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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
Last weekend a friend of mine had trouble at his audio society when trying to demo DSD playback. At one point he complained that DSD "isn't ready for prime time." I wanted to demonstrate how (relatively) easy it is to play high-res DSD downloads on a Mac with Pure Music -- even if you don't have a new DAC with native DSD playback. I'm staying out of the fight as to how DSD compares to high-res PCM. (Obviously, it's complicated.) The fact is, there are some good albums out there that were mastered as DSD, so I want to be able to buy them now and play them without sacrificing sound quality or iTunes convenience. Demo on YouTube. For convenience, I did the screen capture using my laptop and it's internal sound card, rather than my main music system with its external Bel Canto DAC (which does not do native DSD conversion). A few months ago I tried Korg AudioGate to convert the files to PCM first, then bring them into iTunes, but I didn't like what AudioGate did to the sound. Some albums showed signs of clipping with AudioGate. Pure Music sounds much better -- even doing the conversion on the fly. The CPU usage is not that bad. Take care -- Mark Block