Now that we have HQPlayer what about Audrivana?
Which one has the best SQ?
Which Audirvana functionality do you find missing or inadequate in Roon?
I was thinking of sound quality Audrivana uses the isotope 64-bit SRC with several parameters and upsampling and the equalization parameters through the audioUnits
I’m a user too and prefer the sound vs Roon by a large margin. I have tried HQP and this is as good too but I prefer Audirvana’s usability and I already own a licence.
There’s a number of audio engines out there, it would be super if Roon offered the ability for developers to interface with their engines then us users can pester them to add the capability. This would open up Roons addressable market too, given you do have the most advanced interface out there.
I too was a significant Audirvana user until the Roon/ HQPlayer integration was ready. I now prefer the Roon/HQP combination (except when it doesn’t work, which still happens fairly frequently); but I would think that a similar Roon/Audirvana combination would benefit both companies (A+'s library management pales in comparison to Roon and the A+ sound quality (with upsampling and proper iZotope settings) is better than Roon alone. So if I was starting from scratch, I would just purchase Roon plus HQP. But if I already had A+ I would love a Roon integration as it would greatly increase the likelihood of also subscribing to Roon.
Looking at the architecture of HQP vs Audirvana, it seems less unlikely that they would be able to support an integration with us without a major effort.
HQPlayer had infrastructure in place for network based control/streaming, good multi-platform support, and NAA. There were some minor changes on the HQPlayer side to make Roon integration work better, but most of the effort there was on our end.
As far as we are aware, Audirvana provides two significant things that we don’t:
- Upsampling (licensed from iZotope)
- AudioUnits plugin capability
These features have something in common: there is no magic to them, and you don’t need Audirvana to get them. Anyone can license iZotope or load an AudioUnits plugin. This gives Audirvana a lot less inherent value as an integration.
Contrast with HQPlayer: The only way to access Jussi/Miska’s DSP expertise is by buying HQPlayer.
There is another side to this: we would rather get upsampling/plugin functionality into Roon in a way that allows it to be used on all Roon-supported endpoints, instead of creating another path for local sound card output.
This is something we are thinking a lot about. We plan to expand DSP options in the coming year. I’m not sure Audirvana is the best way forward, but as usual, if there’s enough demand for a feature, we will do whatever is possible to make it happen.
I now prefer the Roon/HQP combination (except when it doesn’t work, which still happens fairly frequently);
Forgot to mention, we are alpha-testing a potential fix for the stopping/disconnection during playback problem now. If it does well in alpha, we’ll get it out as soon as possible.
I purchased Audrivana before I knew about Roon which was why I asked and the sound quality is very close but Audrivana has a slight edge and it can be tweaked more. If I had Roon first I wouldn’t look at Audrivanna. I might consider HQplayer but my preference would be more DSP functionality in Roon, especially since I just paid for Roon and don’t want to turn around and spend more.
A perfect world would be more DSP or other audio improvements in Roon and a plugin architecture to allow third parties to create stuff.
All in All Roon is awesome !
Brian: Thanks. All great points. Yes, presumably one could just purchase an Izotope license and use it with Roon to get the same benefit. I also agree that HQP benefits greatly from Jussi’s filtering wizardry. To be fair, I think the upside to Audirvana of substituting the rest of Roon’s library capabilities for what Damien as a hugely energetic, but still one man show, can do would provide A+ users with a much better integrated product. Roon’s only benefit would be that it would get access to those of Damien’s highly loyal customers who like the A+ sound and appreciate how dedicated he has been to their needs. But I have no clue just how many customers that is.
The other thing that you mention which I believe is hugely important is Jussi’s work in paralleling Roon’s capabilities in a network configuration. I think this is something that the beginning (and maybe even average) user fails to comprehend the strength/importance of and even I am struggling to fully implement. But the ability to put Roon and HQP on a high power central computer that does all of the compute intensive work, using access to a server for content and then streaming the upsampled, converted to DSD, DSP adjusted, … output to a number of NAA endppoints that themselves can be controlled through an iPad or Android device completely changes the architecture of whole house audio. Today it still requires a fair amount of computer and networking know-how to set all that up correctly, particularly if you are trying to send DSD256 output to the NAA endpoints, but I suspect that within the next year people will really begin to grasp the power of this architecture. Thank you for the care and thoughtfulness in designing it!
I think it would be great if roon was to license iZotope. Have you heard A+? IMO it does have a better overall quality which I think I put down to its use over CoreAudio. I’ve also bought a HQP license but I think I may prefer PCM over DSD and at the moment HQP is not able to play dsd files as pcm (which causes problems when playing shuffle) and since I use RoonServer with an iPad the constant disconnects kinda sucks without the update for the app available… so for now I’m back to roon direct for audio.
Yeah, I’ve spent a good deal of time analyzing most of “the competition” over the past year, including Audirvana.
We are confident that there are no impactful differences in how Roon and Audirvana interact with CoreAudio/MacOS X. That’s not to say that every detail is identical, but there isn’t that much magic when it comes to pushing audio bits through CoreAudio in the best way possible. I am aware that Audirvana’s marketing messages contradict this idea, but from where I’m sitting, that feels more like marketing than the technical reality. If our research suggested that there were more that we could be doing in that area, we would be doing it already.
