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Audirvana 2.2 - Incredible sonics or am I tripping?
Old 1st August 2015
  #1
Deleted 2ef94c5
Guest
Audirvana 2.2 - Incredible sonics or am I tripping?

Has anyone tried this hires Mac player? It is blowing my mind as I type this.

Regardless of the software features (iOS remote, iTunes integration, native DSD, etc), I am currently playing back 24 bit 96 kHz mixes that I have done over the years thru the SAME benchmark DAC-2 that I would use thru iTunes (etc), and the mixes sound deeper, tighter, wider, etc.... WTH is going on?

I have also listened to a ton of high resolution tracks purchased from HDTracks with stunning results. I thought I knew the merits of my DAC2 but this has made me come to a whole new level of appreciation.

Please someone with a decent USB DAC / Monitors try this software and tell me I am tripping!

Make sure you go into Preferences->Audio System and after selecting your DAC, click on "Direct Mode" which will bypass Core Audio and ensure nothing else can alter the playback bits and SR.

I do not consider myself an Audiophile. I am a recording / mastering engineer of 20 years and I try to only get excited when I simply cannot shake something no matter how hard I try.

PS: Then try DSD files natively thru this player....

Audirvana Plus | The Sound of your Dreams
Old 1st August 2015
  #2
Gear Head
 
E.Max's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
iTunes uses Core Audio, just as every software in the OS X/iOS domain do. But Audirvana can bypass Core Audio, therefore making your files sound just as they should....without any alterations to the sound of your sound files.
It's no different than when using ASIO mode in Windows. It's not a "tripping" or a placebo effect at all. You end up hearing the original sound file you created, with all its details and with those "little" bells & whistles you probably didn't noticed or pay too much attention to, when playing the files using the system's own audio output module. Sound just shine, so to speak. And that's the reason why even quality-check softwares like DTS-HD Stream Player or Dolby Media Decoder, ONLY allow ASIO or DACs that can bypass the main OS audio module. So, that way, engineers and mixers, who encode either in DTS or Dolby Digital, can be sure that the quality of their final mastered/encoded soundtracks will sound exactly the same as when they recorded it/layed down the tracks in ProTools or Nuendo.....bit-to-bit identical to the original studio master.
You should always playback your recordings in either ASIO or using a DAC/Software that can allow, through its own driver/interface, the possibility to bypass the main OS audio module. That way, not only you will hear your recordings the way they were mastered, but also you can enjoy your favorite music with the utmost audio quality you can get from your DAC/Receiver.
That's the reason why I always ONLY use ASIO (when on Windows) when i'm listening to music.

PS: as for the DSD playback thing, I don't own a DSD DAC, nor I intend to shell out some $$$ to get one, just to listen to the very few recordings I have. It's just too much money, for me, unfortunately. It's not that I won't like to experience the sound of pure DSD. But at the moment, it's just something that I can't really afford, specially a multi-channel DSD DAC, which is what i'm really after. But I might say that Audirvana's own realtime DSD-to-PCM conversion sounds great, to my ears, in my gear. Very similar to the quality I get when converting DSD files on Pyramix, using the high-quality Apodizing filter.
Old 2nd August 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Verified Member
🎧 10 years
I'm using this player for a while now, it's great and you can make it works with iTunes (never did it)
Amarra is a bit the same but more expensive and Audirvana is French so

