Sound quality Studio vs 3.5?

Love threads like this one…an impossible question to answer. Sound quality is an entirely subjective and personal experience dependent upon your ears and brains response to signals from the ears. Only solution is to try both AS and 3.5, decide which you prefer and go for your preference. Exactly the same way as you select your Hi-Fi equipment.


Yes. To some extent you are right. I find my mood, the atmosphere, humidity, my hunger along with many other factors influence how I percieve/receive the audio … even at a live performance, a hundred musicians on stage, there can be differences.

However, over a load of time, comparing and contrasting, AS seems to to be a better experience. Even my 16/44 XLD rips sound better.

Still it’s all up to you how you see it. I can see hours of discussion and I’ve learned a lot in last few weeks of AS.


Same here on mood etc, I prefer AS but then I know some people will prefer 3.5. It’s personal taste. After all, I have friends who love their Beats headphones and think my Focal Stellia and Shure KSE 1500 electrostat purchases are a crime against humanity!


Absolutely, music enjoyment is an emotional response and the good old placebo effect plays a large role as well. Audiophiles have been arguing over what sounds better for ages under the pretense that they were being objective. Throw in some self-admitted non-audiophiles into the mix, and it’s no wonder we have such differing opinions on AS sound quality.


For what it’s worth my fresh install is also 0.2GB.

Forget I spoke, buffer level changes between local play and streaming play. Doh. 0.2GB is when playing local, Qobuz default seems to be 15GB.

Posted this a few days ago in its own topic. Should have posted it here:

No question the release of Studio has been fraught with well documented issues. Hopefully they can be resolved but if not, if the software were to remain as it is right now in my room, I will purchase the subscription. Here, the sound, the volume control, and the GUI are all a significant improvement over 3.5. I want to describe these improvements but first I want to say that SQ is my paramount concern. I used XXHighend for years for that reason.

The Sound When Studio was first released I was surprised at the improvement in SQ. 3.5 clearly sounded a little fuzzy and less transparent than Studio. Also, I found Kernel Streaming sounded better than Wasapi, which sounded a bit noisy. (ASIO was somewhere between the two.) As others have reported, the sound of Studio changed a bit with the first updates and the sound change prompted me to change my settings. (That there was a change in sound does remain disconcerting.) Now, with the changed Studio sound, Wasapi makes the music come alive and Kernel Streaming sounds muffled. But even with these changes Studio/Wasapi sounds more transparent, tonally accurate, and musical than 3.5 in my room. My DAC is a fully updated Yggy. I don’t use any upsampling in the software because, to my ears, it constrains the sound. The Yggy of course does its thing. Haven’t heard my system sound this good in a long time. I am smiling and am hoping future updates only serve to leave the SQ unchanged or improved. Am having faith and feel confident that will be the case, though there be some bumps in the road.

The Volume Control I do not use a pre-amp so I rely on decent digital volume control. Lack of convenient volume control was one of the reasons I morphed out of XXHighEnd. Music data goes from my server (Paredo Audio) to an original Sonore Signature Series (2015), with I2S and SPDIF/BNC output; I use the SPDIF output to the Yggy. The Sonore has a built in precision volume control that Audirvana recognizes, so both 3.5 and Studio, provide the volume slider without activating software volume control. I learned with 3.5 that activating software based volume control and keyboard keys in Audirvana was neither necessary or desirable using the Sonore. Having those options activated degrades the sound a bit. With the Sonore/Audirvana connection I am able to change volume in .2 db increments with the slider which is just better than any software player I’ve tried. One can truly dial in the sound. But with 3.5 it could be a fight to get the slider, using a mouse, to go exactly where I wanted it. That fight has 85% disappeared in Studio and I am so glad. Although the “-+” buttons above the slider in Studio do not currently work, I will be in volume control nirvana when they do, especially if they are operable on the remote app too.
On the question of whether or how much digital volume control changes the bit stream, and hence the sound, I don’t know what to say. Every pre-amp I’ve tried here degrades the sound, though the digital volume is set to no attenuation/bit perfect.

