Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Amarra - anyone using it?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Amarra - anyone using it? - Page 3

post #31 of 698

That's right, it's time to blame MS for killing BeOS, because of the need for this software--yeah, that makes sense!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitary1 View Post
Damn, you hit the nail on the head.
It claims to do a great deal of good, does not say what's wrong that it fixes, nor how it fixes it, in any useful detail. Also, it's not $50, or even $100... Thus: skepticism.

This is a not a new claim. It's going to be treated like anything in the past making a similar claim, until it proven, and someone figures out what it's doing (not necessarily their specific algorithms, but in general).

I'm not keen on OS X, hate iTunes, and probably don't have a future in pro audio, so I'll likely never hear it. I've gone through enough crap on different hardware and software platforms to not bash it out of hand, though (most of our common audio problems can be heard with anything better than ibuds or average PC speakers--and worse, they can't be unheard, once you learn to hear them ). I also find this an interesting topic of discussion, if going from practically lurking to a page-long post is any indication.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr View Post
1) jitter reduction of iTunes
2) avoidance of damaging code in Core Audio
1) What "jitter" does iTunes add? It takes data, decodes it, and sends it to be buffer well before it is needed. There's no place for jitter to be introduced. Now, if it can't always get the data out in time, then there may be other latency problems. But, if that's the case, how can it do that, and also succeed at providing bit-perfect output? A paradox, have we?
2) I can certainly believe that there are hidden traps here and there within the OS' main audio subsystem. I've been using Windows and Linux, after all.

Quote:
Without Amarra, converters that are affected by jitter sound fairly bad using itunes, worse than the same converters used on a PC.
A-ha! A symptom! Now what is the cause, I wonder...
Also, how many of the affected devices implement a dedicated clock recovery stage, internally?
Are these devices being fed the same sample rate and bit-depth as before this software was in use?
If it's the same rate and bps, what happens if you record the same song without and with it, and negate them in an audio editor (IE, how close is it)?
Quote:
With Amarra, [hardware alleged to show jitter symptoms with vanilla iTunes] sound better than on a PC.
Is iTunes (or some OS X deep subsystem) not sending out the stream properly, leaving you with occasional gaps of a few samples here and there (could turn into jitter and varying perceived pitch?), or...what? Is this based on using any particular kind of interface for the difference*? IE, what kind of "jitter", since jitter is awfully broad, and clearly can't refer to the hardware interface signals (not as a cause, anyway).

Or, is it something entirely different, like a light psychoacoustic filter that masks what you are calling effects of jitter?

* FI, "driver-free" USB uses a hideous clock and data transfer mechanism, and we commonly use software to deal with it (kernel streaming, ASIO, Jack, OSS4, real-time kernel...dunno what you Apple guys do ). Networking is often under similar constraints (wireless from your PC is under basically the same constraints). Even with non-USB, our OSes have gone so far away from the ideals of Amiga and BE (instant user I/O = Godliness), that it can take such measures even for CPU-misers, like Firewire and PCI based devices, when the wrong circumstances arise.
post #32 of 698
If you're a Mac user who is used to using iTunes on a Mac, I suppose it might be nice to hear something different, and maybe it "sounds" better.

Let us not forget the basic facts when considering the idea of a music playing program that "sounds" better...a music playing program has one task (aside from its User Interface): read data from a storage device (e.g. hard drive) into memory, then tell a music driver (via some protocol like ASIO, KernalStreaming, DirectSound, and the Mac/Linux/whatever equivalents) to play the data that is in this buffer. The buffer management required for this type of thing is the sort of code that first-year computer science students write.

Claims that one program sounds different than another are usually, in my experience, the result of one (or both) program(s) doing more than the simple chain described above (usually inserting some kind of re-sampler or other DSP effect into the chain which manipulates the data). Such programs are best avoided, in my experience.

