Amarra 4 User Manual




Activation and Evaluation


Amarra 4 Activation Screen

Amarra 4 uses a simple licensing requiring your Activation Code and an Email address

  • License Two (2) computers
  • No passwords required

Evaluation

Amarra 4 offers a 14-day trial evaluation

  • Download, install, and launch Amarra 4
  • Click Evaluate
  • Review your trial information and click the ‘OK’ button to begin your trial

Activation

Amarra 4 licenses two (2) computers

  • Download, install, and launch Amarra 4
  • Click Activate
  • Enter your activation license code from your purchase email fulfillment and enter (and confirm) your email address

Deactivation

Prior to retiring a computer, deactivate your activation license code

  • Click ‘Window’ in the menu bar
  • Choose ‘Activation...’
  • Click Deactivate button



Easy Setup

Setting up your music library

Amarra 4 Library Settings

On your first launch of Amarra 4, you will need to set up and scan your music library. There are 2 methods of initially adding tracks to your Amarra 4 library - Scanning your iTunes library or Scanning a separate Music Folder. We recommend using the method that will load the largest portion of your library.



Click Settings

  1. Scan iTunes library Scan your iTunes library for Tracks, Artwork, Artists and Playlists and import them into Amarra 4
    • Click the SCAN ITUNES button
    • At the Finder or IE window, navigate to and select your iTunes Library.xml file (NOTE: Ensure iTunes Preferences → Advanced tab, 'Share iTunes Library XML with other applications' is selected)
    • Your iTunes Library will be scanned, imported and saved as part of the process
  2. Not using iTunes? Scan and import your local music library by selecting a specific music location
    • Click the CHOOSE FOLDER button
    • Navigate to your desired music folder and click Open
    • Click the SCAN FOR MUSIC button to load these files into Amarra 4. Your music library will be saved as part of the process.
  3. Once you have a library established using method 1 or 2 above, use the ADD TO LIBRARY button to add additional tracks or music folders to your library
    • After using the ADD TO LIBRARY function, click the Amarra 4 → Window menu item at top of screen and select SAVE to save changes to your library
  4. Click CLEAR SONGS to remove Songs, Albums, and Artists from your current library. Playlists are not effected when using CLEAR SONGS.

Setting your Output Sound Device

Mac

Amarra 4 Output Settings - Mac


On your first launch of Amarra 4, or if you wish to change your output device or buffer size:

    Devices
  • Click Settings
  • Click dropdown arrow to select the desired attached device from the menu
    Buffer Size
  • Click Settings
  • Click dropdown arrow to select Buffer Size (1024 recommended)

Windows

Amarra 4 Output Settings - Windows


    Audio Device Type
  • Click Settings
  • Click dropdown arrow to select the desired device type from the menu
    Output Device
  • Click Settings
  • Click dropdown arrow to select the desired device type from the menu
    Buffer Size
  • Click Settings
  • Click dropdown arrow to select a Buffer Size determined by your device (1024 or 512 recommended, if available)



Using Amarra 4

Settings

Amarra 4 Settings

Scan for music

  • Scan your selected music folder for audio files
  • NOTE: Depending on the size of your library, this can take a long time, please be patient

Choose folder

  • Choose the folder you wish to use
  • It is recommended that you CLEAR TRACKS if you decide to change your music folder

Scan iTunes

  • Scan your iTunes library for Tracks, Artwork, and Playlists and import them into Amarra 4
    • Click on the Scan iTunes Library button, navigate to and select your iTunesLibrary.xml file
  • Note: Your iTunes library needs to be shared with Amarra 4 in order to be scanned in
    • Go to iTunes Preferences->Advanced tab and select 'Share iTunes Library XML with other applications’

Add to Library

  • Add additional tracks, from different folder(s), to your library
  • Choose the music folder from which you wish to add music
  • Click Open

Clear tracks

  • Clears all tracks and metadata

Devices

  • Choose your output device

Check for updates

  • On launch, you will be notified of new releases

Transport Panel

Amarra 4 Transport Panel
Amarra 4 Transport Repeat and Shuffle


The Transport Panel shows the current track information and album art

  • Click on image to see larger version
  • Click on Track / Album to go to Album page

Transport Panel shows the Position, Volume, and Playback Sample Rate. Also offers controls for Repeating or Shuffling tracks as well as a link to the Now Playlist list.

