Is a lossless signal path better than enhanced signal path?

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #1

Dear All,

I do believe that the best signal path that can be obtained is LOSSLESS.

I have a Project Pre-Box S2 Digital and I can get LOSSLESS signal path using ASIO driver and NO DSP, Volume Leveling or Volume control inside ROON.

Could somebody be so kind to confirm me that this LOSSLESS path is better than ENHANCED path since that path happens when the Volume is changed to Device Volume or to Digital Volume ???

Thank You in advance.

-Marin Rene.

(Jeff) #2

Yes and No.

Lossless is best unless you have a need for DSPing.

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #3

Thank you for your kind answer.

May I ask you when it might be required doing DSPing?

(Jeff) #4

Room Correction
Oversampling to a NOS Dac
Volume reduction to avoid intersample overs.
EQing because it makes the music more enjoyable to you.
Volume control for convenience.

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #5

Thank you for your response

It’s my understanding from ROON literature that all these modifications degrade the quality of the audio signal.

And that means LOSSLESS is always preferable.

Am I right?

(KMP14) #6

If, for example, adding EQ makes it sound “better” to you, then isn’t that preferable?

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #7

Thank you for your comment

Maybe I should change the word “better” for “purest”.

Then am I right?

Is the LOSSLESS signal path the purest one?

Even ROON writes that this way.



It’s there any chance that somebody on the ROON support Team would help us to clarify this?

(Frank Daman) #8

That is some can of worms you opened here.

First of all: lossless is a relative term. Are we talking about signal translation (each bit from one side reaches the other side in the same state)? That would require flawless hardware without dropouts. This is why transport protocols have error correction like monitoring and resending dropped packages.

Are we talking about reconstituting compressed data, like unpacking flac files?

Are we talking about which signal is being processed, one without DSP or one with DSP? That would depend on what you consider DSP. For me the only true lossless signal path is uncompressed WAV file to inbuilt DAC in component to analogue output to pure power amplifier. This used to be the standard in the eighties, but this doesn’t really exist any more.

Each and every “way station” in your audio chain will do some signal modification of sorts.

When talking about “enhanced” it’s a bit more straightforward in the sense that something in your audio chain (be it Roon or a DAC or a streamer or even your amp) will change the input in some way.

In short, if you’re looking to get the best approximation of the original recording, stick with “lossless”.

(Jeff) #9

Purest to your source media: Yes.

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #10

Thank You very much for your kind and detailed comment.

That is exactly what I thought.

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #11

Thank You Jeff

That is exactly what I needed to know.

Is there, in your valuable knowledge, any place in the ROON literature that states this ?

(Derek Wyman) #12

Roon devs have said on multiple occasions not to fear “enhanced” lol

Specifically, running auto leveling will knock you “down” from lossless to enhanced, but roon handles it very well and they wouldn’t want someone reducing the quality of THEIR overall listening experience just to keep a little glowing orb the “right” color.

I think lots of us have had experiences with very intrusive (and often destructive) DSP, eq, etc in the past (Loudness buttons? lol), but that shouldn’t be a worry with roon’s implementation of DSP.

(Daniel Beyer) #13

Neither is Better. What sounds the best to you in your setup is the correct answer. It all depends on too many variables for a single answer. Variables such as source, amp and speakers, DAC, your ears, the room being used for music playback, can all affect which sounds better.

For example, I think DSD 64 upsampled to DSD 256 on my DSD DAC sounds better than leaving it lossless. Alternatively, I also think that 16/44.1 is best left lossless (without upsampling) when played back by my Schiit multi-bit DAC. Music sent to my small portable speaker needs correction on the mid and bass tones to sound its best. If your listening space has issues, Room Correction will absolutely sound better than just leaving the stream “lossless”.

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #14

Thank your very much for your valuable opinion.

From it can we say that if the DAC, The Room or the equipment has issues it will definitely be better to use some kind of DSP?

If there is none of that issues, the LOSSLESS signal path will be the closest to the original recording?

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #15

Thank you for your kind response.

I am probably looking for an answer that would be independent of anybody taste or hearing capabilities.

Can we say that the LOSSLESS signal will be the closest to the original recording independently of the equipment or the user’s taste?

(Derek Wyman) #16

Yes. Lossless means Roon has done nothing to change the signal

(Daniel Beyer) #17

It is not that simple. Lets discus DACs. Most DACs (and there are exceptions) will take that lossless incoming signal and then internally up-sample or convert it as the first step in their internal processing. Depending on the DAC and what it does internally, it might be better to pre-process this by up-sampling with a more powerful computer and feed that to the DAC, thus by-passing the DACs internal up-sampling and up-sampling filters.

If you care about “lossless” then you should look into those DACs which do not up-sample or convert the incoming signal, like a NOS DAC.

(Anders Vinberg) #18

In several rooms where I listen to speakers I do room correction, using Roon DSP. This is a dramatic improvement, because the speakers and their interaction with the room has a much, much greater effect on the sound than any of the fine details that may affect the electronics. Consider these measurements of the speakers with purist, “lossless” processing, and with room correction added. And note that this is not a bad system: cost is well over $100,000 and the room is irregular, over 29’ x 26’ x 20’ (8.7 m x 7.7 m x 6 m). And still, the unprocessed sound had errors over 15 dB! In my smaller library with bookshelf speakers, it’s worse.
So yes, I’ll take enhanced without a moment’s hesitation. If I have a good reason.

(Frank Daman) #19

We’re going a bit off topic here I think, Anders.

Room correction isn’t DSP in the true sense. DSP stricto sensu is up- or downsampling, channel extraction or merging, high or low pass filters, pitch correction and such.

Room correction by software consists of volume and impulse response correction on sets of frequency ranges. I don’t subscribe to the idea that it is a good idea to do this at source level. Better to do this as close to output level as possible. Besides, in most cases a strategically placed throw rug works better than any room correction software. Hence my cleaning lady’s frustration with me, whenever I complain about furniture being moved :grin:

Anyways, I think the OP is asking about achieving the most faithful replication of a recording regardless of equipment and listening environment. Given unchanged equipment and listening environment, the best approximation of the original recording will be the one with the flattest response. In other words: no added signal processing.

I’m not saying this will be the best replication, it will just be the most faithful. A bad recording will sound bad, a good one will sound good and an excellent one will sound excellent, all within the limitations of the equipment.

(Marin Rene Lugo Villa) #20

Thank you for your comment.

May I ask you which color is the LOSSLESS signal?