system.

 

Other issues are lack of gapless playback, and a long-term solution to the special character file name issue.

 

That said, Jon and team provide great support. It's just a shame that so much support is required."

 

Just now, I noticed that the music stopped playing. For some unknown reason, Amarra just quit, and left iTunes running alone, but with the volume set to zero.

 

Are others having these sorts of annoying problems?

 

If so, please advise so that we can get the information to Jon. Although please inform your dealers so that they are well aware. We shouldn't all be approaching Jon individually - use the dealers as information routers, and let them earn their margin. :) We'll get faster results from Jon if he's not the front line support.

 

Thanks

Clay

 

 

 

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Far from seamless, I find that after the recent release (of which I was a beta tester),

 

Just trying to be funny Clay, but it jumped out to me.

 

All the best, and I think you do great work here.

Peter

 

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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hey, thanks Peter, I see your point.

 

Perhaps I didnt' do such a great job (as a beta tester)! :)

 

Hey, what can I say, I'm a 'canary', who reports the issues I have. Apparently the one I had with long file names was especially insidious.

 

Ironically, I thought the same (as you just pointed out) upon reading this - which was also in the post I mention above:

 

"In the early days, Sonic Studio was under pressure from some dealers to accelerate the release of Amarra. As a result, several users reported bugs, which were later addressed and fixed. Prior to the release of v1.1, I asked them to release the program in a stepwise fashion to dealers, then willing beta testers, and then to the public. I think this has worked, and v1.1 is working extremely well for most users."

 

I disagreed with that last sentence (i.e., "I think this has worked" in relation to the dealers getting it first), given the bugs that I saw as a beta tester, so I can hardly disagree with others who think my contribution was, shall we say, less than perfect. ;)

 

In my defense(?), I can say that I was the holdup for the release due to Jon's inability to cure my long file name issues. We had scheduled a 5pm (for him) remote session. At the appointed hour, I was told - give me ten more minutes, and then, try this - I got a link to a new version, and lo and behold, it fixed my problems. Version 3189 was released the next day as version 1.1.

 

Soooo, for those who might think the wait for releases is interminable, I can assure you, it's not due to any casualness/tardiness on the part of Sonic.

 

Clay

 

 

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I've been using Amarra's player continually and find it stable.

Some issues have occurred, when I reset the Audio midi manually

or if I started up iTune's first.

 

The latest Sonic Console firmware update for the

302 has been nothing short of amazing.

Overall I'm hearing the best soundstage ever from the Sonic 302 DAC & Amarra player combo.

 

 

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I've reported them but I'm back with release 3177.

 

It sounds better. James N on here and myself did some comparisons on Friday. The latest release playing ALAC does not sound as good as 3177 playing AIFF. It's not subtle. If they can fix that and the really annoying gapless playback bug. Then they will have a product.

 

Steve

 

Audirvana Plus/Dirac Live - Weiss 202 - Lavardin IT-15 - Art Emotion Signatures.  DragonFly Red - Sennheiser HD600s & IE800s.

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...with Amarra 1.1 (3189).... Periodically (after my Mac Mini has been sleeping for a while) it will tell me that the iLOK is not recognized and Amarra will enter demo mode; this requires a reboot. Also I seem to have the random problems from time to time of Amarra not properly "playing" with itunes. Usually just futzing around (closing them down and oening up again, or sometimes just rebooting) gets them to work again, but I haven't noticed a lot of rhyme or reason to the problems (not that I have scientifically noted all the details)

 

Most of these problems occur when I start up the system in the morning; one it is up and running for the day it is fine.

 

BTW, for reference, I use a headless Mac Mini intel 1.83 with 4gb of ram, hardwired via ethernet to my "storage files" on an HP Mediasmart Ex 470 server. Output is via firewire to a Metric Halo ULN-8 (which is awesome) and then to a Naim NAC 282/NAP 250.2 preamp/poweramp combo and into Verity Rienzi speakers.

 

The system sounds great when it is working (most of the time), but it is frustrating on a periodic basis due to these Amarra issues.....and also sometimes in getting the ULN8 and MIO software to restart properly after a reboot.

 

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1) it sounds slightly more wooly due to the midbass emphasis, and after some a/b'ing I decided to drop back to 3177 temporarily

2) a nit, but both versions, after non use (for several hours or more) tend to report that iLok is unavailable or that Amarra has stopped working. A simple restart of the app (not a Mac reboot) fixes it. Frankly, after leaving Amarra and iTunes in a pause state for several hours or a day i would expect this anyway. Not a big deal.

 

Clay, I don't have any of the volume or interrupt issues you are having, whether 3189 or 3177. Of course dropping back has made long file names a possible issue but I edited most of my problem names away anyway.

 

Ted

 

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I don't know if this helps but, other than the display, I never shut down or put the iMac's hard drive to sleep.

I also make sure noting else is running such as Dashboard or Safari during listening sessions.

& use "Make a Ram Disc" for an added buffer.

The music files are available via firewire from a Drobo.

The Sonic Studio 302 is on a separate firewire port.

Recently, the firmware update to Sonic's 302 console refined the 3189 build with an added

& the most well controlled, bottom end extension that I've ever had.

I have gone back and forth in the builds. For a while the 3183 was my favorite.

These are some recommendations from Amarra's website.

iTunes Preferences:

• Disable the Crossfade Songs preference in iTunes

• Disable the Sound Enhancer preference in iTunes

• Disable the Sound Check preference in iTunes

Energy Preferences:

• Disable Sleep and other Energy saving Preferences.