  1. NOTE: You can also access the transport commands using the Amarra 4 → Transport menu at the top of screen or using your Mac/Windows keyboard (See Application Menu Bar section below).

Songs, Albums, Artists, and Playlists



Use navigation along the left sidebar or the overhead tabs to view your music library by:

  • Songs
  • Albums
  • Artists
  • Playlists
  • Now Playing
Amarra 4 Albums View

Now Playing



The Now Playing View displays the currently playing tracklist

  • This is the Playlist / Album / Song list from which play was started
  • Currently this feature is not a play queue (as it is in Spotify)
Amarra 4 Albums View

Search

  1. Click the search icon in the upper, right corner
  2. Start typing your query into the text field
  3. Select the search parameters (Artists, Albums, Tracks, & Playlists) you wish to include in your results
  4. View and click your desired result
  5. Close Search

Using Search

  • Artists - Returns one entry for each unique musician combination containing search criteria. Click on entry to display all works by that Artist
  • Albums - Returns Albums with search criteria in album name
  • Tracks - Returns Tracks with search criteria in track name
  • Playlists - Returns Playlists with search criteria in Playlist name
Amarra 4 Search Feature

Using Playlists

From Playlists View

  • Click 'Create Playlist' button
  • Type name for your new playlist
  • Click 'Create'
Amarra 4 Create Playlist

Adding Tracks from Songs, Albums, or Artists Views

  • Click three vertical dots to the right of the track you wish to add to a playlist
  • To create a new playlist:
    • Select 'Create playlist'
    • Click 'Create playlist'
    • Type name for your new playlist
    • Click 'Create'
  • To add to an existing playlist:
    • Select 'Add to playlist'
    • Click dropdown arrow
    • Scroll to and select playlist form list
    • Click 'Add'
Amarra 4 Add track to Playlist

Card Size

Choose between small and large artwork card sizes

Amarra 4 Artwork Card Size

Refresh

Click the Refresh icon to refresh your page view. Some instances in which you might want to refresh are:

  • During a scan to view new music as it loads
  • After you add Music to a previously loaded library
Amarra 4 Refresh Icon

Application Menu Bar

Amarra 4 Window Menu
Amarra 4 Transport Menu
Amarra 4 Help Menu

There are three Application Menus giving you additional commands

  1. Window
    • Click Activation to Deactivate or to Activate a full license during your Evaluation period
    • Click Fit to Screen to maximize Amarra to fill your screen (and then to exit Fit to Screen mode)
    • Click Save to save iTunes Scan or Add to Library Scan
  2. Transport
      Control playback with these commands or learn their keyboard shortcuts
    • Play (Spacebar)
    • Stop (⌘.)
    • Next Track (⌘→)
    • Previous Track (⌘←)
  3. Help
    • During a scan to view new music as it loads
    • After you add Music to a previously loaded library



Equalization

Amarra 4 Equalization

Amarra 4 includes double-precision professional mastering equalization presets.