So, I'm not going to say it's impossible that a program sounds significantly different than another (it could, when using different DSP effects or re-sampling), but claims that a program sounds different when outputting the same ("bit-perfect") data as another program are about the equivalent of someone saying that this post would have been a lot better if I had used Internet Explorer rather than Firefox.
post #33 of 698
I would truly like to hear this software and get an idea for it's changes. Problem is I dont own a Mac but do run Linux and they are closer for alot of files but Mac doesnt do ANYTHING free. So heres to hearing it on someone elses system before people say its useless.
post #34 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmodad View Post
@leeperry: that's an interesting statement, can you provide some background? one would think the pro audio world would be concerned....
sorry, I'm only spitting out the commercial mumbo jumbo read on their website and on the computeraudiophile.com link associated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrith View Post
Claims that one program sounds different than another are usually, in my experience, the result of one (or both) program(s) doing more than the simple chain described above (usually inserting some kind of re-sampler or other DSP effect into the chain which manipulates the data). Such programs are best avoided, in my experience.
definitely! I've recently tried xxHighEndPlayer(which uses some crazy EQ/DSP to make white appear whiter, its author has confirmed it on computeraudiophile.com), and LilithPlayer(which is supposedly the bestest bit-perfect player on PC....and it sounds identical to foobar in KS on my system)

there's a big part of placebo in these "better-than-bitperfect" players....on PC.

and I'm not sure what jitter you guys are talking about, considering audio jitter is not audible...apparently : http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/ji...amples-424172/

here's the jitter added in these samples(which is much worse than what you will EVER get IRL) :
Quote:
Track 1 - 30ns
Track 2 - 0ns
Track 3 - 10ns
Track 4 - 100ns
Track 5 - 10ns
can you identify #2 and #4 in a DBT?
post #35 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by cerbie View Post
.....
1) What "jitter" does iTunes add? It takes data, decodes it, and sends it to be buffer well before it is needed. There's no place for jitter to be introduced. Now, if it can't always get the data out in time, then there may be other latency problems. But, if that's the case, how can it do that, and also succeed at providing bit-perfect output? A paradox, have we?.....
[/size]
The possible explanation can be...

Data is sent over the USB in bursts. The burst profile ie the length of the burst and duration between the burst can change based on the SW which manages these bursts or even what runs on the computer can affect this burst profile. The audio clock recovery inside the dacs uses this burst profile to recover the audio clock, so that it tracks the rate of the incoming stream.
Most probably this is the way a different SW causes different jitter spectrum on the audio clock. Now changes in the burst profile may not cause pathological failures like dropouts but still change the jitter of the audio clock.
post #36 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrith View Post
If you're a Mac user who is used to using iTunes on a Mac, I suppose it might be nice to hear something different, and maybe it "sounds" better.

Let us not forget the basic facts when considering the idea of a music playing program that "sounds" better...a music playing program has one task (aside from its User Interface): read data from a storage device (e.g. hard drive) into memory, then tell a music driver (via some protocol like ASIO, KernalStreaming, DirectSound, and the Mac/Linux/whatever equivalents) to play the data that is in this buffer. The buffer management required for this type of thing is the sort of code that first-year computer science students write.

Claims that one program sounds different than another are usually, in my experience, the result of one (or both) program(s) doing more than the simple chain described above (usually inserting some kind of re-sampler or other DSP effect into the chain which manipulates the data). Such programs are best avoided, in my experience.

So, I'm not going to say it's impossible that a program sounds significantly different than another (it could, when using different DSP effects or re-sampling), but claims that a program sounds different when outputting the same ("bit-perfect") data as another program are about the equivalent of someone saying that this post would have been a lot better if I had used Internet Explorer rather than Firefox.
Best post in this thread. /threaded
post #37 of 698
Hi Everyone, We are the dealer for Sonic Studio Amarra. I can answer any questions, setup demos of the software for people etc. I am a long time Head-Fier too, though I haven't posted a lot.

Amarra software works with iTunes. When you play a lossless AIFF or WAV file Amarra will mute iTunes and play that file through it's own sound engine. When any other file is played it will be routed through iTunes as usual.

Also Amarra will automatically change sample rates when a high resolution file is playing. So you can have a playlist of many resolutions and it will play without having to change anything. Amarra has also been optimized to play high resolution files, so in a properly working system there should be no pops, ticks, stutters etc. that can plague high resolution playback. Amarra also supports 24/192 which iTunes doesn't. So Amarra can make your system high resolution ready.

