Jump to content
Computer Audiophile

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I've been running Audirvana (1.5.12) for ~ 5 months, mostly in standalone mode (I do think it sounds a little better than in iTunes mode). I'm happy with the sound.

 

However, I don't enjoy my music as much without something like iTunes to peruse my files and play music. It's just too cumbersome to deal with files and directories and drag them into the Audirvana playlist window - especially since I do it from an iPad using the Screens VNC client. CDs and LPs are a very different story b/c although cumbersome there's a magic and a physicality to them that files don't have.

 

So given I want to use iTunes, what's the best integrated player to use from a sound perspective?

 

I have tried:

- Audirvana: integration is perfect but it doesn't sound as good in iTunes compared to standalone mode.

- Pure Music: Testing it now - iTunes integration is not as robust as Audirvana (track position odd) but I'm willing to compromise if it sounds better.

- Amarra: Doesn't do DSD files - this means it's out for me.

 

My setup:

Mac mini('09, 8gbRAM, 250gbSSD, Mavericks, headless and minimal install - only for music) =>

Lightspeed USB (split) =>

EmmLabs XDS1v2 (same as Dac2x from a DAC standpoint) =>

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku integrated amp =>

Avantgarde Duo Mezzo speakers.

 

Would appreciate any opinions.

 

Thx!

 

Miguel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Freann   

Well, A+ 2.0 is out “soon”...

With it’s library management and iPad client it will answer to you needs. If you are willing to wait a bit more... I’m in a similar situation.

 

A suggestion: go for a newer Mac Mini and boot from an SD card. Major step up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, A+ 2.0 is out “soon”...

With it’s library management and iPad client it will answer to you needs. If you are willing to wait a bit more... I’m in a similar situation.

 

A suggestion: go for a newer Mac Mini and boot from an SD card. Major step up.

 

Yes, I am waiting for A+2 but so far it is vaporware...

 

Can you be more specific about SD card booting? I forgot to mention my files are in a FW drive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Melvin   
snip ..

 

So given I want to use iTunes, what's the best integrated player to use from a sound perspective?

 

I have tried:

- Audirvana: integration is perfect but it doesn't sound as good in iTunes compared to standalone mode.

- Pure Music: Testing it now - iTunes integration is not as robust as Audirvana (track position odd) but I'm willing to compromise if it sounds better.

 

Hi miguelito .. the "best" is quite subjective and is doubtful you will find consensus anywhere. I use all of the major players and like each for varying reasons. The sound quality of Pure Music is fantastic to my ears and I use it regularly. Is it better? Your testing should provide that answer. You might want to check out JRMC as has been mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi miguelito .. the "best" is quite subjective and is doubtful you will find consensus anywhere. I use all of the major players and like each for varying reasons. The sound quality of Pure Music is fantastic to my ears and I use it regularly. Is it better? Your testing should provide that answer. You might want to check out JRMC as has been mentioned.

 

Yeap, fair enough. Question is whether some people have found Pure Music say more "musical" (enjoyment factor whatever that means). Have not tried JRiver for mac, but I'm not sure I want to move to what is essentially a Windows inspired and designed player. No prejudices, just my experience with user experiences there. Will give it a spin.

 

Perahia has just started the 2nd movement of Chopin concerto #1... I gotta go. Thx!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JJJ   
Yeap, fair enough. Question is whether some people have found Pure Music say more "musical" (enjoyment factor whatever that means).

 

They should pass along their drugs...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They should pass along their drugs...

 

Ha! Well, I think pretty much anyone here would agree that any of these players sound better than iTunes on it's own. I don't think terms like "analytical", "analog-like", "presentation ease" are meaningless, even though it is hard to quantify them. However, please lets not start a debate of what these words mean in vacuum.

 

My question is very simple: for those who have compared them, which one do they prefer. If you just want to answer with one word, fine by me.

 

These players's subtle differences would be dwarfed by system setup conditions, so which one is preferred depends on this. However, differences between the players on the same system are meaningful I think.

 

Example: I read somewhere that Pure Music was more "fluid" compared to Audirvana being more "grainy". If your setup is overly bright/metallic, you might prefer the former, if it is overly soft, the latter. But the difference is meaningful.

 

Thx!

 

Miguel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My question is very simple: for those who have compared them, which one do they prefer. If you just want to answer with one word, fine by me.

 

A+.

 

I switched because PM behaved inconsistently and was frustrating to use. I was then surprised to find that I much preferred the sound of A+. I also found that I preferred the clean A+ interface, which is more Mac-like. PM is an ugly mess.