Spotlight:

• Disable Spotlight

Time Machine:

• Disable TimeMachine on your media drives.

 

• We recommend a fresh install of the operating on a clean disc.

 

• We recommend that your computer be used exclusively for music playback.

Email, web browsers, screen sharing and applications can effect performance.

 

• Do not use FAT 32 formatted volumes.

 

• Use an SSD drive for the Operating System.

 

• Use an internal or external drive for media, NAS drives may effect sound quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I agree with Ted's findings. Also, 3189 sounds a little bigger sounding than 3177,

 

I recently connected my OWC Eite Pro Raid 0 drive (music library) with eStata instead of Firewire. Now the midrange sounds much better-not as distant when using 3189. 3177 sounds leaner compared to 3189.

 

But with the eSata change, 3189 is just fine for me now.

 

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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Yes, everyone, please contact your Amarra dealers for support if you are having issues. People often ask why dealers are even needed in this supply chain. The reason is simple -- we are expected to support and troubleshoot our customers to the best of our abilities. Often, several of the issues that arise can be easily fixed by a dealer. So if you are having trouble, contact the dealer from whom you purchased the product. If that dealer is unable to help you, then contact support at Sonic Studio.

 

Also, let's differentiate between "setup issues" and "bugs / missing features." Setting up the program properly can help in some cases. Doing a complete uninstall of Amarra (deleting the preferences), repair of disk permissions, machine restart, full install and repair of disk permissions again often helps. Also, making sure that your interface (Magic Firewire/USB/PCI interface +/- DAC Super Ultra Elite) is properly configured and set up can help. If these fail, try to document the problem as best you can and feed that back into your dealer.

 

As for the "bugs and missing features," again try to feed these in through dealers. We are asked regularly to provide feedback, and if certain issues are more commonly heard, they are addressed first. The squeaky canary gets the bird seed I guess?

 

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

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I changed my mind. I like Ted, prefer 3177. It sounds quicker and better defined in the bass. eSata helped a great deal, but I'll take 3177 for now. So many important decisions to make :)

 

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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That's where I am.

 

3189 reduces clarity and sounds a little fuzzy, particularly at the lower end compared to 3177. Very annoying. But the most obvious difference is the reduction in focus with vocals, 3189 produces a less sharp more diffuse presentation.

 

Steve

 

Audirvana Plus/Dirac Live - Weiss 202 - Lavardin IT-15 - Art Emotion Signatures.  DragonFly Red - Sennheiser HD600s & IE800s.

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I have to agree. It is more obvious with my External HD library connected with Firewire, but definately there. Thank goodness Sonic keeps the older versions available.

 

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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Nice setup,

 

You're running a sub with the Virgos?

 

I live in an apartment, so I prefer the Virgos 'solo', as I"m sure my neighbors do as well. :)

 

I have the originals, which I bought before the reviewers went 'gaga'. No prescience claimed on my part, however. It pays to have GOOD DEALERS! Mine sold me the Virgos, and then went off to build his own 'improved' version - called the Devore Silverbacks, and latter the Devore 9s.

 

You might want to listen to them, esp. the Silverbacks, given your use of a sub.

 

Cheers,

Clay

 

 

 

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Lars,

 

can you clarify your comments re Firewire connected external HD versus eSata?

 

It seemed like you were reporting a difference in sound between the two? I was thinking of switching to eSata, and am curious.

 

You're using Mybook, Seagate, or both, right? ...with your Macbook?

 

Cheers,

Clay

 

PS, I sent you an email the other day, hopefully you'll be interested in responding? :)

 

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The REL is a well controlled sub "tuned" to the room it's connected via hi-level to get the characteristics of the

BEL Mk1 ( pre fixed transistor). I was a big fan of Audio Artistry and may look to box less design's in the future.

 

 

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Ted, Lars,

 

Have either of you reported your findings - as to sound quality slightly declining form 3177 to 3189 - to Jon (or your dealer)?

 

I'm sure they are hard at work on v1.2.

 

Just a thought,

Clay

 

 

 

 

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I did the comparisons with an AIFF song. In my experience, 3189 has a much more well focussed bass. That is the only vivid difference I could feel. Perhaps the amarra SW has reached a point where the computer configuration starts mattering a lot.

In some systems the disk access time might be a bottleneck, in some other CPU or the memory might be the bottleneck.

Based on the type of bottleneck one version might be better than the other.

 

I remember not liking the 3186 at all and had rolled back to 3183 but when 3188 came, went along with it as it had sounded the best. I kind of like the 3189...

a) Sounds fuller and more 3D

c) And bass seem to unfurl on the floor (most vivid difference)

 

 

Macbook pro 15\" 2.53ghz core 2 duo with Amarra, 1 TB storage, 6 GB memory -> USB locus-design nucleus cable -> EA overdrive DAC -> -> modded parasound JC1 monoblocks -> cadence ARCA loudspeakers + REL studio III

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thanks indirstr8s,

 

Jon emailed me about another matter last night, so I asked if he had heard reports that some preferred 3177 to 3189.

 

He said that he had, but that the results were mixed, iow, not everyone can agree on the differences between versions.

 

Similar things have happened with Peter's XXHE and with cics' CMP player I think.

 

Perhaps we should be thankful that iTunes is quite listenable, given the differences those striving for the ultimate sound find with every new/modified line of code.

 

curiouser and curiouser,

clay

 

 

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I E-mailed Jon concerning my preference for 3177.

 

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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Similar things have happened with Peter's XXHE and with cics' CMP player I think.

 

Better use Foobar.

Foobar can't change sound because, well, it just can't.

They say.

Haha

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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