Feature or bug!? Dramatic improvement in sound quality installing roonserver on AV Linux MX (19.2)

I would really appreciate community feedback on an experience I have had with my Roon setup after migrating to linux for Roonserver. I had tried multiple distributions on my 2012 MacBook Pro Retina (4 Core i7, 8Gb) and quickly realised the dependencies associated with roon server on linux.

Roonserver installed easily on AV Linux 19.2 and uses <1% of system resources when simple non-upsampling streaming of files from Tidal or Qobuz is played. The system uses a non-standard linux kernel.

Upon starting playback there is a repeatable, consistent, significantly different improvement in sound quality which makes no rationale sense to me! The same bit perfect data is sent to my Sonore Optical Rendu as when using a Mac OS X version of Roonserver or indeed other linux versions yet the sound quality improvement is easily noticeable.

Is there any chance someone may consider repeating this on another system to see if they can attain these differences, there is obviously something here I was not previously aware of.

Many thanks in advance

Tim Mawhinney

What was the improvement in sound quality?

For adherents of the “bits are bits” theory in audio, there is no rational sense. For the others, rational sense exists.
I suspect that this thread will cause controversy… :slightly_smiling_face:


Wow, how to describe it, the subjectivity confounds you! I can not help but come up with all the clichés that are common to a body of improvement in sound…

The stereo image is not confined to a central point but seems to occupy a larger volume of the room and is more convincing. Individual sounds e.g. position of a violin occupy a very precise position in the sound stage. I can walk about the room and the stereo image seems to be present in more areas. The quality of the sounds seems more alike to a live recording.

The tone of the individual instruments seems improved and is very pleasing to the ear. Sibilant high frequency sounds sound more sweet and easier to listen to and lows more palpable and impressive. Tiny details in the recordings become easier to make and out and hear.