My ROCK still sounds flat

I have been running Roon ROCK for over 16 months now on a Intel i7 NUC,
I still cant figure out why 95% of what I listen to just sounds so flat, no clarity, depth, etc.!
Pretty basic setup. I am by no means an audiophile yet it would be nice to have a little more clarity.
Just for giggles I tried Audirvana and for some reason it just sounded so much better. I have no intention of switching over, so I know I must be doing something wrong.

I have tried doing some minor tweaks turning on the DSP EQ, yet that is quite a rabbit whole to go down

Have you try hooking up ROCK directly to your DAC via USB connection?

Yes that’s how I started using Roon ROCK direct connect to DAC, though I was under the impression from what I read on the forum was not to do this and to use an end point. To be honest I didn’t hear any difference except that I was able to move my NUC into my network closet so I don’t hear the fan anymore.
I was experiencing some drop outs though after upgrading the software on my end point that fixed that issue.

Some people (myself included) think that Audirvana does sound better but if there is a significant difference between Roon and Audirvana in your system then there might be something amiss somewhere.

Both Roon ROCK and Audirvana output bit perfect, the only different is ROCK runs on it’s custom designed Linux OS while Audirvana runs on Mac OS.

Overall I find Roon has a transparent sounding; whether you call it as ‘flat’ or ‘lack of sparkle’. I used to have JRiver running on Windows and when I compared, they do sound slightly different.

If you are using USB cable to DAC, this cable is very crucial. Try experimenting different make of USB cables; it can indeed change the SQ by quite a large margin. Add in anti-jitter bug can sometimes help.

I have an unused MicroRendu with the 1.3 hardware and the reason it failed to win me over was that it sounded flat to me using Roon. There is a lot that can be said about possible reasons but my view is Roon sort of blazed a trail as a streaming product and ‘best practice’ has evolved. My view is USB connected products are inherently flawed. This varies from DAC to DAC but network connected devices are the way to go now. It doesn’t explain why Audirvana might sound better but as a committed Roon user it is a mute point for me.

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A few suggestions:

  1. Upscale all content to the highest rate your DAC will accept.

  2. The ethernet cable connecting your endpoint to your network can influence the sound, try using a few better quality Cat6/7 cables.

If you’ve got the cash, you might try an upgraded power supply for the sms-200.

Good point.

Thanks for all the tips
So CAT 7 cables
Upsample to highest level my DAC supports though not sure where in ROON I do this
By a better USB cable can anyone make a suggestion on which to try
Better power supply for my SMS-200 again any suggestions?

What concerns me is that all these suggestions would seem to be how to get that last 5% of sound quality out of my complete system yet at This point I’m only at 75-80% right now

I like Audioquest cables, if you have a local dealer they may lend you some to try.

To change the sample rate you need to go into the DSP settings.

Select an audio zone.

Click on the speaker icon in the bottom right hand side.

Click on DSP,

Select Sample Rate Convension, change all the rates and enable it.

When a track is playing if you display the signal path it will show you the conversion steps.

For power supply you can start with iFi.

just to cover all the bases…

you might think about optical isolation. here, you can use fiber optic cables for ethernet data transmission from your NUC to the DAC. this will cleanse the digital signal of all upstream electrical noise and should, thereby, clear up the sound.

huge bump in SQ when i implemented fiber networking to my transport which is connected directly to the DAC via USB.

there are a number of threads here discussing this. here is a recent one but search around for others.

I don’t do any of this (most people don’t), so take these suggestions with a grain of salt and don’t go hog wild. You don’t need CAT7 and be careful how much you spend on USB cable. You just want to make sure it’s up to spec. The lowest priced AQ will do. For my other cables, I use BlueJeans cable, whom I trust.

You didn’t say what your DAC was.

I have tried Audirvana and found it too ‘bright’ for my tastes and I upsample to 768K. Personal taste is probably the deciding factor for people.


Thanks for the suggestion but I am only trying to construct a data route from router, at one end of the house, to the hi-if, at the other end :+1:

Here is my DAC

Seems adequate, but maybe it has a different sound than you want. I guess that doesn’t explain why you like Audirvana’s sound better.

??.. my suggestion was to the OP of this thread. no worries.

Whoops, apologies, I must exercise some thread/topics control. :wink:

Personally, I think a better USB cable is a waste of money in your case. You had the Nuc>USB>Dac and now have Nuc>ethernet>Sotm>Dac and didn’t hear much difference. So I doubt a USB cable between the Sotm and Dac will improve anything. For a somewhat related reason I would not be really optimistic about a linear power supply.

Presumably your DAC is driving your amps via the digital preamp? What are the amps?
Don’t write off DSP. You could have a midrange suckout in your room and/or some poor speaker placement that is messing up your soundstage. You will get the best bang for your bucks working on getting the best sound from your speakers. Setup and DSP can truly work wonders. @Magnus has an excellent thread on this using REW.