Jump to content
Dreaming Jester

New Amarra 4

Recommended Posts

Yeah, new Amarra. I really do love the Amarra sound, use it every day. Just hope they spent more time on ironing out the bugs than expanding the feature set. I'd rather have a tight functioning ship than many new features that only add to the existing bug list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure they will honor their offer of Amarra 4 at a discount if you bought 3 recently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amarra 4 was just released. Any first impression of the Mac version?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the Amarra sound, but the main question revolves around bugs. Would love to hear reports of, God willing, a great improvement with bugs in Amarra 4. And any sonic improvements as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does the iTunes integration mode still work, or have they done away with it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Downloaded the Mac trial version. The UI is way way better than any previous incarnation. Well organized, looks great, and thus far no bugs. Sounds fantastic to me, the normal great Amarra sound with a bit more detail. Has some of Audirvana's good points, while maintaining the Amarra sonic rightness.

 

Scanning my 30,000 track library into Amarra 4 was easy, took about a 1/2 hour. I have 2 versions of Garcia & Grisman, one AIFF from the original CD, and the other an ALAC version from a SACD that's not divided into individual tracks. For some reason, only the original CD version made it into Amarra, not sure why. 154 tracks didn't make the migration.

 

Before offering critiques, want to emphasize what a great job Sonic Studios has done. Have even done their best to work in Roon like info placed in the album info screen.

 

And now the gripes:

 

There seems to be no way to import playlists from iTunes or anywhere else. Audirvana and Fidelia both manage this simple, and huge time saving element, would be great if Amarra could do the same. The prospect of recreating all my playlists is overwhelming. Especially given there appears to be no way to select more than one track at a time to add to a newly created playlists unless you select the entire album. If I wanted to add only 4 tracks, would have to manually add them individually. Or wish they'd allow me to drag tracks from iTunes directly into an Amarra 4 playlist.

 

Another issue is not only can you not import ratings from iTunes, and there's no means to rate tracks within Amarra itself (that I can find). Its rare that I like every track on an album. For the ones that don't make the grade, I often never want to hear them again. Having no means to rate a track, not even a simple thumbs up or down ala Roon, is a royal pain. The only way I can think around this is to create a playlist for each artist and only add the blessed tracks to it. Its not how I wish to organize things and is unnecessarily time consuming. When previewing an album, will need to leave iTunes open and notch the ratings there, then one by one add the ordained tracks to the Amarra playlists. Ugh!

 

There also appears to be no way to edit meta data within Amarra.

 

All of these issues combined make it difficult for me to completely drop iTunes.

 

That said, because I so love the Amarra sound, I'm likely to purchase Amarra 4 at the end of the trial period with vain hopes that Sonic Studios will provide updates that improve the broader user experience. Given their past bug issues, perhaps its good they're not trying to do everything at once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks very much for your comments and we are continuing to make improvements for Amarra 4 and for Amarra 4 Luxe, due out at or near end of Q1 2017.

 

We'd like to see what the issue is with the ALAC version of Garcia/Grisman - may I ask where you got the track from and would you send it to us if needed?

 

Regarding your other points, you are correct, we don't import Playlists and at this time, making playlists is a one track at a time process. We also plan on adding editing capability to Album metadata. We expect to continue making improvements with each new release.

I attempted to import the Garcia & Grisman CD using the "Add to Library" feature, still wouldn't load. There were a few other quirks here and there, tracks that are correct in iTunes not being in correct order once in Amarra 4. But for the most part, all is well. I can send you the Garcia & Grisman ALAC files if you like.

 

I look forward to greatly improved playlist creation, a rating system, and an iOS remote app. The sound is awesome, great job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DOUBLE UP AND NO 192K

 

I previously tried to use Amarra for Tidal, however due to bugs it crashed all the time on my top-of-the-line beefed-up MacBook Pro 2014 model.

 

I upgraded to Amarra 4 yesterday. And ran into two new bugs:

 

(1) Albums scanned from my iTunes folder will contain two versions of every song when put into Amarra. Which means I will have to listen to the same song twice when playing an album.

