User Manual - Amarra sQ+ 2.5

Amarra sQ+ Overview

Amarra sQ+ is a stand-alone application for Mac OSX that is designed to improve the audio quality of all audio on your Mac, including streaming sources such as:

  • Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora, Facebook, and other audio sources
  • YouTube, NetFlix, facebook, Sporting Events, Lectures, and other video sources
  • Local File playback from your iTunes music library or other music player

Amarra sQ+ uses the same award winning technology that as in our professional mastering software.

  • Precision volume control
  • Mastering Equalizer control
  • Audio Conditioner Broadband Noise reduction.

Amarra sQ+ uses the SonicStream™ sound output device.

  • SonicStream is a software driver the enables routing of all computer audio
  • On launch of Amarra sQ+ the computer sound output will be set to SonicStream
  • On exit of Amarra sQ+ will reset computer sound output back to is original setting

Note: Amarra sQ+ v2.5 is a paid upgrade. Versions 2.3 and earlier require a new Activation Code.

  • For information on upgrade please visit: Upgrade.
  • For information on purchase please visit: Purchase.

Mac Host Requirements

At a minimum, Amarra sQ+ requires the following:

  • Apple Macintosh Intel 2.6 GHz minimum or faster preferred
  • 13” or larger display
  • 3 GB RAM minimum, 4 GB RAM or more preferred
  • OS 10.8 or newer
  • 64 Bit only, (32 Bit not supported)

Amarra sQ+ Signal Flow

Amarra sQ+ uses the SonicStream Sound Output to route all computer audio for Amarra sQ+ Processing. See the figure below for audio signal flow in Amarra sQ+.


You should see the SonicStream Device in both your Mac’s Sound Preferences window and in Audio Midi Set Up.


The Mac Sound Preference Window’s Output Tab


Audio MIDI Set Up Window.


Important: Amarra sQ+ automatically sets the SonicStream Device as the Output Device. You should not change to a another Output Device manually. Routing to your output device should be done through the Amarra sQ+ Settings Window (page 22).

Using Amarra sQ+

This section describes how to activate Amarra sQ+. Amarra sQ+ uses a simple licensing mechanism requiring just an Activation Code and an Email address for full licensing. Evaluations do not require either an email address or activation code.

  • License Two (2) computers concurrently - Mac OS X
  • No passwords required


A free, 14-day, full function evaluation of Amarra sQ+ is available on our website at: Demo Amarra sQ+ here

  • Download and install the current version of Amarra sQ+
  • At the Amarra Software Activation window, click the EVALUATE button to test out Amarra sQ+
  • Review your trial information and click the 'OK' button to begin your trial

Amarra sQ+ Activation Screen


Prior to retiring a computer, deactivate your activation license code

  • Click ‘Manage License’ from the Settings Window
  • Click the Deactivate button to deactivate your license


Amarra sQ+ licenses two (2) computers

  • Download, install, and launch Amarra sQ+
  • Click Activate
  • Enter your Amarra sQ+ Activation code, your email address and confirm your email address in the spaces provided.
  • Click Activate again to activate your copy of Amarra sQ+

Upgrade from Amarra sQ 2.3 and earlier

Amarra sq+ 2.5 is a paid upgrade. A new license is required. To upgrade from Amarra sQ+ or from a trial of sQ+ to a permanent copy of Amarra sQ+

  • Quit Amarra sQ+
  • Go to your Applications → Amarra sQ+ → Scripts folder and double-click on 'Uninstall Amarra sQ+'
  • Re-launch Amarra sQ+ and click ACTIVATE at the Software Activation Window
  • Activate using your permanent Amarra sQ+ license

Amarra sQ+ Setup

Setting your Output Sound Device

Amarra sQ+ Settings - Mac

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

  • Click on the Settings Icon to bring up Amarra sQ+ Settings Page
  • Set your Output Device
  • Set the Input Device to <<SonicStream>>
  • Select Buffer Size (512 or 1024 recommended)
  • Click on Reset Device to reset your output device to it’s default state
  • Use Exclusive Mode to restrict access to Sound Output Device. Not recommended for built in ouptut.
  • Use ‘Use Device Volume’ to enable remote volume control of your USB HID compliant DAC from Amarra 4.

