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I am stealing a thread started at Head-Fi by Currawong: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/518439/ayrewave-music-player-for-mac-os-x
This is a free music player available from http://sbooth.org/AyreWave/
I've been trying out the Amarra Mini player for some time now. This player is the slim down version of Amarra and costs $395 with the iLock, a USB key necessary for it to work.
I have used the Amarra Mini with a low end, middle, and 2 high end systems.
I got a nice improvement with the low end system based on a Beresford TC-7520 DAC, no improvement form the middle and one of the high end systems, and some improvement from a high end system based on a Weiss DAC2.
When I read Currawong's thread I downloaded and installed the AyreWave player and tried it with the DAC2.
The system was Mac => Optical - SysConcept Cable => Weiss DAC2 => Nordost Red Dawn RCA => SinglePower Extreme - Bendix 6080 Power Tubes, RCA 6SN7 Black Glass Driver => German Maestro GMP 400.
Well I nearly fell off my chair!
I couldn't believe the improvement, it was that great.
The Bass became clearer, the mids and highs improved a lot.
It felt as I was listening to a different system.
I tried the system based on a Buffalo 24 and on a NSD 24/196 MK II and the sound was also improved.
With the Beresford TC-7520 there was a lot of distortion, I couldn't use it at all.
This isn't a perfect player.
At the end of each track it sounds like vinyl, and I can't get more than 44.1KHz 16Bit on optical, with iTunes I can get up to 96KHz 24Bit
For a free player it's worth trying certainly has saved my a lot of money.
There are few pleasures as simple, and wonderful as music - Craig Uthus
I'll have to try it, the "free" part makes it hard not to.
A shared passion for music is a simple way to appreciate the commonality which binds us together as people. That's why the negativity expressed in audiophile forums at times is so grotesque. - Srajan Ebaen