The Audirvāna Studio audiophile music player, one year later

Some apps live up to your expectations. Others do not. Some start out not that good but become better with each update and upgrade, while others will keep the status quo or get worse. The audiophile music player app Audirvāna Studio gets better with every update. One year after I wrote my first review, I was ready to revisit the app wearing my reviewer’s hat.

First, the things that frustrate me and still haven’t improved much — at least not on a mid-2017 iMac. There’s but one thing that frustrates me about Audirvāna Studio: the speed with which it loads the CD album art associated with Playlists. It’s slow as molasses, even a year after having updated the app conscientiously. I’ve taken care to convert the art to an as small as possible size both in terms of viewable space and bits and bytes.

Nothing helps, though. It’s as if the app doesn’t cache that information and has to load all of it with every new startup. As playlist art is created from assembling the CDs that are part of it, it could be that the app needs to do that over and over again. Still, my music collection and associated art are located on an external SSD and although it’s not the fastest, it’s not the slowest either…

With that out of the way, what’s there to like after a year? A lot, it turns out. I loved the sound and I still do. I’ve compared it to others over the course of that year and they don’t even come close to what Audirvāna Studio manages to make of CDs that weren’t recorded or mastered as I’d expect from labels that publish classical and baroque music.

I also love the interface once it’s loaded properly. And I love the playhead — the switch that I can make between a mini loudness graph and a plain time bar. The software volume controls are brilliant, the fact that you can switch them off and rely on your DAC’s volume knob is great. I do wish, however, that Audirvāna would allow me to turn the knob on my Apogee Element 24 Controller and not block access to it when the app is the foremost one (but you can turn that off). But I realise it’s not your mainstream DAC to use. It’s a minor criticism and I prefer Audirvāna’s approach above the zero dB setting of one of its competitors’ free test app that almost ruined my studio monitors by blasting out a signal loud enough to make my ears ring. Luckily, the Element Control has a panic button.

The developer team is top as well. They have been very helpful early in that year with solving a problem I had accessing Internet radio. That’s been solved to satisfaction. I could say the same about most of the radio stations.

Having tried out competing apps over the year, I am a staunch believer in Audirvāna Studio’s superiority as an audiophile music player app. With others grabbing your data, regardless whether it’s identifiable or not, failing to reply to support questions, or offering you a test app that is prone to ruining your equipment, it’s a clear choice, even if the subscription fee is little steep.

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