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Dreaming Jester

New Amarra 4

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IMO iTunes co-ordinates well with Amarra 3--at least on the Mac. I prefer the playlist sound but 'feed' the playlist from iTunes.

 

Again, IMO, Amarra is the best sounding player although it's been a while since I used BitPerfect, Audirvana +, Pure Music, or iTunes alone. There are a number of players out there that I haven't tried, and some are quite popular.

 

I gather 4 will have its own track browser, so it may work and sound differently.

 

Amarra has had a trial period so you can decide for yourself, hopefully 4 will too.

 

Greg

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The sound quality is great, and the UI is pretty good too.

The DOWNSIDE is that the meta data and artwork don't work!

Many tracks and albums have missing artwork or data even though their solution (kid3) says it's all there.

 

Hey Sonic Studio--is there a fix for this??????--other than a complete re-load, as this takes a couple of hours (mac).

 

Greg

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Issues, so far (after few days trial on Mac--current system):

Full scan: Some files added incorrectly. Re-load does not do them correctly. Even though some read correctly they do not file/sort correctly.

Metadata is really buggy. It appears that PNG files are not supported. The metadata supported is very limited--I still need iTunes to keep track of many things.

Metadata fix (as per Support portal) doesn't work at all.

Complete scan must be done to integrate any change in iTunes library--and takes a couple of hours each time during which app is unusable.

Cannot add or subtract songs or albums--"add to library" doesn't work at all--the app falls over. "Refresh" doesn't work.

Options not saved on re-start, and there are few options.

 

Positives:

Sound quality is the best so far.

User interface is simple, (maybe too simple).

 

Conclusions:

I like using it to listen to music, but I'm VERY disappointed in the bugs that make it almost unusable otherwise.

 

I may or may not upgrade to 4 from 3 to get the better SQ, but I certainly won't be upgrading to 4 Luxe as I don't trust that any of the more advanced options will work.

 

I will update this if things change.

 

Any help from the forum most welcome if there are ways around the issues.

 

Greg

p.s.--How come 3 could read the files correctly from iTunes into the Amarra Playlist and 4's reads are a disaster area?

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Issues, so far (after few days trial on Mac--current system):

<snips>

I will update this if things change.

 

Just added some new albums to iTunes.

Amarra 4 "add" added only one of 5. Complete scan loaded only half of some of the albums.

App freezes on quit--says it's saving--for 45 minutes.

Latest scan has some multiples of albums, one of the new albums is added under two artists--both with identical names, one entry has only the one album, the other has parts of the remaining 5 albums!

 

This is really bad--are we being beta testers--or maybe alpha?

 

Greg

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Hi again,

 

It seems--so far :-)--that if I "choose" the sub-folder in which the new music resides BEFORE "add to library" that the adding works. I then re-choose my main library folder in which the sub-folder resides.

 

Greg

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<Snip>Honestly, I would be content if Amarra 4 gave up entirely on library management. Just give me a rock solid great sounding player that allows me to drag (or export) a given playlist or album in from iTunes, or my FLAC HD folder collection, and then play it in Amarra 4 - in the same track order I dragged. That's all I need. Why try to be something none of them are likely to achieve due to lack of development budget? Just be a player.

 

Yes, I agree with this.

 

Issues continued:

A4 will still not quit without being "forced" (it just hangs) and it doesn't keep the tracks added as per my last post. All the new albums were also lost to the database when there was a power failure. It seems to quit OK after a fresh re-start but won't do so after actually USING it!

Back to a complete new scan and hours with no app.

 

I think I'll try using it as a player only and scan only one or two albums at a time. This is a pain though as I have to open and scroll through 3000+ albums on multiple levels (Music>Artist>Album). It sure would be nice to be able to use it like A3's Playlist function which works well for me.

 

Greg

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To my ears, Amarra 4 has a very analog/ vinyl/ tube like sound. Fidelia is in the same neighborhood, but not up to Amarra 4's SQ level. Others, like Audirvana Plus, have a more digital sound - which has its virtues, but is not entirely my cup of tea. All analytics aside, Amarra sounds "right" to me. When I'm listening I feel a sense of "yeah, that's the stuff".

 

How they get there, I have no idea.

 

Yes, for me too. Amarra--and especially this new version--sounds better than ever.

 

That is why the 'bugs' really bug me. :-(

 

I'm at the stage now where the work-arounds ALMOST make it worth the extra work they take and the cost of upgrading from 3. I really hope something happens before the 17th--my birthday and the day my evaluation copy expires!

