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First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion

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Posted on July 23, 2011 at 08:23:20
Mercman
Audiophile

Posts: 6484
Location: So. CA
Joined: October 20, 2002
Listening comparisons were performed on a 2011 MacBook Pro 17” 2.3 GHz Quad Core i7/ 16GB RAM / Vertex 3 240 GB SSD. I have separate partitions for Snow Leopard and Lion. The Wavelength Crimson Silver HS/ Denominator was used for listening with an Audioquest Diamond USB cable.

I initially was going to compare Pure Music /Snow Leopard with Pure Music /Lion. Now remember that Lion does not support Integer mode playback for the generic USB driver I use with the Wavelength DAC. Unfortunately, Pure Music is not ready for Lion; at least with my DAC. Music played pack with distortion, especially with 44.1 files.

The next thing I did was load Decibel, Fidelia, and Audirvana. I am happy to report that these programs worked well with hog enabled.

Most of my listening was done with Decibel, but similar sound characteristics of the operating systems were heard with all three programs. I listened to a variety of music with 44.1 up to 176.4 RR HRx and 192 Channel Classics. Jazz. Pop, and classical music were listened to.

Now for the startling results:

On my system, I preferred Lion.

Snow Leopard seemed darker, slower in transients, and less dynamic than Lion. Lion had a bigger soundstage that was wider and deeper with better detail. In fact, with one of my CDs, the soundstage detail was quite remarkable. There was definitely more air at the high end with Lion; especially with 176.4 and 192 files.

Even without Integer, Lion had better resolution of detail. I suspect on some systems, Lion may sound brighter, but not on my system. All 3 music programs sounded excellent and much better than straight iTunes using Lion.

I found that Lion seems to be more efficient than Snow Leopard even though it is running more background processes. Watching streaming video on both OS showed Snow Leopard using a little bit more memory and CPU on the 2011 MacBook Pro.

Hopefully, in the next few weeks, Pure Music will be ready for the big shoot out with Snow Leopard and Lion. I did not compare the 3 music programs using Lion with Pure Music using Snow Leopard/Integer. I will be trying that test tomorrow.

Steve


 

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RE: First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion, posted on July 23, 2011 at 08:36:22
J.Mac
Audiophile

Posts: 3519
Location: Colorado
Joined: November 6, 2002
> Now for the startling results:
>
> On my system, I preferred Lion.

With you, that conclusion is just about as startling as the sun coming up.

 

RE: First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion, posted on July 23, 2011 at 10:11:37
Regor Ladan
Audiophile

Posts: 2156
Location: Flushing, NY
Joined: August 28, 2010
The men in the long white lab coats will be knocking on your door shortly.

 

Thanks for the report, Steve (nt), posted on July 23, 2011 at 10:24:13
Thomas James
Audiophile

Posts: 109
Location: Vancouver
Joined: May 27, 2004
.

 

LOL, posted on July 24, 2011 at 15:39:10
Scrith
Audiophile

Posts: 1169
Location: Los Angeles
Joined: July 19, 2005
Let's have a race to see who can write Mercman's next Apple-related review. Here's a preview: "Oh my god, the amazing clarity and definition of OSX Lion 1.0.1a001 is absolutely amazing! The night and day difference between this version and the previous one (released yesterday afternoon) makes it sound like my entire system just got a dramatic upgrade. Hallelujah and praise be to Steve Jobs, Apple, and their amazing programmers!"

 

RE: LOL, posted on July 25, 2011 at 07:08:42
Mercman
Audiophile

Posts: 6484
Location: So. CA
Joined: October 20, 2002



Scrith was recently in the news. The article discussed his DBT methodology. A picture of Scrith hard at work listening is enclosed:



 

I hope that reaction doesn't surprise you., posted on July 25, 2011 at 10:57:44
carcass93
Audiophile

Posts: 7181
Location: NJ
Joined: September 20, 2006
After all, not all PC HelpDesk technicians should be able to comprehend an idea that new OS, IF it runs more efficiently, can also positively impact audio playback.

Not all, I said - only those mediocre and up in level. Not the case with these two, apparently.

 

RE: LOL, posted on July 25, 2011 at 11:32:59
Bob_C
Audiophile

Posts: 2596
Location: NY
Joined: July 31, 2000
A picture is worth a thousand words... :)

BC

 

RE: First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion, posted on July 25, 2011 at 19:46:53
antipodes
Manufacturer

Posts: 3
Joined: July 25, 2011
Mercman, your impressions of Lion are similar to others I have heard. However, the differences described are similar to the differences I hear between SL in 32 bit and SL in 64 bit. So I am wondering if you were comparing SL in 32 bit to Lion in 64 bit? More to the point, I am wondering what people hear when they compare SL in 64 bit to Lion.

I will be trying this myself once I get the drivers and firmware to run my system with Lion.

 

RE: First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion, posted on July 25, 2011 at 21:00:57
Mercman
Audiophile

Posts: 6484
Location: So. CA
Joined: October 20, 2002
My 2011 MacBook Pro automatically boots to 64 bit in Snow Leopard. But this is a good point.

 

RE: First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion, posted on July 25, 2011 at 21:35:18
antipodes
Manufacturer

Posts: 3
Joined: July 25, 2011
Thanks - so Lion takes it even further - good to know. I will have to give it a try soon then. My main problem is that I have my music on a Synology NAS and so would have to use Beta software for it to work with Lion. I have backups, but restoring is lengthy and stressful. I tend to prefer Amarra, so there's another problem. But your post encourages me to get dirty with it soon despite it being early days.

 

RE: First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion, posted on July 26, 2011 at 02:55:19
Mercman
Audiophile

Posts: 6484
Location: So. CA
Joined: October 20, 2002
I would wait until more is known about Lion unless you do what I did and save your SL partition. Stephan Booth stated at CA that you can't be sure what you're getting with playback.

 

RE: First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion, posted on July 26, 2011 at 05:57:57
antipodes
Manufacturer

Posts: 3
Joined: July 25, 2011
I just made an extra partition, restored my Snow Leopard to it and then installed Lion to it. All went brilliantly, the only trick was using the new Weiss driver. My Synology NAS worked just fine without using the Beta software and I figured out how to get screen sharing working on the iPad. I then went through all the usual software tweaks to turn the bloatware off and give priority to core audio iTunes and Amarra, and to run iTunes in 32 bit mode (so that the Amarra plugin would work). First impressions are a more natural clarity than with Snow Leopard, but I will need more time with it.

 

Thanks for posting your initial findings -nt, posted on July 26, 2011 at 06:36:46
AbeCollins
Audiophile

Posts: 35741
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002
.

 

RE: First Sonic Impressions of OSX Lion, posted on July 26, 2011 at 06:50:49
Mercman
Audiophile

Posts: 6484
Location: So. CA
Joined: October 20, 2002
One very cool thing about OSX, is that you can resize the partition without disturbing the original data. Naturally, a back-up is a must before doing this.

Thanks for doing all of this work. I'll be looking forward to your impressions. I'm hoping that Channel D can get Pure Music working for me in Lion by this weekend.

 

Thanks for posting your impressions Steve (nt), posted on July 26, 2011 at 19:59:56
Gary G
Audiophile

Posts: 92
Location: So. Cal
Joined: February 17, 2001
Thanks!

 

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