Best sound quality on Qobuz

Has anyone found different sound quality with Qobuz between the native app and Roon?
In my case, I have observed that using the latest versions of both applications (Qobuz Desktop version 5.4.0-b009 and Roon 1.7 build 528) and having the PC (Windows 10 Pro last version) connected to the DAC via USB Wasapi in exclusive mode without losses, the native application of Qobuz sounds with more definition and better separation of the instruments.
Any feedback is appreciated.

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I have had the same observation. I love Roon and currently using a spare iPhone as an endpoint and it does sound a little veiled. But when I play the same iPhone with the Qobuz app there’s a distinct difference. I found the same as you, better definition and separation with the Qobuz native app.

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Either of you guys using DSP or volume leveling? That could account for the difference.

In my case I use a Devialet 220 Pro with zero treble and bass. That is, direct signal. There is no volume leveling.

I don’t understand why I would need DSP if my other sources sound fine?

I didn’t mean to imply you needed it, simply that if you were using it, it might explain why Qobuz’ native app sounds different from Roon. Since you’re not using DSP, I haven’t a clue. Sorry to intrude.

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Ah I got you David. Yeah I don’t know what it could be as I’ve followed best practices for SQ for roon and am still beside myself.

Sometimes folks use volume leveling in Roon or in other playback software and when that software path is compared to one that isn’t using volume leveling then that can cause a perceived difference. Just a couple db can do it. Most often the software path with volume leveling is lowering the volume and that lowered volume makes it seem not as good. Other than that I can’t think of any technical reason why there should be a difference in sound quality.

Thanks Douglas. Whats strange is that I get the same perceived SQ difference when on my headphone system going through my laptop. I keep reading the knowledge base and keep tweaking.

As mentioned if roon is reducing the volume but the qobuz app is not then qobuz will sound ‘better’

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Thanks Billy, I’ll be ordering a Roon Ready streamer soon and hoping maybe that will help solve the discrepancy in SQ

Possible scenario for difference. Roon core does decoding from Qobuz flac to pcm and sends raw pcm to Roon app. Qobuz app decodes flac to pcm locally on device.

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Thanks @CrystalGipsy. I think I found the culprit. I have replaced an amazon purchased usb-a to usb-c cable adapter and that seems to have done it!

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Glad you got it sorted. What did you replace your USB converter to?

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An ifi silencer, since it has a USB-C connection and doubles as a noise suppressor to my MacBook Pro. And am ordering a proper Roon Ready streamer for my main system to eliminate that adapter (was planning on purchasing one anyhow).

I am out of town this week, so instead of burning through tons of Verizon Wireless cellular data and hotspot data, I downloaded over 600 albums from Qobuz to my Dell XPS 15 laptop. I have to say, listening with my Dragonfly Cobalt USB DAC and Sony WH1000XM3 headphones sounds as good as anything I’ve listened to.

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Hi Diego,

I have exactly the same experience regarding the Qobuz sound quality using the Qobuz native app versus Roon. You couldn’t better describe the difference between the two.

I use now a free trial of Roon 1.7 (build 610), installed on a I7 core laptop (Windows 10 Pro) connected to a M2Tech HiFace Evo Two and using audio device driver HiFace Evo Two, wasapi excl. mode. Qobuz desktop version 5.4.4-b019.

Roon reproduces the sound less precisely. Individual sound images are more enlarged and mixed with each other. In a way the sound picture is more blurred. Much less focus in the music with Roon. With the Qobuz app you are drawn into the music much more and that gives a very good listening experience.

I hope Roon designers do read our comment. It seems the cause is located in the digital processing. Maybe the way of using dither in the application? Hard to tell by us.
Good to read this confirmation by you of exactly the same experience of listening to Qobuz with the Qobuz versus the Roon app.

Roon is a perfect environment to manage music, so sad that the sound is less good. I have no intention to order a Roon subscription at the moment, because of this. I will wait for an improvement regarding the sound quality of Roon.

If I have further news I will let you know.

Best regards,

Roon already strongly recommends not using the core computer as an endpoint connected to a DAC for this reason. Roons software is a lot more intensive and active than Qobuz app, this activity causes unwanted noise which inturn gets into the sensitive Analogue stages of DACs. They recommend network connected endpoints for best sq.

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I encourage users to follow Roon’s recommendations if they want the promised high end sound quality - it is definitely there for the taking. Roon clearly states you should use a separate endpoint to play audio. The fact that you can get sound by directly connecting DAC to core is a convenience and not how you are meant to use it.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a great sounding endpoint - a Raspberry Pi running Ropieee powered by iFi works great with a USB DAC, try it and enjoy!

Please also try running ROCK on your PC (assuming your PC has an Intel CPU and chipset it should work and it doesn’t cost anything to try it). You will be amazed at the improvement in sound quality compared with running Roon on Windows despite both are theoretically bit perfect.

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Of course, using the core computer as an endpoint is not the ideal way for the highest sound performance. But using a good external USB to SPDIF convertor, like the Berkeley Alpha USB or even the M2Tech EVO Two, it must be possible to get a reasonable audio performance.
I also tried a second computer in the network as an endpoint. The difference is also there.
Even by comparing both apps Roon and Qobuz on an Iphone, you can hear the difference.
Comparing the CPU use in the Task manager on the core pc while running Roon and Qobuz app, Qobuz even uses more CPU power than Roon, Qobuz about 17 %, Roon 12 %.
I agree with the Roon recommendations. But in this case, the cause of the differences I hear now has to be found not in the core-endpoint setup. That is my perception (at this moment!).