 

Both applications have been updated since I made the switch, but I have zero interest in giving PM another chance. A+ has performed flawlessly, sounds great, and is really well supported by the developer, Damien. I also like that Damien has made good use of this forum, and has incorporated feedback from members here.

 

In fairness, PM is known for providing great customer support. My quibble with this is that support is provided privately in emails. I'd prefer to avoid ever having to email by just scanning a forum to find answers that were provided to others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thx Kenny.

 

Yes, PM interface is a bit of a mess and it just doesn't work seamlessly with iTunes when using the remote. BTW... Amarra's interface reminds me of early versions of Java and since it doesn't do DSD it is completely out of the game for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, PM interface is a bit of a mess and it just doesn't work seamlessly with iTunes when using the remote.

 

The issues PM had with the remote were the #1 reason I looked to A+ in the first place. That was almost two years ago as I see that I purchased my A+ license in 6/2012. I would have thought the remote would be working better by now.

 

And yes that PM interface is a mess. It looks more like it belongs in the Windows environment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul R   

Between A+ and Pure Music, I think PM has the better sound, but A+ is far far more usable and reliable.

 

On the other hand, JRemote is good enough to make me switch to JRMC, which also sounds great. Especially true on Mavericks with Direct/Integer Mode enabled.

 

That may change with A+ and it's new integrated mode. But who knows? JRemote is going to be hard to beat - very *very* hard to beat. It is that good. :)

 

IMNSHOI, YMMV, yada yada...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On the other hand, JRemote is good enough to make me switch to JRMC, which also sounds great. Especially true on Mavericks with Direct/Integer Mode enabled.

 

I will have to give JRiver another try. I tried it a few months ago and though the sound quality took a big step back relative to A+. My system is more transparent now so I will have to try this again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul R   
I will have to give JRiver another try. I tried it a few months ago and though the sound quality took a big step back relative to A+. My system is more transparent now so I will have to try this again.

 

You will need to spend $10 on the AppStore to purchase JRemote to go with it. It's really the combination of the two that makes it so great. Also, be sure to turn on Direct/Integer mode in JRMC. Definitely let us know what you think please! :)

 

-Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You will need to spend $10 on the AppStore to purchase JRemote to go with it. It's really the combination of the two that makes it so great.

 

I'm not willing to take a step back in sound quality just to get a better remote experience. I will evaluate the sound quality before I spend the $10.

 

 

Also, be sure to turn on Direct/Integer mode in JRMC. Definitely let us know what you think please!

 

JRMC does not support Direct Mode as you can see here. So it cannot bypass Core Audio, which is a huge reason that A+ sounds so good.

 

JRMC does support integer mode though. But unfortunately my Mytec DAC does not support this. So a double-whammy, which may explain why I wasn't too impressed last time I tried it. But I will give it another shot and report back.

 

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Between A+ and Pure Music, I think PM has the better sound, but A+ is far far more usable and reliable.

 

On the other hand, JRemote is good enough to make me switch to JRMC, which also sounds great. Especially true on Mavericks with Direct/Integer Mode enabled.

 

That may change with A+ and it's new integrated mode. But who knows? JRemote is going to be hard to beat - very *very* hard to beat. It is that good. :)

 

IMNSHOI, YMMV, yada yada...

 

Ok, thx. Will have to give JRMC a try! From what I can see it has DoP (a must for me).

 

From your endorsement I gather you find the JR iPad app better than the iTunes remote?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul R   
I'm not willing to take a step back in sound quality just to get a better remote experience. I will evaluate the sound quality before I spend the $10.

 

 

 

 

JRMC does not support Direct Mode as you can see here. So it cannot bypass Core Audio, which is a huge reason that A+ sounds so good.

 

JRMC does support integer mode though. But unfortunately my Mytec DAC does not support this. So a double-whammy, which may explain why I wasn't too impressed last time I tried it. But I will give it another shot and report back.

 

Ken

 

You are right about "direct mode"- I have trouble remembering what they label it. That is why I slashed it with "Direct/Integer". :)

 

And of course, choose what you prefer for sound quality. Nobody else can choose that for you.

 

(shrug) Try JRemote or not, just as you please. But without it, JRMC has just about as clunky an interface as anything else. With it, it becomes something really special I think. For us, the sound quality top quality and the pure convenince factor of having JRemote is utterly worth dealing with some Windows like behavior.

 

-Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Try JRemote or not, just as you please. But without it, JRMC has just about as clunky an interface as anything else. With it, it becomes something really special I think. For us, the sound quality top quality and the pure convenince factor of having JRemote is utterly worth dealing with some Windows like behavior.

 

Good advice. I will spend the $10 just to see why this is so well regarded. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Melvin   
The issues PM had with the remote were the #1 reason I looked to A+ in the first place. That was almost two years ago as I see that I purchased my A+ license in 6/2012. I would have thought the remote would be working better by now.

