Does Roon download entire track into RAM? [Memory Playback Discussion]

A dialogue is a waste of time. The issue can only progress with evidence. Those who believe that memory playback makes an audible difference need to demonstrate their ability to hear that difference under acceptable, double-blind conditions. If they can, then an engineer has something to work with. If they can’t, then it is perfectly reasonable for the sceptics to say there is no difference, and there is nothing to work with. Roon cannot be held hostage to the unproven whims of a handful of anonymous forum posters.

Well, to be fair to some posters, I don’t think we have a hostage-taking situation here. :wink:
There was a question of how this works in Roon. Roon answered why they don’t do it based on how they want the software to work. Posters expressed their interest in this for their reasons, and then everything snowballed into a mess.
But I do agree further dialogue at this point is a waste of time. Everybody has made sufficient points and attacking each other doesn’t get us anywhere.


Yet another one yelling “prove it to me”! As much I refrain to engage with such crowd, I often cannot help it.

As I said it earlier, I hate this is happening, but Roon with SqueezeLite experimental feature on my Innuos ZENith MK3 sounds better than RAAT. I cannot explain it why, but I experience it every single time I compare. It’s very noticeable. And easy to switch and A/B with a press of a button on my iPad Pro, it takes less than ten seconds.

And I have no way to prove it to you. Unless you are in DC area, in which case welcome to my place to hear for yourself. I simply share my experience. That’s the extent of it


The point is, you’re probably in the minority.
The vast majority of Roon users like things just the way they are, and like the way the software functions, and the way Roon sounds.
Why should Roon adapt to satisfy a small minority who ‘believe’ something that isn’t proven, and therefore remains speculation?
Obviously, if you don’t like the way Roon sounds, you have other alternatives.

That’s correct! Except for the “Majority “, including yourself, have never tried the alternative

I, and many Bryston BDP owners, hear the same thing when comparing RAAT and MPD. I can use them both networked playing the same file. MPD sounds better. I thinks its as simple as RAAT being heavier on the CPU which results in more noise generated within the endpoint. MPD probably has less processing involved.

This was Brian’s post about BDP-1 and how RAAT and MPD are handled: Huge number of lost PCM samples in network endpoint output [ALSA software device]

Is that the case with other endpoints as well?

And frankly, I can’t be arsed about trying any ‘alternatives’. RAAT works perfectly for me, thank-you.
Why would I want to ‘try’ alternatives when what I have with Roon/Nucleus/Lumin A1 just ‘works’. And perfectly.
As I said, it would seem that you’re clearly in the minority…

Yes, I am in minority. For now. That does not change my experience that I am sharing. What’s your point? Does your LUMIN do memory RAM playback? Certainly no. I should know, I used to have the T1. So, you are basically just speaking theoretically, like an armchair quarterback.

Oh… and I love my Roon. I am playing Roon on RAM memory right now!

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If your Innuos sounds better with squeezelite than with Innuos own software, then it is Innuos you should be inviting round to your house to hear it, and Innuos you should be asking to fix the problem with their hardware and software.

You seem to think that if folk aren’t using Innuos they must be using Chromecast or Sonos. If not, that the best you can do…

Really? That is not what it says here:

There it says that the Innuos box can function as a Roon Core or Roon Endpoint (player). That would mean no SqeezeLite…but hey, you know everything…


I listen via Meridian DSP SE, it sounds amazing (Jaw dropping) why should I bugger about when what I have is soooooo great now?

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I was replying to the other guy or girl. Please read what he said first. That pertained to using Innuos as a streamer, and using own streaming “program” to stream. One can surely use Innuos as a Server only, and use another device as a streamer.

Anyways, this is clearly becoming a moot point here, as the other folks have mentioned, with the mob / herd mentality in full display. You boys can take it from here. It’s all yours. Over and out.

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Roon have already said that full ram playback brings no advantages to RAAT only disadvantages so it’s not going to happen so we all need to move along after all they know their product better than anyone.

Ram playback might well help squeezelite elevate above RAAT, I can’t say if it does as I don’t own InnuOS or used a Squeezelite endpoint since switching to using Roon Bridges but as so many other variables can change perceived sq then I will not judge until I have experienced it myself. But it does not mean it would help RAAT, Brian already has said as much.

Whether RAAT is your preferred choice from a sq perspective or some other protocol is always up for debate, it comes up a lot here and other forums, especially from users on the high end ki. Maybe RAAT still needs work in this area without RAM playback.

Like everything in this crazy hobby we like to assume things do or don’t change anything. I was sceptical about using linear PSU for my ROCK but intrigued by so many saying that it improves SQ. I bought one and have noticed very little if any difference. Same went for internet cables, I recently decided to try one of the fancy ones, again made no discernable difference. I recently changed my extension cable to a Russ Andrews one to see if that would change anything, to my surprise it did and it’s stayed in place. I am not going to buy an InnuOS to try out ram playback but I will keep open minded that it could be better, not that I have an issue with how RAAT sounds. But then you don’t know what you can be missing until you sometimes try or we would all still be using crappy bell wire for speaker cable.

Those that want RAM playback can still use it without any extra dev from Roon so let’s all just move away from the hostilities.

Intel CPUs are based on a die of 14nm and AMD is working on a die size of 7nm. That’s a lot of electrons, moving at the speed of light, in a very small space.

If what you believe were true, computers wouldn’t work at all. Playing music would be the least concern.


It’s not what I believe. I’m not trying to ‘believe’ anything, but rather just understand and make sense of my observations. If there is a better explanation for it, I’m all ears.

