What features of Roon are worth the price? Compensate for Roon’s poorer sound quality?

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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This quote is from the link you provided.

”At Roon Labs, we aren't willing to sacrifice user experience or functionality at the altar of sound quality--we are determined to provide both at once.”

They then go on to explain how to set up and accomplish that using their software. I didn’t find anything in that link about Roon admitting something about poorer sound quality In exchange for more features.
Daverich
It wasn't the Roon folks who ever mentioned anything about poorer sound quality in exchange for features, but rather many users, particularly those with good resolving systems who seem to agree that Roon's SQ deteriorated somewhat upon the release of v 1.7 of their software in early/mid 2020. As I recall, I was the first to post this observation on the Roon website on their blog. This was welcomed with all the enthusiasm of Nancy Pelosi and AOC attending a Trump rally or Xi Jinping attending a Freedom March in Hong Kong. Verbal bullets were flying for days. Needless to say, I got the heck off of that site quickly!
 

Kal Rubinson

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Daverich4

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Daverich
It wasn't the Roon folks who ever mentioned anything about poorer sound quality in exchange for features, but rather many users, particularly those with good resolving systems who seem to agree that Roon's SQ deteriorated somewhat upon the release of v 1.7 of their software in early/mid 2020. As I recall, I was the first to post this observation on the Roon website on their blog. This was welcomed with all the enthusiasm of Nancy Pelosi and AOC attending a Trump rally or Xi Jinping attending a Freedom March in Hong Kong. Verbal bullets were flying for days. Needless to say, I got the heck off of that site quickly!
I’m aware of the users who claim that Roon’s SQ has deteriorated but I was responding specifically to Caesar’s claim that Roon “admitted” that they had traded off SQ for features.

“Also, Roon doesn't really dispute that. They are upfront about the trade-off between a feature rich application and sound quality: Roon's "Admission" of "Poorer" Sound Quality and Trade-offs
 

jft

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2018
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0
66
Tried Roon going to an Innuos Zenith as endpoint, was not too happy with sound.
Straight from PC to DAC, was ok , issues with Qobuz album covers missing.
Tried Audirvana, great Qobuz integration and better sound with a T+A DSD 8 DAC.
 

sbo6

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May 19, 2014
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Getting to the OP's question, "What features of Roon are worth the price? Compensate for Roon’s poorer sound quality?"

While I don't find the interface to be perfect (none is) it's the best currently on the market and by quite a bit. Song and artist recommendations, consolidation of local library and multiple streaming sites + Live Radio, availability of up and coming and the latest artists' releases, high res, remasters, it truly is a jack of all trades app.

And I think for many people but not most of us, the sound quality is quite good. But for those looking for the best sound, like many of us there are other options such as HQPlayer. But the option to use ROON for music management and HQP as a back end can come quite close to HQP stand alone IME.
 
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maxwerks

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Mar 6, 2021
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Forgive my newb-ness !!! ( I am playing catchup when it comes to Computer Audio ) .. what Ive gathered so far is that there the SQ of the " Player " part of the ROON is questionable .. and possibly bettered by Hqplayer ( I hope I got this right ) . Then what are the advantages or disadvantages of using Roon for the server/management part and Hqplayer for the player function ? I am sure it is far more streamlines to use one for both but if the SQ is an issue is there a true problem in using both ? I just read for that Antipodes support Hqplayer as the player .. and if thats the case , then is this better handled by two different units not one ( a core for Roon and Hqplayer for the " transport/player" per se?.. again pardon and have mercy on the novice !!
 

ihmeyers

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Nov 13, 2017
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How many have experienced software outside of Roon? Most build their streamers around this software and don’t have other options that are friendly.

I am not trying to be argumentative or accusatory. Every unit I’ve played with that has Roon and another software has proven to sound better on the other software. When it comes to user experience though, Roon is superb.
I have a pretty expensive music server (LDMS) running into a Lampi TRP DAC and Roon sounds great. I know @Golum and @Alrainbow both have more expensive versions of my server and even better DACs and they love Roon as well.

There are a lot of people with $50k+ digital front-ends using Roon.
 

bryans

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Dec 26, 2017
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It is funny that the newest narrative is people like Roon because they haven't listened to anything else. o_O
 

Macattack

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I have listened to JRiver and it always sounded great via USB. It’s GUI sucks. Almost too many features that require a steep learning curve. ROON via an Ethernet connection, eg separate Core and Endpoint devices, sounds much better and offers the GUI and other improvements.

