Tag Archives: media player software

Amarra – Sonic Studio’s amazing audio engine for iTunes

Easy Apples…

If you are an iMac or MacBook or Mac Tower user and like iTunes but have been wondering what you might do to get better sound out of it, or how to support hi-res formats that iTunes does not, check this out.

Amarra – The Purist Music Player

From Sonic Studio, Amarra is a software app that can install and link to iTunes on a Mac OS X computer. By link to iTunes I mean Amarra will run along with iTunes and take over the playback of your audio tracks whenever it can (which is most of the time). You can also create playlists in Amarra itself and run it without iTunes.

What you hear as a result is a much better quality playback than what you are used to hearing because the audio engine (for playback) used by Amarra is far superior to iTunes.

It’s that simple even though 20 some years have elapsed since Sonic Studio’s technology started being used for professional mastering and playback in major studios for CDs and films.

You can get the benefit of their hard work boiled down to a very simple and spiffy app called Amarra. Here’s how they describe it:


Deep, analog, natural, and musical; these are words we hear our customers use when describing their Amarra listening experiences.

With Amarra, you’ll have many “OH WOW!” moments even with tracks you’ve listened to for years. That’s because Amarra enables your music to sound the way it was intended to be heard – beautifully.

If you’re looking for the best sound, try Amarra in your system.


MY HAPPY OFFER TO YOU – Save 50% off Amarra

If you buy any of my HRA/DSD64 + FLAC 24/88.2 download albums “The Window“, “Crossing“, “Acoustic Trio – DSD Sessions” online at http://www.davidelias.com between now and Memorial Day, I will send you a link/coupon that allows you to buy Amarra for about 50% off the $189 retail price. It’s then only $99 for you to buy and register Amarra.

To those of you who know me as a PC guy, the answer to your likely question is: Yes I’m using an iMac at home and it has the lastest Amarra player version 2.6.

Feel free to email me with questions…contact me here

I like good sounding music and here is as much a no-brainer to that end as I’ve ever heard. I also have tens of thousands of songs in iTunes which I’ve been hearing for a long time… Amarra gave them all a new life for my ears without having to do more than install it.

Aloha,

DE

Advertisements

push me some surround – multichannel dsd downloads

Direct Stream Digital (DSD)

Direct Stream Digital (DSD)

It was bound to happen, I just didn’t know when. But as of today I have added the 5.1 multichannel mixes for my 2 released SACDs “The Window” (2003) and “Crossing” (2005) to my online DSD Download offerings.

This is not completely coincidental to the fact that Sony and several audiophile retail outlets have recently announced their commitment to a Hi-Res Audio (HRA) initiative that includes consumer audio products (players, amplifiers, etc.) that support DSD (Direct Stream Digital, the hi-res digital format) as well as DSD download services.

Check out what Sony is doing with DSD Downloads as of just the past week’s annoucement:
http://discover.store.sony.com/High-Resolution-Audio/

More on all of that on an upcoming blog post…it’s draft title is:
when music matters…climbing back out of a sonic hole

DSD Downloads Grow Up…

I released the first DSD Disc download of “The Window” as stereo DSF files in November, 2009. This year I released the same DSF file format for “Crossing”. It was only a question of time before I put the 5,1 surround sound mixes (multichannel or MCH) online for downloads, now that some of the media player software such as foobar2000 supports it, and some of the external DSD DACs out there such as exaSound’s e28 also support it.

It’s a new ready-to-sit-down-and-listen world all over again. We recorded “The Window” directly to DSD almost exactly 11 years ago, in the 3 days prior to the Thanksgiving weekend in Boulder in 2002. Most of the world was still on 56k dialup modems and ISDN BRI was running at 64k. You wouldn’t try downloading a 500MB DSD MCH file (one song!) under that setup.

You can read Brian Moura’s High Fidelity Review accounts of both of these original SACD works when they were first released the links below.  His post this afternoon of my new DSD MCH downloads is at Quadrophonic Quad

The Window (High Fidelity Review – 2003)
http://www.highfidelityreview.com/da…est-album.html

The Window

The Window – DSD stereo and MCH download

David Elias – Acoustic Guitar, Vocal & Harmonica
Sally Van Meter – Dobro, Weissenborn & Lap Steel
Matt Flinner – Mandolin & Bouzouki
Ross Martin – Electric & Baritone Guitars
Eric Thorin – Upright Bass
Marc Dalio – Drums
John Magnie – Keyboards & Accordion

Album Tracks
1. Freedom On The Freeway
2. Summer Wind
3.
Go Down Easy
4.
The Old King
5.
Something About You
6.
Half An Hour Away (Intro)
7.
Half An Hour Away
8.
Her Name Is A.
9.
Transcendental Deprivation Part III
10.
Season Of The Fall
11.
The Window (Intro)
12.
The Window
13.
Picture Of Nothing
Crossing (High Fidelity Review – 2005)
http://www.highfidelityreview.com/ne…und-sound.htm

Crossing - DSD stereo and MCH download

Crossing – DSD stereo and MCH download

David Elias – Acoustic Guitar, Vocal & Harmonica
Sally Van Meter – Weissenborn Guitar & Dobro
Matt Flinner – Mandolin
Eric Thorin – Upright Bass
Eric Moon – Keyboards & Accordian
Marc Dalio – Drums
Chris Kee – Upright Bass
David Philips – Pedal Steel
John Harvard – Electric Guitar
Peter Tucker – Drums
Reid Dennis – Percussion
Eric Humphrey – Organ

Album Tracks
1. Crossing (Lonely Bells)
2. Mend My Mind
3. Close My Eyes
4. Morning Light / Western Town
5. Rodeo On A Ridge
6. Red Tail Guide
7. Heaven’s Destiny
8. One More Savior
9. Above The Creek
10. The Riddle Song
11. Changing Down
12. If I Had My Way

Why Surround?

There were some very specific goals that I had in mind for these surround projects which Brian’s articles refer to.  To list them succinctly:

  • minimal micing
  • live studio stereo mixes of the performance and the room to provide natural reverb in the mixes (stereo and surround)
  • a minimal 8 tracks on the Sonoma DSD recorder to be able to more directly recreate the ambient surround characteristics of the band in a semi- (The Window) or full circle (Crossing)
  • live performances in good studios to capture the natural bleed and ghosting of the instruments across the mics using no isolation, even for the drum kit
  • no edits or overdubs for 99% of the sessions to accomplish accurate acoustic reproduction
  • lots of space :)

From Brian’s articles there are quotes of mine stating both projects’ intentions:

“The Window has gone from being simply an idea of recording an acoustic band, live in a studio, to being a Super Audio CD (SACD) in Surround Sound (Multichannel). We recorded material live as a full band for 3 days. The multichannel result is something you don’t often get to hear. A 5.1 surround sound playback of a live studio recording without cut/paste edits or overdubs. Both the texture and the space come through in the playback, and are most present when listening to the disc on an SACD multichannel audio system. If it sounds “really live” it’s because it was recorded that way in Direct Stream Digital (DSD) with multichannel playback in mind. It’s as if you are sitting in the middle of the studio listening to the band recording.”

On Crossing…

“Philosophically and creatively I really prefer 8 tracks if possible. This keeps micing to a minimum which has benefits and I think lends to the more natural recreation of the ambient space in both surround and stereo. The other advantage for me with 8 tracks is that the DSD recordings are digitally mixed on the Sonoma which keeps it first generation all the way through to the DSD layer you are hearing.”

“Most of these songs were recorded as live takes with no overdubs. Exceptions to that approach are tracks 4, 9 and 12 [Crossing] which introduced the electric instruments as overdubs. This SA-CD was recorded directly to DSD and captured the natural ambient characteristics of the band and the room with the intention of mixing for both Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound. With that in mind, we used a minimal approach to microphones and seated the musicians in a circle.”

Brian’s summary critique reads like this:

“When describing the sound of Elias’ previous Super Audio CD release The Window, I described it as ‘a reference quality recording’. Crossing is clearly in the same category and some might even say it sounds a bit better.”

Why DSD??

This post just went up on Positive Feedback Online as a reblog of mine. Chief Editor David W. Robinson was kind enough to do the layout and post it with photos and text I had provided him with. It is relevant to the whole discourse here… My Blogosphere Thoughts on DSD

If you are an audiophile and are getting into multichannel DSD playback or are thinking about it, both of these album downloads ($24.95) are Pure DSD without edits and overdubs except the electric guitar and pedal steel added to the 3 tracks mentioned above. I’m thrilled that the consumer products out there in the forms of both software media players and hardware DSD USB DACs allow the discerning listeners to get to the very very nice artistic side of tech + art = art...

I sure hope all this paves the way for more artists to turn to DSD as their recording media of choice,

Aloha!

Feel free to post your comments!

Feel equally free to contact me with questions you have using the contact form on my web site!  http://www.davidelias.com/contact.html