Issues with Amarra on Mac

I have been using BitPerfect with my new SGCD for the last month - streaming music from my MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2011, running the latest OSX HighSierra 10.13.3). I have upgraded it with an SSD, 16 GB of RAM, and an AudioQuest Carbon USB cable. I have been able to play outstanding 16/44 files, 24/96 and 24/196 files, and wanted to try DSD.

I tried Amara, and had some great sounding files - even DSD. I had two issues which stopped me from yet purchasing it:

  1. DSD files would sometimes play 1/4 speed, or occasionally 4x speed - and then need to be restarted Amarra. Annoying (and disappointing)

  2. A whole bunch of my music came in with no Artist or Album info – and I could not see how to fix it

  3. Amarra would crash, and (at least once) I had to reload all the music. I am afraid of setting up lots of lots of playlists and such only to loose it later

  4. Searching was an issue – and the Remote had no Album or Song info

Before I buy another software package, I want to make sure it works. I really like Amarra, especially the EQ function to (occasionally) Boost Bass (for wear recordings)

Which is probably why I haven’t tried DSD Master fro the Bitperfect yet – I can’t try it first

I would compare SQ to Audirvana. Audirvana handles DSD like a champ and you can load any EQ plugins you want.

I have moved from BitPerfect/I-Tunes(each with the Bill Ernst Secret sauce) on a MacMini USB to DS Jr. via PS Audio LANrover to Amarra Luxe 4.2 because Amarra 4.2 can integrate local ripped files, downloaded files including DSD, and Tidal/MQA.

After scanning, many files arrived without artwork. Since all of my local ripped files are AIFF and not WAV, the metadata came over from the largely I-Tunes library. The local library includes HD Tracks hi-res downloads and Blue Coast DSD.

Solution for missing artwork and I assume metadata is to use KD-a free tagging program. Open KD3;click open and then find the album on your hard drive and select all tracks; drop the artwork JPG in the designated spot; correct title, album, song as necessary and click save. This will modify the file in your library and will be recognized by Amarra when you click on “add to library” and select the folder on your music hard drive-then click save.

Watch out for albums that are marked “compilations”. Amarra will break up such files into separate albums. So, uncheck in I-Tunes and make sure that the album artist is as you want it before scanning. Thus, you can list “Mahler” as the album artist in I-Tunes and keep all Mahler files together rather than having say the Chicago Symphony be listed as the artist.

Use the albums view which sorts by artists. The artists view does not recognize all the Tidal artists. The remote is not fully functional in my opinion. Do not use the edit pencil. It moves albums to weird places.

Don’t worry about losing playlists. I have created several including both Tidal and local files and have not lost any despite completely deleting all songs and re-scanning.

Amarra Luxe 4.2 will do the first unfold of Tidal MQA at 96. I notice little difference between the 96 unfold by Amarra over USB and the full 192 unfold of the same Tidal file played over the Bridge II DS Jr. via Connect and any difference varies by each different Tidal MQA file. MConnect often stops playing and gives an error message which is irritating when trying to listen to a full album.

I don’t know if Audirvana can integrate Tidal and local files.

I have not yet heard either Roon or JRiver, but would like to. I am eagerly awaiting PS Audio’s new server/player as a potential acquisition. I hope these comments are helpful and would like to have any comments by the community about how Amarra compares in SQ with Roon, JRiver, or others. Badbeef-anything to chime in on?


Aurdirvana does TIdal first unfold, local library management, album art and does DLNA so you can use a Sonore Ultrarendu over your home network.

Going DLNA completely bypasses the Mac OS and is best SQ; better than any Integer/Direct mode.

Although for USB, Audirvana does use Exclusive/Integer Mode. The remote is nowhere as good as Roon but is usable. The whole Interface is getting an upgrade in a month.

I like Amarra Luxe quite a bit, but I keep going back the Roon/ HQPlayer combo. I let HQP upsample everything to DSD 128, and then let the DSJ do its thing…

Thanks - I tried Roon and have been having a much more consistent time with it! Then I went to Axpona, and ALMOST EVERY room was running Roon with Tidal.

I’m 2 years into using Roon. I definitely think Amarra and Audirvana offer a bit more in terms of fidelity but I design interfaces for a living and Roon’s UI trumps the others IMO.

The Roon endpoint capability with myriad devices was a game changer.

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