I have no interest upsampling so HQ player brings nothing to me. I am using A Windows Server so what else can come close to the overall experience of ROON?
 

christoph

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Dec 12, 2015
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I have no interest upsampling so HQ player brings nothing to me. I am using A Windows Server so what else can come close to the overall experience of ROON?
I use roon and HQP as output engine but I don't do any upsampling/resampling i.e. play natively.
For me the HQP output engine sounds a bit better than roon on it's own.
 

Macattack

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I use roon and HQP as output engine but I don't do any upsampling/resampling i.e. play natively.
For me the HQP output engine sounds a bit better than roon on it's own.
Interesting. I am interested again if I can figure out how to have HQ Player connect via Ethernet to my Bricasti M21. I don’t use a direct connection between my PC and DAC.
I have heard about something called NAA but need to learn more.
 

christoph

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Dec 12, 2015
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Interesting. I am interested again if I can figure out how to have HQ Player connect via Ethernet to my Bricasti M21. I don’t use a direct connection between my PC and DAC.
I have heard about something called NAA but need to learn more.
I use HQP not only directly from the server into the main DAC via USB but (can) also use HQP output via NAAs (on ropieeeXL) to my other systems (but there also via USB).
I haven't checked if/how ethernet works via NAA, but I guess it should be possible.
Maybe you could ask Jussi (HQP) directly on the AS-forum: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/

The only downside in my scenario is that I have to VNC onto the server (which is headless) and change on the HQP desktop from one use case to another. If your server is NOT headless, it is even easier to do.

And I only have to do this if I want to change the HQP output to another system. If I keep HQP output on one system, I just start roon and use it that way.
I change only to HQP output on the other systems if I listen seriously.

The sonic difference from HQP to roon alone s not night and day but for me it is worth the hassle :p
 

213Cobra

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Aug 27, 2018
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I am completing a four years project to rip 5500 CDs to a server, having taken the time to ensure bit-perfect rips. The rips have been done for over a year. The data editing is the time sink now, but I listen to this hard-earned convenience. I also have used Tidal HiFi for the past five years or so, both discretely and from within Roon. I bought the Roon perpetual license maybe three years ago.

Completing this project means choosing my endpoints. I have to get one server's music to two complete hifi systems and I'm not running cable all over the house. I achieved my breakthrough there. I'll circle back to that. Digital streaming has been a tertiary source for me, analog vinyl being primary; spinner CDs being secondary before streaming. So while I got this all organized I've just been streaming 16/44 content through AppleTV, which converts everything to 16/48. It sounded fine; not stellar; not really bad in any way. I further improved the ATV streaming by using the iFi SPDIF iPurifier dejitterer and clock between the ATV TOSLINK output and the DAC input. Clearly better while I got the rest of the project done.

Now the project shifts to making digital streaming a peer source to spun CDs and vinyl.

I am always scanning for DACs and will make another push for trials in that category. They are like phono cartridges. None are the full truth and nothing but the truth, so you look for the more objective ones (or some people look for their preferred colorations). For the past several years I've been using MHDT Pagoda and Pagoda Balanced on the two systems, lightly modified, and using (via adapters) CCa tubes in place of the stock 5670 family. Makes a large difference. The Pagoda is a 24/192 R2R ladder DAC built around the revered BB PCM1704 chip, with discrete transistor (no op-amp) I/V conversion and a tube buffer output. It's a challenger to giants in objectivity, resolution and tone; no DSD supported.

When I first got Roon a few years ago, I was reasonably impressed with it. I'm a career software professional, so I agree the UX/UI is better than any other music management software on the market, but of course there are things I would change if I were the product manager or leading the company. No matter, it's good in that respect, and any other changes I made would be criticized by someone else with different ideas. Not worth arguing about.

On SQ, I initially had no real qualms about Roon because ..... well .... it's all streamed digital. None of it sounded spot on but Roon was pretty good. Sometime Tidal direct from its own app sounded better but sometimes not so much. I just didn't focus on it much. Streaming from Roon was my tertiary source.