The GUI The GUI with its many features strikes me as way cooler than 3.5. But the feature that I have most appreciated is the ease of determining the source of metadata problems and correcting them. I discovered this improvement when I was trying to figure out where Studio displays the Windows Explorer file path. Not intuitive, but once you’ve found it, it becomes a breeze to compare tracks and edit metadata. It’s also great that Studio provides a folder icon that takes you directly to the folder of the track in a Windows Explorer dialog box. It would be awesome if from that window’s dialog box one could select tracks to load into Studio. Maybe someday.

A lot of problems folks have described here have not been issues for me: only a couple of crashes early on and no studdering ever but I don’t do DSD. Though about half the time I have to use Task Manager to exit out of Studio and I’ve had some issues with 24/192 tracks playing consecutively: playback sometimes just stops at the end of each track. Hopefully these Issues will be addressed when other more pressing issues have been addressed for folks. In a way it seems like all digital playback is still a bit beta. Roon is great and better regarding convenience and information but just doesn’t sound as good as Studio. XXHighend is the best I’ve ever heard and my system now is finally close to that sound. But it is complicated and a bit clunky in its operation. I haven’t heard HQ Player but I trust the ears of those whom I know have compared it to XXHighend, and, like XXHighend, HQ Player sure seems way complicated for the average guy who just wants easily accessible fantastic sound. I’d hate to see Audirvana fail.

Hey Damien, send me the bill. Thanks.


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Completely agree with all your comments.

I do like Audirvana Studio’s sound (v 1.2). The sound is detailed, lively and never fatiguing! This is an important feature for me. Whenever I listen to Roon, some albums just trigger listening fatigue, but never Audirvana Studio. Though, I could say the same about Audirvana 3.5, but my impression is that Studio is a tad more detailed and less laid back than 3.5.
All in all, I like the sound of Audirvana Studio very much!


You guys are going to hate me, if you don’t already :slight_smile:

I have both Mac Audirvana 3.5.44 and the latest 3.5.46 running on system.
As I was comparing Audirvana 3.5.44 and 3.5.46, noticed that veiled/fatiguing/muffled/pushed-back feel from AS is also present in 3.5.46 :slight_smile:
Not sure if this is intentional or what.

Marantz HD-DAC1, Sennheiser HD800S

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Thanks for sharing. I thought about updating to 3.5.46 but because of mixed feelings I was very reluctant to do it. This might be the right decision.


No problem. The difference is not huge and also different recordings reveal it to a different degree.
But what you can do is copy the current app and name it with the version number then launch the original app file and let it update. If you’re on Mac.
Then you can judge for yourself.

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You’re right… class D amps are trash and I’m done with them. Class A Schiit Aegir all the way!

I’m on board 100%

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There are plenty of good Class D amps. Some are even better than few Class AB. May be the one you used is bad.

To me 3.5 sounds better. More natural and warm side of neutral. From a MacMini with Uptone Audio MMK, a good LPS and power & DC cables, and a good fuse.

AS sounds more focused, lively with better bass control. But sounds too processed to me and highs sometimes get too sparkly for my taste. I tried 1.0 and 1.1. Yet to try 1.2!

I will stick to 3.5 for the moment.

I don’t mind the subscription model unless AS brings in track suggestions like Roon does. Otherwise I see zero value in paying recurring fee. I don’t give a rats bum if there’s internet radio, additional track/album info etc etc. Personally I don’t care for these. Just my opinion.

PS: I think AS launch was just horrible timing…seems half baked…no remote seriously?? Are you kidding me??

Update: June 15th 2021

I have been comparing 3.5.46 and Studio 1.4.0

Studio now sounds better to me. It’s cleaner, better focus, livelier and with better bass control.


You are correct. I have noticed it too, but in .43/.44 & .46

I rolled back to .40/.41. They sound better to me.

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@conos1983 @VoyagerDude can you please share with 3.5.41-3.5.44 version for MacOS?

I just don’t think I like D… so far I’ve had a $3000 super integrated and a $1500 stereo one by a reputable company ( edit - PS audio) and the is no comparison to this new class A ( Schiit Aegir).

The class A sounds like cohesive music while class D sounds like an ok stereo… kind of.

I’m sure there is a class D better but for how much money? And why? I don’t need power when I have 97 DB sensitive speakers.

Keep in mind I’m using Zu Omen speakers… very revealing of tone and timing, and immediacy/dynamics.

Riddle me this… show me a class D headphone amp that sounds good and rivals class A?

I’m using on Big Sur

Let me look for those. Sorry wasn’t near a computer