I first realize that Mac Os was wrong playing music when I was in school. Once we played a file we just printed into pro tools through iTunes and it sounded so different even using the same soundcard.
Old 2nd August 2015 | Show parent
  #4
Deleted 2ef94c5
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by E.Max ➡️
It's no different than when using ASIO mode in Windows. It's not a "tripping" or a placebo effect at all. You end up hearing the original sound file you created, with all its details and with those "little" bells & whistles you probably didn't noticed or pay too much attention to, when playing the files using the system's own audio output module. Sound just shine, so to speak. And that's the reason why even quality-check softwares like DTS-HD Stream Player or Dolby Media Decoder, ONLY allow ASIO or DACs that can bypass the main OS audio module. So, that way, engineers and mixers, who encode either in DTS or Dolby Digital, can be sure that the quality of their final mastered/encoded soundtracks will sound exactly the same as when they recorded it/layed down the tracks in ProTools or Nuendo.....bit-to-bit identical to the original studio master.
You should always playback your recordings in either ASIO or using a DAC/Software that can allow, through its own driver/interface, the possibility to bypass the main OS audio module. That way, not only you will hear your recordings the way they were mastered, but also you can enjoy your favorite music with the utmost audio quality you can get from your DAC/Receiver.
That's the reason why I always ONLY use ASIO (when on Windows) when i'm listening to music.
Man, this just makes me think about all the native OS X DAWS that rely on Core Audio for all their I/O streams, regardless of interface brand... Why can't Apple clean this Core Audio code up to be totally transparent?

And BTW, how come interface developers refer to ASIO as the Core Audio of the PC world? Isn't ASIO just as fallible as Core Audio, or is Core Audio riddled with inferior DSP code compared to ASIO?

Wouldn't Audirvana on the PC bypass ASIO to get a direct connection to the DAC?


Quote:
PS: as for the DSD playback thing, I don't own a DSD DAC, nor I intend to shell out some $$$ to get one, just to listen to the very few recordings I have. It's just too much money, for me, unfortunately. It's not that I won't like to experience the sound of pure DSD. But at the moment, it's just something that I can't really afford, specially a multi-channel DSD DAC, which is what i'm really after. But I might say that Audirvana's own realtime DSD-to-PCM conversion sounds great, to my ears, in my gear. Very similar to the quality I get when converting DSD files on Pyramix, using the high-quality Apodizing filter.
The Benchmark DAC2 is my first entry into DSD playback. I honestly thought 24/96 was capable of 'perfect' reproduction of an analog signal due to Nyquist bandpass theory and a theoretical dynamic range of 144dB (find me a microphone preamp greater than 115dB of actual DR), but now I am reconsidering this assumption after a few listens to DSD64 off the DAC2.

Something sounded and felt different, and the difference was perceived as more relaxed and natural sounding.
Old 2nd August 2015 | Show parent
  #5
Deleted 2ef94c5
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxnscratch ➡️
I'm using this player for a while now, it's great and you can make it works with iTunes (never did it)
Amarra is a bit the same but more expensive and Audirvana is French so .
I just read that the next version of Audirvana is going to get direct access to the Qobuz music server, allowing subscription based HD music streaming. Isn't that a French company too?
Old 2nd August 2015
  #6
Tokyo Dawn Labs
 
FabienTDR's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 5 years
Man all this sounds paranoid.

The only relevant difference between native os solutions and most pro solutions is sample rate convertion. This is not a problem, its clearly a beneficial feature for end users. That's why pros have their own solutions for their niches.

Generally, programming becomes much more difficult and time consuming as soon one tries to leave bit transparency. The stupid high-end concepts dont work with informatics. They typically are correct from the beginning on, be it a 16year old nerd building his own player or a rel. big corp like avid. pushing data to hardware is trivial. Software wouldnt work at all if it wasnt already perfectly lossless by default. There's no such thing as gold connectors, silver cables in this world, theres no room for esoteric speculation over there.
Old 2nd August 2015 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
E.Max's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpr3 ➡️
The Benchmark DAC2 is my first entry into DSD playback. I honestly thought 24/96 was capable of 'perfect' reproduction of an analog signal due to Nyquist bandpass theory and a theoretical dynamic range of 144dB (find me a microphone preamp greater than 115dB of actual DR), but now I am reconsidering this assumption after a few listens to DSD64 off the DAC2.