Recently, I started making decisions about my endpoints. Thinking on this evolved continuously over the past four years. I thought initially I'd run wired to the Zu Druid system which is physically close to the server, and go wireless to the Zu Definition system for which a wired connection would be a pita. So I focused on deciding about a true high-res streamer to elbow aside the music streaming role AppleTV has been shouldering. After a wide-ranging survey, I bought an Auralic Aries G1. There are three particularly great features in the Aries G1. First, Auralic put great effort into Wifi, to the point they recommend Wifi as the connection of first resort even if you can easily run Ethernet to the G1. The reason is they've implemented Wifi to be quieter than wired Ethernet. Second, this streamer includes a 1gb FIFO cache for any incoming digital signal. Anything inputted gets cached and dejittered. They have two Femto clocks, one for USB, the other for the remaining digital I/O. Jitter from any input effectively vanishes. Third, Auralic views MQA as what it is -- a compression technology -- not consistent with highest fidelity. So they developed their own alternate decoding simulation for MQA content and it's successful in my listening.

My mhdt Pagoda DACs have sounded truthful, dynamic, energetic, tone-dense and authentic for the years I've had them (and the Atlantis) in place. The streamer matters more. The Auralic G1 alone puts streaming digital in a peer position with other sources. Better yet, since playing a spinning CD is just loading data into the 1gb cache for recolocking and dejittering, EVERY CD sounds better. The drive doesn't matter. You just put a cheap USB computer optical drive on it. But I have them all ripped now anyway. My disc player is relegated to Bluray only.

The Aries G1 impressed me enough to get an Aries G2.1. I put the G1 on the Zu Druid system, and the G2.1 on the Suz Definition system. Honestly, I can take my damn time evaluating any DACs to succeed the MHDT Pagodas.

WRT Roon SQ: I've had JRiver and futzed with a few other applications over the past 10 years. Most are bogus crap from a software integrity and UX/UI standpoint. Life's too short. Roon is visually beautiful and aggregates a ton of contextual content about whatever you're listening to. It's the product of music lovers. Can't fault that. However, I agree Roon SQ has been eroding. It's not falling off a cliff by any means, but something they are doing is shaving away aspects of SQ.

What sounds better? Conclusively, music played from the Auralic Lightning DS app controlling the Auralic streamers. No question better than Roon. The Auralic streamers are Roon endpoints, seamlessly recognized and connected. And more to the point, Tidal Hifi played from within the Lightning DS app blows away same played from within Roon. You can only get the Auralic's MQA emulation running Tidal from within Lightning DS. It's a game-changer for Tidal MQA/Masters.

There's another thing to be aware of regarding Roon and Tidal: Roon alienated me with a recent release that continues in the current version. I carefully bit-perfect-ripped 5500 CDs to a disc and imported that database to Roon Core. Well, now, if I give Roon the user/pw to my Tidal Hifi account, it *substitutes Tidal Hifi tracks for every track I ripped that Tidal also has!* You can't turn this off. Very many of the Tidal tracks do not sound as good as my ripped 16/44 tracks. So I have segregated Tidal from my ripped library. I play Tidal (initially when I discovered this Roon abomination, I played from the Tidal app) from within Lightning DS. I play my ripped collection from Roon. This weekend I will get Lightning DS to "see" my 4TB of ripped files on the network and routinely play from there.

Will I abandon Roon? No, because of their excellent content aggregation. Plus, you cannot edit data in Lightning DS; you can in Roon. I bought the perpetual license, so no point in abandoning it. I'll use it when convenient (guests) and for maintenance. But for digital, I'll be listening from Auralic Lightning DS when I'm the operator. It sounds better; seems more stable (no crashes) and it's snappy.

But the net takeaway here is that the streamer is a vital choice. I've had many DACs on audition over the past decade. Even hardwired. Nothing has made as much of a convincing difference as these Auralic streamers. And keep in mind jitter is a bigger problem at the input of delta-sigma DACs than R2Rs. For a lot of the hifi digital world streamer choice will be even more critical than for me.

Phil
 
Last edited:

Duckworp

Well-Known Member
Oct 14, 2018
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I am completing a four years project to rip 5500 CDs to a server, having taken the time to ensure bit-perfect rips. The rips have been done for over a year. The data editing is the time sink now, but I listen to this hard-earned convenience. I also have used Tidal HiFi for the past five years or so, both discretely and from within Roon. I bought the Roon perpetual license maybe three years ago.

