Is there any sound quality improvement with the new Roon 1.8? What are the improvements, if any?

Just an opinion, dude. Thankfully I have no need to convince you or anyone else.

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Of course ! And Antipodes (and the others) make great hardware, don’t get me wrong there… it’s mostly that it’s a case where demanding evidence could save you a couple of thousand if you need to update your server down the line… I’m sorry if I didn’t make it extremely clear that in my mind, the onus is on the sellers, and not the buyers.

I’ve been a beta tester for a couple of well known manufacturers, both hardware and software.

The complexity of the software used to play back files and and whether the files are played from RAM memory or cache makes a difference to the sound quality of the playback software. In general the busier the software is doing yet file playback the more compromised the sound quality gets. For ROON to achieve all the magic it does it causes your PC or streamer to work harder. The files are 1s and 0s of course but the busier the computer the more “software jitter” according to Paul McGowan of PS Audio. Software jitter is what affects the sound quality.

My understanding is the addition of a RAM cache or other method of sending the files to RAM for playback makes quite a difference.

ROON’s sound quality is very good. Not the best. It’s very easy to hear the difference if one has an Auralic Streamer. It’s easy to play a file through the ROON Ready method or use Auralic’s Lightning DS. Lightning DS sounds just a bit more real, dynamic, and lively by comparison.

If one wants to try HQPlayer it’s easy to discern the difference as well. HQPlayer offers free trials.

Don’t get me wrong I love ROON. I’m sure all the new changes will be great fun to use. I’m a lifetime user.

I do hope Wizards of ROON have made some strides to better the sound quality too.

I know several users both lifetime and yearly subscribers who don’t use ROON much anymore because other software sounds better.

For those worried that ROON will be around for their Lifetime, I think ROON has to address sound quality.

Audiophiles are a fickle lot and are always looking for away to make their systems sound better. Thus the continuous turnover in equipment that some pursue. I don’t believe software will be immune to this phenomenon.

But of course if you believe you can’t understand the above, discern these differences or they mean nothing to you, then please disregard the above and don’t read it.

Oops, if read this far you did read it. Drat. So sorry to bother and waste your time.


And there you go - the guy whose company is trying to build a competitor is spreading FUD, fancy that…

He likes to pose with measurement gear, and he’s said he uses it, so where are his measurements and his null tests to back up his claims ? Really. I don’t mean this in an assholeish way, I’m honestly, genuinely curious.

HQPlayer actually does something to the bitstream. It isn’t just a transport, there’s the whole filtering deal going on, and I’ll completely buy that that’s audible in a number of cases.

This certainly must be measurable. Why isn’t Auralic providing measurements, and why haven’t Auralic customers demanded that they be provided if Auralic themselves have supported the belief ? Because if you’re right, that means one of two things: there’s a problem with RAAT itself, or there’s a problem with their RAAT implementation.


Another McGowan myth.


See this discussion around memory playback. Does not really work for Roon and the core/endpoint/RAAT architecture means you avoid most of the problems it might solve and all the loss of functionality/usability it would cause.

Does Roon download entire track into RAM? [Memory Playback Discussion] - Roon Software - Roon Labs Community


You know I think it’s a testament to the folks who code Roon that they don’t make any claims of sound improvement. No one could quantify it, but they could end the claims of less than optimum sound. They could then also sit around and laugh at the “expert” description of the improvements.


I’m very familiar with all the posts here. I read most of them and understand why it’s difficult for the Wizards of ROON to do with software versions 1.0 -1.7. I was hoping that with the rewrite of version 1.8 the Wizards might have addressed these problems. As brilliant as the ROON Wizards are (not being sarcastic, I love ROON!) I was hoping they might have rewritten this portion as well.

It’s been my experience and many others that the busier the program is the more the impact there can be. It’s called software jitter.

Problem is this isn’t really true, a statement about an objective thing like:

Thing X does something different than thing Y isn’t a matter of opinion. It’s either true, and provably so or it isn’t true.

