Match, equal, or exceed the audio quality of competitor products

Title says it all. Ok, Roon is king for metadata, but let’s get it back to the pinnacle of audio quality.

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Constitutional, may be. Absolutely: no – not yet. …

Out of curiosity: who are the competitors Roon falls behind audio quality wise? In which ways?


For sound quality, I think Roon RAAT gets edged by Bryston MPD. I like Audirvana too, but for overall experience, Roon is usually what’s playing.

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Are you talking about single box SQ, network connection or both ?


I’ve seen several reports recently that Audirvana 3.5 sounds better. How can this be?

I think because they spend more time on the sound than the UI in their development - or at least that is the way it has turned out last time I looked at Audirvana.
Roon has spent a lot of time and effort on many things but from where I am sitting they seem to have neglected what I consider to be most important - sound quality.


Possibly because it has a more lightweight processing footprint in a single box solution, hence my query about network connections.


I don’t notice any difference in SQ between Roon and Audirvana. Blind tests are in order to validate any such claims!

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It seems you’d have to offer a ‘minimized’ mode. If Roon is being asked to manage a large database, graphics, and process digital streams in and out for multiple endpoints at the same time, it is the antithesis of some ‘competitors’. But stripping it down to just managing a single data stream to one endpoint is really gutting the product.

That said, a feature request is a feature request. Maybe you could do it with certain trade-offs.

Theoretically it shouldn’t need to be gutted if the endpoint is separate by network.

Ever soon Roon 1.6, my subjective take is that the sound quality of Roon has exceeded Audirvana and this includes the new 3.5 issue. Before 1.6, I thought Audirvana had a better soundstage (separation) and I preferred it. Not since 1.6, though. Certainly the equipment you listen through makes the difference (including your ears!)

I’m not an electrical engineer and I don’t know anything about how Roon runs on a computer. BUT, there are a LOT of products out there predicated on a supposition that optimizing the operations on a computer will result in better digital sound. Roon also went the extra mile to strip out as much extra stuff as possible to give the best possible system (which is more than just sound).
So, the reasoning is that regardless of USB or other output, extra noise on the motherboard is worse than less noise. But as I say, that may just be the Kool-Aid talking.
Would I want better sound if that were achievable? For sure!

For async USB I’m not even sure how all the voodoo about computer operations is really affecting output in any way. Old skool synchronous, yes, it was like the more evil twin of S/PDIF. But async really shouldn’t be affected by “motherboard activity” or power supplies unless it’s feeding a DAC with a cruddy USB interface which isn’t really the player software’s fault. And if a machine’s USB bus is that noisy, your I/O devices and external storage must truly be unusable.

I’m surprised about all the attention SQ is getting. Roon sounds fantastic, and has tons of DSP options. HQPlayer adds tons of heavy lifting DSP if you’re into that (I’m not.) Audirvana looks nice, nice interface, looks kind of like a “Roon Lite” for a lot less money and without all the metadata features, radio, etc. If I weren’t using Roon I’d be interested in it as a pretty slick, polished player with good navigation. But I can’t imagine switching from Roon to it for reasons other than considerable cost difference, but I can easily see choosing the cheaper option that does the basics just as well if you don’t want all the bells and whistles of Roon.

All I can figure is that Roon’s hardware accelerated interface causes some sort of GPU interference in some system configurations, but not others, so some people are hearing electrical interference with Roon because it’s hitting the GPU where a software interface isn’t. But it’s always hard to talk about digital audio on internet forums, because people always start applying analog concepts that just don’t exist in the digital domain, and don’t talk about the digital problems that do exist in the digital domain!


How about getting the Roon team to talk to the chaps at Euphony? I used the roon image for my server installation, then migrated to audio-linux, which sounded better. From this thread, it would appear that Euphony offers better performance still.

Not everything you read on the internet is true.


When I was using a MacBook Pro to stream my library, I found Audirvana to sound slightly better than Roon. Also, because I was using a rather old MacBook, I had problems running Roon, not so much with playback but with memory leakage issues. It would gobble up my RAM and not let go. I now use a Salk Streamplayer, and I use Roon almost exclusively. The sound absolutely beats the pants off anything I ever heard via my computer: Audirvana, Amarra, Decibel, Roon, you name it. In my case at least, the hardware ended up making a much bigger difference than the software. Alas, because I am not one to tinker with computers, the hardware solution was much more expensive than the software! Even so, it was enough to make me a happier listener.

In my experience this has more to do with streamer/DAC hardware implementation than the computer/software end.

E.g., if I stream Roon across my network to my Meridian 818, or 864, it sounds better than the exact same stream from the same Roon software, connected from the Core laptop to the 818’s USB input. This in turn sounds much better than listening to the exact same Roon core playing from the core laptop playing direct to Senheiser HD650.

Computers are noisy, full stop. Therefore the DAC or streamer must have ways of dealing with this/reclocking, etc., etc.

Through the 818’s network input Roon sounds as sublime as any system source I’ve heard at any price, I genuinely don’t believe it’s the issue if things are sounding better or worse.