Something sounded and felt different, and the difference was perceived as more relaxed and natural sounding.
Problem is that much of the music released in the SACD format, except some SACD discs I own in my multichannel audio collection, which mainly consists of rock like the complete SACD/DVD combo Depeche Mode Anthology, a few James Horner scores, The Downward Spiral SACD by NIN, STING'S Brand New Day & The Police Anthology, are not all recorded in pure DSD, but are just PCM masters, upconverted to DSD. Hence why I'm also holding off from buying a dedicated DSD DAC.
I already have an Onkyo AV Receiver capable of bitstreaming pure DSD through HDMI. But the problem is that neither ATI or NVIDIA is interested in implementing, inside their HDMI Audio drivers, DSD as a bitstreaming format. And trying to find a player capable of reading SACD Iso files, these days, its like trying to find a needle in The hairstack.
If someone will ever allow the possibility To bitstream pure DSD through HDMI on the PC, I might give It a try for sure. But until then, I'll keep converting DSD files to PCM 176khz/24-bit with Pyramix, at the utmost quality possible.
Old 2nd August 2015 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Verified Member
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 2ef94c53 ➡️
I just read that the next version of Audirvana is going to get direct access to the Qobuz music server, allowing subscription based HD music streaming. Isn't that a French company too?
Yes also
Old 2nd August 2015 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
E.Max's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpr3 ➡️
Man, this just makes me think about all the native OS X DAWS that rely on Core Audio for all their I/O streams, regardless of interface brand... Why can't Apple clean this Core Audio code up to be totally transparent?

And BTW, how come interface developers refer to ASIO as the Core Audio of the PC world? Isn't ASIO just as fallible as Core Audio, or is Core Audio riddled with inferior DSP code compared to ASIO?

Wouldn't Audirvana on the PC bypass ASIO to get a direct connection to the DAC

Because Apple, since 6 years ago, has decided to meet the demands of millions of average computer users, throughout the world, who only surf the web for Facebook & Instagram purposes only, and are looking to have a more eco-friendly and easy-to-use, yet locked, environment to sync their iPhones/iPads with?
The truth is that only a very little percentage of tech-savy, professional users, in these last 6 years (no, what I say? Ever since the rise of the iPhone), ever used Apple to produce something. And if it wasn't for companies like Dolby, who ONLY released their Encoding suite for ONLY Mac (which was a shame move from Dolby, after all, considering that DTS was so much more faster than Dolby, in releasing the same branching encoding feature used by Dolby, for multiple audio soundtracks, for both Windows & Mac, therefore making DTS-HD the most preferred audio codec for encoding/delivering HD audio seamlessly for Blu-Ray, in the market, whether Dolby simply choosed to be left behind, and losing profitable sales too, by going Mac-ONLY and not be fast enough to fix their bug holes in their encoder, right after they released the very first version of their suite), AVID with its Media Composer/Pro Tools packages, and many other 3rd party professional audio manufacturers, Apple would had probably loose its percentage of Pro users since decades.
Look at where Apple is now and where is heading. Releasing laptops with HDMI outputs, after 7 years of being available in MOST computer hardware, even the low-quality ones, and claim to be a "novelty". Even though, they never ever wanted to implement DTS-HD/TrueHD bitstreaming capabilities to the code of their OS, right after they come out with computers with the Mini Display Port, just because they had to pay a license fee to the 2 big D's, as well as to the Blu-Ray Association for obtaining the HDCP-compliant scheme/code/license/whatever for their hardware.
Yes, for most of the users this is not a problem, as they either download movies off of torrent sites or iTunes or watch movies from streaming services, like NetFlix, and are happy with that. But for the others? What gives? Yes, you can run Windows on the Mac, but what's the point, then?
It's not that OS X is not a good OS to work with. No OS is perfect. It's just that, in these past years, Apple has choose to focus more on the easy side of doing things, as well as way too much eye-candy aesthetics, leaving very little of that "professional" side the OS once had. And even Microsoft is leading forward that way, too.