Is the power supply draw/fluctuation footprint in the endpoint different (worse/between) between RAAT and say DLNA or MPD in various devices? Are there more number of processes happening between different protocols. In the above post, Brian does provide how MPD and RAAT differ in workload.

For example, Linn and Naim have both measured differences in power supply rails between WAV and FLAC playback. Linn says they have filtered it down to not make a difference in the outputs. Whereas Naim still continues to say WAV is preferable for best SQ. (This isn’t about FLAC vs. WAV, but if they can detect differences between WAV and FLAC, then it’s not impossible that there aren’t measurable differences between RAAT and whatever else.)

The mechanisms in these cases exist and do have merit. Whether they have any significant measurable and/or audible differences, for their personal use everyone can decide that for themselves by various means. Read the existing threads, published measurements, and/or listen for yourself. If you think none of this matters, awesome. No need to worry about it. If you do hear differences, is it enough to stop using Roon and all its benefits? To each their own.

FWIW, I love Roon and its responsiveness. I’m not advocating for memory playback if it will mess with the current responsiveness. It works very fast with all my devices. Does it sound the best on my favoured endpoint? No, and that’s fine. I’ll continue to use MPD with the BDP-1 as needed if I desire the best SQ. If I was interested in getting the best SQ from Roon, I’d definitely audition and consider a recent endpoint that doesn’t let these (however tiny) differences in processing affect SQ.

Ultimately, I think it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility and not Roon’s to get it right and have it sound its best with Roon if that’s the goal. Roon just has to make sure the experience is stable, trouble free, and bit-perfect.

I don’t hold it against the BDP-1 that it doesn’t sound as good with RAAT as it does with MPD since it came out almost a decade ago and wasn’t designed with any of those things in mind. It was primarily designed to sound good with straight USB playback. I didn’t buy it with Roon in mind. Later on they added Roon support, for which I’m happy.

With Roon/RAAT having been out, if I was getting a new endpoint with Roon as an absolute must and as the primary playback method, I’d make sure that the device sounds acceptable with Roon for my standards.

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Power rails where? In the amp?

In the endpoint, such as Linn DS:

  1. If we measure the power rail that feeds the main processor in the DS we can clearly see identifiable disturbance patterns due to audio decoding and network activity. These patterns do look different for WAV and FLAC - WAV shows more clearly defined peaks due to regular network activity and processing, while FLAC shows more broadband disturbance due to increased (but more random) processor activity.

  2. If we measure the power rails that feed the audio clock and the DAC we see no evidence of any processor related disturbances. There is no measurable difference (down to a noise floor measured in micro-volts) between FLAC and WAV in any of the audio power rails.

  3. Highly accurate measurements of clock jitter and audio distortion/noise also show no difference between WAV and FLAC.

The extensive filtering, multi-layered regulation, and careful circuit layout in the DS ensure that there is in excess of 60dB of attenuation across the audio band between the main digital supply, and the supplies that feed the DAC and the audio clock. Further, the audio components themselves add an additional degree of attenuation between their power supply and their output. Direct and indirect measurements confirm that there is no detectable interaction between processor load and audio performance.

An Linn engineer about the Linn DS

From Naim NDX’s manual directly:

Naim’s UPnPTM servers deliver the uncompressed audio data ripped from CD using the Naim ripping engine to ensure the best quality reproduction. Uncompressed audio data will always give better results than compressed. Even lossless compression may not reproduce audio with equivalent quality to the uncompressed original as the processing required to uncompress the data increases the computational load. This raises the power supply noise floor, which detracts from the sound quality.

Taken from Page 2.

There have been several threads over the years on WAV and FLAC there and using the option to transcode FLAC to WAV before sending to the endpoint.


The Linn stuff just shows that power used by the processor is different when decoding a FLAC versus reading a WAV file. That doesn’t mean there is more noise. Regardless, they go on to say that there is no difference in jitter or noise between FLAC and WAV.

The Naim white paper is 10 years old. That’s an eternity in computers.

If you are using Roon with FLAC or WAV files, PCM is sent to the endpoints so they get the same data and process the same data.

The time of day and power usage in your neighborhood has more of an impact on the power supply than the extra few cycles required by CPU to decompress FLAC files.

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Yes, it is old and so is my BDP-1 which came out around 2010/2011 as I addressed it in an earlier post. That’s why I have different expectations from the BDP-1 vs. a newer endpoint if I were to get one and given that Roon/RAAT has been out for quite some time. This would allow manufacturers to design with Roon in mind, rather as an afterthought compatability to extend the life of a product.

If you are using Roon with FLAC or WAV files, PCM is sent to the endpoints so they get the same data and process the same data.

You missed the point. The point was that difference between WAV and FLAC was measurable in both systems. Point to be noted was different workload = different impact on the power supply and noise floor. By extension, it is possible that WAV via RAAT, WAV via DLNA, or WAV via MPD might yield differences in noise floor and other disturbances due to the all processes that is associated with each. Whether these differences make it through (Naim) or not (Linn) depends on the particular endpoint. This is why I don’t place any blame or responsibility on Roon. This should be addressed by the manufacturer. However, for the customer that already has the hardware, they have to work with what they have. I get both sides.

If you want to say it’s non-significant or inaudible with the newest processors in optimized endpoints, sure. I can accept that. I haven’t tried any new endpoints. As far as Naim is concerned, I still hear the same WAV and FLAC transcoding discussion on even the newest streamers. Are Naim owners a special breed or is there still something there and going on?

(FWIW, I do have a Torus isolation transformer in the chain. It’s been very stable subjectively in the past 2 years throughout the day.)