(2) Hires 24 192k files will play as 96k files only, according to the information on the playback info bar at the bottom of the screen.

 

The bugs, especially (1), make another Amarra product useless for hazzle-free playback.

 

Apart from that I like the simplicity of Amarra 4. But it's surprising that Amarra's software releases are so full of bugs.

 

I got two versions of each song when I ran the scan twice. You might try clearing all the songs and run the scan again. That worked for me.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will A4 have iOS remote added, or is the remote only for Luxe?

 

Also, what will upgrading from HiFi to Luxe cost and can it be done in increments via A4 first?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just downloaded the trial version and listened to some albums. Very good sound, but it is unfortunate that Amarra cannot play DSD files directly. Features are limited and user interface not very transparent. For example, I cannot find a way to delete an album from the library. Any suggestions?

 

I'm pretty sure the more expensive Luxe version will deal with DSD. I agree, the user interface features are at times rudimentary. Playlist creation, editing, library management, the ability to edit what plays next, etc are all lacking. The sound is phenomenal, thus hoping Sonic Studios will improve the rest soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The sound is as good as it always was. Unfortunately, again, I can't really use it. I am trying to "add to library"; it goes to 1%, then starts again (and this in a loop).

 

I guess it remains the buggy software...

 

I think you are supposed to select a folder and then do an initial scan. The "add to library" part is a separate function that is used after you've done the initial scan - its to add stray files to the mothership.

 

Which OS are you using? In El Capitan I've completed, deleted, and completed again several rounds of the initial scan. Only tried the Add to Library once, which didn't work, but it may have been the file.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Metadata issues for me:

Loading a two-disc set, e.g. Maria Pires's Schubert, gives me this in all the other players I use (A+ here as an example):

[ATTACH=CONFIG]33067[/ATTACH]

 

Whereas in Amarra, the order is "strange":

[ATTACH=CONFIG]33068[/ATTACH]

 

The files also show up correctly in Kid3 and other tagging software. Is there a way to fix this now or is that in an upgrade release?

 

I've had similar tag related issues here and there.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When Amarra 4 was announced in a newsletter in October they told us:

"Bring your music to life the easy way: use Amarra 4! It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s reliable, and most importantly it sounds great!"

Well, in fact it sounds great but it's really not fun using it. As mentioned above tracks show up twice when you re-scan the library. The order of tracks is mixed in Double CDs (the tag "disc# of#" is ignored). When you scroll through the library too fast the software will hang and doesn't show any naming anymore. Now and then tracks are played back at half of their sample rate (at 88.2 instead of 176.4 for example). Gain is shown in percent instead of db. It's not clear whether or not Dither is applied in gain reduction. It does not seem to play from RAM (not quite sure here...). Album Art embedded in dsf-files doesn't show up. I can't search for "Jóhann Jóhannsson" for some reason although all his albums are in the library (and are labeled correctly)... I can search for other Artist-Names containing an accent, though.

Well, at least all my albums show up as they should...

 

I like the concept and would love to use it... and to some degree it is even "usable" ... but all in all it's really too much beta status to call it fast, fun and reliable. So sad ...

 

I've found all of this to be true. The playlists, tagging, library editing, the artwork, etc are often wonky. Thus far, A4 has been stable for me, and the sound continues to really impress. Have been using iTunes to select music, and then play it in A4 using its search feature.

 

In fairness, Audirvana Plus, and Fidelia - both of which I own and use - don't have the best library management system either. A+ in non- iTunes integrated mode ends up being used in a similar fashion as A4, search in iTunes, play in the other. Fidelia as well. With A+, often just use iTunes integrated mode out of simplicity. Imho, none of the 3 come close to being a full iTunes replacement arrangement.

 

While iTunes is not a great player, I find its library management system to be really good. Maybe its just difficult for these small audiophile player companies to create top notch library management systems? Its easy and reasonable for us to complain, but have any of us actually created one of these applications? Do we actually know how easy or difficult it is to get one right in both sound and usability? I'm accustomed to iTunes library management, which has multi-billion dollar Apple behind it. Perhaps I need to appreciate with A4, A+ and Fidelia do well and be understanding about the capabilities and limitations of these small time players?