 

Greg

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One note to clarify using Amarra 4 and loading your tracks:

 

1) Scan iTunes library button will scan your iTunes library for Tracks, Artwork, and Playlists and import them into Amarra 4. If you get a Finder or IE window, navigate to your iTunes Library.xml file or iTunes Library.itl if the .xml file is not present.

 

2) Use Choose Folder button to start a new library if you don't use iTunes. Navigate to your music folder and click Open. Then cick the Scan for Music button.

 

3) Once you have a library established, use Add to Library button to add additional tracks or music folders to your library.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Best

Ralph

 

Hi Ralph,

 

One of my issues is that while the Add works, Amarra hangs when trying to Quit and the additions are not saved through a "Force Quit", necessitating a full re-scan to get them included in the library.

 

I'm hoping that this is one of the issues addressed in the next release.

 

Greg

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I have 35,000+ tracks on iTunes and have had no issues loading them--except for the time taken--I now do it overnight!

 

Whether that is the cause of some or all of the issues I've experienced, I don't know. I still love the sound quality and have just started a trial on the new beta build, so we'll see.

 

Greg

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I also have the new beta and tried to import using the itunes button. After about an hour .... Biiig fail. Comes up with a message Amarra Quit Unexpectedly. Tried to restart Amarra, no go at all. Restarted mac, Amarra wont restart. In the end I deleted it and reinstalled. Not sure if I want to import the whole library again, maybe I'll just import songs for a listening session then remove them when finished.

 

When using the iTunes button to import, the new manual says to select the .xml file. I have successfully imported 35,000+ tracks on an external drive using this method. I did uninstall the original Amarra 4.01 before installing 4.02 (the new beta).

 

Like you, I have no problems playing tracks, but the track/metadata management/sorting isn't up to iTunes standard. I have both open simultaneously to get the total package I want.

 

Greg

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More issues--I turned the computer off overnight and now Amarra 4 (beta) won't load at all--"Amarra 4 quit unexpectedly." Several tries and a clean re-start of the computer hasn't changed the error.

 

I'll try a re-install but that means a whole library re-scan :-( if it works.

 

Ralph--this is really not good. It appears that despite being late by several months, it's still not ready for release.

 

Greg

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I've been using 4 as a 'single album' player with no problems--except the extra time to find the album in iTunes (where all my metadata is kept up-to-date) and then load it into 4.

 

This is satisfactory enough that I took advantage of their Pi-day sale and bought a copy.

 

I'll wait and see how it develops.

 

Greg

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I continue to use Amarra 4 without significant issue as a player, not a library management system.

 

I have Amarra 4 setup to scan a separate "Amarra Selections" folder on my external hard drive. I use iTunes for library management and drag, from iTunes, a few CD's into the folder. Alternatively, if I want a particular playlist, I drag the whole playlist into the "Amarra Selections" folder.

 

Amarra 4 quickly scans the folder and imports the music. It plays perfectly, no bugs at all. Doesn't quit, freeze, or otherwise misbehave except that Amarra's shuffle repeats songs before playing the whole playlist or CD. I can also add other songs to the "Amarra Selections" folder and the app rescans without importing duplicates, just the new ones.

 

Before the next listening session, I completely clear the Amarra 4 library and repeat the process above.

 

The sound is phenomenal and I've grown satisfied with what the Amarra 4 player can, and cannot do. Having just tested A+ 3', its library system is only marginally better. Both are far behind iTunes in terms of management. And to my ears and tastes, the Amarra 4 sound quality greatly exceeds A+ 3.

 

I agree with all of this--except I hadn't thought of the "Amarra Selections" folder process. Thanks for the idea.

 

Greg

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I finally got A4 to load my library of 35,000 songs--it took a few re-starts and re-installs, and I have to leave it overnight to do it's stuff as loading is SLOW! However, the sorting still needs work, eg. there are 170 albums listed under "various"--some are compilations, some have two major artists only, and some have only one! (Yes, the meta-data is correct.) 

 

All groups with a "The" at the beginning are sorted under "T".

 

I really wish they would re-establish the "Playlist" mode from A3 which integrated well with iTunes.

 

The major issue that I much prefer the musicality of A4 over any of the other players I've tried.

 

Greg

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My take is that both you (ddalmas--(caio!)) and DancingSea are correct :).

If great data management was easy there would be many audio players that had fine library management--and there are not. Even Apple gets it wrong with iTunes sometimes.

 

At the same time, a number of us here have suggested to Sonic Studio that playlist management similiar to that of A3 in co-ordination with iTunes would be satisfactory--at least in the short term.

 

For me, I'm willing to put up with some "bugs" in order to get the improved sound quality over A3, as frustrating as they are (instability, poor indexing, incomplete meta-data reading, database read errors, etc.). Given the time taken from other rewarding activities in order to do good comparisons I have not re-done the auditory comparisons that I did that had me choose A3 over Audirvana and a number of other players, and would prefer not to undertake that task. The music is too important to me.