Amarra is not adding EQ or anything additive to the signal chain. Amarra's software uses Sonics Solutions SSE sound engine for playback. This technology has been developed by Sonic for over ten years, and has been built from the ground up to support high accuracy and fidelity to the original file. The engine manipulates the music file with less steps than iTunes or other consumer software, and the work it does is done with much more complex algorithms. It is accurate to many more zeros than iTunes or any other consumer software. This is why Head-Fiers are finding Amarra sounds better than iTunes.
post #38 of 698
Do you perhaps know why its not released for pc?
post #39 of 698
hi tuckers, thanks for the info.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tuckers View Post
Amarra also supports 24/192 which iTunes doesn't.
incorrect. iTunes most definately does support 24/192; although as of v8.1.1.10 there was a bug in the Windows version which caused truncation problems with hi-res files. Not sure if it's been fixed in the new 8.2 release, but it is a known bug.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tuckers View Post
The (Amarra processing) engine manipulates the music file with less steps than iTunes or other consumer software, and the work it does is done with much more complex algorithms. It is accurate to many more zeros than iTunes or any other consumer software. This is why Head-Fiers are finding Amarra sounds better than iTunes.
I certainly don't expect Sonic to expose any proprietary signal processing algorithm info; nor frankly is it relevant, as playback of the unaltered audio input data (ie with no added processing) is the concept of interest to compare performance of the underlying "engines" (hence the "much more complex algorithms" are irrelevant for basic playback).

However, your description above begs a few questions:

1/ could you pls expand on the concept "manipulates the music file with less steps"? curious as to what you mean by this, and would appreciate some type of empirical example -- ie what does Amarra do when merely playing back 16/44.1 data with no processing, and at 100% volume (ie no changes to data required for gain manipulation)? since you're comparing to iTunes and others, what do they do differently to use more steps?

2/ could you pls expand on your statement regarding processing resolution ("accurate to many more zeros") and clarify if this means that Amarra with no signal processing selected and volume at 100% is doing

fixed-to-multiple-precision fixed (or fixed-to-float) conversion of all input data > no processing > and then reformatting back to ie 16-bit fixed

for output of the integer data for onward transmission? in what mathematical data processing format is Amarra working, and (as you are implying this is the reason for different "sound" vs iTunes) can you identify how this compares to iTunes mathematics? I would presume if this is a marketing point, Sonic is prepared to identify the differences?

Also, does Amarra have any operating mode in which it can pass the original input data samples unaltered and unconverted (to any other mathematical format)? Or, as above, does it alway convert and then reconvert the data ie fixed > float > fixed?

thanks!
post #40 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuckers View Post
Hi Everyone, We are the dealer for Sonic Studio Amarra. I can answer any questions, setup demos of the software for people etc. I am a long time Head-Fier too, though I haven't posted a lot.

Amarra software works with iTunes. When you play a lossless AIFF or WAV file Amarra will mute iTunes and play that file through it's own sound engine. When any other file is played it will be routed through iTunes as usual.

Also Amarra will automatically change sample rates when a high resolution file is playing. So you can have a playlist of many resolutions and it will play without having to change anything. Amarra has also been optimized to play high resolution files, so in a properly working system there should be no pops, ticks, stutters etc. that can plague high resolution playback. Amarra also supports 24/192 which iTunes doesn't. So Amarra can make your system high resolution ready.

Amarra is not adding EQ or anything additive to the signal chain. Amarra's software uses Sonics Solutions SSE sound engine for playback. This technology has been developed by Sonic for over ten years, and has been built from the ground up to support high accuracy and fidelity to the original file. The engine manipulates the music file with less steps than iTunes or other consumer software, and the work it does is done with much more complex algorithms. It is accurate to many more zeros than iTunes or any other consumer software. This is why Head-Fiers are finding Amarra sounds better than iTunes.

I never used mac, and nor do I use itune, so I don't know what's better or worse than it. However, even if you said are true, other than some marketing staff you did not explain(the Sonics Solutions SSE sound engine thing), it still would NOT BE ANY BETTER than foobar2000 AT ALL.
post #41 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuckers View Post
Amarra is not adding EQ or anything additive to the signal chain. Amarra's software uses Sonics Solutions SSE sound engine for playback. This technology has been developed by Sonic for over ten years, and has been built from the ground up to support high accuracy and fidelity to the original file. The engine manipulates the music file with less steps than iTunes or other consumer software, and the work it does is done with much more complex algorithms. It is accurate to many more zeros than iTunes or any other consumer software. This is why Head-Fiers are finding Amarra sounds better than iTunes.
Would it be accurate to say that what Amarra implements is a proprietary real-time engine for servicing audio streams?

FYI, since I imagine many folks won't know what that implies: real-time in the sense that it records system state info (such as latencies), finds patterns in them, and is thus able to predict the behavior of the system well enough to offer nearly perfect data output at a specified time (including predicting when that time will come next, which a user-space app tends not to have much control over).
post #42 of 698
Bojamijams, Amarra is not released for PC because the technology has been developed on the Mac OS platform for over ten years. The technology does not translate directly to the PC platform.

As to the more technical statements and questions, I am not qualified to answer, but I will forward to Jonathan Reichbach the CEO and lead developer and post anything he responds with. I can say that he has stated that Amarras conversion from fixed to float to fixed is one of the examples of accomplishing it with more accuracy than iTunes accomplishes.

Regardless of the technical arguments, what really matters is if you hear a difference and find that the difference is of value to you. It's really easy to demo, you can with a single button switch between Amarra and iTunes.
post #43 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuckers View Post
Regardless of the technical arguments, what really matters is if you hear a difference and find that the difference is of value to you.
respectfully tuckers, i think that what you will find in the head-fi community -- an similarly in several other online fora where the evolution of computer audio playback is of great interest -- is that another item which matters is ethical transparency from vendors in objective substantiation associated with their marketing claims. if the underlying issue is a (technically) straightforward one of bit-perfect transmission of simple integer data from computer storage onward through a transmission interface, well, this is something which is most certainly not rocket science, at least it hasn't been to the telecoms and computer industries for many decades....

and yes indeed there will be customers who will perceive, in their own individual price-to-value worldview, that amarra brings them value. noone will begrudge you expanding to the adjacent market segment of well-heeled audiophiles, in order to develop incremental revenue for sonic's R&D applied these many years to the pro audio world: amarra is an obvious derivative software product opportunity.

i have no doubt that, if processing of audio samples is involved (dsp effects, or especially software-based volume control), then yes, Sonic's experience most probably provides good algorithms, good dithering of the digital volume control, etc.

and algorithm implementations which run on sonic's branded metric halo interface hardware's internal dsp engine are also undoubtedly well-implemented.

however, aside from automatic sample rate switching (indeed convenient, but perhaps not "essential" for a large number of users); the simple issue remains, that if the task at hand is a purist one of basic transport and streaming of audio data from computer memory to output interface; and if the mathematical calculation inaccuracies of basic iTunes / Quicktime engine / OS X were to be below threshhold of perception; then it is relevant to consider the price/value equation (or diminishing returns) of a software package with exceptionally premium pricing (USD 1500) in comparison with native iTunes / Quicktime (free).

it would be interesting to see sonic posting additional detail wrt results of technical measurement and analysis of actual distortion, noise floor etc loopback / null testing measurement vs iTunes / Quicktime native playback; at zero signal attenuation (ie no effect of digital fader); for say 16/44.1 and various permutations of high-res audio data up thru 24/192. (nB: links which sonic can provide to any existing public info such as whitepapers, technical measurements etc would no doubt be appreciated; perhaps there is something regarding processing characteristics, format, etc for the sonic SSE audio engine? there is of course the "why amarra" cutsheet on the amarra website mentioning 64-bit float, however some of the examples presented are interesting in light of, ie, demonstrated public null testing results for iTunes / Quicktime showing exceptoinally low residual error when processing 16/44.1. perhaps the amarra benefit only comes in for processing of hi-res?)

none of the above commentary is intended in any negative or combative spirit. rather, it's simply a suggestion that if you're going to claim in public marketing directed at another (or other, plural) product(s) that one software player "sounds better" than another, there needs to be not only anecdotal info, but a significant body of substantiating justification would be quite appreciated.

very much looking forward to your followon postings with hopeful inclusion of commentary from jr

thanks!
post #44 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reader View Post
I never used mac, and nor do I use itune, so I don't know what's better or worse than it. However, even if you said are true, other than some marketing staff you did not explain(the Sonics Solutions SSE sound engine thing), it still would NOT BE ANY BETTER than foobar2000 AT ALL.
I'm afraid it is. I have multiple customers using it now and they all report the same. My reference was PC and Foobar before getting a Mac Mini and Amarra. Now Amarra is superior to ANY PC scenerio I have tried.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
post #45 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reader View Post
I never used mac, and nor do I use itune, so I don't know what's better or worse than it. However, even if you said are true, other than some marketing staff you did not explain(the Sonics Solutions SSE sound engine thing), it still would NOT BE ANY BETTER than foobar2000 AT ALL.
You never used a Mac, and then obviously not Amarra either. STILL you claim that it would "NOT BE ANY BETTER than foobar2000 AT ALL". What do you base this on since you have never compared them?
Would like to know!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Amarra - anyone using it?