Thoughts on Amarra

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Ice Man
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Thoughts on Amarra

Post by Ice Man » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:29 pm

Hello,

I am using the 15-day trial period of Amarra, and I find it to be a very pleasant surprise. For me, it is a significant upgrade over itunes. I am using it in Cache mode, with the EQ settings turned off. I have been told that they will be offering a Christmas special of $99 USD, down from $162 (15% off $189, offered after the 15-Day trial.) Unless I find a better value in the next few days, I will purchase it when it goes on sale.

Using Amarra got me thinking how important computer audio software is. Are there Mac users out there who have used Amarra, but decided to go another way? Are there computer/audio specialists out there who, for a competitive rate, can make a Mac sound better than Amarra?

Amarra recently introduced their Symphony IRC program. From the Amarra web site:

Using a calibrated microphone, iRC Measure will guide you through a series of tests that will generate an accurate frequency and phase model of your listening room.

http://www.sonicstudio.com/amarra/amarrasymphony_irc

Does anyone on the Forum have experience with this? With the mic, it was just on sale for $729, down from $864. Without the mic, $649, down from $789. The mic is used to help the software optimize your room conditions. It's a big chunk of change, BUT if it brings out the very best of my system, I'm open-minded. I don't think I'll seriously consider it, unless I hear very positive reviews from others. Does it justify the But, this goes back to my above question. Are there better alternatives out there for a Mac user? They say that Amarra with IRC is significantly better than without it, once properly calibrated.

Does anyone have any experience with Amarra with IRC? If so, what are your thoughts, and does it represent a good value over the basic Amarra (not Hi Fi version)?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and opinions.

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Raven
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Post by Raven » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:05 pm

Hi Ice Man,

I've been running Amarra HiFi for a year now and recently took advantage of the Symphony IRC upgrade offered to existing HiFi owners. I had planned to install it before the Toronto TAVES show to maximize the room acoustics but unfortunately the calibrated microphone I ordered did not arrive in time to allow me to use the software.

Fortunately I've had good feedback from customers and suppliers with no affiliation to Amarra that have spoken very highly of the IRC software. That is my main reason for purchasing the product. Yes I was extremely skeptical but at the end of the day I rely on the axiom that as long as it sounds good, I don't judge the gear behind the sound.

I should note that Amarra HiFi and Symphony have the same engine therefore the same quality of sound however Symphony adds many user friendly tools that depending on your comfort zone with technology would be a bonus or a waste of $$. Unfortunately you have to purchase Symphony to get IRC.

I run Amarra on a Mac and I really like what what Amarra does for improving the overall sound but it's not the last word in audio software. There probably is no last word but you won't be disappointed or ripped off.

Now for the disappointment

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Post by masluck » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:49 pm

Hi Ice Man,

I have not tried Amarra, as I went the cheap route for my Mac-DAC attack. I use Decibel - about $33, uses the iTunes library functions, runs in hog mode (dedicating more OS resources to the Decibel process) and drives the USB-DAC interface. I used it with the BC 509 in the main rig and the USB Thingee for my desktop system and in both places, was a major step up from native iTunes. Cheap and cheerful. It wouldn't cost a lot to compare the two whilst you are still in test drive mode with Amarra. It really depends if you will use/need all those extra bells and whistles that Amarra has.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/decibel/id425086676

I hope it helps...

Mark

Ice Man
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Post by Ice Man » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:52 pm

Raven and Mark,

Thank you, both, for your very thoughtful responses. I appreciate it.

Mark, I have heard about Decibel, and will look into it.

Raven, I look forward to reading your IRC impressions.

Best,
IM

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ERM
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Post by ERM » Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:51 pm

Hey Ice Man
I'll add my two cents if I may. I tried Bit Perfect which I purchase. I then tried Pure Music and Amarra.
I decided to go with Amarra Hi-Fi, as I preferred it to PM and couldn't tell the difference between HF and the full version.
The thing the made the largest difference to me though, was the purchase of the Music Fidelity - 192 V Link which provides an Asynchronous to SPDIF conversion/connection between the pc (Mac) and dac (BC507). There are a number of other devices on the market that do the same thing. Not sure if this is something GY has made available. The Async connection presents all music in a much more transparent and less digital way whether 44.1 or high resolution. Cable wise I'm using the BIS usb (haven't tried the BC one yet) > MF link > BC digital XLR > BC507.

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Post by Ice Man » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:11 pm

Thanks, ERM, for sharing your thoughts. I looked into it, but unfortunately, Music Fidelity has discontinued the product, and I do not see a replacement model.

I think you might create another thread and ask Gilbert his thoughts, and if Blue Circle might its own version of it.

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Post by Raven » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:46 pm

ERM and I were able to compare the Music Fidelity - 192 V Link to the M2Tech HiFace a few weeks ago. Both were really good products however they were quite different. I found the V Link had superior detail and more clarity on the higher end but the HiFace was excellent with the lower frequencies and overall balance. Put the two together and you would deliver magic.

Gilbert has recently begun 'dabbling' in the world of improved USB conversion however based on work to date it is focused on improving options for product inside a BC DAC. Product was sacrificed to learn more about current technologies but who knows what the future will bring.

Now I seem to have a vision stuck in my head of a USB converter being gutted on an altar in a Mayan temple. :shock:

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ERM
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Post by ERM » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:06 pm

Raven wrote:ERM and I were able to compare the Music Fidelity - 192 V Link to the M2Tech HiFace a few weeks ago. Both were really good products however they were quite different. I found the V Link had superior detail and more clarity on the higher end but the HiFace was excellent with the lower frequencies and overall balance. Put the two together and you would deliver magic.

Gilbert has recently begun 'dabbling' in the world of improved USB conversion however based on work to date it is focused on improving options for product inside a BC DAC. Product was sacrificed to learn more about current technologies but who knows what the future will bring.

Now I seem to have a vision stuck in my head of a USB converter being gutted on an altar in a Mayan temple. :shock:
What we need is the usb connection to become an asynchronous one and problem solved. Probably involves some magic silicone ....

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Post by Ice Man » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:29 pm

I purchased Amarra for $99, today. This sale ends today. Reason why I went with this version, instead of the $49 Hi-Fi version, was primarily because I wanted to have FLAC playback capability, and I wanted to play through Cache mode. While I have to believe that the iRC version is significantly better than my version, I will wait a bit, until I become a lot more familiar with computer audio, and hopefully, the price will come down a bit.

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