Completing this project means choosing my endpoints. I have to get one server's music to two complete hifi systems and I'm not running cable all over the house. I achieved my breakthrough there. I'll circle back to that. Digital streaming has been a tertiary source for me, analog vinyl being primary; spinner CDs being secondary before streaming. So while I got this all organized I've just been streaming 16/44 content through AppleTV, which converts everything to 16/48. It sounded fine; not stellar; not really bad in any way. I further improved the ATV streaming by using the iFi SPDIF iPurifier dejitterer and clock between the ATV TOSLINK output and the DAC input. Clearly better while I got the rest of the project done.

Now the project shifts to making digital streaming a peer source to spun CDs and vinyl.

I am always scanning for DACs and will make another push for trials in that category. They are like phono cartridges. None are the full truth and nothing but the truth, so you look for the more objective ones (or some people look for their preferred colorations). For the past several years I've been using MHDT Pagoda and Pagoda Balanced on the two systems, lightly modified, and using (via adapters) CCa tubes in place of the stock 5670 family. Makes a large difference. The Pagoda is a 24/192 R2R ladder DAC built around the revered BB PCM1704 chip, with discrete transistor (no op-amp) I/V conversion and a tube buffer output. It's a challenger to giants in objectivity, resolution and tone; no DSD supported.

When I first got Roon a few years ago, I was reasonably impressed with it. I'm a career software professional, so I agree the UX/UI is better than any other music management software on the market, but of course there are things I would change if I were the product manager or leading the company. No matter, it's good in that respect, and any other changes I made would be criticized by someone else with different ideas. Not worth arguing about.

On SQ, I initially had no real qualms about Roon because ..... well .... it's all streamed digital. None of it sounded spot on but Roon was pretty good. Sometime Tidal direct from its own app sounded better but sometimes not so much. I just didn't focus on it much. Streaming from Roon was my tertiary source.

Recently, I started making decisions about my endpoints. Thinking on this evolved continuously over the past four years. I thought initially I'd run wired to the Zu Druid system which is physically close to the server, and go wireless to the Zu Definition system for which a wired connection would be a pita. So I focused on deciding about a true high-res streamer to elbow aside the music streaming role AppleTV has been shouldering. After a wide-ranging survey, I bought an Auralic Aries G1. There are three particularly great features in the Aries G1. First, Auralic put great effort into Wifi, to the point they recommend Wifi as the connection of first resort even if you can easily run Ethernet to the G1. The reason is they've implemented Wifi to be quieter than wired Ethernet. Second, this streamer includes a 1gb FIFO cache for any incoming digital signal. Anything inputted gets cached and dejittered. They have two Femto clocks, one for USB, the other for the remaining digital I/O. Jitter from any input effectively vanishes. Third, Auralic views MQA as what it is -- a compression technology -- not consistent with highest fidelity. So they developed their own alternate decoding simulation for MQA content and it's successful in my listening.

My mhdt Pagoda DACs have sounded truthful, dynamic, energetic, tone-dense and authentic for the years I've had them (and the Atlantis) in place. The streamer matters more. The Auralic G1 alone puts streaming digital in a peer position with other sources. Better yet, since playing a spinning CD is just loading data into the 1gb cache for recolocking and dejittering, EVERY CD sounds better. The drive doesn't matter. You just put a cheap USB computer optical drive on it. But I have them all ripped now anyway. My disc player is relegated to Bluray only.

The Aries G1 impressed me enough to get an Aries G2.1. I put the G1 on the Zu Druid system, and the G2.1 on the Suz Definition system. Honestly, I can take my damn time evaluating any DACs to succeed the MHDT Pagodas.

WRT Roon SQ: I've had JRiver and futzed with a few other applications over the past 10 years. Most are bogus crap from a software integrity and UX/UI standpoint. Life's too short. Roon is visually beautiful and aggregates a ton of contextual content about whatever you're listening to. It's the product of music lovers. Can't fault that. However, I agree Roon SQ has been eroding. It's not falling off a cliff by any means, but something they are doing is shaving away aspects of SQ.

What sounds better? Conclusively, music played from the Auralic Lightning DS app controlling the Auralic streamers. No question better than Roon. The Auralic streamers are Roon endpoints, seamlessly recognized and connected. And more to the point, Tidal Hifi played from within the Lightning DS app blows away same played from within Roon. You can only get the Auralic's MQA emulation running Tidal from within Lightning DS. It's a game-changer for Tidal MQA/Masters.

