Audirvana Studio Review

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In today’s article, we take a look at Audirvana Studio, a third-party player for your PC/MAC, that aims to improve your listening. It’s available directly from the company’s website for €6.99 per month. 

Disclaimer: Audirvana didn’t pay or endorse us for this review, I subscribed to the Audirvana Studio’s Free trial and took a subscription on my own, to test the software in the long run.

About Audirvana

Audirvana is a French company, founded 10 years ago by Damien Plisson. The idea behind the tool was to improve the computer’s music playback, by removing all the digital processes applied by the OS. 

A first plugin came out, only available for macOS at the beginning, designed like a Foobar nerdy little brother – if the first was not nerdy enough. But, to my surprise – and Damien’s too – as time goes by, the little software became more and more famous in the audiophile circle

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Why? Because everyone was baffled at how powerful this little piece of code seemed to be. Even the most skeptical listeners – I was one of them – were surprised to hear real improvements through Audirvana’s eponymous software.

Since then, Audirvana’s team kept on growing and the plugin evolved into a real player. So much, that the company decided to change the name of its latest version: Audirvana Studio.

Out of curiosity, I took a free trial first, then decided to take it for a few months, so that I could give you my impressions in the long run. Let’s dive in, shall we?

A quick view

What’s Audirvana Studio?

Audirvana Studio is primarily a third-party player. It scans your local library, finds your tracks/albums, and allows you to access them in a common interface. 

Like Roon or Plex, it’s able to retrieve your album’s information and fill the blanks in your library. Also, the new Audirvana Studio comes with streaming apps supports, and you’ll be able to connect your Tidal, Qobuz, or Hi-Res subscription. (no Apple Music, Amazon Music, or Spotify for now)

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Why would I use a third-party player?

If you have your own music library as I do, the best options at the moment are Roon and Plex. Both offer a well-designed interface and powerful tools to manage your library. Those software offer extensive options to sort and filter your music library and allows you to create your own “Spotify/Tidal” at home and access your music locally, or remotely, with ease. Both systems rely on a “core” where all data is stored, and network streamers can just pick up your music from your NAS/Computer or that core.

What about Roon and Plex then?

Lieven and Linus have been using Roon for a few years now, and there’s always a moment in our conversation when they ask why I didn’t subscribe, yet. And, honestly, I didn’t have a good answer to that question: not only do I have the majority of my systems compatible with Roon, it also remains one of the most beautiful ways to access your music (in my opinion). 

A monthly subscription costs $12.99, but you can save a few bucks with a yearly subscription ($9,99/month). And if you want to show your dedication, or REALLY don’t like to subscribe, Roon also has a lifetime subscription, for an eye-watering $699, or approximately 6 years of monthly installment.

But, I’ve been using Plex for years now. Not because I find it better – head to head, Roon literally rolls over the competition when it’s about music – but because I own a big movie database. And, to this day, no other options gave me the same level of refinement when sorting my movies and series. Sure, Plex also sorts my music but as good as it is, the sort engine remains sub-optimal, compared to Roon.

Last but not least, Plex is MUCH cheaper than Roon. A monthly subscription costs $4.99, a yearly one $39.99, and a lifetime only $119.99. I took the yearly one and after more than 6 years, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Plex.

That said, time to go back to Audirvana.

Page 2: Specifications
Page 3: Everyday Use, Pricing
Page 4: Sound Performances, Comparison, Conclusion

4.6/5 - (56 votes)

A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.


  • Reply September 26, 2021


    Can the blind use it with screen reading software, like Roon can’t?

    • Reply November 2, 2021


      How can I test it? Audirvana does not run in a browser, if that is required.

  • Reply September 27, 2021


    Outstanding review.

    Dirac room correction software just announced the release of “Dirac Live 3 room-correction software” with 24/192 capability for both Mac and Windows.

    Stereophile just posted a review, which states, “In PCs and Macs, it can be installed as a plug-in or as a regular application. Plug-in support is not universal, but JRiver, Audirvana Studio, Amarra, and most DAWs support it.”

    A followup review by the author of, Audirvana Studio, working in conjunction with the Dirac Live 3 room-correction software would be greatly appreciated. I’m sure by many more audiophiles than just myself.

    Again, thank you for a very fine and comprehensive review.”

    Thank you for your assistance.


    • Reply October 2, 2021

      David C. Snyder

      I also found that Audirvana sounds better than Roon when both are installed on my MacBook Pro. Then, I learned that Roon does not perform well that way. Once I learned how to deploy Roon properly, I found that it sounds as good or better than Audirvana, depending on the network bridge. There’s no simple way to compare the sound of the two. Audirvana is a computer audio system. Roon is a network audio system that can function as computer audio, albeit poorly.

      I enjoyed your review, but I wish you had provided more detail on how you set up Roon and compared an optimal Audirvana configuration to an optimal Roon installation. That would have put them on more even footing regarding sound quality. You were spot on about other differences. Thanks.

      • Reply November 2, 2021


        I also use a macbook for the core, streaming to a pi with a hat. I also hear the difference to Roon, best description was “someone magnified every aspect of the track”. Everything is just better and more focused with Audirvana. I really didn’t want to hear that.