Presets include:

  • Flat
  • Acoustic
  • Bass Booster
  • Classical
  • Dance
  • Jazz
  • Mac Laptop
  • Rock
  • Alpha Dog
  • Apple Earpods
  • LCD-2
  • LCD-3
  • Etymotic
  • Grado
  • KEF
  • Bass Reducer

EQ Presets

Following are the curves used for each of the available presets:

Amarra 4 Flat EQ Preset

Flat

Amarra 4 Dance EQ Preset

Dance

Amarra 4 Alpha Dog EQ Preset

Alpha Dog

Amarra 4 Etymotic EQ Preset

Etymotic

Amarra 4 Acoustic EQ Preset

Acoustic

Amarra 4 Jazz EQ Preset

Jazz

Amarra 4 Apple Earpods EQ Preset

Apple Earpods

Amarra 4 Grado EQ Preset

Grado

Amarra 4 Bass Booster EQ Preset

Bass Booster

Amarra 4 Mac Laptop EQ Preset

Mac Laptop

Amarra 4 LCD-2 EQ Preset

LCD-2

Amarra 4 KEF EQ Preset

KEF

Amarra 4 Classical EQ Preset

Classical

Amarra 4 Rock EQ Preset

Rock

Amarra 4 LCD-3 EQ Preset

LCD-3

Amarra 4 Bass Reducer EQ Preset

Bass Reducer




Tips for getting the most from Amarra 4

  When changing output devices, we recommend the following

  1. Pause Playback
  2. Change to new device in Amarra 4 before unplugging current device
  3. Resume playback

  Quit Amarra 4 after scan, adding tracks to your library or creating playlists to save library and current settings

  Amarra 4 currently works best with libraries under 25k tracks, 1000 Albums or 1000 Artists. (these numbers may need to change)

  Use Choose Folder on the Settings page to set up your initial Library in Amarra 4

  Use 'Add to Library' button for adding more tracks to your existing library

  Re-scanning an existing library may result in duplication of tracks. Use 'Clear Songs' to clear your library and start over

  Your Artwork folder is not cleared when you clear songs and can grow in size over time. We recommend deleting your Artwork folder periodically. Your Artwork folder can be found at the following locations:

  • Mac - Macintosh HD/Users/{user name}/Library/Application Support/Sonic Studio/Amarra Artwork
  • Windows - C:\Users\{user name}\AppData\Roaming\Application Suppor\Sonic Studio\Amarra Artwork



File Types

File Types Overview

There are three major groups of audio file formats used for storing digital audio data: 1) Uncompressed, 2) Lossless compression, and 3) Lossy compression. Each format has many different file types that encode/decode raw audio data using different methods and formats. There are a small number of commonly used formats for audio files, each with their own unique pros and cons. A brief overview of the file types supported in Amarra 4 and Amarra 4 Luxe can be found below.

PCM File Formats

These are the most common formats for audio files, PCM files fall into three categories ('Lossy', 'Lossless', and Uncompressed).

MP3 and AAC (Lossy Compression):

Lossy files are highly compressed files requiring the least amount of storage and are easily transported to a variety of devices including phones, tablets and portable players. The downside of lossy files is the compression removes most of the ‘goodness’ in the file, resulting is less than optimal playback quality. MP3 and AAC files are examples of lossy files types supported by Amarra 4.**

ALAC and FLAC (Lossless Compression):

Lossless files are files that are compressed for transport but are uncompressed for playback without losing any of the information in the original master. Lossless files are great solutions, where space is a concern yet quality cannot be sacrificed. ALAC and FLAC are examples of Lossless files supported by Amarra 4.**

** NOTE: ALAC and AAC files are not supported on the Windows platform in the initial release of Amarra 4. Support will be addressed in a future release.

AIFF and WAV (Uncompressed):

Uncompressed files are just as they sound, completely uncompressed. They are bigger than lossy and lossless files but are the most efficient method of playback and in critical listening tests, would be expected to provide the best sound. AIFF and WAV files are examples of uncompressed files supported by Amarra 4.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Generally, WAV files do not support meta data tagging (for example artist, album, and artwork data).

DSD (Direct-Stream Digital)

DSD is the format used by Sony and Philips for their system of digitally recreating audible signals for the Super Audio CD (SACD).

