Audirvana Studio vs Audirvana sound quality

I’ve been using Audirvana for two years, about the the sound quality it is the best player. Today I tested Audirvana Studio and to my immense amazement, the sound is not the same. The two players sound similar, but not the same. For me the old Audirvana is the best, more clear, more details, more sound stage.
I don’t want to switch to the new one.

You’re lucky. You can save some money.

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Yes, thanks.
But I’m worried that support and development for the old version will be discontinued.

It will work for a while. When the moment comes and it no longer works, you’ll re-assess your options.

Do you upsample?

No upsample, players tuned with the same parameters, same mac, same cable, same DAC, same ampli, same headphone. Then after the firsts try session, after some hours I have done another test with different DAC, ampli and headphone, the results are the same.

Check back from time to time. This might change.

Which version do you use?


I am interested in your comments. Do you use a Mac or Windows 10? I ask because I have both 3.5 and Studio with Windows 10 and while I agree that they are different I find the exact opposite with regard to the actual difference. What I hear is that Studio is much, much clearer with better soundstage/imaging and immense amounts of detail. I do feel that the old version is maybe a little more ‘natural’, even more ‘analogue’ sounding. In Studio I use kernel streaming setting and sometimes upsamling with R8brain setting, sometimes with no upsampling, especially if it is a hires source. Maybe you need to try some of the other settings before making up your mind which to retain. Which one sounds ‘best’ depends on the rest of equipment being used. For me, headphones (Sennheiser HD800s) favour Studio but speakers (Quad S4) favour 3.5. Both versions are really good players.


I use Mac Os. I don’t use oversampling.
I have a lot of headphones including (Sennheiser HD800s).
The new studio version sounds more opaque in the high frequencies.
In my tests, what you write seems to be reversed between the two versions.
Thank you for your interest.

I’m doing some other tests:

  • The new studio version (1.7.2) have more details, more focus, more sound stage;

  • the traditional version (3.5.50) is more bright, the voices and the meddle-high frequency are further ahead.

I suggest to developer to put an option in the new AS to set the sound like the 3.5.50, so all the user can switch to new version safely.

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These subjective observations have some value, however there exist many variables that feed into these perceptions regarding harmonic, dynamic and spatial interpretation… Primarily, these interpretations will always be rationalized by one’s imbued biases… Simple changes to the harmonic and dynamic energy distribution, and flow of the signal in one’s playback system will affect these elements of perception… like having codified a preferred sound-quality, by nature of the specific amalgamation of components one’s system is composed-of, in order to reach that preferred state of sound-quality… In other words, generally, one’s amalgamation of system components is the result of a process that produces the preferred quality of sound, and disturbing that satisfying balance by changing players, more-likely-than-not will be perceived subjectively different, and again, left to one’s inherent biases, which are intrinsically tied to the system design preferences… In the case of the latest macOS 12.0.1 “Monterey”, the symbiosis of Audirvana Studio 1.7.2 and the Apple Core Audio system, to my ears, is producing an extremely satisfying listening experience, albeit, this is my own subjectively biased interpretation based on my playback system configuration and how I have Audirvana Studio configured, which includes using an Audio Units plug-in and SoX upsampling to DSD128.

What I understand from the above☺️ Sharing an opinion on a forum about what the difference is in software and hardware is useful, but has to be seen in the right context.
When I’m used to a ‘sound’ and it gets technically (objectively) better. That doesn’t mean I think it’s better. And something that is objectively worse can still be experienced as better. This may be different after a period of getting used to the new ‘standard’.


There exists inherent and imbued biases in one’s construct of “objectivity” and the application of objectivity in the process of system design and analysis… Ultimately, all interpretations regarding quality-of-sound, are a product of one’s selective biases and are subjective in nature. It is near impossible to perceive sound-quality objectively, as imbued biases will always factor into the interpretation… Context is intrinsically tied to those interpretations and the best we can do is to find an amalgamation of system components that provides a satisfying listening experience, limited only, by one’s financial boundaries, technical acumen and hearing neurology/acuity… In regard to the technology of Audirvana Studio, there exists a level of technical acumen being applied and exploited that has little to be critical about in the realm of moving bits around the system architecture… However, sometimes “perfectness” of a design may not be so appealing to the subjective interpretations of any given individual and the perceptual impressions are intrinsically tied to the contextual world the interpretation is made. Perfectness does not necessarily equate to satisfying quality-of-sound in the subjective experiences of the individual hearing neurology/acuity and the imbued biases one holds.

“…How do you improve on perfection?”

When the subjective construct of “perfection” is challenged by an experiential paradigm shift. :wink:

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Did you compare by any chance with the former versions 3.5.44 and 3.5.46?


No, I have not compared the previous versions because I’m evaluating AS only from 1st November.
Before, for about two years I have been using traditional Audirvana with constant updates without special problem in the sound presentation.

I’m not saying that the new AS is worse, I’m saying that the presentation of the sound is different and the only thing I don’t like in AS is the fact that the vocals and high frequencies are further back than the standard version. If the developer put an option in AS to set this presentation like the old version, then the AS will be perfect.

Now I’m testing AS 1.8.0 and 1.8.1, now the sound of AS is more close to Audirvana 3.5.50. Different as the begin but with less difference.

In theory, if you use no upsampling, no software volume control, no volume equalization, no DSP, etc, it would be a “bitperfect” play, in which case there should be no QS difference between Audirvana 3.5 and AS (or Roon), if you are using the same gear to listen to the same sequence of bits.

In theory, but in real case, with all the same hardware only different software player I have difference, always the same differences:

  • Audirvana 3.5.50 has a more bright sound, the voices are more ahead and high frequency are slightly pushed.

  • AS has more focus, more headstage, more distance between the instruments, the basses are slightly pushed.

I’ve done a lot of tests and that’s it.
With a bright hardware I prefer AS, with warm hardware I don’t know, maybe I prefer A 3.5.50.