A lot of what makes Audirvana sound good is the fact that the software doesn’t try to do anything but play music. That is a reasonable position for a one-man, one-platform, lightweight audio player, but not for us.
Roon is running heavier server, collection management, and graphical components. If you put these all on the same machine as your DAC is plugged into, there is a lot of potential for SQ impact.
We want to have our cake and eat it too, so we are attacking this problem by providing options for isolating the server, remote, and audio gear. The first RoonReady products are launching at CES, and we’ve been spending a serious slice of the past two months helping a bunch of manufacturers get through the integration process. RoonSpeakers, which provides for less costly DIY solutions to the same problem, is close to being out the door, too.
That leaves upsampling. Licensing an off-the-shelf package like iZotope has its plusses and minuses. I would prefer a product with better DSD support and better hardware acceleration. Quality high-resolution DSP is always going to be computationally expensive, and DSP that doesn’t take advantage of the hardware’s capabilities is bound to leave some quality on the table.
We are working with several potential partners to evaluate and work out DSP options. Nothing has taken firm enough shape yet for us to make an announcement, but it’s certainly an area that is getting attention over here.
Regarding HQPlayer: we have a possible fix for the HQPlayer disconnection issues in alpha testing right now. This problem has been elusive and difficult to reproduce (I still don’t think I’ve seen it firsthand), but we have a loose idea of what might be going on. And I really hope that HQPlayer’s DSD->PCM issue is resolved soon. When I first discussed it with Jussi, he expressed an intent to resolve it. I think it’s just a matter of time/schedule over there.
[quote=“brian, post:12, topic:6552”]
RoonSpeakers, which provides for less costly DIY solutions to the same problem, is close to being out the door, too
That’s great to hear, I can’t wait to revert to running the music server on the same machine that hosts the content (it removes Windows from my network and doesn’t waste energy running a box just for Roon Server) and also switching my Wandboards from SqueezeLite to RoonSpeakers).
Thanks @brian for the great feedback. I’ve been seriously looking at the Aries LE and once RoonReady versions are released I will home audition one to compare with my MacMini/HQP setup and see if it’s worth to buy.
As for the HQP disconnect, I’ve always found it happens if I’m playing a song in TIDAL and if midway through I may choose another song from my local library… disconnect happens and I need to quit HQP and restart (this is the most frequent cases) but other times if I’m in shuffle mode it will disconnect changing between 24bit / 16bit / DSF file (not always but it has happened more than a few times). I don’t remember if I have ever had a disconnect from playing a full album… I also have a Uptone Regen going into the DAC, so not sure if that could be doing anything to the USB signal (wouldn’t think, but don’t know)… Could this also have to do with Apple CoreAudio? Do you know if this is happening more for Mac than PC customers or is it across the board?.. Jussi mentioned he will have DSD->PSM working in HQP version 3.13… Thanks again for the indepth reply.
I’ve found it happens if I’m playing a song in TIDAL and if midway through I may choose another song from my local library… disconnect happens
This one is the one we are struggling to reproduce.
other times if I’m in shuffle mode it will disconnect changing between 24bit / 16bit / DSF file (not always but it has happened more than a few times).
I am fairly confident that we’ve fixed this problem.
I don’t remember if I have ever had a disconnect from playing a full album…
Playing a full album sends one gapless stream to HQPlayer. There is no interaction with HQPlayer at track boundaries unless the format is changing. I wouldn’t expect trouble there.
I also have a Uptone Regen going into the DAC, so not sure if that could be doing anything to the USB signal (wouldn’t think, but don’t know)…
Agreed, this isn’t involved.
Could this also have to do with Apple CoreAudio? Do you know if this is happening more for Mac than PC customers or is it across the board?
We’ve heard reports from both platforms.
@Brian. This disconnect happened again this morning playing Witchcraft - The Outcast  from TIDAL from the “Play Album” button which history says 25% was played when I decided to play the album Baroness - Purple (local library 24/96 flac purchased from PonoMusic) from the “Play Album” button… my HQP settings are "poly-sinc-mp / ADSD7 / SDM with -3db volume setting and my computer is a MacMini (late 2012 i5) and my DAC is a Unison Research CDDue… not sure if this info helps at all, but maybe.
Worth a shot…I’ll get as close as I can to that setup and see what happens. Thanks.
Hm. That didn’t do it directly for me, but I noticed something.
HQPlayer introduces a lot of little delays into the playback process. I’m assuming it is shutting down/opening up audio devices, setting up the filters, etc. These delays are much longer when switching formats than when staying within the same format.
From the Roon side, we give them a URL for the stream, then nothing happens for a few seconds, then we see HQPlayer come and grab the stream from us with no further prompting from our end. Without understanding HQPlayer internals, it’s fair to say that it is doing some kind of work during that time, and when the work is done, playback starts.
It seems like if we interrupt HQPlayer during that delay, Roon+HQPlayer ends up in a bad state. If I’m patient and wait for sound to come out before fiddling with the controls, then it’s pretty solid.
It’s not exactly what you described, but I’m having a gut feeling that if I fix it, things will get better anyways. I’m going to try now.
Audirvana plays a wider range of high qulaity file types. In particular, large SACD-iso files. It also picks up flac image files and reveals the individual tracks.
I have all the players available on macos and after long tests i found roon the best choise for my system.