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About ronmad1

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  1. I switch between A4 and HQPall the time and would hate to have to choose to only have one of them. Just talking straight PCM, both upsampling (using the best filter for each album on HQP; none of the filters ever sounds the same as A4) and playing thru my cheapish system (my speakers have plenty of grunt but diamond tweeters that can be a touch hard, which makes Audirvana painful to listen to and definitely gives an advantage to A4 which is more rolled off). I think there is a pattern to my choices. I see that, when I want to turn up the wick and put myself inside the soundstage a bit, I go for A4. The sounds merge more into a coherent deep stage. The thing A4 does really well is give you the physical force of the music: someone blowing hard against a reed, the tension of a drumhead or steel strings. You can really hear the stick on the drumhead. It does a great job on cymbals, too: they aren't white noise, you can really get a feel for the size of the different cymbals. The bottom end has that force: someone dropping bombs on the kick really gives you a start. Vocals are right in your face and super believable. A complicated multimic mix, however, can be too much for A4, and you quickly get a list in your head of the albums you shouldn't feed it. I think everthing I just said would come under the heading of 'analog', I could write the same of an SET amp. Switching from A4 to HQP, the first reaction is like the whole sound took a shower: so much space and clarity to each instrument. Suddenly you can pick apart the layers of Ellington's horn writing, follow the logic of what Ron Carter or John Paul Jones are doing. The big coherent enveloping soundstage and the sense of urgency are gone; there are just instruments picked out in a very black space, and I find that I use HQP when I am going to play things at lower levels rather than take a bath in the sound. With the bloom coming off, you can follow the interplay of a drummers hands and feet, separate out the original sound and the effects, basically it tells you what's there and what people are thinking when they play. HQP handles any kind of mix, it's not phased by density and the bottom end is a good weight rather than being punchy.
  2. I did the same thing, downgraded back to 3 then came back to 4 about six months ago. In my experience since 4 has been stable, nothing like the problems it had the first year it was out there. I don't put it to the test as far as library goes, I clear it out every time and put in what I want off my drive which is fine for me. The only lingering problem I have with my setup is the odd Big Bang between tracks when I am upsampling and using the software volume at the same time. I moved over to HQP for most of my listening now, but I still like to go back and put some native PCM 192 stuff through Amarra because I quite like the dark sound signature. I don' think there is any player or combination of players out there that covers all the bases, I have to have A+ for my ISOs for example. Think Amarra has a place as one of your players, but the whole industry hasn't got to maturity yet.
  3. Totally Agree with Dancing Sea. I have to have Audirvana just for the native DSD. I think if Amarra had that and it stayed as stable as it currently is, there would be no competition. I'll qualify by saying that I don't really use it for library work. To me, Amarra are spending a lot of time trying to develop stuff everyone else can already do, and they should just focus on the thing they do better than anyone else and just go hi-end Virtual Soundcard.
  4. I gave up on AL4 a few months back when it really got to Totally Unusable and went back to 3. Had another go at L4 few weeks ago, and have to say that I have used it for weeks without being aware of using it, ie: it doesn't draw attention to itself by Not Working. I don't really use it as a library, I clear the albums and add a few off my drives every so often, but as far as playback goes, it seems to be as stable as 3 ever got to. SQ way ahead of anyone else, this software would not have survived this long if it wasn't, QED. So, kudos where they are due, something is going in the right direction.
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