As for Audirvana bypassing ASIO, in order to have a more "direct" connection with the DAC, if your DAC has a Toslink input, you should use that. It won't give you uncompressed multichannel audio, but a good, untouched, high-quality stereo signal of 96khz/24-bit, yes. That's the most "direct" connection you can have with the DAC, as the signal won't get any degradation or any sort of post-processing/resampling, which is what usually happens when you play an audio file as is, using the OS own audio module.
For the rest, I only ever use HDMI, and let the Receiver/DAC do the decoding, on board, as most of the files I play, exceeds the Toslink specifications (not to mention the good set of JBL speakers I have hooked there, which sounds fantastic ). And ASIO mode when recording, playing straight from my external sound card (which is an old stereo interface M-Audio card), with headphones. If an audio file I have is a multichannel LPCM, it always gets encoded, losslessly, to MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) with Surcode's MLP Encoder, first, and then pack the audio file inside a .m2ts container, so that when sending the stream over HDMI, the receiver will recognize and threat it as a Dolby TrueHD audio stream (with all post-processing settings in the Receiver, turned OFF, and Direct-Mode switched ON, of course) and Windows can't interfere/modify my original sound file at all.
That way, i'm 100% sure and safe that what i'm hearing is exactly what I recorded.....bit-to-bit.
That's the main advantage of bitstreaming formats. You don't use ASIO, WASAPI or Core Audio, at all. As it's all digital, and therefore, can't be touched/modified/post-processed/resampled in any way by the OS audio module, unless of course, you choose to let the software do the decoding. So, Toslink for stereo LPCM, and HDMI for 8 channel losslessly compressed audio, for me.
Old 2nd August 2015
  #10
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
It is certainly possible to get bit-transparent playback without paying for software, although whether you pay or not the same limitations will apply: no more than one audio source simultaneously, no resampling, and no software volume control (or, obviously, any other processing like EQ!)

Bit-perfect reproduction has been demonstrated by people successfully playing DTS-encoded files from their computer into a receiver with a DTS decoder. If that's not bit perfect, you don't get music, you get very loud noise. It works with foobar2000 on Windows, and I'm sure plenty of other free options on various OSes although I can't remember any details.

If there are other things you like about Audivarna or similar software like their interface or additional functionality, then it may be worth the money. If bit-perfect playback is your only concern, I'd recommend going for something free.
Old 3rd August 2015 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Head
 
E.Max's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by haberdasher ➡️
It is certainly possible to get bit-transparent playback without paying for software, although whether you pay or not the same limitations will apply: no more than one audio source simultaneously, no resampling, and no software volume control (or, obviously, any other processing like EQ!)

Bit-perfect reproduction has been demonstrated by people successfully playing DTS-encoded files from their computer into a receiver with a DTS decoder. If that's not bit perfect, you don't get music, you get very loud noise. It works with foobar2000 on Windows, and I'm sure plenty of other free options on various OSes although I can't remember any details.

If there are other things you like about Audivarna or similar software like their interface or additional functionality, then it may be worth the money. If bit-perfect playback is your only concern, I'd recommend going for something free.
It's always best to encode LPCM to a lossless format (if your recording/audio file hasn't gone through any sort of lossy-encoding process), be it in either MLP or DTS-HD (in case of 7.1 audio), and let the receiver do the decoding, as no processing is done to the signal at all. Of course if the audio came from a lossy-encoded format, right from the beginning, there really is no advantage at all in going lossless, and one should be better off just encoding to the old DTS Surround format or Dolby Digital @640kbps (which can be done for FREE, via ffmpeg libraries or Aften, with just a click.....if one really wants AC3....NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL PURPOSES, of course).
Free options exists, and there are plenty of them for Windows and Linux, as far as I know. For the Mac, only a few. The most relevant ones being XBMC and Jriver, which both have a very hard working team, working behind, always including new different things to their software and listen to their users, and which they come with a plethora of audio-bitstreaming options for almost anyone.
They're both great softwares. Probably the best for HD video playback on the Mac, too.
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