 

And yes that PM interface is a mess. It looks more like it belongs in the Windows environment.

 

Although still not pretty, Pure Music in its latest iteration sounds fantastic and has no Remote issues (at least for me). Like with JRMC, I simply turn my monitor off so I don't have to look at it. As of right now I prefer Pure Music to A+. Of course that might change as time goes on. Both programs have an update coming so time will tell. Nice time to be an audionutjob.

 

BTW in PM you can always just Hide Music Server Controls (located in the Music Server menu) and you will only be looking at iTunes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although still not pretty, Pure Music in its latest iteration sounds fantastic and has no Remote issues (at least for me). Like with JRMC, I simply turn my monitor off so I don't have to look at it. As of right now I prefer Pure Music to A+. Of course that might change as time goes on. Both programs have an update coming so time will tell. Nice time to be an audionutjob.

 

BTW in PM you can always just Hide Music Server Controls (located in the Music Server menu) and you will only be looking at iTunes.

 

I was using PM over the weekend and could not get reliable track position and whether it's in play/pause mode in iTunes. iTunes remote was particularly finicky - to the point I cannot use it. Is there some special setting I am missing?

 

BTW... My mac mini is used headless, my only interaction with it is either through screen sharing (Screens VNC client or my mac pro in the office) or through the iTunes remote app.

 

Thx.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flatmap   

Daily user of PM, but unfortunately have not used the remote recently. The Play/Pause control always displays the triangle. That behavior is by design, but can't remember the reason. Never had any problem with track position, but perhaps this is something to do with the remote.

 

Did you select the "Headless Operation Only(Use Remote App)" setting in the Music Server menu?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daily user of PM, but unfortunately have not used the remote recently. The Play/Pause control always displays the triangle. That behavior is by design, but can't remember the reason. Never had any problem with track position, but perhaps this is something to do with the remote.

 

Did you select the "Headless Operation Only(Use Remote App)" setting in the Music Server menu?

 

I tried all combinations of those flags - the remote app was not usable really. To clarify: I meant to say the track position doesn't update on the remote app. It does work on iTunes - but I find the play/pause always showing play annoying. I think the reason is the avoidance of "ghost play" where apparently both iTunes and the player are playing the file.

 

I have the impression Audirvana uses "ghost play" since it's track integration with iTunes is perfect, and my suspicion was that this was the reason Audirvana sounded better in standalone mode. There are a few flags in Audirvana's last config window related to this. I have not done a careful comparison of sound quality with different settings for these flags.

 

Thx!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I tried all combinations of those flags - the remote app was not usable really.

 

The problem I had with PM was unpredictability with the remotes. This was an issue with both the Apple IR remote and with the iOS Remote App. At times (but not always) there was a delay in responding to either remote. This used to drive me crazy as at times hitting pause wouldn't pause playback right away. I wondered if may it had something to do with PM's implementation of memory play and that maybe PM wasn't immediately able to halt what was flowing from a memory buffer.

 

A+ eliminated both these problems and both remotes worked predictably 100% of the time. The first words from a friend who made the switch too was something like "wow nice to have the remotes actually respond to my key presses". I have not used PM in over two years, so hopefully these issues were resolved.

 

Gapless with PM also sucked at that time. Tracks had to be marked as gapless to play gapless. A+ didn't require this and "just worked" when it came to gapless. As I recall, PM had to wait for a song to finish before it would begin loading the next song into memory, so a gap would be added. Hopefully this was resolved too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The problem I had with PM was unpredictability with the remotes. This was an issue with both the Apple IR remote and with the iOS Remote App. At times (but not always) there was a delay in responding to either remote. This used to drive me crazy as at times hitting pause wouldn't pause playback right away. I wondered if may it had something to do with PM's implementation of memory play and that maybe PM wasn't immediately able to halt what was flowing from a memory buffer.

 

A+ eliminated both these problems and both remotes worked predictably 100% of the time. The first words from a friend who made the switch too was something like "wow nice to have the remotes actually respond to my key presses". I have not used PM in over two years, so hopefully these issues were resolved.

 

Gapless with PM also sucked at that time. Tracks had to be marked as gapless to play gapless. A+ didn't require this and "just worked" when it came to gapless. As I recall, PM had to wait for a song to finish before it would begin loading the next song into memory, so a gap would be added. Hopefully this was resolved too.

 

After trying all of Amarra, Pure Music and Audirvana, I am sticking with Audirvana for now. I have payed for all three - mostly because I want to fund the competition to get better products in the long term - so I can switch anytime.

 

At this point it is A+ for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×