There's another thing to be aware of regarding Roon and Tidal: Roon alienated me with a recent release that continues in the current version. I carefully bit-perfect-ripped 5500 CDs to a disc and imported that database to Roon Core. Well, now, if I give Roon the user/pw to my Tidal Hifi account, it *substitutes Tidal Hifi tracks for every track I ripped that Tidal also has!* You can't turn this off. Very many of the Tidal tracks do not sound as good as my ripped 16/44 tracks. So I have segregated Tidal from my ripped library. I play Tidal (initially when I discovered this Roon abomination, I played from the Tidal app) from within Lightning DS. I play my ripped collection from Roon. This weekend I will get Lightning DS to "see" my 4TB of ripped files on the network and routinely play from there.

Will I abandon Roon? No, because of their excellent content aggregation. Plus, you cannot edit data in Lightning DS; you can in Roon. I bought the perpetual license, so no point in abandoning it. I'll use it when convenient (guests) and for maintenance. But for digital, I'll be listening from Auralic Lightning DS when I'm the operator. It sounds better; seems more stable (no crashes) and it's snappy.

But the net takeaway here is that the streamer is a vital choice. I've had many DACs on audition over the past decade. Even hardwired. Nothing has made as much of a convincing difference as these Auralic streamers. And keep in mind jitter is a bigger problem at the input of delta-sigma DACs than R2Rs. For a lot of the hifi digital world streamer choice will be even more critical than for me.

Phil
When you play an album on Roon it plays your “primary version” and you decide what your primary version is. So it should play your ripped CD if that is your primary version. Only Roon Radio seems to play entirely from the attached external streaming service.
 

213Cobra

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Aug 27, 2018
292
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Los Angeles, CA
When you play an album on Roon it plays your “primary version” and you decide what your primary version is. So it should play your ripped CD if that is your primary version. Only Roon Radio seems to play entirely from the attached external streaming service.
Thank you for the tip. It's not what I'm seeing, and when I Google this trait, what I get back is that the current version of Roon gives you no option. I'll take your cue to look again. Apparently one of the drivers of this is Roon wanting to drive revenue to musicians by forcing Tidal playback on duplicate tracks. I have not found a way to designate a "primary" version.

Still, Roon does only the first MQA unfold of Tidal MQA in software. But Auralic's Lightning DS instigated emulation is sonically superior.

Phil
 

Daverich4

Member
May 8, 2020
34
9
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Thank you for the tip. It's not what I'm seeing, and when I Google this trait, what I get back is that the current version of Roon gives you no option. I'll take your cue to look again. Apparently one of the drivers of this is Roon wanting to drive revenue to musicians by forcing Tidal playback on duplicate tracks. I have not found a way to designate a "primary" version.

Still, Roon does only the first MQA unfold of Tidal MQA in software. But Auralic's Lightning DS instigated emulation is sonically superior.

Phil
Other than Roon radio, Roon plays the version I want it to play and you absolutely can tell Roon which version that is.
 
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213Cobra

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
292
300
133
67
Los Angeles, CA
Other than Roon radio, Roon plays the version I want it to play and you absolutely can tell Roon which version that is.
I have to ask what version of Roon you are running. Everything I googled about this says that when Roon did their recent total renovation update, you no longer get a choice. If it's there, I haven't found it. I'll go back to the mine.

Phil
 

RikkiPoo

Member
Nov 5, 2020
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If there is more than one version of an album there is a tab after the Tracks and Credits tabs, select it and you can choose the primary version Roon defaults to playing.

Speaking of versions of Roon it recently updated to build 795. I dont know if its a coincidence but streaming Tidal sounds better? Should I get my ears checked?
 

Duckworp

Well-Known Member
Oct 14, 2018
16
5
70
56
I have to ask what version of Roon you are running. Everything I googled about this says that when Roon did their recent total renovation update, you no longer get a choice. If it's there, I haven't found it. I'll go back to the mine.

Phil
If you don’t add the Tidal version of an album to your library Roon will not ever play it apart from on Roon radio. Below I attach the roon screen. You can see two versions of Pet Sounds in my library, both rips, one of which is the 'Primary Version' which will be the default version played if I choose this album or a track from this album. Below my library you see roon has found 8 Qobuz versions, none of which are in my library, and roon will not play these ever apart from via roon radio. The only way it will choose to play one of these is if I add one to my library and make that version my Primary version.
 
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