Obviously this assumes the different things are playing the same game, eg. bit perfect audio playback.

System jitter is in fact a real thing, and it could conceivably manifest in a purely software system with nondeterministic inputs. But I can’t see how it could possibly affect SQ.

Perhaps the problem is that, while Paul MacGowan knows what he is talking about, his listeners sometimes don’t. What he’s talking about is selling more equipment to gullible consumers. If his listeners mistakenly think he’s talking about what he says he’s talking about, which isn’t really what he’s talking about, misunderstandings can develop.


I rather suspect that’s a made up term. But I wholly grant that due to the way cpus “multitask” that if your endpoint is doing a lot of extra work then it could lead to playback issues if it is resource constrained.

Luckily Roons server/client architecture makes this a non issue, as all the work is done on the core and the client does next to nothing.

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Cool… I should have made clear that I tried Roon and Squeeze Server on the same Antipodes box – it runs several different players. I made the comparison several times over a number of weeks, and was, in fact, biased toward wanting Roon to sound better. I had been using it for a couple of years, and obviously nothing compares to its UI.

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I would like to see an option to reverse absolute phase. Since we already have DSP, maybe this would not be difficult to include. On many recordings this makes a significant difference. I am able to do this with my PS Audio DAC (built in) but not on my PC. I am sure there are many with DACs which do not have phase inversion as an option and might appreciate this being implemented in Roon. Since my first CD player many years ago that had it (Audio Alchemy) , I learned to appreciate it and would not buy a digital source, CD player or DAC that did not provide it.

Do a search on here. There’s a way to set DSP to invert phase. Once it’s set up you can save the settings and use it anytime you want.

I didn’t make up the term. I can’t take credit for it.

It has nothing to do with bit perfect playback. Ones are 1s and Zeros are 0s for sure.

Many get hung up on that for good reason.

I few years ago it was relatively to discern that one was playing a Flac file vs AIF vs WAV etc. The reason I’ve been told, is because the Flac file had to be opened or unwrapped. Those are not my terms either. One could hear this on good systems. Again not a bit perfect problem. Both played 1s and Os perfectly. And if you never compared the formats you’d never know the difference.

It’s not like you could walk into a room and declare, “Now that’s a Flac file playing. “

But if you took the time to compare the difference was there.

Now with today’s much faster processors that little difference is much less if detectable at all.

The Taiko Supreme Server uses two Xeon processors which is one reason it is believed to sound so good. Some of the guys at Audiophile Style have built PCs with two processors and have experienced the same uptick in sound quality.

I would hypothesis that as processor speeds increase the amount of “software jitter” will decrease similarly to the FLAC phenomena.

Who knows we may see servers built with three CPUs?

I love using ROON. I’m a lifetime guy. I look forward to experiencing the new look and feel.
But I hope they did a bit of coding to tweak the sound quality as well as the Valence.

The computer with the Core impacts the sound quality of the Server.

Just try adding Fidelizer or similar program to your Core pc. You can try it for free. Basically Fidelizer turns off parts of Windows do the processor can have less to do.

Fidelizer is free to try. I’d guess one could hear the difference with just about any level of system using a pc for playback.

Again this has nothing to do with bit perfect. It’s the extra processes on your PC that cause the perceived difference.

Ho Hum.
Believe what you wish.

I’m not hear to lie or sell any snake oil.

Technically all modern computers, even phones already have multiple cpus, between 2-4 actual cores is common and some have 8 or more, let’s not get into hyper threading.

And sure, because flac is compressed it needs to be uncompressed (unwrapped if you like) before it can be played and if your playback device had very limited resources and had to do this while playing it could cause noise. But roon does this on the core and sends uncompressed audio to the endpoint. In fact it would send the exact same bits for all three file sources (assuming they were the same recording/sample rate).


I see you removed my perfectly innocent post yesterday on the Roon 1.8 thread about SQ. Why? Are you so frightened when somebody asks a perfectly benign question about anticipated?

Hello @Martin_Wax, is this the post?

It’s there. Was there another one? I can’t see one.