Subjective Impressions of Sound Quality - Audirvana Studio on Linux

Well, who the heck knows whether what I think I hear reflects reality, but here are my subjective sound quality rankings of Audirvana Studio on the 3 Linux distributions where I have it installed and running:

Fedora 39: Good

Xubuntu 22.04 LTS (low latency kernel): Better

Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS (low latency kernel): Best - I really like this one.


Hi @Jud ,
Concerning Ubuntu you mention Ubuntu Server 24.04 LTS isn’t it rather Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS?

Arrgh, yes for both Ubuntu Server and Xubuntu (though it will be changing soon :slightly_smiling_face:).

Edit: Now corrected, thanks!

Is your assessment of the signal output of a player/bridge → DAC or from an integrated player/DAC set-up?

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

I have done a lot of listening to both, but the main system on which I listen for differences uses a network bridge.

Hi @Jud . Thanks for posting.

I have one computer running Windows and an usb dac.

What If switching to Linux version? If I understand correctly I have to use my Android phone for interface. It îs sq better? I think I can’t use the “drag and drop” function (play an audio file without adding to the library). Thank you.

Hi Daniel -

I don’t know if Linux with a desktop (GUI) sounds better to me, though Xubuntu I think sounds at least as good as Windows. Perhaps better, I haven’t spent enough time on that specific comparison. What sounds best to me is Ubuntu Server (with low latency kernel), but that has no desktop - it’s purely command line. For people accustomed to Windows, that may take some getting used to.

Edit: I don’t know of any way to do drag and drop playback with the remote.

1 Like

Just listened to Mark Knopfler’s “Back on the Dance Floor” from his Down the Road Wherever album on Windows, Xubuntu and Ubuntu Server, and I thought my prior evaluation was reinforced. (Yes, of course this could be expectation bias.) I thought Xubuntu was at least as good as Windows, perhaps a bit better, and Ubuntu Server was better than either one.

With Ubuntu Server I felt there was better imaging/soundstage and more clarity, so that for example words in vocals and backing vocals were more easily distinguished, and their locations were more distinct from the instrumental backing.

This wasn’t a night and day difference (it all sounded quite good), but I did at least subjectively feel it was audible.


Something I keep forgetting to mention is that I opted for the minimized install of Ubuntu Server. (There’s a page in the install where you can select either the standard or minimized installation. Fewer files/apps/processes in the minimized version.)

1 Like

my apologies for the newbie question, can I install the server version on an intel nuc 8 i5? I’ve built a couple of roon ROCK servers but am new to linux.

Sound quality with Audirvana linux Ubuntu Server 23 on RPI 5 (with good linear supply) streaming to Mpd/Upmpdcli on Gentooplayer (on Holo Red) is incredible, very natural…
I really think this linux version is a game changing in RPI Player
Qobuz ok, Tidal OK (but had to relogin)

  • It would be great to solve issue with RAW which seems blocking using Alsa Diretta Driver.
  • There are strange issues with remote about using 2 server. I stop Windows version, I log on Linux one but I have some strange message some time about pb streaming on 2 server.
  • I had also some crash after leaving a while when my phone disconnect from home wifi… Reboot fix it.

Hi @jp11801

That’s exactly what I’ve done, dual-booting with Windows 11.
TBH it’s quite a learning curve, but doable if an idiot like me can achieve it :rofl:

You’ll need to create a partition on your hard drive for the relevant install, min. 40Gb (I went with Debian 12).
Also, and this is VERY important, make a note of your bitlocker recovery key for Windows (if you want to dual-boot).
After installing Linux, I wasn’t able to boot into my Win11 installation and had to enter this key to ‘unlock’ windows.
When it’s all up and running, your PC will by default boot into Linux. This can be changed however by using the GRUB app (not sure if app is the correct terminology for Linux) within Linux to change the boot order and timing.

Good luck :+1:

In case you want a nice graphical boot manager to select your OS, you can try Refind. It can be installed on Windows or Linux (the Linux install is easier IMO).


Cheers Jud, I’ll give that a try :+1:

1 Like


I use to use Minimserver with Bubble. I just tried Audirvana Studio for a couple of hours.

My setup is : server => LAN => streamer => USB => DAC (mainly SOtM devices)

First impressions are good. The sound is different from Minimserver. It’s more “calm” while more “open”. The scene get more amplitude.

I’ll listen for some days more and report more precisely later.

1 Like

OK, so maybe you’ll hate me after this: I tried Audirvana Studio on a rather minimal install of Arch Linux with no desktop/GUI, and I think this may be the best sound yet. (As always, all impressions subjective with my personal system, so YMMV.) I haven’t had a chance to compare yet with Ubuntu Server minimal install, but I just felt blown away by what I was hearing.

Two tracks in particular really impressed me.

“Winter Snow” from JJ Cale’s album Stay Around is one of my favorite tracks from an album I like a lot, so I must have listened to it well over a hundred times. It sounded stunning and brand new to me.

And then on Leonard Cohen’s “If I Didn’t Have Your Love” from his last album You Want It Darker (again, a song and album I’ve listened to a great deal), the circumstances of the recording came through as I’d never heard them before. He was weak and not long for the world; he practically whispers through a lot of the song, yet I could hear him taking care to enunciate things like the "t"s on the ends of words.

Now the reason you might hate me for going on like this is because Arch is not the most user friendly distro - probably not for newbies and definitely not for the faint of heart. (I used help in my install - the ArcoLinuxD/ArcoPro iso for a graphical install, then ran its included back-to-arch script to get rid of the extraneous stuff.) But who knows, maybe when I get a chance to compare with Ubuntu Server it will turn out to sound just as good to me.


Looking for Gentooplayer implementation if Antonello rock :hugs:, Arch linux is not currently really usable on RPI5
But on Ubuntu 23 server sound is really incredible


Cool. In a week or something will switch to Ubuntu Desktop LTS as my main and only os/PC. With desktop interface (does matter so much?). Hope to be a pleasant experience. Used Linux more than ten years ago last tine. No Wine/CrossOver/Virtualisation. Just native apps.

1 Like

These are just informal listening impressions on my part, so no one should get too excited or concerned about them. Anyone who wants to go to the trouble can experiment, and if not, as I said my listening impressions on all the distros were good. :+1:


:grinning: I hope not. But I’m happy to take the adventure. :grinning:

1 Like