Lacking sound clarity when played via ROON


Core machine is iMac Mini, everything is connected via Ethernet. Sound device is CXN v2 (all defaults settings in Roon).

When I play the same song directly on my CXN v2 through DLNA sound is more crisp and live versus playing on the same CXN but via ROON.
For the test I switched off all filters in signal path.
I am on trial now and have big concern - why i would need to pay extra money for worse quality. However I like the way ROON organises my music collection and if the issue gets resoled i will be happy to subscribe to the service

I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you, but I also find that Room SQ is not as good as when I play over UPnP or use Logitech Media Server on my Innuos Zen.
Although there is an ‘experimental’ mode on the Zen that to my understanding stores the audio file in its RAM before sending it to the DAC and that seems to sound better or very close to using UPnP.

I do not actually need room equalisation, i just like the way ROON organises my music collection. But worse sound quality really concerns me. It looks like ROON’s lossless is not as lossless as roonlab claims. Even with all DSP off.

Another view. Absolutely no difference in sound quality played through Roon (core on NUC with Roon Rock) vs LMS (on rPi4B running LMS) vs foobar2000 (on windows 10 machine), all three playing to same DAC and system.

Is it possible DLNA is transcoding somewhere along the way?


and are these sources volume leveled? Even almost imperceptible changes in volume can lead listeners to prefer the “louder” version.

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No, DLNA does not do any transcoding and it sound identical to the same song played from USB drive plugged in CXN.
Both sources are volume levelled i.e. there is no perceptual difference in loudness.
I did the blind test with my friends and they 100% voted for direct play from DLNA (or like i mentioned from USB storage)
I would be great to hear from ROON support because I can see one lossy thing in the Signal Path - rate conversion from 192 to 384. Where did is come from? Like I said all ROON DSP is turned off.

Roon transcodes as well on the core side before sending on this the dac. If sending flac via UPnP dependant on the server it will either send native and the conversion takes place on the CXN or the server can transcode to wav which still needs converting but is less of a task than flac. I wonder if this is often the reason for the difference.

There is your answer. Many prefer local usb playback over network playback. Roon is over network which does bring other steps in to the equation. Plugging the drive in locally there is less to get in the way and no network overheads. How is you network setup when using Roon as this might be a resulting factor.

What your seeing there is your CXN upsampling, it does that for everything as part of the course it’s how all Cambridge streamers work. Roon is telling you this what the CXN is doing nothing to do with Roon.

DLNA sends FLAC to DAC untouched. Anyways - I already mentioned, USB storage obviously cannot do any transcoding and sounds great versus ROON.
My consumer point of view is that I can agree to pay money for convenient music organiser as long as it does not compromise sound quality. It is pointless otherwise.

No it doesn’t, no DAC can play flac. They only take PCM. It all gets converted to pcm before going to a DAC. That’s how it works on everything. Perhaps read up on how digital audio works.

How do you volume level with USB Drive on the CXN ?

Did you know the CXN up samples to 384 internally anyway ?

ROON claims ‘lossless’ transformation which means I should expect the same output. But it is not true in my case. I know that CXN upsamples internally but it would do it for any input be it USB source or network stream.
Well, from previous answers I understand that ROON is not for me. It’s a pity really because I like how it integrates in my system

USB can be plugged in CXN and its hardware would concert to PCM. The original question was - why ROON sound quality was not as great as from USB

Maybe let roon upsample to 384KHz and pass it to the CXNV2 and see if that helps

Where is the music being supplied to Roon coming from, the same USB your plugging into the CXN? Is that in the mac mini or a network share?

I do not see it in your screen shots. Do you have enabled “exclusive mode”, I think under advanced settings?

BTW: Roon sends bit perfect to the DAC. One of my DACs has a feature to recognise bit test patterns. I can send these patterns through the whole chain and it confirms perfect reception.

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Even though you have set “Sample Rate Conversion” to disabled, it is in effect because your first screen shot shows “192kHz to 384kHz”. (I know it’s confusing, I was bitten by this too — Roon, you may want to force this switch to “Enabled” and gray it out so user can’t change it.)

I’ve been experimenting with the 4 “Sample Rate Conversion” settings. They definitely change the sound!

Sorry but enabling rate conversion just adds one more in the signal path. I think in case of CXN - ROON tries to display the fact that CXN converts rates by default. However they are totally wrong here because CXN won’t convert if you use digital output. So ROON has outsmarted themselves.

Thanks all for trying to help. Unfortunately we are not any closer to the answer. To be honest I thought this is the way to contact ROON support but now I see that I need to create an official support ticket.

Still I have 7 days left on my trial