Follow System Output Device

This button, when checked, forces Amarra sQ+ to follow the output device settings on launch as set in the Mac audio environment instead of the settings in Amarra sQ+ . Disabled by default.

Setting Dither and other settings

Amarra sQ+ Settings - Mac

Dither Settings (Output)

The Dither settings defines the dither types, bit depth, frequency and release time when using dither on the output. Dither is applied at the last stage of output. ‘None’ (no dither) is also available.

Type Menu

Select the type of dither: None, Rectangular PDF, Triangular PDF, Noise Shaping and Rectangular with Noise Shaping.

More on dither and these dither types can be found here:

Bit Depth Menu

Choose the bit depth of the dithered output from Amarra to your DAC.

Frequency/Release Menu

Frequency, as Hertz or Hz defines the crossover point where the dither is applied to the audio signal The default value of 9000 Hz is best for general use.

Release defines, as milliseconds, the amount of time before turning dither off after zeros or digital black is encountered at the end of a track.

Input Device Settings

This section of the Amarra sQ+ Settings Window defines the input device, channels and sample rate that you receive the signal to Amarra sQ+. Select SonicStream from this list. The input menu should always be set to SonicStream.

SonicStream is the default and should always be used. Do not change this.

Check for Update

Highly recommended to check for updates on launch.

Enable IRC Room Correction

Enable this button to display the IRC Room Correction option. A reboot is required.

Using Amarra sQ+

This section describes the functionality of the Amarra EQ window. This is the main window for Amarra sQ+. It contains volume and tone (equalizer or EQ) controls as well as buttons to save/open EQ settings, turn off EQ, show/hide EQ Visualizer and mute Amarra sQ+’s output.


1) Icons (EQ/AC/Settings/Remote)

2) Gain/Volume Control (Fader)

3) High-Definition Meters

4) EQ On/Off

5) Equalizer Presets

6) Custom Preset Open/Save

7) Equalization Graph


Amarra sQ+ Controls

The Icons along the left edge allow you to choose EQ, Audio Conditioner, iRC, Remote and Settings pages

Gain/Volume Fader

Adjusts the overall gain of Amarra sQ+ Command Key + Up/Down arrow to adjust volume;

Amarra sQ+ Meters

The Meters section graphically displays real-time indications of Peak and RMS with hyper-ballistic accuracy.


: If an over-zero level is shown, you should reduce the gain/volume fader by a few dB. (page 32)

EQ Global On/Off

This button toggles the Amarra sQ+’s Equalizer (EQ) on or off and is useful for comparing the sum of all changes made to an EQ.

EQ Presets

Amarra sQ+ provides a set of EQ presets. These presets are for common genres, and popular headphones, and listening situations.

Use the Save button to save and name your own custom EQ settings. Use the Open button to open previously-saved EQ settings into the ‘Custom’ knob position.

  • Acoustic
  • Flat/li>
  • Bass Booster
  • Classical
  • Dance
  • Jazz
  • Rock
  • Small Speakers
  • Beyerdynamic Xelento
  • Apple Earpods
  • EL-8 Open
  • LCD-2
  • Ether Flow
  • Periodic ME02
  • Netflix (night)
  • Custom


Important: Many of these Presets may add or reduce volume or gain, you may need to adjust the Gain/Volume slider to compensate for this change in level.

Open Saved Custom Preset

This button opens a Mac Finder Window for you to navigate to and open a previously saved filter. Filters are stored in Documents/Sonic Studio/User EQ Presets.

Save Current Custom Preset

This button opens a Mac Finder Window for you to title and save a new filter that you have created. Filters are saved in Documents/Sonic Studio/User EQ Presets.

