"Amarra Luxe", bit-perfect music player with Tidal integration - Digital source that sounds analog!

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Rcayn, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. Rcayn

    Rcayn Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2020
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Sweden
    First post, so I'll introduce myself.

    Name's Kevin but I go by Rcayn. I'm 26, live in Sweden with my SO, and have been an aspiring audiophile for 6 years!
    I'm also pretty much broke which complicates things...

    Current gear

    DACs: Audioquest Dragonfly Red, Sabaj D5, Chord Mojo and I also have a Bifrost 2 incoming :)

    Amplifiers: Yamaha AS-2100, Rega Brio.

    Speakers: Rauna Vidar, Fluid Audio F5, AudioPhysic Classic 5

    Headphones: Audioquest Nighthawk 2015, HD650

    Earphones: Obravo Cupid, Oriolus Reborn, TRI I3

    I'm mostly a speaker guy :).

    Amarra breakdown:

    User interface? Horrible.
    Navigation? Horrible.
    Playlist management? Horrible.
    Launched in browser mode? Makes navigation and responsiveness tolerable.
    Client window: https://i.gyazo.com/41795f4f2094931d4a1ce3431b128142.png
    Browser mode window: https://i.gyazo.com/d503da946bd46515044278ed9fb79824.png


    ...Sound quality? Amazing. Liquid, lack of digititus, and properly detached from speakers. As a digital-only guy, I can't listen to music through any other source anymore without immediately hearing that character of music-being-approximated-and-processed as opposed to music-simply-happening-in-time-and-space.

    If pure Tidal is akin to a solid-state amplifier, Amarra is akin to a vacuum tube amplifier.
    There is a true exclusive mode.

    Apparently the guys behind Amarra are using a proprietary code that emulates a more analog sound. It's not a simple EQ. EQ is actually offered inside the player itself. I think they messed with transients to make it sound like this but I don't really have a clue. Music just flows and oozes out the speakers in a way that pure Tidal just doesn't.

    I'm really not here to advertise for Amarra, truly. I am just sharing my discovery.

    Anyone else using Amarra Luxe? There's a free 14-day trial. I feel like there is hardly any discussion of this particular bit-perfect music player.

    Bonus edit:

    If I were to describe more specifically the concrete sonic improvements Amarra has over pure Tidal in my experience and setup;

    Wider, taller, and deeper stage - basically a fundamentally greater dispersion of notes. A non-insignificantly greater sense of reach-out-and-touch ala tubes. There is a very, very slight "greyness" introduced that makes everything have less sheen and vibrancy. The sheen and vibrancy that is lost actually sound artificial in hindsight (hindhearing?)
    The bass has a softer impact, like tubes, but also sounds better integrated with the rest of the frequency spectrum. Highs are smoothed out without losing extension.
    It is like adding a very faint sepia & grain filter to the music which infuses warmth and increases cohesion but subsequently reduces saturation and delineation and absolute sheen.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
    Hooncake likes this.
    Collusion, YMO and Vtory dislike this.
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,567
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Every time I’ve looked into Amarra, I’ve read less than glowing reviews of the UI and the sound, so I’m surprised to see this.
     
  3. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,654
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    If a software player sounds different, it's because it's been coded to sound different. So what's "bit-perfect" and what isn't?

    Listen to the sound you prefer.

    And hey, welcome to the forum. I see you joined today. Please be advised: lurk more.
     
  4. Rcayn

    Rcayn Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2020
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Sweden
    Not sure honestly... All I know is it has a true exclusive mode which prevents playback from any other source while Amarra is on - and it does sound more "pure" with it on.

    I highly prefer the sound of Amarra and it would be cool if more tried it, it changed everything for me. I can't wait to get home from work to spend hours every day in front of my system now!
     
  5. Rcayn

    Rcayn Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2020
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Sweden
    If you like hyper-pristine bell-like clarity with intense bass and forward character, Audirvana is the player for you. It sounds exceptionally clean. However, I have learned that I do not place clarity and cleanliness at the top of the audio quality priority list. It sounds cleaner yes, but also more digital and artificial to me. To others, it may sound more riveting and exciting! Think horn speakers.