 

A4 sounds awesome, and maybe over time they can work out the rest - all past track record aside.

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, Amarra 4 has some minor bugs, but for the most part, functions well. The playlist feature is largely useless which is poor design rather than a bug. I'd like a rating system and the ability to easily import and edit playlists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the playlists, you can add either one track at a time, or one full album at a time. Once in a playlist, you can delete one track at a time, which is wonky. Created a few playlists as an experiment. Up until now, they've been stable. Tonight all the playlists suddenly disappeared. Restarted my Mac, they are simply gone. Glad it happened when only a few playlists were created instead of having created many and lose all of that work.

 

I'm going to clear the entire Amarra 4 library and instead drag selections from iTunes into a folder, and then import that folder to Amarra 4 for playing. It does say in the manual that Amarra 4 works best with libraries under 25,000 tracks. Mine is about 31K. Perhaps that has something to do with it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot believe how frustrating and pointless the playlist mode in Amarra4 is.

PLEEEEEEASE SONIC STUDIO LISTEN TO US AND COMUNICATE WITH US PLEASE.

 

My stop gap measure has been to make the entire Amarra 4 library a single playlist. As mentioned above, I create the playlist in iTunes, drag to a folder, and then scan that folder with Amarra 4. I do this for each listening session. When done, erase the entire Amarra 4 library. The playlist itself, with duration, etc is safely stored in iTunes for reuse. It doesn't solve the shuffle or song order issues, but it is far easier to create and reliably save a playlist in iTunes and the extra drag/ import step only takes a brief amount of time.

 

Not sure how that fits in with your physical issues. And yes, having to go to such lengths to create a playlist is a Sonic Studio failure. That said, my solution of using Amarra 4 simply as a player, and given the excellent sound quality, was enough for me to spend the $25 to upgrade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am curious as to what makes Amarra sound so "amazing" compared to other music players ... the idea that somehow they can optimize the output chain to improve the sound and yet maintain bit-perfectness is dubious at best. Things like that are going to be marginal and imperceptible differences - real differences can come about from the filters used to upsample (eg. different minimal/linear phase and algo's in A+ or HQP or Roon) and then any Parametric EQ, dithering, gain adjustments, etc.

 

My guess is that they are applying some sort of baseline dsp to create their Amarra house sound ... which most people find pleasing because it softens/warms up their music. If so, then this change could also be replicated in any other software with the right set of DSP changes ...

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, have to clear entire library and reload to delete either one album or even one song from the library. Hence one of the many reasons for the aforementioned work arounds.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're rooting for you Ralph! If you can get the library to function at a Roon level, even without Roon's magazine elements, you'd have a giant killer. Imho, A4 sounds better than Roon & HQ Player. But Roon is running laps around you with functionality.

 

Out of curiosity, does Amarra have a new development team or is it the same bunch that has sparked our ire for so long?

 

Just pondering where to set my expectations meter. [emoji56]

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hopefully future upgrades will by no mean affect the exceptional overall sound quality. No idea how a simple application can result in such a improvement. I can recall my old audiophile (sick) time (20 + year)listening CD's on super expensive machines, changing cables, tubes, vibrations isolators etc... for a relatively small sound improvement, if ever, giving me a completely disproportioned happiness for a very short time as much of these were a short time illusion. Now, such a jump in sound quality for 29 dollars... Exceptional result., audiophile dream.

 

I agree!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 31,000 tracks in iTunes that all load in about 20 minutes by navigating directly to the iTunes sub folders.

 

The first beta build Ralph provided has a new button that directly imports from iTunes without having to navigate to the sub folders. It also imported playlists. Unfortunately it gave no option to select which iTunes library to import from and automatically selected the library on my small MacBook Pro internal hard drive, and not my main library on the external hard drive.

 

Will test the new beta tomorrow.

 

So they are working on all this stuff. Hopefully it will continue to improve.

 

The SQ is so good that I've grown content just using A4 as a player and not a library manager, just importing enough for a given listening session and clearing the A4 library each time. Except for shuffle not functioning properly, everything is works great in my A4 as a player only scheme.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites



×
×
  • Create New...