 

I have made my position clear to SS a number of times but a solution has not appeared as yet. I sure hope it does.

 

Greg

 

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Ciao ddalmas, comme va?

 

I have just over 3000 albums by 900 artists.

 

I use iTunes on a Mac, all music is in the Music folder within the iTunes media folder and on a remote hard drive.

 

A4 doesn't seem to read the iTunes database well for me, so I choose the iTunes Music folder with A4 and then "Scan for Music" and leave the computer running overnight to finish its work. I think it takes in excess of 3 hours for this task but I don't know for sure--I gave up waiting!

 

When I have made substantial changes to iTunes I "Clear Songs" (waiting for that to finish--it's not a short wait) then re-start the computer and "Scan for Music" again.

All of my decisions about playing music and meta data changes are made in iTunes (I nearly always choose by artist.) If the album I choose isn't immediately visible in A4 Artists (somewhat unusual) then a search for the album nearly always finds it--although very occasionally it takes 2 searches.

 

**Note that all groups with a "The" at the start are filed under "The" and too many albums are under "Various Artists"--whether they have two or more artists or not. The database for "Albums" appears to be irretrievably broken, and I don't use it at all (I never used it in iTunes either, so that's not a big deal for me.)

 

When A4 re-starts it takes a multitude of minutes to actually read its own catalogue--this only shows up when I refresh the artists and the count goes from 102 to 909--wait for it.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Greg

 

p.s. The alternative is DancingSea's: He loads the chosen music into a separate folder, chooses that folder and then scans it. He clears songs after each session. (I tried this but the copy/scan/clear/delete was too much for me. I guess you could also choose the individual album folder and then just scan that, but again, with 900 folders that proved to be too much scrolling for me.)

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I have 1TB of music loaded into iTunes and indexed by A4. The music is on a 2TB external drive and the Mac Mini has a 500 GB internal drive. 

The music disk has 1TB available and the internal drive has 411 GB available.

Therefore: no major disk space taken by A4 with 35,000 tracks on board.

 

Greg

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When anyone asks about a music player, I always recommend that they give A4 a try and see if they can live with the bugs (manually adding and deleting tracks/albums for each play or dealing with the mis-filings in larger library reads, the lack of features, etc.) and lack of features.

 

I can deal with those. Some are willing to deal, others aren't. Do I wish the bugs weren't there and the advertised features were? Absolutely. Using A4 is like driving a clumsy manual car in heavy traffic. I'd love to be able to be able to recommend it unhesitatingly, but I can't.

 

At the same time I enjoy the music presentation enough that (for the moment at least) I'll put up with it.

 

Greg

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7 hours ago, DancingSea said:

 

Write to Ralph and ask to added to the beta test group.  I'm sure they'll help you.

 

I'm in the beta test group and haven't had a communication in over a month. I wonder what I did wrong. Maybe they didn't like my feedback--or maybe it's a bug in their software.

 

Greg

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We all (?) like the sound quality of Amarra 4 and have found ways (not always easy or simple) to make it happen for ourselves.

 

Unfortunately the company itself does not respond well to requests, nor does it fix obvious problems or institute obvious solutions.

 

Despite much feedback from the Beta test group the library management remains complex and unreliable and sometimes just plain broken and stupid. I have got to the stage where that is my expectation, as poor as it is. Honest feedback just seems to get you excluded (that's me!) from the Beta group.

 

This thread contains some good work-arounds. I hope you can use the information--Sonic Studios can't--or at least doesn't. The lack of easy usability of A4 surely hurts their bottom line.

 

Greg

 

 

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Has anyone registered Amarra 4 Luxe yet?

Does it save the library in browser mode?

I sure hope so 'cause scanning it each opening on the evaluation copy in browser mode is hours long and while the sound quality is better than just A4 it's not enough to make up for the hassle of a re-scan.

 

Greg

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5 hours ago, DancingSea said:

 

SS told me you have to manually save it.  Which is silly of course.  On a Mac, in the "Window" menu bar option, there should be a "save".  Maybe try loading in a few CD's worth to see if the save thing works.

 

I continue with my player approach, can load 20 CD's in under a minute.

 

Doesn't seem to work--it just sits and spins. It's even worse than plain A4!:(

Can you quickly remind me how to load 20 CDs in under a minute, please?

 

Greg

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Either use Dancing Sea's 'player only' mode (it's here on this thread) or give up on Amarra 4.

For me, trying anything else was/is just an exercise in frustration.

 

Greg

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