Grab some popcorn…
Audirvana, like the others, continue to tweak their sound engine. To my ears, 3.5 (which is a major update) sounds better than 3.2. Its less bright than it was before.
I’ve tried many software players, Roon, HQPlayer, Amarra Luxe, Audirvana, Fidelia, BitPerfect, Pure Music, etc. They all sound different.
Interesting. Personally I have noticed no difference between bit perfect playback on different players but I have noticed a difference between playback hardware i.e. going from a general PC to a dedicated one like a Nucleus. Perhaps it is a noise issue - i.e. some players use more resources than others and hence increase the noise level.
My knowledge level is far from that of the expert denizens of this forum. To my way of thinking, getting sound from our various sources, computers, dedicated music servers, etc, involves quite a bit of programming. Ted is an expert programmer and has programmed the DirectStream to process information a certain way. The Aurender is essentially a dedicated music computer, and its programmed a certain way. The same is true of all the software based music players. Someone had to program them how to handle the sound.
So moving with the assumption that programming is central to our whole venture, it stands to reason that the talent of a given programmer makes a difference, perhaps a significant one. Not only to functionality, but to sound quality as well.
Mix in a variety of personal tastes, and hence a broad market is created. All in part, with programming a central theme.
FWIW Audirvana was originally a Mac only program. It has only recently been released for Windows. The Windows version is just out of beta and has not been updated to the latest ver (3.5) that dancingsea is referring to.
Thanks to everyone here that has answered my questions and offered their advice. I wanted to give you an update on my initial issue where Qobuz was stopping playing randomly on different songs. Qobuz Support told me that it was possibly due to the Qobuz Desktop player cache, and recommended that I clear the cache under “Settings”, “Cache Management”. So far that has seemed to fix the issue, but I am anxious to move away from that as quickly as possible to a different media player, anyway. So, based on all of your comments, it would appear that my best choice is either Roon or Audirvana.
Now, keep in mind that I am probably what you would call a “middle of the road” audiophile, so either one of these will probably work just fine for me with just a basic connection to my PS Audio DAC. (which will be delivered tomorrow!) I have read a lot on here about the Matrix, USB cables with separate power, i2S cables, etc., but at this time I would like some advice on a simple, low cost way to connect my computer (using Roon or Audirvana) to the DAC, which does have Bridge II) Thanks for any help in advance!
WIFI. Use your Bridge2.
I would suggest using the Bridge II as well.
@jschander: If you have a stable Wi-Fi network, Computer to Router via Wi-Fi; Router to Bridge II via Ethernet with Roon as your player/library manager is an excellent performer. Great sound quality and very stable in my experience. To my ears, Roon 1.6 provides a bonus in that it “does” Tidal and Qobuz better than Tidal and Qobuz (apps) “do” themselves. YMMV.
Not sure if its been sorted with the new Audirvana 3.5, but in the past, Audirvana did not stream well to the Bridge II. Roon works perfectly.
Thanks, I had heard in the past that SQ was better through Audirvana than Roon, because Roon actually “processes” the sound differently - any thoughts on that?
Roon does not process the sound. (unless you set it up that way). Read their goals. They are but an interface.
My impression, having owned and used nearly every Mac software music player is that each developer has their particular skill set. Amarra comes from Sonic Studios, a significant audio company. Their sound engine is really good, but historically they seem to have not given the Mac app the attention it deserves in terms of debugging. Though its not bad lately.
HQPlayer also sounds great, but Jussi the developer is not skilled at user interface and library management and has little interest in being so. He’s a one man band.
Roon is amazing at user interface and library management, but sound quality is not their strength. This is in part why they teamed up with HQPlayer, because so many complained about the Roon sound engine. But even so, HQPlayer has a learning curve.
Audirvana also sounds good, and does an admirable job at user interface and library management.
My only explanation as to why all this is, is that each developer has different skills and none rise to the complete package level we deserve. Perhaps this is part of the reason Octave is being developed?
These days I mostly switch between Amarra and HQPlayer, though I’m exploring the newly released Audirvana 3.5.
I know that’s their pitch but the difference in sound quality between Tidal and Qobuz (which says the same thing) is not subtle. Qobuz beats Tidal handily.
I agree. Just saying Roon does not do any DSP or other manipulation of the files.
I haven’t really noticed a difference in my setup between Qobuz and Tidal but I have noticed Qobuz has a lot more hires versions of albums and they are uncompressed versions without MQA. I know it’s a controversial topic but I’m very unimpressed with MQA because I don’t see any improvement with MQA listening. In some cases I actually much prefer my locally stored 16 bit WAV file of the same album. I suppose it is possible that the newer MQA versions have been struck by the curse of poor mastering (including too much dynamic range compression).
FWIW, I think good quality local files/recordings and “streamed” good quality files/recordings pulled from the internet are “apples and oranges.”
IME, my ripped and down loaded files generally have the edge in sound quality; but I can’t yet claim to have accounted for every possible variable when comparing the experience.
Yes that is probably true - although with specialist switches (AQVOX, sNH-10G etc it should be a lot closer). I was just hoping that MQA would live up to the hype (especially in regards to the timing corrections) but it never did for me even when compared to the 16 bit streaming versions. Would be interesting to see how MQA discs sound - I believe these are available in Japan although I don’t think they would be compatible with the DMP/Directstream Dac.
Man, I have not read a more accurate and concise summary of the state of the art and why Octave will exist. Thank you. You’re very preceptive.
I would add to that the problem with them all is the need for a computer. Computer change sound quality and updates to them change sound quality even further.
Octave solves both problems once and for all.
I think if you want the best SQ from Roon you really need to use Nucleus + (which is a silent NUC with extraneous hardware and software components removed) with a linear power supply (which you have to buy separately although the included switch mode is OK). Unfortunately that is not cheap or practical. The power supply I have for mine is the size of one of those half width monoblock amps that some companies make, it is really heavy and gets quite hot. I think most people are not nuts enough to spend the best part of $4-5k for a Roon Core and the optimisations.