I’m using a Trial version of Audirvana after one year with Roon. Inferior interface but better sound. I was about to go with AV when I realized playback wasn’t gapless. On the Weinberg Symphonies 3&7 album from DG, City of Birmingham Symphony, there’s an audible gap at the end of every track. Not so on Roon, where I have proper gapless playback.
Am I missing something? I will not go with AV, despite its qualities, if it can’t offer such a basic function. I’m using a Macbook Air M1 8Go Ventura.
I tried to test gapless playback with another album, Dark side of the moon. I choose a track in the middle of the album, move the sound bar to the end, get ready for the transition… and AV jumps to another track in the album, not the next one! I’m talking about a Qobuz album, not in my library, so I didn’t screw up track order.
This software is full of rather disappointing surprises. Makes me understand better why Roon is expensive… Which is a pity because AV actually sounds a bit better. I’m still hoping I can solve this.
So I lowered the buffer, launched track one, waited with baited breath, and at the end of track 1… Audirvana jumps to track 10. No idea why or how to make it play one track in order (which worked yesterday).
Another very strange thing is that I have ZERO indication of which track is playing.
And lowering the playback seems to have done the trick.
Brilliant. My main gripes are solved.
Now minor problem to be solved (not a deal-breaker): why can’t I see which track is playing? The title doesn’t appear next to the album picture on the left of the playbar, nor anywhere else that I can see. I can live with this sort of bug, if it’s one, but just in case I’m missing something.
Reducing the playback pre-load buffer to 2GB, mitigates OS system-level disc-caching interrupts that will affect playback integrity… More RAM is better… 8GB of RAM must be managed well in a MacOS platform digital-audio playback scenario like yours.
Thanks. I’m curious to understand Audirvana’s role a bit better. I use it to stream Qobuz via UPnP to a DAC. Both DAC and computer are linked to my router via ethernet. I had always assumed that Audirvana’s (or Roon)'s function was to indicate to the DAC what to play, and that from there the DAC communicated directly with the router to retrieve data without my computer being involved anymore.
My buffer issue (now solved), plus the sound difference I hear between Roon and Audirvana suggests that on the contrary, Audirvana’s still actively involved during playback. This is something I can understand while listening via headphones plugged into my computer, but less so when streaming to a DAC. If you could clarify the data route for me, I’d be grateful. I’d like to understand the process. In a nutshell, what does Audivarna do once “play” is pressed and during playback?
Also, as long as reducing the cache to 2GB works for me, would there be any benefit in having more RAM?
If you don’t have time to answer, or the questions are unclear, don’t worry, I’m happy as it is with the problem being fixed.
Audirvana is the ‘Master’ controller/processor and is your digital-audio playback “engine”… It’s primary function is to retrieve the digital-audio file format data and it’s metadata, from your music streaming source or your music library storage device… It clocks the audio-data (bits) to the proper sample-rate and packetizes the subsequent output of the processing in the proper transport protocol for distribution… In the case you are describing, Audirvana packetizes the processed output signal as UPnP. (one of many transport protocols) for distribution on your network system.
The MacOS requires a fundamental amount of RAM to operate efficiently… When RAM resources are limited because of computational overhead during operations from other processes/applications, the system must use available disc space (virtual RAM) and this process precipitates system level interrupts in the data flow(s) while it is sending and retrieving data from the ‘virtual RAM’ it is using on the storage device.
The level of RAM available has a determinable influence on the performance of both the MacOS and the applications running on the Mac platform(s) that are intrinsically tied to the operational efficiency of the computer in general… More RAM generally translates into better operational efficiencies across all functions of the OS and the applications running on the computer platform.
(Audio File Source) → (Audirvana Engine/DSP/Output Protocol) → (Computer Output Bus Controller) → (DAC)
In your case the “Audio File Source” is Qobuz and your “Output Protocol” is UPnP… your “Output Bus Controller” is the Ethernet bus controller to your networked components.
If you could increase the RAM of the Mac platform to 16GB or more, you could then increase the level of playback pre-load RAM allocation so to facilitate more efficient operation of the Audirvana playback engine.
Probably the most interesting bit of information i’ve read in a long time. Thanks. Again.
Final question (promised). Am I right to assume that if don’t select any upsampling, Audirvana is fully transparent to the signal? In this case, the sound difference I perceive with Roon is 1) psychological or 2) due to the way AV kills off unecessary processes. But not sure how that kind of “noise” would be transmitted to the DAC if they’re not physically connected.
The primary job of an audio-engine is to process and convey the digital-audio signal with upmost integrity… All DSP will alter the bits of a fundamental digital-audio signal, however, if done very well as in Audirvana, the signal-integrity of the source file data and any DSP done on the file is maintained throughout the playback processing all the way to the output bus controller…
The primary variables that will have tangibly audible affect on the sound-quality of the playback are: plug-in processing, the algorithm(s) used in the up-sampling/modulation sub-system and the quality of the integration of the audio-engine with the computer platform operating system API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) so not to create jitter (noise) from buffer over-runs and under-runs, that corrupt the fundamental digital-audio data stream along its path to the output bus controller.
Theoretically, If an up-sampling algorithm/filter is properly done, the mathematics will produce a ‘perfect’ transition from one Bit-Depth and Sample-Rate to one of higher resolution and dynamic range that your DAC most likely will respond better to… In this process of sample-rate conversion, there is typically found adjustments in the filter algorithm, as is in the case of r8Brain and SoX… The fundamental design of these algorithms will have definite influence on the perceived sound-quality of the playback… But, Audirvana will produce a ‘bit-perfect’ digital-audio signal from it’s source files… It’s all about the signal-flow integrity that is intrinsically tied to the quality of buffers and the mathematics used by the audio-engine in aggregate.
It’s my opinion that Roon is doing too many processes simultaneously and this absorbs system-level CPU clock-cycles, which precipitates jitter on the signals and it’s DSP algorithms are compromised by the CPU overhead… Audirvana is like an F1 race-car that does it’s job extremely well.
So, if you are a believer of the influence of ethernet cables the ethernet cable between my mac mini and router could influence the sound quality just like the one between my ethernet switch and streamer/dac?
Yes… If the cable is run in near proximity to electromagnetic-fields (EMF) and exposed to radio-frequency energy (RF)…
There is no error-correction for digital-audio using UPnP protocol.
The most salient aspect to be concerned with is inducted earth/ground differential noise between the components being on different mains-power circuit earth/grounds. This is why optical is the preferred method of high-resolution digital-audio signal transmission on a distributed network. There are many potentials for corruption of the digital-audio signal along the transmission path, especially on a network… This doesn’t mean this data-corruption cannot be mitigated through good engineering dogma in the design of the network.