This MusicLife app is a total disaster

Yes. Use with a streamer. Defeats the point if you bought it because it has streaming functions but no issues when using a standalone. I had the node, tried the zen stream and have now settled with the CXN v2.

“I don’t understand why when listening to one service, I have to go back 5 screens to be able to select another service. There is no shortcut to go back to the 1st selection screen.”

I use IOS-device, and had the same issue until I (accidentally) found out following:
When playing in left top corner there it is shown where you are in the app. When I put my finger there and press a drop down menu appears, I can then scroll to how far back I want to go in the menus.

Hope this is clear and helpful.

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Damn, never saw this before. Good one, mate!

is that with the free microphone provided? did you load the calibration curve for the microphone?

Not sure I understand the question’s relation… if it is about the curve above - yes it is with the calibrated mic but I don’t really have a problem with it except that it changes things I don’t want it to change.

Right now I’ve given up on Dirac entirely and since I’m buying an external DAC to improve the sound - using Dirac will no longer be possible anyhow.

I have tried using this with DACs from Chord (MOJO, HUGO), Blusound (NODE2), Schiitt, DACMagic. The DAC in the SA30 is superior to all of them, except maybe the HUGO (which is €5,000…). I have also tried MP3, 24/96, 24/192 and all the direct input (PM, Game, TV) channels and the MM and MC phono inputs. I have albums in all 4 sources and can directly compare them to each other (e.g. Dark Side of the Moon, 2112, Rumours, Soul Mining, Firebird Suite) Again, the SA30 DAC is superb. I also have a pair of Grado P500e’s to listen to and the quality of the DAC really shines through on them: direct comparison with the HUGO and the SA30 was a pure delight, and reassured me that the digital ‘guts’ of the SA30 were very good indeed.
The DIRAC setup I did first sounded awful, so I switched DIRAC to “no curve”. Then I got a better mic (the Umik1) and remembered to reload the calibration curves and ran all the tests with the microphone at measured locations on a rigid stand with me outside the room. Took an hour. I ran with the standard “flat” DIRACT curve for 2 weeks. It immediately sounded far less bass heavy, but with vastly improved clarity and midrange. All ringing, reverb, and “boom” had gone. I carried on with it for the whole two weeks, playing and replaying favourite albums on every available source, comparing the standard curve to “no curve”. I am convinced the DIRAC standard process was exemplary. No mucking about with dips or humps or bumps or lifts or bass boosting. Just letting my ears hear the music. Then I loaded the +2dB, +4db target curves and after 3 months I think that sometimes, for powerfull rock, it might make sense to have a small bass lift. That is all. Finally, as I sometimes use the SA30 as the amp for front channel home cinema, I created a custom DIRAC curve with a very small lift in vocal midrange. My family quite appreciated the benefit to hearing dialog. To my mind the main benefit of DIRAC isn’t the frequency EQ (which is excellent) but the phase, impulse, and reverb management that it adds.
FYI - I have also had the benefit of listening sessions with live bands in studios, working at Island Records, listening in at SARM, and listening sessions at SuperAudio Mastering, so I also know what €10m of audio perfection can sound like. I have friends with €100k++ audio equipment including Bryston, Krell, Devialiet, BelCanto and similar amps driving exotica like KEF Blade2, Sonus, Dali, and Wilson - and while those can sound superior, they are also in seriously expensive houses in seriously well set up rooms. (Yeah, I am a tiny bit jealous, but they don’t sound 50x better, only, maybe 10% better)
You can use it as an EQ with 30+ channels, but why? The overwhelming evidence from decades of audio research is that simpler is better, and flatter at the ears is better. The evidence is also that it takes most people about 4 weeks to “learn” a new sound profile, and then they regard it as normal. Constantly ‘chasing’ something that sounds ‘better’ to you right now by tweaking an EQ setting just denies your ears and brain a chance to truly hear.
You may like a really bass driven, warm coloured mid-range, with lots of room echo and reverb. That is a personal choice. DIRAC is the antithesis of this. At this point I would advise you to sell the Arcam to someone else who will use it. It is a class G digital amp through to the final stages and bypassing the DAC and DIRAC cuts out about 80% of the reason for owning it. Accept that perhaps “this isn’t for you” and find the thing that makes you happy.
Or go back to the start, double check all the phases on all the cables, check the speaker cables, position the speakers carefully, check all the speaker drivers are working, damp the obvious room reflections so DIRAC has less to do, get a calibrated mic, run the set up with rigorous attention to detail, set it to ‘flat’ and listen carefully for 2 weeks. It can genuinely surprise you with quality sound.

