Audirvana and other babbling

I bought a Topping D50s DAC about a year ago to improve the sound of my ancient Bluesound N100 streamer via optical output. It didn’t. I believe that Topping’s optical input wasn’t playing well with the N100 because later when I hooked the D50s to a 10 yr old Airport Express router (which has optical out), it sounded better using Airplay. However Airplay is limited to 44.1khz and I was still looking for a way to get Tidal MQA to the D50s. Having an unused 2011 MacBook Air, and after deciding that Roon wasn’t worth it for me, I bought Audirvana to drive the D50s hooked to the Mac. So the Mac was in the Hifi cabinet with the D50s and I was controlling it using Audirvana’s remote app on my iPhone. Sweet! and the Tidal MQA sound seemed like a huge improvement. Audirvana had brought audio Nirvana.

Later I replaced the Mac with an Intel CS325 stick PC running Audirvana. Being about 3 years old It’s much faster and had more RAM than the Mac so I could upsample the D50s to the max without any strain whatsoever.

With plenty of time during the Circuit Breaker, to ease the boredom, I’ve been ordering various cheap ChiFi stuff from Shopee. Acquired a Topping E30 DAC and L30 headphone amp as well as many earphones - ToneKing TO600 and TO200, 1MORE triple driver - as well as a Klipsch X20i IEM which TC Acoustics is clearing out at $319 from $999. All are superb in different ways, especially the high impedance ToneKings (600 ohm), which stretch the limit of my headphone amps. With the E30/L30, I consider the DAC/headphone amp problem to be solved for $300. Adding thousands of $ won’t help.

Around the same time, I discovered that my sony S790 blue ray player could rip SACDs when hacked a little and hooked up to a Mac or PC over a network. I ripped all my SACDs to ISO, which Audirvana is able to read. The DSD ISOs played on the Mac using Audirvana to the E30/L30 and heard on a Toneking TO600 create a sublime sound, all for about $500. Sounds reasonably close to my friend’s $100K system with horn speakers, vinyl, tubes and silver cables, but with less soundstage and deep organ bass doesn’t shake the chair :grinning:

Enough babbling. Any other CB lockdown audio stories?

I guess we need more audiophiles to join the forum :stuck_out_tongue: I’m more of a Home Theater guy. You can invite other XP members to join in…

New Audirvana Studio…IMHO it sucks compared to Roon…but anyone else tried it? Yes I did try it too.

Warning it edits the MusicBrainz tag in your music files…so people are saying.

Roon is still the standard when it comes to organizing music and user interface…. but Audirvana just sounds better to me

hand on heart I couldn’t say one sounded better or worse or even different for that matter.

That’s good. All “bit perfect” players are supposed to sound alike, but they sound quite different to me. Roon, Audirvana, iRiver etc all sound different on high resolution equipment. Audirvana is definitely my taste using the shortest path which is Mac (local SSD)->USB DAC->headphone amp->headphones. All running on battery or linear power supply. Just removing the power brick to the MacBook Air adds instant clarity. Adding anything else into the path like Ethernet, Routers, File servers etc definitely degrades clarity on Jazz, vocals etc. The difference is definitely there, but less noticeable on my speakers. However with good headphones connected to a USB DAC the difference is clear to me. Music Genres like hard rock or grunge its hard to tell.


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