Amarra HiFi and 24/96 FLAC Files - Heads Up

OK, I am new to computer audio, but, want to make sure others do not make the same mistake I just made. Based on a recommendation from HD Tracks I downloaded Amarra HiFi to start playing 24/96 FLAC files. In fairness to HD Tracks they recommend the full version of Amarra , not Amarra HiFi. After much frustration and technical help from HD Tracks and Amarra I found out Amarra HiFi will not play HD FLAC files! I now need to spend an additional $149 to upgrade to the full Amarra program to get this feature.

So fellow Audiogoners, what do I do? Spend the additional $149 to upgrade to Amarra, use Audirvana Plus priced at $49, go with Pure Music at $129 or spend $33 to purchase Decibel (my wife suggested a fifth option, "Just give up", nah, can't do this)? Your thoughts would be much appreciated.


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...
Try out the free 15 day version of Audirvana Plus and if you like it then bite the bullet for $49.
Ummmm, why not just use a free player like Foobar2000?

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.

Audivarna+ is great - if it works for you. It only works on 1 of my 2 Macs. Try the free trial.
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. 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.
Spend the money to get the full Amarra. It's worth it for the EQ function alone. Best EQ on the planet. Here is how you can use it:

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
"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.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
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?
FLAC files are not directly supported by iTunes. I know both Audivrana Plus and Pure Music work with iTunes and support FLAC files. I have done a demo of Amarra but to my ears it was no better than either PM or A+.
The previous poster is correct, Amarra HiFi only works with iTunes, which does not support FLAC. According to Amarra I need to convert my FLAC files to AIFF and load them into iTunes. Apparently they will then play at full HD resolution, in my case 24/96. I will try at the weekend and report back.
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.
Hey Marcus,

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 doesn’t support ALAC. I prefer XLD for conversion, just don't forget to rename your cover art to "cover.jpg" prior to conversion.

Have you try VLC?