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Well I’ve tried it with $300 Chinese DAC and that DAC was better. Tried it with the Chord Qutest and that one was definitely much better so I am with the opinion that any dac, for any price will be better than the internal one(there is not a single person I’ve ever spoken who doesn’t think the same).
There is no way on earth that an integrated DAC in ANY device will sound better than an external one. Tests have been done with the most expensive Hegel, and its DAC just sux compared to an external one of decent quality(1000Eur range). These are facts as each and every integrated DAC is there just to say that it is there.
It is unfortunate that the Dirac can’t be used with an external DAC(it will defy the purpose of it).

This is the reason that I might change the whole SA30 and get something much cleaner w/o anything but just a simple integrated amp(Marantz Model 30). As you said, I am not using 1/2 of its features… then why do I have it at all…

On the other hand, I do really like the sound of it and the fact that it has Chromecast built in. MusicLife is terrible of course.

Yeah, right…

Would you care to elaborate on why is that? Any technicalities that would justify your claim?


Hi Felix,
Well they are just compromises. The integrated DACs of products at such price range just don’t seem to be with the idea to be good but just to be there. The power supply is not on par and there are interruptions caused by the other components inside the box.

I didn’t really think so until I heard this cheap external DAC which sounded a little better… what would be the sound of a reasonably priced one? Then I heard the Qutest and it was Night and Day. The sound had nothing in common.
I have to mark that I genuinely hate Chord’s products as I believe that there is nothing uglier ever made in the history of HiFi! Even if these sound good/better/best I’ll never own such an abomination!

Every person(as I said before) whom I’ve spoken to and has compared DACs is basically confirming this observation - internal DACs are not comparable.

Your observations don’t need to alight with these, of course. You didn’t find such a difference which actually is good for you, because you don’t need to spend the extra money for another DAC.

I myself am trying to win a RME Adi-2 DAC on eBay which will set me back another £700 probably.

Power supply is not on par with what? Cheap switching power supplies that are added to cheap DAC’s? Come on…
I’m not saying switching power supplies must be bad, as for example Linn shows it’s not the case. BUT cheap ones added to cheaper DAC’s are source of noise.
All depends on how internal DAC is done. I’m not saying SA30 DAC is amazing, as it could be better if they for example used shielding, like Marantz did in PM7000N, but it’s good.
Technically there’s no reason for external DAC’s to be better, if integrated is done properly. Additionally it eliminates the need to use interconnects.

Well, i know people that say otherwise, me being one of them :slight_smile:

If you’re going to do that, than maybe try something like miniDSP SHD. According to measurements it has a very good DAC section, and at least you will be able to keep Dirac.
Anyway you’re now planning on doing something, that denies the biggest strengths of SA30 - streaming and Dirac Live. You might as well want to consider selling it and buying some other, pure analog amp. You’ll at least save some money for the DAC…

I’ve heard it some many times about different things. I do not hear HUGE difference between 1k$ and 2k$ amp. I mean, yes - i hear the difference, but it’s not big really, things that my wife for example wouldn’t hear. And others hear “night and day” difference between wall sockets or fuses…
I’m not denying what you heard, just taking such statements with a dose of skepticism…

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Yep, Felix… I fear I might need to change the SA30 as I completely agree with you about the good features of the device which I’ll end up not using.
I might go this path in the future if I am able to sell it for reasonable amount. For the moment it is like that but the ADI-2 DAC has its own means of “room correction” with its parametric EQ. This is one of the reasons why I chose it.

This might be most reasonable choice if you really feel you need to use external DAC.

It’s only EQ, not a full DSP. You cannot really compare it to DL.
As said - check out miniDSP SHD. It has good reviews.