Introduce high quality upsampling within Roon

Introduce optional high quality upsampling within Roon (HQPlayer-grade). Integration of HQPlayer is not ideal because HQPlayer controls the output and doesn’t allow streaming to Roon endpoint devices via Ethernet network. Dedicated NAA is needed for that purpose, which makes the overall implementation more complex and costly.

Hi Marek, can you explain what “HQPlayer-grade” means? Why do you think Roon’s up-sampling is not high quality?

I’ve listened recently to high-res audio files with HQPlayer upsampling/conversion to DSD 256 (played via USB to DAC) vs. played “normally” by Roon (via Ethernet to the same DAC). The difference was huge in favor of the HQPlayer (and it was not due to to USB vs. Ethernet input differences). I’ve tried also Roon upsampling to DSD, which doesn’t seem to have such impact, rather opposite (the music sounded flat without bass and dynamics). But I admit it would require much more comprehensive testing trying all the parameters/options to tweak the “best” sound for given DAC. Nevertheless, other users also suggest that HQPlayer’s upsampling is superior to Roon’s. If it wouldn’t, there would be no point for Roon to enable HQP integration. However, HQP with Roon has 2 big disadvantages - it doesn’t support streaming to Roon endpoint devices over Ethernet (just to NAA devices) + it’s quite pricey.

It’s an interesting request. There’s obviously a market for up-sampling alternatives, HQP is proof of that. It’s price isn’t unreasonable and reflects the developers’ specialist knowledge and work. To compete Roon would need to employ/redeploy similar dev smarts which might mean higher Roon costs. It also risks changing the dynamic of their cooperation with HQP. The HQP cost is currently pretty reasonable, but each license only provides a single Roon endpoint, although you can route that to a choice of NAAs via the HQP interface.

All interesting but there’s another consideration, processing requirements. The HQP processing is really beefy, there’s folk with gaming class hardware that’s dedicated to upsampling alone, graphics cards and all. That’s never running on a NUC, or a Nucleus for a single endpoint, let alone multiple ones…

BTW, Roopiee mitigates a lot of that by allowing endpoints to run NAA and Roon bridge.

I think Roon enabled HQP integration to boost adoption, given HQP’s popularity. In terms of the quality of up-sampling, it comes down to two things: the up-sampling filter and, for DSD, the sigma-delta modulator’s noise shaping filter. HQP does offer a lot of up-sampling filters, compared to Roon’s four, and a few more modulators too. I would however expect the differences between filter combinations to be subtle at best, nowhere near “huge”.

I think it would be really nice if Roon supported custom up-sampling filters/modulators, as it supports custom convolution filters, but I think that’s very unlikely, given the fact that there’s HQP and that people who can afford Roon are likely to be able to accommodate HQP on top.

Roon could buy hqplayer or the developers.:slight_smile: I wish they would do that with UAPP so my LG V60 could be bit perfect via the inbuilt dac. It’s probably not all that easy, but who said what Roon is doing is easy.