Best OS for sound quality, macOS or WIndows?

Dear all,

First post. I’m sorry that it doesn’t seem to fit the category “audio formats” that well, but it seems to fit better here than the other categories here?

I’m a long-time audiophile, who is now looking to build a new audiophile system for keeps. It will be built around Audirvana 3.5, and at first my existing Lawry DAC, and later on a new DAC (likely USB based, Chord Electronics).

Now my question: Is there a sound quality difference between Audirvana on macOS versus on Windows? I’m happy to use either, I just don’t want to buy the ‘wrong’ license. :slight_smile:

Related to that, but a bit different – is there a reliability and stability difference? Where are the Audirvana users, are they using Windows or macOS predominantly?

Thank you for your help!

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Hello @Monty-SE, there is no difference between MacOS or Windows 10 version of Audirvana. The choice only remain in the OS you are used to and the one you prefer but in the case of sound quality with Audirvana you’ll get the same result with either of them

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Hi @Antoine,
I am planning to use Audirvana together with Tidal. I just finished my free trial period and I have the following experience; After having performed an A/B test involving a PC (Lenovo VS 10, i5-7200, 8/128 GB) and a MacBook Pro, streaming the same selected tunes via Tidal Master/Audirvana to a Mark Levinson 526 dac-preamp/TAD M600/SF Stradivari. There is a clear audiable preference for the Mac-solution! The difference is most obvious in the midrange - treble area resulting in unfocused perspective, edgy voices and instruments with the PC solution. I have searched forums, talked to fellow musiclovers, but the question still remains. Can you please clarify why there is a differnce?

Why do you need an answer to that? If you can choose which one to use, use the one that you feel is better.

MacOS is just a superior platform. There’s a reason why most of the music production is done on Macs.

When you made your different tests, have you done it with MQA content?

Hi @Antoine,
Thanks for replying. I have used both MQA and non MQA content. Clarifying background: My local hifi retailer demoed Audirvana on a MAC. I didn’t get the same result at home, hence the test. Also, I use PCs both professionally and privately and hesitated to mix PC and MAC in my systems. I also had a spare PC set aside for this… Is there any parameter in Windows that need to be set in a certain way to fit Audirvana the best?

It’s only depending if your DAC manufacturer have a ASIO driver. This is a driver that allows you to get Native DSD playback.

I asked you this because Audirvana detect automatically of a DAC is MQA or not. In your case it’s seems that your pre-amp is not.

Here is what Mark Levinson (the man) thinks about it (around 4:10 mark):

Plenty of ground loop noise is coming from my PC. Some DACs (like, Chord Mojo) do pick this up, and I can hear that noise in the speakers.

Actually, when I connected USB from the front of that PC there was MUCH less noise, but when I play DSD files via Audirvana of Foobar2000, some whistle comes out of speakers when USB is connected this way.

I use MacBook Pro (late 2017) for my main system and tested it with another to see if that noise will be there. But not only the noise gone, the sound is also noticeably better. Both machines have Audirvana installed and I tried them with the same USB cable.

I even tried iFi iSilencer+ USB Audio Noise Eliminator which resulted to even more noise! But it’s probably wrong device as when I bought it I didn’t know it’s a ground loop noise. I knew that after doing more research and running some tests.
Could be due to an old motherboard and the power supply?

My other DACs, like PS Audio DS DAC and Gain Cell DAC don’t pick that noise, are they ignoring/filtering it? I don’t know, but if it’s there, maybe it’s somehow affecting the music signal? If someone knows, please, share your thoughts.

Also, using Avantree Leaf USB Bluetooth Audio Transmitter with the same PC hooked up with Audioengine B1 Bluetooth 5.0 Music Receiver gives quite amazing (to my ears) result and there is zero of that same noise via both RCA or Optical outputs of the BT receiver.

Anyway, my MacBook Pro sounds better to me than my old PC, but I am not sure if a newer PC will sound as bad as my 2012 built PC with even older replacement of it’s Motherboard.

So I am also thinking, whether to buy another Mac for Music, or cheaper, but more contemporary Windows based PC, because I don’t like what I hear from my current PC.