Audirvana Plus 3 integrates MQA decoding

Audirvana Plus 3, announced at CES 2017, is the first audiophile player that integrates the MQA Core Decoder, enabling:

  • MQA capable audio devices to benefit from the complete MQA audio quality. In this case Audirvana Plus continues to bring the strongly audible Sound Quality improvement of its optimized audio engine.
  • Non MQA capable audio devices to benefit from the high resolution (doubled sample rate compared to the encoded file one) thanks to the MQA decoder integrated in Audirvana Plus 3. In this case, Audirvana Plus brings, in addition to the general Sound Quality improvement, the decoding of the MQA file that would be played only at little above CD quality otherwise, losing all its high resolution benefits.

Any MQA file (in FLAC, or other container) will benefit from Audirvana Plus 3 decoder, whether it is in the local library, or read from a streaming service such as TIDAL master.

What is MQA?

MQA is a revolutionary end-to-end technology that delivers master quality audio in a file that’s small enough to stream or download. What’s more, it’s backwards compatible, so will play on any device. And because it’s fully authenticated, you can be sure you’re hearing exactly what the artist approved in the studio.

Audirvana Plus 3 is scheduled for release end of January 2017.

Upgrade will be free for customers who have purchased Audirvana Plus 2 since Christmas 2016.

For those who are attending CES, pay attention to the Macs demoing MQA, you will see the pre-release of Audirvana Plus 3 in action:

2016 in review

2016 has been a great year for Audirvana Plus, with major new features:

  • TIDAL and HIGHRESAUDIO VirtualVault complete integration
  • Rewritten database engine bringing strong improvements in the library manager performance and reliability. And this makes navigation a breeze even with huge database as it has been proven with a 270k+ tracks library
  • Multiple Artists per tracks, albums, names for sort, Full Text Search, Hyperlink Navigation within the whole library as in streaming services catalogs
  • PCM to DSD upsampling, in stereo and multichannel
  • Automatic volume leveling between tracks or whole albums (ReplayGain)
  • Loudness Dynamic Range analysis using the EBU R128 standard, and the DR rating

Stay tuned for great new features and innovation in Audirvana Plus in 2017!

Audirvana Plus 2.6: major update

The new release 2.6 is now available. That is a free update for any user of Audirvana Plus version 2.

This update includes:

  • Improvements in the library manager performance (proven with a 270k tracks library) and reliability, thanks to the rewritten database engine
  • ReplayGain and Loudness Dynamic Range analysis
  • Management of multiple artists per track or album
  • Sort names for artists names, tracks and albums titles
  • Full Text Search and Hyperlink Navigation within the whole library

You’ll find the details on this update in Audirvana Plus 2.6 Update.

 

The winner of HighResMac great test of TIDAL players

“Audirvana Plus 2 is an excellent choice for access to Tidal (…) the audio quality is beyond any doubt. Crisp heights, warm mids, full basses, all transparent and authentic, as well as other recordings and listening opportunities – anyone who is thinking about a Tidal subscription can rely on Audirvana.”

Read more on HighResMac

macOS 10.12 Sierra

Apple has just released macOS 10.12 Sierra that has a regression that breaks Direct Mode.

  • Until they fix it, or I find a user friendly workaround, you have to disable Direct Mode (option in Audio System page of preferences) to get playback to start. In Audirvana Plus 2.5.4, it is disabled by default.
  • If you are Terminal-savvy, there is a way to get it back: you can replace the faulty kernel extension of 10.12, IOAudioFamily.kext, located in /System/Library/Extensions, by the one from El Capitan 10.11.6, if you have a backup. You may need to disable SIP during this replacement operation.

Other than this Apple regression that breaks Direct Mode, Audirvana Plus 2.5.4 is fully compatible with macOS 10.12 Sierra.

Music Browsing & Discovery in TIDAL

Enjoy this video that shows the new features for Browsing and Discovering Music in TIDAL.

It shows the navigation features in the just released Audirvana Plus 2.5.3:

  • All albums titles, artists names are hyperlinks to show the whole album, artist albums
  • Albums descriptions with embedded hyperlinks
  • Artists biographies with embedded hyperlinks
  • All people involved in albums, with hyperlinks for most
  • Artists related to the displayed one (influencers, followers, similar)
  • Top tracks of the displayed artist

Strong increase in Sound Quality with PCM to DSD upsampling

Starting with Audirvana Plus release 2.5.1

This is the ultimate step in upsampling to send to the DAC the closest signal to the one used internally in its DAC chip immediately before the conversion to analog. This enables, with native DSD compatible DACs, to bypass all digital filters and processing done in the DAC chip by those done by Audirvana Plus.

The Mac computer CPU is much more powerful than the DAC chip and thus enables to use much more sophisticated upsampling algorithms to give strongly increased sound quality.

Please note that some very loud tracks have hard clipping. This can create trouble with the sigma-delta modulator that leads to one second of silence on one channel. If this happens, can you first try to set a lower value for the « Safe volume reduction before DSD upsampling » like -3dB? This should help as this rare issue is more likely to happen with very loud tracks.

Enjoy the new great improvement in sound quality!

 

With a DSD compatible DAC, there a new Forced upsampling option in the Audio Filters page of the preferences.

You can tune the output both the iZotope advanced filter settings, and the type of DSD filter.

Capture d’écran 2016-06-06 à 11.03.29

On OS X 10.11.5 and iTunes 12.4 updates

Apple has just released two updates that break compatibility:

  • iTunes 12.4 breaks compatibility with some commands of the scripting interface used to control it, causing crash for applications that use them. Audirvana Plus has been updated in its version 2.5.1.1 to be compatible with both iTunes 12.4 and earlier versions, in its legacy iTunes integrated mode.
  • OS X El Capitan 10.11.5: May 21st update: Audirvana Plus has been updated in its version 2.5.1.4 to have Direct Mode compatible with 10.11.5. No more need to replace the kernel extension.
    Apple has unfortunately introduced a regression with 10.11.5 update that breaks Direct Mode.
    Until they fix it, you have to disable Direct Mode (option in Audio System page of preferences) to get playback to start.
    If you are Terminal-savvy, there is a way to get it back: you can replace the faulty kernel extension of 10.11.5, IOAudioFamily.kext, located in /System/Library/Extensions, by one from a former El Capitan version, if you have a backup. You may need to disable SIP to make this operation.

Great review from IT Inquirer for Audirvana Plus 2.3

IT-enquirerLogo

IT Inquirer, December 31st, 2015: Like good wine, Audirvana Plus becomes better with each version

“To round up, Audirvana Plus 2.3.x is the best audiophile music player available for the Mac. No matter whether you’re playing DSD files, an SACD ISO file or plain CD files, it will auto-switch sounding near-perfect.”

Audirvana Plus 2 awarded AUDIO Excellence Award 2016 from AUDIO ACCESSORY Magazine

AEx2016_logo-ExtraPrize

*About Audio Excellence Award promoted by Japanese magazine AUDIO ACCESSORY
“These awards were established 1978’s with the aim of contributing to the evolution of audio culture and market vitalization. The purpose of these awards is to select prospective best-selling or long-selling genuine preeminent devices featuring superior performance, innovation and audio spirit, from a host of pure audio components brought into the world each year. The distinguished characteristic of these prizes is impartial evaluation by a panel of judges consisting of audio critics having a profound technological knowledge and judges from distributors well versed in the competitiveness of products in the market.”