USB - Amarra and others..

With the Bridge disappearing on several occasions I have been trying some OSX players.

First… why the heck does everyone sound so different when they are all “bit perfect”

Second… what are thoughts on up sampling (red book)? I tried Audirvana/Fidelia with the iZotope engine and honestly I wasn’t impressed. Audirvana in particular seemed really in your face up sampled. I did try to up sampling with JRiver and could do 88 consistent and “almost” 176 without drops… If I moved the computer onto the same switch the PS Audio DAC was on it would do 176… That said… JRiver going through the bridge really sound the best of anything up sampled. I just wish it was stable.

After a couple days of listening (at least on my system) I think Amarra has really come out on top. I would put the bridge neck and neck with it… but it has really stood out from the other players. I think the enjoyment of the music as opposed to any particular “feature” was the difference. I don’t know with PS DAC (MKII) if the cacheing and stuff is really beneficial or not. It “seems” like it is. I was able to load whole albums for gapless and if you sort the iTunes library right you can get gapless to work using the iPad remote app also. I also thought it was interesting that it is the one player that does not even give you the option of up-sampling…

It was really nice to have the DAC work flawless and although I’m not convinced I want a Mac Mini in the audio stand yet… I did like Amarra…

Any feedback from other OSX users would be welcome… or any question you might have… I have a few days left on all my demos yet…

Which USB cable did you use with amarra?

The bridge definitely can work without dropouts at al samplerates. I use the firmwares 2.4.1 and bridge 2.13c. Try at least cat 6 cables the shorter the better with a gigabit switch. To get the ultimate try wav tracks with Jriver. Don’t upsample with the dac, just use nativeX and nothing else!

Good luck!

My advice - don’t use software to up sample. As @wijnand said, just use the native sample rate and set the PWD II to nativeX mode.

Thanks, indeed! Do not up sample at all.

For me the bridge is still superior. Audirvana+ (latest version) with settings recommended on the computer audiophile forum is a very good second best. But you need a decent usb cable and a recent mac (with ssd as a pre). No upsampling.

I use audirvana+ with my audioquest dragonfly dac and sennheiser headphone. Sounds great.

@wijnand. Why did you switch back to bridge firmware 2.13c ? Isn’t fw 2.14b for the jriver users?


@wijnand honestly the USB cable is what I pulled out of my “piles”… I have a bunch of computer extras… so it is a no name brand. If I decide to keep a computer hooked USB I’ll probably look at cables. Any suggestions? Not sure if any place gives loners around here, that seems to be getting less and less…

I will check my firmware today…

@freek can you point me to the audirvana settings… I didn’t like the sound but my setting might be mucked up. It did sound way different than the bridge so they are most likely different…

The UB Cable is quite important to the sound.

@freek The 2.14b firmware is newer and better working over 2.13c. Ik switched back to the older one for SQ reasons, but I don’t know which one I like better yet. I have to switch back to 2.14b to be sure.

I think the 2.14b is a bit smoother on high frequencies. I like it a bit sharper so I’m trying to find the best for my setup.

@rmachacek I have used the audioquest coffee for a year, but sold it lately.

I think it’s a good cable, but I didn’t compared it against other high end cables.

It definitely was a big improvement over the standard computer usb cables.

@Randy, I use these audirvana+ filter settings as mentioned in a post at computer audiophile:

" I tweaked my filter settings to follow the recommendations of one of our fine testers here. (Sorry, can’t remember whose: Steepness 24dB, 1.6M samples, cutoff freq 1.05x, pre-ringing 0.7. "

In the audio settings I enabled “Exclusive access mode”, “Direct mode”, “Integer mode (mode1)” and “4GB max memory”. (With a total of 8GB in my macbook air).

No upsampling.

There is a new version available. 1.5.9