        What do you mean by “”deploy Roon properly”, you mean on one of their own servers? I am open to most things mattering, but I find it to be strange if thats better. I get a suspicion Roon detects if it runs on their own hardward. A’la Volkswagen.

  • Reply September 27, 2021


    Very interesting. If be interested to know how it compared to subsonic.
    Like you, I rely on Plex for movies. I hate Plex for music, as much as I love it for movies.

    Switched to subsonic a while back and love the file handling, interface, tag recognition. Would audirvana be worth me spending money on…?

  • Reply October 25, 2021


    In my system Audirvana sounds better then Roon too. Strang realy, looking at the budget they must spend on interface, advertisement, hardware (integration) etc.

  • Reply March 3, 2022


    Damien may have done a fantastic job at developing the best music player on the market, but sadly, the software is plagued by usability issues and generally speaking, a mediocre user experience. A large portion of the UI in Audirvana studio is dedicated to streaming services that I am not interested in (considering the poor quality of masters you are going to get on those services), but you still have to deal with a UI and monthly-based subscription model that forces you into the online steaming model. Those like me who supported Audirvana+ over the years are now left with two choices: pay a high monthly fee for a service they don’t need, or keep using Audirvana+, aware of the fact that it’s not going to get any support and improve over time. Usability issues that I’ve observed:
    – Search by name is broken, you select one album in the search results, and it still takes you to a list that includes all albums, so you have to choose again.
    – No contextual help, no user manual.
    – Poor playback options, e.g. no way to jump backward/fwd in playback using arrow keys, which is the minimum I’d expect from a music player.
    – Poor display of metadata, with inline scrolling and poor usage of screen estate.
    – It plays only the selected track and then it stops, I can hardly believe it works this way.
    – Search options are very limited, e.g. no way to parse all metadata, only the main ones.

    I am sorry to say that for me to be willing to commit to a subscription-based model, the bar should be raised higher:
    – A decent permanent license software that works.
    – A wishlist website where customers who support the business can submit requests, vote for them, see the upcoming new features ahead of time.
    – A two-tiers subscription model, where you can pay more if you need web-based services, but you can also pay less, if you don’t need them.
    – Integration with Youtube Music.

  • Reply April 9, 2022

    John Hendron

    Thanks for the review. I used the original Audirvana many years ago to get a benefit to the sound quality. I’ve got a Mac setup and have become really disappointed in Roon’s performance on Mac and iOS. Many times the app on iOS will quit on iPhone. I run the Roon software on a Mac server and CPU cycles will exceed 100% for no reason when it’s just idle and I have to frequently restart it. I am running Roon on my laptop to control the server software, and left alone, it too is running at over 100%.

    The other issue facing Roon right now is a poorly implemented Search. It’s broken. It shouldn’t take 5 minutes to return results for an album search.

    I am trying out Audirvana Studio today and am starting with using it directly connected to my laptop via USB. It’s too soon to make comparisons but the sound is quite good. And the search was nearly instantaneous.

  • Reply May 13, 2022


    Thanks for the review! I’ve been using Audirvana Studio since it came out, originally comparing it to the Tidal and Qobuz players. I also compared it to the Windows Media Player I had been using for my local library. Audirvana Studio integrates my three sources quite handily with the only a few problems that have been solved along the way. When it comes to sound quality Audirvana easily bests the Tidal and Qobuz players and the Windows player isn’t even in the same universe. It did require some manual changes to metadata in my local library but that wasn’t too painful, just a bit time consuming. Thankfully I was able to do it while listening! All in all I’ve been happy with AS even thru what could easily be considered beta testing even though the software was already released. Damien does support the software and a lot of help can be found on their forum for any problems someone might have. Count me as a contented subscriber.

  • Reply November 2, 2022


    I’ve been an Audirvana user for a year now. I gave up on Roon, because they essentially have no support system. They’ve outsourced support to their Community Forum, and maybe you’ll get an answer there, and maybe not.

    Audirvana is somewhat buggy, in my experience. Particularly problematic is their file system and tagging apparatus. However, you can (mostly) get it to do what you want.

    In their favor–and this is a critical issue–is that they pay attention to their forum and respond. Not perfect, but at least trying.

  • Reply December 21, 2022

    Olaf Vogel

    Its just ok.
    On my Mac studio it runs slowly, crashes often.
    Functionality is decent, same with the interface – but nothing special.

    For $150, its definitely not worth the money

    • Reply March 3, 2023


      I’m using Audirvana since last 3 years.
      Extremely happy with the sound quality.
      My modest set up
      Tidal Hifi plus/Audirvana/MacBook Pro 2015/Audioquest Forest optical/Marantz PM6005/Audioquest cables/Monitor Audio Bronze BX2.
      Surprisingly a budget system sounds so good
      Thanks to Audirvana.

  • Reply January 9, 2023


    I own Audirvana 3.55.
    My main issue besides the unjustified high prices and ridiculous subscription plans in the new versions, is the poor database organisation. For example, if you rename your music folders, Audirvana will add the new ones, but will not remove the old old data from its database. You’ll end up with duplicated library, which is very annoying and impossible to fix… Unless you delete completely the database and start from scratch. Deleting the database also deletes all playlists, filters and so on.
    Sound is good though. No doubt one of the better players on today’s market.

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