EQ Graph Window

The Equalizer or EQ window is designed to provide infinite control of the tone or timbre of your streaming sources. Think of this as four controls that adjust Bass (red dot), Low-Midrange (yellow dot), High-Midrange (green dot), and Treble (blue dot) frequencies.

If you are uncomfortable with adjusting these controls on your own, try moving through the EQ Presets or the Headphone Profiles.

Accessing User EQ Presets

Option-Clicking on the Graph allows you to open even more filters in the User EQ Presets folder.


Advanced EQ, Audio Conditoner and iRC

Advanced EQ Controls

In addition to the 16 custom presets, the advanced EQ in Amarra sQ+ gives you infinite control over the tone or timbre of your music. The four band, fully-parametric EQ circuit, while somewhat complex, can be tailored to enhance any type of signal..

Amarra sQ+ Advanced Equalizer Controls.

Frequency: The center frequency in Hertz (Hz)

Boost: The amount of + or - volume or gain in dB

Order: 1st through 4th order or 6 to 24 dB per octave slope, respectively

Q: Q or Quality Factor is defined as the center frequency divided by the bandwidth

Filter Type Pull-Down Menu

Equalizer Bands with 17 Unique Filters
The bottom of each filter band contains the master controls for each of the four available filter bands. The controls are context–sensitive, apply to the selected filter section and changes are reflected in the Visualizer section.

Clicking on the field reveals a list the available filter types seen to the right ---->

Filter Selection Menu.
Select your desired filter from the menu to instantiate.
Extra control sections will be enabled depending on filter type.


You can learn more about how Parametric Equalizers function HERE.


Audio Conditioner Overview


Amarra sQ+ has a great feature called Audio Conditioner. The Audio Conditioner is designed to remove unwanted noise and distortion in all of your audio, thus reducing listening fatigue. Audio Conditioner is perfect for improving intelligibility of phone calls. It is also great to use on compressed or lossy audio file formats.

A real-time process, Audio Conditioner has custom presets for use on Music, Video and Voice signals.

Using Audio Conditioner is simple. Select Music, Video or Voice Mode, then click one of the presets on the Noise Removal Preset Knob to a setting that sounds good to you. More specific instruction on using the features Audio Conditioner is below.


Try the Audio Conditioner on all compressed audio and streaming. When used with Skype and YouTube the results are remarkable.


Audio Conditioner Controls


Amarra sQ+ Audio Conditioner Controls.

1) Audio Conditioner On/Off

2) Noise Removal Preset Knob

3) Source Mode Selector

4) Noise Preview On/Off


Audio Conditioner/EQ Toggle button

Clicking this button toggles between the main EQ window and the Audio Conditioner window.

Audio Conditioner On/Off

Clicking this switch turns the Audio Conditioner circuit on and off, engaging and bypassing the process respectively.

Noise Preview On/Off

Clicking his switch puts Audio Conditioner into a Preview or Solo mode where only the noise being removed is heard. This useful for determining the amount of noise you want to remove.


LEARN: Using Audio Conditioner to reduce noise from any audio source is simple.

1) Select the Source Mode: Music, Video or Voice

2) Click on one of the Noise Removal Presets: 'Low' (a little noise removal) to 'High' (a lot of noise removal)

HINT: Turn the Preview switch to 'On' and listen to just the noise. Adjust the Noise Removal Preset Knob until you hear more music than noise, then turn the knob down one step. Turn the Preview switch to off to hear the results.


Noise Removal Preset Knob

The Preset Knob has 8 different noise reduction settings. The custom Presets range from Off (no noise removal) to High (a lot of noise removal). It is important to note that using a Preset that's too extreme or high for a particular type of signal can cause unwanted artifacts or distortion. Use the Preview feature to fine tune your settings.


IMPORTANT: Using a Preset that's too extreme or high for a particular type of signal can cause unwanted artifacts or distortion. Use the Preview feature to fine tune your settings.


Source Mode Selector

These three user-selectable Source Modes customize the overall processing for a particular type of input source. Select a Mode, then use the Preset Knob and Preview switch to fine tune to your liking.

Source Mode Selector Descriptions and Uses:

Music: Use this Mode for streaming music sources such as Tidal, Spotify, iTunes Radio, Pandora or Qobuz. This Mode is also used to clean up poor quality or highly-compressed audio files such as MP3.

Video: Use this Mode for streaming video or movie sources like YouTube, NetFlix or Vimeo.

Voice: This Mode is highly customized for use with Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype or Apple's Messages app.


iRC Room Correction (option)


An iRC license is required to use iRC with Amarra sQ+.

iRC(b) can not be used with Amarra sQ+


License iRC

1) Go to iRC window and click on the License button. At the prompt enter your iRC license information.


Using iRC

3) Add your iRC Filter Files by clicking in any of the four Filter name areas. Click on the Circle to change settings.



Add your iRC Filter Files by clicking in any of the four iRC Filter Buttons.

More on creating and using iRC Filter Files can be found in the iRC Measure User Manual. Both documents are located on our website..


Need To Download iRC Measure: Submit a new Support Ticket using the Support Portal ond we will send you the latest link.

Amarra Play iOS Remote Control


Amarra sQ+ comes complete with an iOS remote control. This can be used to control many of the features of the Amarra sQ+ application.


Amarra sQ+ Main page

Amarra sQ+ EQ page

Amarra sQ+ iRC page

Amarra sQ+ Volume Control

Amarra sQ+ Settings



In this section you will find:

  • Tips for getting the most out of Amarra sQ+
  • Known Issues with current release of Amarra sQ+
  • How to contact support for additional assistance

Tips for getting the most from Amarra sQ+

  When changing output devices, we recommend the following

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

Known Issues

  On changing devices if there is silence - quit and restart to ensure proper initialization

  McAfee and other virus software. Ensure Amarra is whitelisted in your protection applications.

  EQ Curves are offset when Upsampling however nodes and values for each band are correct

  iRC on/off switch on EQ window remains in On position. Use the on/off switch on the iRC Filter Bank or the Amarra Remote

Other Common Issues


Possible Cause


Can’t Hear Sound in Amarra sQ

Your DAC is not set for output in Audio Devices Settings Window.

“SonicStream” is not in the list of devices in Sound Preferences or Audio Midi Set Up.

See Setup section for info on configuring Audio Device Settings.

“SonicStream” should be in the list of devices. If “SonicStream” is missing please restart your computer and it should appear. If not a reinstall of the software is required.

Can’t Hear Sound after quitting Amarra sQ

Your DAC did not reset properly after quitting Amarra sQ+.

Change the output device from SonicStream to your DAC in Sound Preferences or Audio MIDI Set Up.

Output meters are overloading

The volume or EQ settings are too high.

Turn down the volume fader until red overload indication goes away.

Output is too low

Volume fader is set too low.

Turn the volume fader up until it reaches a desirable level.



Possible Cause


Can’t Activate Demo

Activation Code is not correct

You’ve tried Amarra sQ before.

Please contact

for another 15 day trial.

Can’t Activate License

Activation Code is not correct

Your computer is not connected to the Internet.

Verify that you copied and pasted the correct code.

Connect your computer to the Internet to Activate your software..

Contacting Us

Contacting Sonic Studio, LLC

Thanks for using our product. We value your patronage and are always interested in your experiences with Amarra sQ+.

Amarra Support Portal:

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

Updates to Amarra SQ+, when available, are in the Downloads section of the Sonic Studio website.

Amarra Support Page

Copyright © 2001-2018 Sonic Studio, LLC. All rights reserved.
Amarra, Amarra sQ+ Amarra 4 Luxe, Amarra EQ,, 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.