I've been pretty happy with Amarra. Even with the $$'s it seems pretty good. Can't you also convert the flac files using the Amarra converter and play with what you already have? Should still sound great...
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Yes, it is possible to convert 24/96 FLAC files to AIFF using Amarra HiFi.
However, according to Amarra, when this is done they get down-converted to
16/44.1. This rather defeats my new found interested in HD audio.
Thanks for the tip on Foobar2000 (no good for me as I use a Mac) and
Audivarna, I will investigate.
Amarra 2.4.2 is widley known as the most resolving option available today. Research "Computer Audiophile" for a plethora of posts on this subject in Forum. www.computeraudiophile.com. Regardless of how much you invest in a system, source material remains the biggest obstacle to achieve superior sound. I have never had issues with Amarra, though many have had past complaints of bugs. My advice is to avoid using Amarra to convert files from FLAC to AIFF. Instead use XLD (Free Download). It is intuitive and provides excellent quality. You can set preferences to have the files placed in itunes after converting.
"Amarra 2.4.2 is widely known as the most resolving option available today."
They would be wrong. It does not hold a candle to version 4318/19:
I earned more than 1 best of show at RMAF with this version.
If you are licensed for it, you can download this version and install it. Make sure you run the "remove config" script in the "extras" folder before installing it.
I am working with Amarra to resolve this problem, they are very helpful people. It would appear Amarra HiFi will indeed handle up to 192 kHz files. However, they need to be loaded into iTunes to play. This is my problem, loading a HD FLAC file into iTunes. Can this be done directly, or do I need to convert to AIFF first? If I convert to AIFF, will the files be downgraded from 24/96 to 16/44.1?
OK, so I converted the FLAC files to AIFF using Amarra HiFi, they play fine now. I also downloaded the trial version of Audirvarna Plus, so I could play the FLAC files directly without using iTunes. Comparing the regular CD version of Norah Jones "Come Away With Me" with the AIFF (via Amarra HiFi) and FLAC file (via Audirvarna Plus); both HD audio files were immediately far superior to the regular CD; no two ways about this! However, the difference between AIFF and FLAC was much more subtle. Both my wife and I preferred the FLAC file, slightly more dynamic and cleaner sounding. Although I have to admit, the difference was more like preferring one shade of yellow to another, a lot more subjective. At the end of the day I have decided to stick with FLAC, via Audirvana Plus; partly to avoid the hassle of file conversion and my preference for the sound of the FLAC file over AIFF file sound.
Overall, I am extremely happy with my first foray into computer audio, it has given me a new love for our hobby.
I used to be a FLAC kinda guy, but one day realized that it was a less than ideal approach since Mac OS (and iTunes, for those of us that use its librarian functionality) supports ALAC natively, so does Amarra. Unlike when it was first released, ALAC is now open source so, there's little chance it will die a quick death. Lastly, ALAC supports all the metadata you could ever want.
So, I've converted my entire lossless library over to ALAC and only convert back to FLAC when I'm headed to a show like RMAF since _some_ gear doesnÂt support ALAC. I prefer XLD for conversion, just don't forget to rename your cover art to "cover.jpg" prior to conversion.