This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Frederic Beudot
Financial Interests: click here
Digital Source: Mac mini, Burson HA-160D, Ocellia USB cable
Analog source: Acoustic Solid Classic Wood, AS WTB211, Dynavector DV20X-2, Esoteric E03
Preamplifiers: Burson HA-160D
Amplifier: FirstWatt F5, Yamamoto A08s
Speakers: Zu Essence
Headfi: Burson HA160D, AKG K701
Cables: Ocellia Reference interconnects, phono and speaker cables [on loan]
Power Cords: Genesis Absolute Fidelity (Power), Ocellia Reference Power  [on loan]
Powerline conditioning: Isotek Nova
Sundry accessories: Isolpads, ASI Heartsong racks
Room size: 12.5' x 18' x 8'
Review component retail: Audirvana $49, PureMusic $129, Decibel $33, Bit Perfect $10

One of the good things about review equipment being delayed is that it gives me time to actually listen to music and enjoy my system. The downside is being so used to perpetually assessing something over the past five years that I actually feel a hint of guilt when I am not. Computer audio to the rescue! There’s always something to test, change or track down that will have an impact. And there I thought vinyl was finicky.

Synchronicity had it that within the same week I first heard about Audirvana as the latest digital playback software for Mac from three different sources at once: one friend who teasingly told me to drop all other occupations to try it; Srajan who assessed its DSD playback abilities in a Meitner DA-1 review; and a since-then confirmed Internet rumor that the designer was working on a solution to restore direct playback aka Integer Mode to OS X Lion. This was a little too much coincidence for me to ignore Audirvana any longer. I duly downloaded the two-week fully functional yet free trial version to get an idea of whether this newcomer could take on my Pure Music reference.

Not only did my first impressions happen to be very favorable but imagine my surprise when, after contacting the programmer, I found out that he was French and lives in Versailles (yes where that huge palace is but I doubt Damien Plisson rents a room there though I should check just in case). Unlike Sam Tellig I am not automatically smitten with everything audio from the motherland but I do love learning about creative entrepreneurs with global ambitions - a welcome change from the dark moods that seem prevalent in France these days.