DSD files are a single bit, very high sample rate (64x, 128x, 256x that of a CD) file. Although a direct comparison between DSD and PCM is not plausible, DSD in some aspects is comparable to a 20bit/96k PCM file. Whether or not DSD files sound better than PCM files is an ongoing discussion best left the to the message boards on the web.

There are 2 primary DSD files types: 1) .dsf and 2) .dff files. Amarra 4 and Amarra 4 Luxe support .dsf files only. Users with .dff files can convert those files to .dsf format for playback within Amarra 4. Utilities such as DFFtoDSF (http://www.signalyst.com/professional.html) can be used for this type of conversion.

  • Amarra 4 performs a real-time DSD to PCM conversion to play back DSD files. You’ll see the file is converted to a PCM file for playback (not saved) based on the capabilities of the DAC hardware you are using. Amarra 4 does not provide native DSD playback.
  • Amarra 4 Luxe will introduce native DSD Playback using DoP or DSD over PCM. This method packages a DSD file into a PCM container for transport, the native DSD signal is maintained.

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated)

MQA is a new format from MQA, Ltd.; users will experience different results depending on the equipment used when playing back MQA tracks.

Amarra 4 will play back MQA files with the appropriate MQA certified DAC. We are in discussion with MQA on integration of MQA decoding into Amarra 4 products and expect to make an announcement and support MQA decoding in an upcoming release.

    To Play MQA files with an MQA DAC
  • Users with MQA compatible DACs will be able to play MQA files back at their native sample rate
  • NOTE: Be sure to Turn OFF EQ and have the Volume at Full to ensure a clean bit-stream
  • Users without MQA compatible DACs will play MQA files back down-sampled to 44k or 48k sample rate

Learn more about MQA HERE



NOTE on iTunes support: FLAC and DSD files are not supported by iTunes. You would need to use a player like Amarra 4 to play back these files or convert them to a file format supported by iTunes.

Notes About Song File Metadata

Amarra 4 uses a dedicated Library to display information about your music such as Song Title, Artist, Album and Artwork. This Library is created using the 'Scan' feature in Amarra 4. When a folder is scanned, Amarra 4 reads the hidden Metadata information associated with audio files in that folder, then parses or organizes that Metadata information into the Amarra 4 Library.

Sometimes the Metadata for songs is either limited, missing or broken. Limited, missing or broken Metadata causes Amarra 4 to display song information that will appear to be incorrect. Examples of bad Metadata will include: incorrect or blank Song Title, Unknown Artist, Unknown Album and missing Artwork.

If you have problems with Amarra 4 displaying incorrect song information, we strongly recommend you look at the Metadata taggin contained in your files. There is a free app for examining and editing the Metadata contained in your audio files. We use and recommend an app called KID3:

If your artwork displays in kid3, then it should appear in Amarra 4. If you can't see artwork or other metadata is missing in your files, the only option is to enter that info in kid3, save those changes in kid3 then rescan the updated folders or files.

kid3 showing a WAV file. WAV files do not have the capability of holding metadata such as Artwork, Artist or Album info. Only the name of the file is displayed.

kid3 showing metadata included in an ALAC file. If tagged properly, the same metadata should show for AIFF, FLAC and MP3 formats.

More info about using KID3 can be found HERE




Contacting Sonic Studio

Sonic Studio Support

http://www.sonicstudio.com/amarra/support


For bug reports and frequently-asked questions (FAQ), visit:

http://www.sonicstudio.com/amarra/support#faq


Updates to Amarra 4, when available, are in the Downloads section of the Sonic Studio website:

http://www.sonicstudio.com/amarra/support#downloads




Copyright © 2001 Sonic Studio, LLC. All rights reserved.
Amarra, Amarra 4, Amarra Hx, Amarra EQ, sonicstudio.com, the Sonic Studio logo and type are trademarks of Sonic Studio, LLC in the United States and other countries.
All other trademarks, trade names, service marks, and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies.