HQP v. Roon DSP

Hey. I have been using HQP for a couple of months now. First to upsample PCM 16/44 or 48 to 24/92, then to full on DSD 512 (with new DAC). Sounds amazing, huge pain to use. Weak interface, various instabilities, and ultra hard on CPU.

With Roon DSP’s new filters and 512 capability, I was wondering how much of a difference there is now between these softwares from an sq standpoint. Sure would be nice to just use Roon.

I would just A/B the two but HQP has apparently overtaxed my i7 server and I cannot play HQP at the moment (I do have a back up mac mini i5 to run Roon alone).

Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

I use both to upsample to DSD128 and IMO HQP does create a slightly nicer sound than Roon DSP does, but the ease of use with my SonicOrbiter SE, more and more I can’t be brothered with HQP as Roon just works 100% of the time.


I’m speaking here as someone who’s been a big HQPlayer fan and who thinks everything he’s ever learned about upsampling and filtering has come from Jussi.

All that notwithstanding, since Build 216 and the improvements in Roon’s upsampling and filtering, especially as it relates to DSD, I’ve switched over to using Roon’s DSP primarily. In my setup, it takes just a couple of seconds to switch from DSP via Roon to DSP via HQP with everything else being equal, so I can do A–B comparisons pretty easily. I continue to do this, with different recordings in different genres, and so far, I just can’t detect a lot of difference between Roon DSP and HQP. I’ve mostly been A–B’ing relatively short passages (a couple-few minutes), but if/when I have time, I’ll try some lengthier comparisons.

(Note that my setup only goes up to DSD256, and that’s what I upsample everything to.)


Personally, I use Roon for parametric EQ, crossfeed, and channel mapping, then send the processed stream over to HQPlayer for final resampling to DSD256 (the highest my DAC supports).

I’ve tried several different variations of this, including having Roon do the DSD conversion, but I still think HQPlayer sounds better doing the conversion to DSD.

Been using hqp for 9 months upsampling to dsd256. Was dissapointed with the original roon upsampling options, but build 216 has certainly improved it a lot. For me its now a case of sounding different rather than better.

I use HQP for on the fly conversion of .DSF files to pcm for use with the Yggy.
With HQP this is a one step process.
If you use Roon multiple steps doing this are necessary.
Roon is not quite there for my conversion and or upsampling.
But latest build is a good step in the right direction.

I upsample to DSD 64. I think build 216 is almost as good as HQP, but not quite there. I still notice a small improvement with HQP.

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Intersting, thanks. I am just getting tired of trouble shooting and just want to listen to music. I amy give up on HQP at least for awhile. Thanks again.


I didn’t have time yesterday, but I wanted to be more specific about the Roon and HQP settings I was using for comparison. In both cases, all source material is upsampled to DSD256. Basic details of my setup are in my profile, but in the comparisons, I’m switching between using the PlayPoint as a RoonReady endpoint and as an HQP NAA. When in Roon mode, the iMac is out of the picture (which is a big plus for me).

Roon DSP settings:
Headroom adjustment: –5
SRC filter: Smooth, minimum phase (linear for large ensembles)
SDM: 7th order (CLANS)
SDM gain: 0dB
Parallelize SDM? Yes
Enable native DSD processing? Yes
Other Roon DSP settings disabled

HQP settings:
Vol max: –5.0dB
SDM oversampling: poly-sinc-shrt-mp (poly-sinc-shrt for large ensembles)
Modulator: DSD7 256+fs
Multicore DSP? Yes
SDM pack: None
Auto rate family? Yes (don’t think there’s an equivalent setting in Roon)

For whatever reason — mostly dumb luck, I think — these two sets of settings sound very similar to me, in my system. Reading posts subsequent to my original, and on reflection, there’s no question that I could get Roon and HQP to sound more different by varying the settings, so on balance, I think @Audiogeek’s overall characterization of “different rather than better” is more accurate.


HQP Player and Roon settings for DSD256:

Vol: -5.0 DB
SDM Oversampling: poly-sinc-xtr
Modulator: ASDM7 or ASDM7 512+fs
Multcore DSP: Yes
Cuda: Yes
SDM pack: None
Auto rate Family: No

Headroom: -5
Filter: Precice or Smooth Linear Phase
SDM: Any
SDM gain: 0db
Parallize SDM: Yes
Native processing: Yes

No comparison to me, I find Roon thinner and harsher in comparison. HQPlayer more organic, full and warm.

That said I can also make HQPlayer sound more familiar to Roon by using the same settings as @orgel. Roon has closed the gap but HQPlayer still has the special filters and special modulators that can do things subjectively better.


Nothing in Roon seems compatable to the hqp extreme filters. Really sounds warm/organic/ analogue etc. The leading edge and transients are noticebly more pleasant.

I think its great to have lots of options. Can tune the sound for different music or different occassions with a few button presses. No need to change components or cables etc.

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The xtr filters are great for DSD. I also love the poly-sinc-ext for upsampling to PCM.

I went back to it last night and thought man this might be better than xtr going to DSD.

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What’s interesting to me is that Roon upsampling is now much more efficient, at least on my 2012 mac mini. Upsampling to DSD256 in roon with smooth minimal phase and 7th order clans runs around 20 % user cpu whereas hqp with poly-sinc-mp-2s runs around 60%. One can only assume that this efficiency comes at a (small) loss in SQ … I don’t think there is any filter in hqp that is as fast as roon.

I have the same 2012 mini and notice the same issue with DSD256, sometimes constant dropouts with HQP and no issues at all with Roon.

The other issue I get is when I use NativeDSD with HQP I get a loud pop at the beginning of each song (not always, but most) and with Roon/SOSE the loud pop seems to only happen on the initial play when I turn on my DAC…apparently there is a fix for this, in the upcoming Sonicorbiter 2.5 software update.

I cannot comment on Roon’s things. I could optimize for CPU load or for quality. But for me quality comes first and then I try to make it as fast as possible without trading any quality. As my algorithm development proceeds and algorithms become more complex, also the CPU demands will continue to increase. If something cannot be run right now with current computing hardware, it will work sooner or later in future with new hardware.


Same experience here. I cannot upsample with HQP to DSD512 using HQP as Roon Audio Device (heavy drop-outs) while in Roon itself it is no problem to do so. DSD256 is maximum here. On the other side upsampling to DSD512 directly in HQP works very well and smoothly. Any idea what the problem of the combination Roon+HQP in that specific case is?

There are more variables than you’d think :wink:

In my case, I found my wireless “bridge” between the Roon core and HQPlayer machine was not capable of passing higher than 176.4k PCM 5.1 (or DSD256 5.1) - attempting to play higher rates resulted in “stuttering” from HQPlayer that was indistinguishable from the stuttering you hear when overtaxing the CPU, so it was a bit difficult to track down! Like yours, my HQPlayer machine can upsample local 192k - 384k PCM 5.1 all day without stuttering.

Given only a small portion of my library is at 192k PCM or higher (and none is at DSD512 - yet), I added a simple custom rule to the Roon resampler so that 192k PCM and above gets resampled to a lower rate before sending to HQPlayer for final processing. Voilà, no more stuttering :slight_smile:

New combination that I’m liking.


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I finally managed it with Roon & HQP. The solution was to install the headless Roon server version on Mac Mini. Now upsampling in HQP to DSD512 works like a charm. Obviously the non-headless Roon version has a performance problem that the headless version doesn’t have. (at least on my Mac Mini with Bootcamp Windows 10).

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I’ve been using Roon DSD upsampling since the last upgrade and felt it provided a crisp, clean sound that technically sounded great. However I noticed I wasn’t pulled into the music the way I was with HQPlayer.

I just switched back and it’s sort of like analog vs digital sound. Or tubes vs chips. HQPlayer just sounds more organic and natural.