    I urge you to try Amarra if you like natural sound. If you happen to crave more excitement, just turn the volume up :)
     
  6. scblock

    scblock Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2019
    Likes Received:
    204
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Denver
    Welcome, this forum is a little different, so don't forget to read the rules and introduce yourself like it says in the banner at the top of the page.

    Also, it's usually preferred to contribute to an existing thread if one exists, rather than starting a new one. The computer audio players thread may be an ideal place for your impressions of this software.

    And listen to @Thad E Ginathom
     
    jexby, YMO and Thad E Ginathom like this.
  7. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE Free Agent

    Staff Member Friend IEMW
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,259
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    California Bay Area (San Francisco)
    About 6 years ago I got JRiver for Mac (everyone said Mac version didn't sound as good as PC version), Audirvana, & Amarra.

    JRiver was the least enjoyable (plain/ok), Amarra was warmer/bigger/more full-sounding, Audirvana split the difference. I ended up using Audirvana more because it was enjoyable plus I wanted to hear what my gear was doing...Amarra sounded richer and also seemed to add a bit more. (Can't remember +/- of UI etc. at that time but doesn't matter now with current gen of player software.) This was a long time ago I know, but the review comments are consistent with my impressions back then.

    Lately, Audirvana has really been bugging me with known library issues (duplicate tracks in every album, not easy to remove stuff without simply deleting the library files) and other playback-related things that pop-up.

    Might be time to check out Amarra again unless I just go to a Raspberry Pi server...
     
    Raicorl and jexby like this.
  8. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE Free Agent

    Staff Member Friend IEMW
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,259
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    California Bay Area (San Francisco)
    ^When I say that Audirvana "split the difference" I actually mean it was enjoyable and sounded better than JRiver for Mac but it was cleaner/more transparent than Amarra (richer/warmer).
     
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,567
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I had to dump Audirvana on the Mac for that same duplicate track issue. It was impossible to deal with and I can't believe there's still no fix for it. It must be amateur hour over there. The sound of it was good, but I recently tried out JRiver again and think it sounds excellent. Might be a difference in versions, or systems, or synergy, but it's my main playback software in my office now (in my main system it's RPi with Volumio and a HAT).
     
  10. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE Free Agent

    Staff Member Friend IEMW
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,259
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    California Bay Area (San Francisco)
    ^Cool, I remember JRiver as having a good interface and hopefully no reason they couldn't improve the SQ in 6 years. :)
    Good to have that choice back. Any annoyances with RPi+Volumio @Merrick ?
     
  11. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,567
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Once you have the RPi itself set up, I've had no annoyances on the hardware end. I run a portable hard drive for the music or I can UPNP stream from JRiver using the JRemote app on my phone. I have a Raspberry Pi 2 and it didn't have enough power on the USB ports to run a USB powered HDD, so I did have to buy a self powered USB hub. I believe the Raspberry Pi 4 finally allows enough power through USB for HDDs without an external power source. That would be the closest thing I can think of to a hardware annoyance, and since I knew in advance I was prepared for it.

    Volumio is a solid interface, but it's not at the level of Roon or JRiver in terms of UI (JRiver makes their own Pi distro but you have to purchase it from them directly and Volumio works as a JRiver endpoint and is free so....). There are some less than intuitive UI choices scattered here and there, but nothing that makes me want to replace it. Volumio has integrated Tidal and Qobuz support but that does require a yearly membership which isn't too expensive. You can also use it as an AirPlay receiver but I could never quite tell if I was getting hi-res with AirPlay 2 or if it capped at 16/44 or 16/48 like a lot of Apple stuff.

    In terms of sound, the Pi2Designs hats are really stellar. I was just posting in the profile updates how much better the 502DAC via BNC sounds on my Gungnir than Gen 5 USB from the same Raspberry Pi device. And last night I ordered a Pi2AES as an upgrade. I'll move the old RPi with the 502DAC to my bedroom system and use it exclusively as a streamer, no attached HDD.

    Using the Pi2AES guide Marv posted, it's a simple setup process and there's very little maintenance you have to do on it afterward. It eliminates a lot of the issues you get running desktop or laptop software and wrangling with USB. I highly recommend it.
     

Share This Page